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To tip or not to tip? That is the question these days… not on the minds of patrons, but from restaurant owners themselves. Would eliminating the common, longtime practice of tipping waitstaff benefit employees as well as diners?

As per H Careers, "Some activists and commentators criticize the practice of tipping at restaurants, often alleging that tipped workers like servers and bartenders are underpaid. According to supporters of the so-called 'no-tipping movement', restaurants should eliminate tipping and instead institute a service charge or raise prices in efforts to pay their workers higher wages. The discrepancy in pay between servers and back of house employees is a reason some restaurateurs want to end tipping (as well)."

This seems like a reasonable notion, as some people are poor or inadequate tippers despite satisfactory service. And restaurant employees like waitstaff, bartenders, runners, and bussers rely heavily on tips as part of their take-home pay.

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"Employees in other occupations know their pay rate before starting work. Waiters, waitresses and bartenders, on the other hand, often have no idea how much they will earn from a day's labor," as per The Conversation. "Shifting to a model where labor costs are built into food and drink prices has many benefits. It shifts risk away from workers by eliminating uncertainty and by providing more stability in a server's pay."

Danny Meyer of the Union Square Hospitality Group is one of the more well-known restauranteurs aboard the no-tip train. As of Nov. 2015, Union Square Hospitality Group, "roll(ed) out an across-the-board elimination of tips at every one of its thirteen full-service venues, hand in hand with an across-the-board increase in (menu) prices," as per Eater New York.

Meyer stated, "The American system of tipping is awkward for all parties involved: restaurant patrons are expected to have the expertise to motivate and properly remunerate service professionals; servers are expected to please up to 1,000 different employers (for most of us, one boss is enough!); and restaurateurs surrender their use of compensation as an appropriate tool to reward merit and promote excellence."

Some other popular restaurants which don't take tips, as per CNN, include Manhattan's Dirt Candy, Chicago's Alinea, and San Francisco's Bar Agricole.

Thrillist notes two main reasons to get rid of tipping. "The first is moral. Studies have shown diners judge servers (and therefore adjust their tips) based on looks and race, and servers judge diners (and therefore adjust their effort) on age, race, and ethnicity. The server is incentivized to drive up the check and manipulate the diner. And the diner can use the tip as a weird form of punishment/reward. The second argument is wage discrepancy."

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Do diners prefer tipping or is this no-tipping method on its way to becoming the new norm? Cake from Sysco suggests some pros of a no-tip policy. "Guests may be excited to try a brand-new way of dining. Raising ticket prices allows restaurant operators to raise wages for all employees, including servers, barbacks, and kitchen staff. Higher wages increase employee loyalty and morale." That said, there are the cons. "Some critics are concerned that without tips, staff will be less motivated to provide great service." Plus, the adjustment will take time to get used to.

If a restaurant-wide end to tipping ever comes about, it is sure to be gradual, but as more and more restaurants adopt the payment model, the more customers will get accustomed to it. Would you like to see an end to tipping and an increase in menu prices to make up for the change?

'Till then, tip your server fairly and if they've gone above and beyond, generously.

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Developing further skills can boost your career at any stage.

Whether you are looking for a new job or trying to grow in your current one, getting a certification can be a great way to improve your skills.

Anyone can put that they are proficient in a computer program on their resume but having a certificate can help you stand out amongst the competition and give credence to the strength of your skills.

But what's the best way to invest in yourself without breaking the bank? Some certification programs can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. We are going to walk through six of the best certifications you can get for $100 or less.

Tableau

Tableau's data visualization capabilities are comparable to Domo and Power BI.

Who is it best for: Those who work with analyzing and presenting data.

Cost: $100 for Tableau Desktop Specialist; additional certifications are available for a larger fee.

More companies than ever see themselves as data companies. Being able to understand data and use it to guide decisions at your company is often critical to taking on a leadership role. Not to mention, being able to present the data in a clean, attractive, and compelling way can help get buy-in from others in your organization or clients. That's why Tableau is a great tool to have in your toolbox.

Tableau allows you to create interactive visual analytics dashboards. In layman's terms, you can take data; create graphs, maps, or charts; and then allow end-users to interact with these graphics to better understand the information. It's a fantastic tool allowing non-technical users to gain insights for data-driven decision-making.

Tableau Desktop Specialist certification starts at $100 and has no expiration date. There are many videos on Tableau's site to prepare for your exam as well as Tableau Starter Kits allowing you to play around and learn the different capabilities of the program. Tableau offers a 14-day free trial as well as free license for one year for students.

Additional certifications after Desktop Specialist are Desktop Associate and Desktop Professional. Those working with a Tableau server may also be interested in a separate certification as a Server Associate or Server Professional.

The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

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Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.

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