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Not lovin’ it: McDonald’s gives tacky money advice to employees

A McDonald's restaurant sign is seen at a McDonald's restaurant in Del Mar, California April 16, 2013.

MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS

Would you like fries with that? How about some friendly financial planning?

McDonald's has launched a U.S. website designed to help its employees save and manage their money – which, on a fast food worker salary, we're guessing is not that plentiful.

Sounds like a positive, well-intentioned measure, right? Who doesn't need a little help managing their income?

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But the McDonald's Practical Money Skills for Life's Budget Journal is pretty insulting: The takeaway? Get a second job and turn off the heat – and your job at McDonald's will provide everything you've ever needed.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median annual income for a McDonald's employee on full-time hours is $18,000.

If that seems unbelievable, the implication from McD's friendly site is that you're just not budgeting correctly, or working hard enough.

The sample budget lists $1,105 as a "first job" monthly income, probably what a full-time minimum wage McDonald's job would pay. And then $955 as a secondary monthly income – because, you know, that sounds completely viable.

The heating bill portion of the not-so-helpful budget was originally listed at $0, but the company has since upgraded it to $50 (which is still a gross underestimate, depending on where you live.)

Even worse: The budget assumes employees would spend $20 in health insurance each month, drawing outrage from American critics.

Robert Wilson, a spokesman for McDonald's workers, was not at all lovin' it: "we just want a liveable wage," he told the Today Show. "We're tired of getting full hours but coming home with short checks."

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But if not the salary, there must be something joyful about working at the Big Arches – just ask 92-year-old staffer Sara Dappen. Likely the oldest employee at a fast food chain, Dappen cleans tables and chats up the diners in Story City, Iowa.

It's likely a good way to pass the time for the adorable little lady – but we can't imagine that Tyree Johnson would agree: he's worked at different McDonald's for the last 20 years and still makes the the state-dictated minimum wage, $8.25 an hour.

Every time they transfer you to different store, they lower your pay," Johnson told Bloomberg. "You have to climb back up."

Perhaps McDonald's should examine its own priorities before dishing cheap advice to its employees.

What do you think: Was the budget a helpful tool? Or patronizing, useless advice?

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Editor in the Opinion section

Amberly McAteer is an editor in the Opinion section at The Globe and Mail. She has been a homepage editor, online editor and community editor in Features - including Life, Travel, Style, Arts and Books. She's written columns about her quest to run a 10K and find the perfect dog. More

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