TODAY

TODAY   |  July 18, 2013

Experts: McDonald’s advice to employees unrealistic

The fast food company created a website to offer employees financial advice and share a sample budget, but personal finance experts are saying the numbers they budgeted for rent, car payments, and more are too low to be helpful. NBC’s John Yang reports.

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>>> back now at 7:45 with a new website from fast food giant mcdonald 's zidesigned to help its employees, but instead it's drawing a lot of criticism. nbc's john yang is in chicago. john, good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, savannah. a lot of talk this morning about wages of fast food restaurants , so when mcdonald 's set up the website to help their employees, you'd think they might get some compliments. well, it's not turning out that way. think fast food workers, and you think hard work, hot kitchens, and low pay. to help them out, mcdonald 's started a website with personal finance tips, like how to create a monthly budget, but some personal finance experts aren't loving it.

>> i thought, good for them, but i think they missed the boat as far as some of the numbers were concerned.

>> reporter: a sample budget assumes the hypothetical worker has two jobs and takes home about $25,000 a year. experts say the budget's monthly spending seems like small potatoes in a super sized world.

>> $150 a month for a car payment? that is not a big car loan . $600 a month for an apartment? you're going to need a roommate or a very small apartment. $20 a month for health care ? you can buy health care at those rates, i want you to show me where.

>> reporter: in a statement, mcdonald 's said the numbers are generic examples intended to help provide a general outline of what an individual budget may look like.

>> hold your burgers. hold your fries.

>> make our wages super size .

>> reporter: the criticism comes as labor activists step up protests over wages for the fast growing number of fast food workers. according to the census bureau , their median annual income is about $18,000 a year, if they can get full-time hours. a single mother of two, nancy delgado has worked at mcdonald 's for ten years. she takes home about $11,400 a year.

>> every dollar, i've got to stretch it, and you just can't believe how hard i've got to stretch it.

>> reporter: delgado says she works as many hours as she can, averaging about 40 hours a week. and by the way, her monthly car payment is zero. she can't afford one. savannah?

>> john yang in chicago, thank you very much. it's a real reality check.

>> when good intentions go wrong. i mean, i like this idea they came up with this website trying to help employees, but then they've got to stop and put themselves in the actual shoes of those employees to make it work.

>> you think one person would have stopped and said, what's the real world ? if you're not living in it, ask someone.