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PERSONAL FINANCE/JOHN NINFO: A four-day work week? –

There is more and more post-pandemic media coverage of the push, not only for four 10-hour-a-day work weeks, but also for four eight-hour-a-day work weeks for some workers in some industries and for some careers where it would be possible. We promised in the last column that we would take a preliminary look at this.

When it came to the expanded child tax credit, I suggested that you do yourself a favor, and don’t overthink it. When it comes to the growing movement for that four-day work week, and the interviews that I have heard with people who say they would be more efficient with that four-day work week, I have to admit that I cannot help but overthink it all.

I understand why many would prefer to work only four days per week, for many of the same reasons that many have expressed why they would prefer to work more, or exclusively, from home. However, I can’t help but wonder, if people believe they would be more efficient and productive working a four-day/eight-hour work week, and get paid the same amount as a five-day/40-hour work week, and some European studies support that, how did we go so wrong?

My first thought: Is it systemic poor management that cannot provide an efficient, motivating, satisfying workplace, with clear tasks, accountability and reinforcing accomplishments for employees, managers and executives? Is there too much wasted time on meetings that are too long and inefficient, and are there no rules on emailing, checking your phone, etc.? My second thought is, are there too many employees in the organization? I remember observing in one organization, where 10 employees were doing essentially the same work, an outstanding, hard-working, efficient employee who appeared to be able to do the work of three others, and seemed satisfied with the work and the overall culture of the organization. It occurred to me that, if the organization could find three similar employees, they could let the nine others go, increase the pay of the four by half the salaries of the six unfilled positions, and still save three salaries.

I read a piece on, titled, “14 Pros and Cons of the 4 Day Work Week.” If this movement grows, you might want to do your own research, so that you can have an informed opinion, and I will continue to follow this with a high degree of interest.

On a different but reoccurring subject, scams are seemingly more frequent than ever. Several weeks ago there was a message on our home answering machine. It was not addressed to either my wife or myself, but essentially said that there was a possible questionable charge to our PayPal Account. Since neither of us has a PayPal Account, I never bothered to call back the customer service number, and erased the message.

About a week later, my wife got a similar text about an Amazon charge. She called her one credit card company’s customer service department and found out that there was no such charge.

Then, this past week I received the below email.

Dear PayPal user, You have successfully purchase an Apple MacBook mini (128 GB) RED which worth $780. The payment has been successfully charged from your registered PayPal A/C. We do care about our customers and we are Glad to work for you. Your payments are safe with PayPal

DESCRIPTION: Billing id : ZSA4565RF PRODUCT : Apple MacBook mini (128 GB) RED. Payment Method: Online (by PayPal) Total cost: $780

If you haven’t done this purchase contact us as soon as possible for help regarding this transaction. Get help On:- +1 (805) – (510) – (7722) Regards,

Could PayPal Customer Service actually misspell and miss-punctuate so much? I am sure that if I called back, they would ask for all of my personal information to “check the order,” but I still don’t have a PayPal Account.

Then we have a friend with parents in their 80s who were scammed out of $30,000 in cash to help their nephew who was allegedly in trouble. They were told not to, so they didn’t tell any of their four daughters, and how the bank let them withdraw that much cash is a whole other issue. I really thought that everyone was on to this scam, but apparently not. If you have older relatives you need to sit down and discuss these scams with them, and if you are older, please trust your family, and if something financial just doesn’t seem right, contact them.

Another subject that got my attention is the eviction moratoriums. No, it’s not that the administration decided to go forward with a new moratorium when the U.S. Supreme Court basically said that it was not an executive branch but a legislative branch power –it is the fact that only about $3 billion of the approximately $45 billion in rental assistance funds authorized by Congress has actually been distributed. I assumed that it was in large part because of the kind of government inefficiency when it comes to a new task without established procedures, that we have highlighted in the past — in this case, the states, which have been tasked with the distribution. Also, that many of those who need the assistance don’t know how to access it, despite the many rental assistance programs, and others, for various reasons, don’t want to step forward.

Then, someone I was discussing this with suggested that part of the problem could be that many of the small landlords who rent in this area under-report their rental income. As a result, they are hesitant to participate in the assistance programs, including helping their tenants apply. I truly never saw that one.

Finally, my next column will be Column #400. It should be no surprise that it will be about financial education, my passion.

John Ninfo is a retired bankruptcy judge and the founder of the National CARE Financial Literacy Program. Find his previous weekly columns at

John Ninfo