The COVID-19 pandemic has been rather unkind to the world’s happiest company, but their own actions have turned them into one of the most heartless and uncaring entities alive.
Disney made an announcement in September that 28,000 workers will lose their jobs. And just yesterday, thanks to an out-of-nowhere statement from the company, 4,000 more workers will be let go in the first six months of 2021. And since most of the theme parks are shut down right now, you can get a good idea of where these extra 4,000 employees come from.
Do the math: 32,000 workers out of a total of 203,000 people employed worldwide means that nearly 16% of their ENTIRE workforce has been slashed. Plus, since October 3rd, there are a total of 37,000 employees who are now on furlough.
Also, 155,000 people are employed in their “parks, experiences, and products” division… which comes out to a 20% reduction in one division alone.
It looks like the surging success of their streaming service Disney+ wasn’t enough to offset a $4.7 billion loss in Q3 2020, so now they have to take even more drastic measures.
All of this was made even worse by a press release statement they made regarding this news:
“Due to the current climate, including COVID-19 impacts, and changing environment in which we are operating, the Company has generated efficiencies in its staffing, including limiting hiring to critical business roles, furloughs and reductions-in-force.”
Imagine depriving several thousands of people from their livelihoods without a second thought, referring to your actions as “generating efficiencies.” It takes a real psychopath to view human beings in such a light.
You want to know what’s even worse about this situation?
Disney spent a total of three years buying back billions of their own shares (between 2015-2017), and now they don’t even have that option to repurchase stock. Instead of saving up money to fairly compensate their employees for the value they provide, the company chose to piss the money away.
I think on some level, Disney knows that their
in-person revenue streams – cruises, hotels, film studios, theme parks, etc. –
are near finished. Even if those avenues are open up again, the capacity won’t
be enough to return to pre-pandemic normal.
Which is why I’m not in the least bit surprised that Disney+ has blown up in the number of paying subscribers they have. They can go all-in with this division, but I don’t think it will put a dent into their ever-increasing debt.
Then again, they are one of those “too big to fail” companies. So perhaps they’ll never have to experience the negative consequences of their actions.
What do YOU think about Disney’s decision to fire an additional 4,000 workers in 2021? A necessary decision, or a bad choice fueled by stupidity, panic, and greed? Reply to this newsletter and share your thoughts with us!
A 20% Increase in the S&P 500 in 2021: Is It Possible?
While some people are worried about how much the S&P 500 will go up by the end of 2020, Wall Street banks are already looking into how the major index will perform next year. It turns out that among three of the big banks, the unifying consensus is for the S&P 500 to go up by 20% in 2021.
Goldman Sachs: “…price target on the S&P 500 by the end of 2021 is 4300, representing close to 19% upside from Wednesday’s level.
The bank expects more than 1.26 billion doses of vaccine to be distributed worldwide by the first quarter of 2021… which would be a catalyst for aggressive state reopenings, a major positive for hiring and consumer spending.”
JPMorgan Chase: “…strategists have a 4500 year-end 2021 price target, representing 24% upside.
Expectations of many key risks subsiding (e.g. US elections, pandemic and vaccine news, etc.) clearing the path to a more positive forward outlook.”
Haveford Trust: “…calls for the S&P 500 to hit $4350 by the end of next year, representing 20% upside.
We will likely see approved, effective and accepted vaccines starting to be distributed in early 2021… This will cause a spike in GDP growth in the second half of 2021 lasting into 2022.”
The same prediction is being made, and the reasoning behind said prediction ultimately ties back to the COVID-19 vaccine. As much as I don’t doubt the vaccines can be effective, I personally believe it is foolish to expect the vaccine to be single-handedly responsible for restoring the American economy.
There’s a big difference between BELIEVING the COVID-19 vaccine will do so, and the vaccine ACTUALLY having a positive effect on economic growth. If you understand the difference between the two, you’ll understand why I’m skeptical about these predictions…
What You MUST Know About Stocks and Taxes for 2021
If you’ve made a very handsome profit from the ongoing market rally since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, congratulations! You had the foresight that not even some of the best institutional investors in the world had.
Unfortunately, it’s time for you to give up a chunk of that profit to Uncle Sam. So here’s what you need to know about stock earnings and how much you’ll have to pay in taxes…
- Short-term capital gains: Taxed like ordinary income, this happens when you hold on to stocks for less than one year (ex. you land in the 22% tax bracket if you’re making $50,000 per year, and the highest tax bracket will have you paying 37%).
- Long-term capital gains: This tax takes effect when you hold on to a stock for one year and a day – or more – before you sell it (you pay 15% if you make between $44,000 to $441,450 as a single tax filer, and 20% if your income is above $441,450).
This is one of the core reasons why it pays heavily to be a long-term investor: As you start to accumulate a sizable portfolio, you want to do everything in your power to minimize the total amount of tax you have to pay to the government.
Likewise, it’s not the greatest news for short-term investors and day traders who like to get in and out of trades rather quickly. Again, once you reach a certain portfolio size, an additional tax of 10% can make a HUGE difference in how much money you lose to taxes.
Just a helpful reminder for anybody who is debating about opening or closing new positions they have set up in 2020…
How to Lower Your Holiday Shopping Bill With a Simple Excel Spreadsheet
As much as we enjoy being generous with our money and handing out gifts to loved ones during the holiday, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of Americans to second-guess their shopping budget.
Thankfully, it is entirely possible to maintain some sense of financial discipline while enjoying the holiday shopping season. And psychotherapist Amanda Clayman has a special strategy she gives to her clients who are struggling with money management:
- Create a separate spreadsheet dedicated exclusively to holiday gift giving
- When you see a potential gift idea, DO NOT BUY IT IMMEDIATELY! Instead, add the gift to your spreadsheet
- When the first week of December pop up, determine what your total budget is for buying gifts
- Add the price tag next to each gift you put in your spreadsheet
- Give yourself an extra 24 hours before you make a final decision on a purchase, regardless of its size
- Buy only ONE item at a time
Not bad advice at all! It follows the old management principle of “what gets measured gets improved.” For those of us who are struggling with money this year and need to place a hard limit on gift-getting, this advice is a friendly reminder that the fundamentals of personal finance ALWAYS work.
Black Friday Items You Should NOT Be Buying…
Today is Black Friday, and that means every store worldwide is going to be offering some never-before-seen discounts and price reductions on their items. For people who have been saving up to buy a higher-priced item for a long time, this day is a blessing in disguise.
But MarketWatch contributor Jacob Passy strongly disagrees, arguing that certain items should be explicitly avoided on Black Friday. In particular, he has five do-not-buy items.
Toys: This depends entirely on the toy being sold, but apparently the best deals (20-25% off) arrive on the two weeks leading up to Christmas Day. Exceptions apply for toys that you know are going to be sold out by that time.
TVs: You will probably get a better discount if you buy a TV during the time that leads up to the annual Super Bowl. Additionally, many of the TVs put on sale aren’t the best ones or the newest ones.
Gaming consoles: Don’t be fooled by the “Black Friday” tag, because a quick look at the prices will reveal that several retailers are not lowering their prices. They are in so much demand right now that it would be suicide for retailers to reduce console prices.
Travel packages: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the interest of your best safety to book a trip that doesn’t happen any earlier than Fall 2021. But if you disobey this rule, make sure the cancellation policy is flexible and allows you to get a full refund.
Outdoor furniture: Just like the video game consoles, you will be hard-pressed to find Black Friday discounts for buying new items that will spruce up your front yard or back yard.
That’s what Jacob thinks. Now, let’s hear what YOU think!
Do you have any items that you recommend people stay away from on Black Friday, and if so, why? Reply to this newsletter with your list of must-avoid items!
This Online Calculator Automatically Manages Your Holiday Shopping Budget
Earlier in the article, I shared a tip from a finance-focused psychotherapist that involves using a spreadsheet to budget your holiday spending while helping you find the gifts you want.
But if you want to automate this process and have a program do all of the calculations for you, meet the Christmas Cost Control Calculator. Here’s how it works, per Global News Canada…
- You input your annual income and the number of individuals you want to purchase a gift for
- Based on your numbers, you will receive a price range for each individual that you can later adjust
- “Naughty” and “nice” points can be added to each person if they are behaving well or poorly towards you – one “naughty” point lowers an individual’s gift budget by 5%, while one “nice” point boosts an individual’s gift budget by 5%
I find this to be quite fascinating! It’s an interesting way of setting a hard price limit on gifts in order to save costs, while prioritizing a higher level of spending on the people who actually deserve a more expensive gift.
Try it out and see if it works for you. Just don’t be too nice or too unforgiving when you assign nice points and naughty points!