Saving for emergency fund vs. paying off debt?

Starbucks just launched a new employee benefit program to encourage savings and manage student loan.  My Starbucks Savings is intended to help employees save for the “unexpected,” according to a company press release. In partnership with Fidelity, employees can contribute a portion of after-tax pay on a recurring basis directly from their paycheck to an individual savings account. As an incentive, Starbucks will contribute $25 and $50 credits at certain milestones.

Starbucks actually refer to its employees as “partners”. Very interesting wording indeed. It gave me an impression that they are treated like gig workers. The word “partner” is so much more glorified yet entails fewer responsibilities from Starbucks. I could be totally biased and too suspicious of the corporate greed. 🙂

$25 or $50 seems very little to me. It is not every time when employee contributes, but at certain milestones. What milestones? Why not just a percentage of the amount of employee’s own contribution? Anyhow, it is still better than none. The bar is too low for the frontline workers now.

One third of Starbucks “partners” got student loan debts from $20K to $25K. Should one pay off his debts or save for emergency fund?  First, save for a emergency fund worth of 3-month living expense while not defaulting on one’s debt. Afterwards, put more savings towards paying off debts.

I wonder whether Starbucks would say that union workers are excluded from this new benefit if they intend to blunt the unionization movement. If so, hope the union can negotiate a better benefit for the employees. In the past several decades starting from Reagan administration, the power of union diminished in US. It was said that this contributes partly to the growing income inequality and the working poor problem. ABC new reported 40% of the American do not have $400 emergency fund. Canadians are in similar situation. That is astonishingly scary. It is all about balance. The scale has tipped too much to the business side. Let’s take a holistic view.  The employees are also consumers and taxpayers. The status quo is not sustainable.

Published by Worthfy

Financial literacy and counselling

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