This article is by staff writer April Dykman.

Here are the random money-related links that have piqued my interest lately. First up, we’ll look at why willpower is never enough.

1. What’s my motivation?

Willpower is often cited as what we need to do things like lose weight, work harder, or save more money. But it’s never the solution.

“There are three components to motivation,” explains professor Hugo Kehr at Technische Universität München. “The first is our conscious objectives and desires — for example, the aspiration for a highly paid role in a company in order to achieve a certain standard of living. We are also driven by unconscious, implicit motives. These are deeply rooted in our emotions and can include the desire to do things well, have an impact on and control over others, and engage in interpersonal relationships. The third motivational component builds on the skills and capabilities that we bring to a role.”

In a series of experiments published in the Journal of Personality, researchers investigated how motivation affects willpower. They found that when all three components are there, we’re super-motivated. When one is missing, we can rely on willpower to get the job done. But eventually, our willpower will run out.

Researchers say that if managers, for example, used targeted incentives to increase internal motivation, employees would need less energy to accomplish goals and would have higher levels of motivation to accomplish even greater challenges. “An individual who is motivated by power could be endowed with a team-leading position in the company,” says Kehr. “And an employee who is motivated by achievement can be best encouraged through creative projects with little bureaucratic red tape.”

2. Far-reaching effects of the shutdown on American workers

For some people, the government shutdown meant falling behind on paying their bills, and it wasn’t just federal workers who were affected.

“Even with many federal employees being called back to work…the lapse in appropriations continues to raise havoc for many across the land,” writes Joe Davidson in his Washington Post article, written right before the shutdown ended. Davidson cites several examples of non-federal workers who were hit hard by the shutdown, including the following:

  • “I am a mortgage broker in Kentucky. I work straight commission. I had three USDA mortgage loans scheduled to close but now they can’t due to Government shutdown. I need this money to support my family, not to mention the ripple effect of real estate agents, buyers, sellers, title company, insurance.”
  • “As an employee of a small business who is a federal government contractor, this shutdown [affects] my very livelihood. While ‘civil servant’ federal employees will get back pay, I will not. I am essentially donating my life’s savings for Congress to play politics.”
  • “I work for a community action agency providing services to those in poverty. We rely heavily on federal funding — closed off since the shutdown. We’re using savings to pay employees and provide services. If the shutdown isn’t over by the end of the month, me and 23 coworkers will be laid off.”

Unfortunately, even though the shutdown is over, it may take some time for many people and businesses to get back on their feet again.

3. Pay up, or your mugshot goes online

What if your mugshot appeared online, for your friends, family, and employer to see? A New York Times exposé found that for-profit web sites like Mugshots, BustedMugshots and JustMugshots aren’t the civic-minded sites they appear to be, charging from $30 to $400 for someone to have their mugshot removed from the site.

“Mug shots are merely artifacts of an arrest, not proof of a conviction, and many people whose images are now on display were never found guilty, or the charges against them were dropped,” writes David Segal for The New York Times.

In one particularly tragic case, a medical student was being abused by her boyfriend when neighbors called the police. Both were arrested — he claimed she stabbed him, but the scratches on him were from her fingernails, and the charges against her were dropped. A few months later, her mugshot appeared on a mugshot site. She paid $30 to have it taken down, but it then appeared on other sites. One wanted $400 to remove it.

“Now studying for her medical boards and $200,000 in student loan debt, she is gearing up for a job search and worries that two photographs could wreck years of hard work to practice medicine,” writes Segal. In an email, she told her lawyer that if she wasn’t such a positive person, she would have considered ending her own life.

Following the New York Times article, MasterCard, Visa, and Discover promised to cut ties with mugshot sites, although as of October 16, only American Express appears to have actually stopped processing payments for those sites. In addition, Google has made adjustments to its algorithm that took the photos off the first page of Google’s search results.

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