May 2013 archive

60% of Americans Prefer Saving Money—Interpret These Survey Results with Caution

According to Gallup’s annual “Economy and Personal Finance” survey for 2013, 60% of Americans prefer “saving” money while 37% prefer “spending” it. I reproduce Gallup’s chart below, which shows that respondents’ preferences for saving remain high since the economic downtown of 2008-2009. Even if we focus only respondents’ preferences rather than actual behavior, these results …

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Foreclosure Activity at Lowest Level

Reuters reports that RealtyTrac issued a report indicating that foreclosure activity fell to the lowest level since February 2007, close to the beginning of the most recent real-estate downturn.  The Reuters article indicated: Foreclosure activity – which includes default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – was seen on 144,790 properties last month, down 5 …

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Sports cars, 3D televisions, and education

Sports cars and 3D televisions are unprofitable investments.  They cost money at the outset and keep draining cash thereafter.  So why would anyone want to invest in such things?  Easy: sports cars and TVs are more concerned with pleasure and satisfaction than they are with financial return.  Recognizing this, it seems odd to even characterize …

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Does Cursive Make You Smarter?

This month, the New York Times published a debate among four experts on the future and continued importance of teaching students to write in cursive. Each side made straight-forward, if not obvious, points in their discussion. Opponents of cursive writing highlighted its obsolescence in the computer age while advocates mentioned its increased efficiency and celebrated …

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One Way Ticket to Mars

Feel like being a pioneer?  Well, now you can be.  Mars One, a not-for-profit organization is planning on sending a crew to Mars in 2023.  Applications to participate in this voyage started on April 22, 2013.  As of May 7, 2013, 78,000 applications were received.  Mars One expects to receive 500,000 applications for this mission.  …

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Student Loans are Restricting Other Spending

The cost of attending college is rapidly increasing.  The job market is recovering, but is still weak for college graduates.  Students have been forced to take large amounts of debt out to finance their education.  The burden had caused these students to delay retirement savings, purchasing real-estate, buying a car, and getting married.  CNN Money …

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Geniuses and dropouts must ask: is college worth it?

More school is not for everyone. In 1973, Paul Simon–the son of a college professor and elementary school teacher–recorded a lesser known song called “Kodachrome” with the lyrics: “When I think back on all the crap I’ve learned in high school It’s a wonder I can think at all Though my lack of education hasn’t …

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Credit Report Errors Can Lead to Increased Cost of Debt

A recent study by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) revealed that 20% of the over 1000 consumers who participated had an error on at least one of their three credit reports.  Even more troubling is that 5% of consumers had errors of such significance that it could cause them to overpay for certain products, such …

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$500K in Damages Claimed from Refusal to Use Technology Fallout

In this day and age, technology is surrounding us everywhere and being used by everyone from kids to seniors.  Technology is now being used on airplanes as well to communicate with flight attendants. ABC News, along with other sources, reports that a passenger recently refused to use new airline technology on a Virgin America flight …

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Horrible commute? Buy stocks!

Being stuck in traffic causes plenty of anxiety. Should you add “I’m missing a bull market and need to buy stocks” to your list of traffic jam worries? Maybe. And maybe not. Traffic levels or, more specifically, traffic congestion could be an indicator of economic activity.  INRIX–a company that specializes in monitoring and reporting traffic …

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