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The Ultimate Guide to Tipping People

The Ultimate Guide to Tipping People

As a former server in many different types of restaurants, I remember the days when my only source of income was tips. OK, I did get a little paycheck, but at $2 an hour for a server, it didn’t amount to much. Tipping isn’t about bestowing generosity on a person, it’s about being grateful for their service. Whether they cleaned your hotel room — including those nasty hairs in the shower (yeah, I’ve done that job too) — or brought you your meal four times because it was never done just how you like it, it’s important to show your gratitude for it.

Now, because I’ve worked service jobs before and was very, very good at it, I also tend to be very discriminating about the servers I get at restaurants. If you’re going to ignore me or forget stuff, I’ll likely let you know with my scanty tip, but I’ll tell you why. However, if you work hard or are obviously the go-to person for everyone else, you’ll get a very nice tip from me.

As a general rule, don’t ever go lower than the average recommended tip amount. Even if the service is bad, but not nonexistent, you should never tip below that amount. Even the worst newspaper reporters get a basic wage to live on and so should servers. If you received your food, even if the guy who brought it was snotty to you, you should still tip him the bare minimum.

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Not sure if you should tip? Always err on the side of tipping. If you’re wrong, at least you made the effort to show your appreciation.

Bartenders

Bartending is not as easy as it looks, especially when you have a lot of thirsty people wanting strange and innovative new drinks! Generally speaking, bartenders should get 15 to 20 percent of the tab, or 50 cents per soft drink and at least $1 per alcoholic drink. This is true even at your sister’s open bar wedding reception.

Waitstaff

Waitstaff are likely the most underrated, hardest working people in the service industry. And I don’t say that just because I used to wait tables. In addition to only making the bare server minimum, servers are expected to clean restaurant bathrooms, make the salads, clean most of the appliances in the server station, mop restaurant floors, wipe down the tables and do many other chores. And that’s at the minimum server rate, which in most states is about $3 an hour. No tips for that work. Is your restaurant nice and clean? Thank a server. Is your silverware polished and the glassware without spots? Thank a server. Servers should get at least 15 percent of the bill. And if you bring a lot of kids who make a big mess (which I usually do) leave more (which I also usually do).

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Restaurant Host

You are not obligated to tip the maitre d’ or host at a restaurant unless they’ve gone above and beyond for you in getting you a table. If you’ve come in without a reservation or didn’t want the table by the bathroom and they found you another, you can tip them $10 or $20.

Delivery Drivers

For basic service, tip about 10 to 15 percent of the bill. If the delivery was heavy or complicated, it’s nice to tip the extra service accordingly.

Tipping Jars

It’s sits there, looking at you at your local coffee shop or take out place. The tip jar. In an old Seinfeld episode, one of the main characters is wracked over the tip jar, hoping that the person from whom he orders food will see that he’s placed a good tip in the jar — and then, of course, is caught with his hand in the jar when he tries to retrieve the bill so he can be seen placing it in there again. Don’t let a tip jar throw you for a loop. If you just ordered a small cup of coffee and you can spare it, put some of your change in the jar. But you are under no obligation to do so. If you feel like the service is exemplary, tip at your own comfort level.

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Valets, Doorpersons and Bellhops

Generally, valets receive $2 to $5 when the car is brought back to you. Doorpersons get a few dollars for extra — or consistent — service, like hailing a cab, helping you to the car, that sort of thing. Bellhops get a dollar or two per bag, as do Skycaps at the airport.

Taxi Drivers

Assume 15 percent for most taxi drivers and an extra $1 or $2 per bag if they help you. This also goes for limo drivers and bus or shuttle drivers if they help you with your bags.

Salon Workers

Whether they fix your hair, nails or give you a massage, tip those in the salon about 15 to 20 percent of the total bill.

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Hotel Concierge and Room Cleaners

The concierge, if he or she has been very helpful to you, should receive around $20 when you leave. If you stay longer than a few days, this can increase accordingly. Room cleaners should get a few dollars a day as well, depending on just how messy you are. Remember, if you have kids — or teenagers — you may want to leave more in appreciation for not making you clean up after them.

Remember, when in doubt, offer a tip and if you’re not sure how much, always err on the side of a little too much, especially if service was good. Nothing hurts a waiter or other service worker more than knowing they went above and beyond and weren’t appreciated for the effort. However, if you can’t spend more — leave a little note and tell them. This way they won’t feel hostile and will likely understand.

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Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Michelle is an explorer, editor, author of 15 books, and mom of eight.

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Published on May 7, 2019

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • Will you spend more time with your family?
  • What does retirement mean to you?
  • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

2. Figure out When to Invest

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

Why?

Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

  1. Vanguard
  2. TD Ameritrade
  3. Charles Schwab

5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

Robo Advisors

Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

Bonds

Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

  1. Treasury bonds
  2. Government bonds
  3. Corporate bonds
  4. Foreign bonds
  5. Mortgage-backed bonds
  6. Municipal bonds

Mutual Funds

Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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Real Estate

Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

Savings Accounts

Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

So how can you master delayed gratification?

By building your discipline.

Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

But, how can you invest yourself?

Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

Retire Happy with Excess Money

The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

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