Zoey Chong wrote on CNET: “iPhone users in the US are spending more and more on apps and in-app purchases. Spending climbed to an average of $40 per person last year, according to research released Monday by Sensor Tower. This is up from $35 in 2015. Gaming continued to lead the way, accounting for more than 80 percent of Apple App Store revenue in the US. Spending in that category increased from $25 on average per person in 2015 to $27 last year. This may not be the biggest surprise, given that 2016 witnessed the rise of Pokemon Go, which crossed $1 billion in revenue worldwide last month.” (cnet.com)
CNN reported: “Total household debt climbed to $12.58 trillion at the end of 2016, an increase of $266 billion from the third quarter, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. For the year, household debt ballooned by $460 billion — the largest increase in almost a decade. That means the debt loads of Americans are flirting with 2008 levels, when total consumer debt reached a record high of $12.68 trillion. Credit card debts rose by $32 billion to hit $779 billion.”(cnn.com)
Many lottery winners squander their fortunes and eventually wind up unhappy and broke. Jane Park, who won the EuroMillions lottery in 2013 when she was 17 years old, is now blaming the lottery officials for ruining her life. The Washington Post reported: “Buying things for the sake of buying things got old. Instead of finding happiness via conspicuous consumption, Park uncovered an age-old maxim preached by holy men for thousands of years and ignored by enthusiastic lottery winners for almost as long: Money can’t buy happiness, and large amounts of it have a way of, well, complicating things.” Park blames the lotto bosses for “ruining her life.” “I thought it would make it 10 times better but it’s made it 10 times worse,” Park told the Sunday People. “I wish I had no money most days. I say to myself, ‘My life would be so much easier if I hadn’t won.’” After Park won the lottery, shopping became a huge problem for her. She went out and bought more than 50 designer handbags including a Louis Vuitton, a lot of shoes, and a purple Range Rover. Now she’s contemplating about suing lottery company for negligence. “People look at me and think, ‘I wish I had her lifestyle, I wish I had her money,’ she added. “But they don’t realize the extent of my stress. I have material things, but apart from that my life is empty. What is my purpose in life?” [Read more…]
Fitness apps are getting more popular lately. So should you consider getting one of these apps? Don’t waste your money on fitness and health apps as scientists warn that these apps might be doing more harm than good because they don’t work but force people to focus on ambitious goals that they will never reach.
The Guardian reported: Greg Hager, professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University, said that in the absence of trials or scientific grounding it was impossible to say whether apps were having the intended effect. Hager cited the one-size-fits-all targets provided by some fitness trackers, such as the Fitbit, which sets users a goal of taking 10,000 steps a day. Hager claimed the 10,000 steps target dated back to a 1960s Japanese study that showed there were health benefits for men who burned at least 2,000 calories per week through exercise — roughly equivalent to 10,000 steps each day. An early pedometer was known as the manpo-kei, which means ‘10,000-step meter’ in Japanese. “But is that the right number for any of you in this room?” Hager asked. “Who knows. It’s just a number that’s now built into the apps.” “We have an incredible number of apps in the wild basically being downloaded by people who may or may not understand what they are actually telling them or what the context for that is,” he said. “Until we have evidence-based apps you could amplify issues. I mean, imagine everyone thinks they have to do 10,000 steps but you are not actually physically capable of doing that, you could actually cause harm or damage by doing so.” (theguardian.com)
An estimated 12 million Americans have hidden a credit card or bank account from their romantic partners or spouse, according to a new CreditCards.com survey. Relationship experts warn, though, that keeping a hidden bank account or credit card is a risky move with potentially explosive consequences. Electronic snooping can reveal the truth and lead to a lack of trust that imperils the relationship. “Any time you get into these kinds of things where you are operating behind the scenes, it usually comes out at some point,” says Corey Allan, a marriage and family therapist in the Dallas area. “We can’t keep things hidden, especially in today’s technological world. Any spouse who has any kind of suspicion can become a detective and find it.” The survey also found that older folks are more likely than younger ones to have maintained a secret account. (creditcards.com)
Former NFL wide receiver Robert Meachem is behind bars after failing to pay nearly $400,000 in child support and alimony. Meachem, 32, can be released once he paid his ex-wife, Andrea Rhodes. The couple divorced in 2014 and agreed to split custody of their two children. Over his eight-year career in the NFL playing for the Saints and the Chargers, Meachem made more than $20 million. In 2012, Meachem also signed a lucrative long-term deal with the Chargers that included $14 million in guaranteed money. By failing to manage his personal finance, Meachem doesn’t have enough money to pay the child support and alimony. In fact he had to borrow money from former NFL associates to get by. According to the Advocate and NOLA.com, Meachem testified that he believed much of his money had been taken by a former officer of one of his charitable foundations and another assistant, since he didn’t pay enough attention to his bank balances. (espn.com)
How good your credit score determines what loans you will qualify for and the interest rate you will pay. A high credit score means that you will pay a much lower interest rate over a lifetime. Hence, with a high credit score you will save more money by keeping more cash in your wallet. Here are 7 steps to achieve high credit score by Bankrate:
- Watch those credit card balances. One major factor in your credit score is how much revolving credit you have versus how much you’re actually using. The smaller that percentage is, the better it is for your credit rating.
- Eliminate credit card balances. “A good way to improve your credit score is to eliminate nuisance balances,” says John Ulzheimer, a nationally recognized credit expert formerly of FICO and Equifax. Those are the small balances you have on a number of credit cards.
- Leave old debt on your report. One of the ways to improve your credit score: Leave old debt and good accounts on as long as possible, says Ulzheimer. This is also a good reason not to close old accounts where you’ve had a solid repayment record.
- Use your calendar. If you’re shopping for a home, car or student loan, it pays to do your rate shopping within a short time period.
- Pay bills on time. One of the biggest ingredients in a good credit score is simply month after month of plain-vanilla, on-time payments.
- Don’t hint at risk. Sometimes, one of the best ways to improve your credit score is to not do something that could sink it. Two of the biggies are missing payments and suddenly paying less (or charging more) than you normally do, says Dave Jones, retired president of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies.
- Don’t obsess. You should be laser-focused on your credit score when you know you’ll soon need credit. In the interim, pay your bills and use credit responsibly. Your score will reflect these smart spending behaviors.
Many people think that once discharge is granted by the Bankruptcy Court, the debtors are released from the liability of paying all debts. Think again! Not all your debts can be discharged in bankruptcy. Super Saving Tips lists several types of debts you can’t kick out in bankruptcy.
- Debts you owe the government: “Have you been penalized or fined by the government? If so, I’m afraid bankruptcy can’t give you any relief. No one can give you any relief. You have to pay the fines and penalties or they will stay with you till your last breath. If you have more questions regarding government debt and how it will be treated in bankruptcy, then consult an attorney.”
- Child support and alimony: “Child support payments and alimony aren’t dischargeable in bankruptcy. These two basically comprise the amount your child or ex-spouse needs for covering basic living expenses. Debts you owe due to marital property division don’t come under this kind of support. In a few states, these debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy.”
- Student loans: “Millions of students and parents would have given a sigh of relief if student loan debts could be eliminated through bankruptcy. Unfortunately, in most cases, they can’t be discharged in bankruptcy proceedings. Private student loans, federal student loans, loans taken out from a school or university all can’t be kicked out by filing bankruptcy.”
- Income tax: “Most people think about bankruptcy to discharge unpaid income tax. It isn’t impossible to discharge income tax in bankruptcy.”
Managing your personal finance can be a pain sometimes. Luckily, there are many useful personal finance apps out there. Here are the top 5 personal finance apps for Windows 10 to help you plan your spending and manage your finances efficiently. These Finance apps which are available in the Windows Store, help you to track its flow and limit your spending and create budgets.
- Money Keeper: “An amazing application with all the required features that lets you maintain accounts, keep track of your income and your expenses. You can generate reports, see summaries and also forecast your expense. You can even create budgets to limit your spending and save some amount of money.”
- Money Lover: “A fluid, easy to use expense tracker available in both free and premium variants and comes with great tracking and budgeting features. You can manage loans and debts using this application.”
- Homeasy: “A financial application designed to track the spending in normal households. You can create your own monthly billing calendar which would include recurring bill payments, rents and all those monthly expenditures of your household.
- MoneyPoint: “A complete offline application and does not synchronize any data to other devices. All data is stored locally in the device and you can export data in form of reports and expense summaries. All other major features like expense management, budgeting, goals, and performances are offered by this tool.”
- Spending Tracker: “Another great personal finance app that tracks your monthly expenditure and generates category wise reports and summaries. With not many advanced features, Spending Tracker is quite simple to use. It can generate all sort of reports including weekly, monthly, annually, categorized and cash flow reports as well.”
“Depp’s earnings are massive any way you cut it, whether he is getting paid $20 million per film — purportedly his going rate in 2014 — or $1 million per week on any project. But his spending problems are relative to those earnings,” writes Chuck Jaffe. Johnny Depp’s issues with personal finance have been fodder recently for the tabloids. It’s a classic story of spending more than earning. Despite earning way above ordinary person, Johnny Depp ran into personal finance trouble due to the fact that he owned a 45-acre village in France, spent $18 million to renovate a 150-foot yacht, owned 14 residences, plus a collection of islands in the Bahamas, paid more than $3.5 million a year to pay for a staff of 40 people, and spent a purported $30,000 per month on wine. “The first secret to financial planning — which shocks people — is spend less than you earn,” explained Michael S. Falk of Focus Consulting Group in Chicago. “You start by living within your means, no matter how much you are making. If you always spend less than you earn, the question is did you save the difference, and how have you invested it.” (richmond.com)
Exercise regularly, be mindful of your diet, and pay off your credit card bills? That very well may be the new mantra for a long life, as a new study finds high debt could lead to an early death. Conversely, those who owe very little are less likely to die at a younger age. Researchers looked at approximately 170,000 credit reports from the Federal Reserve’s Consumer Credit Panel, a nationally representative sample of U.S. consumers and their household members with information in the consumer credit data system. “It seems clear that debt resulting from a financial crisis has lasting effects on health that are substantial enough to increase mortality rates,” the authors write. The authors found a negative association between delinquent debt and health, when measured by mortality, and a positive association between credit-worthiness and health. (studyfinds.org)
Darla Mercado writes on CNBC Personal Finance: “Investing in an effective and tax-efficient manner isn’t the No. 1 financial goal for most Americans. That’s the findings from a new report by BMO Wealth Management. The bank polled 1,018 adults online, asking them about their financial priorities and anxieties. When asked ‘What is the single financial priority that is most important to you?’ 31 percent — the largest share of participants — said debt reduction was their top financial goal.” (cnbc.com)
Morgan Quinn writes: “Taking an early withdrawal from your 401(k) is not only costly in the short term, it can also jeopardize your long-term retirement goals… Because of the severe financial penalties, withdrawing money early from retirement accounts should be done only in an extreme emergency, ideally after any emergency funds and investments have been depleted.” Withdrawing money early from your retirement accounts carries heavy financial consequences, but here are 4 scenarios that’s OK to dip into 401(k):
- You become totally and permanently disabled
- You’re drowning in medical debt
- You’re getting divorced
- You’re starting a business
According to 2016 Auto Financing Report from WalletHub, buyers who have fair credit will end up spending about six times more to finance a vehicle than someone with excellent credit, which equates to $6,304 in additional interest payments over the life of a $20K, five-year loan. As the auto industry witnessed its highest sales in 15 years, WalletHub realeases a study to help you make an informed decision about your next vehicle. Here are other key findings:
- Interest Rates: For new cars, interest rates are at their lowest point in the past three years, with the average new-car loan today charging 17 percent less interest than the average used-car loan.
- Credit Standing: Buyers with fair credit will end up spending about six times more to finance a vehicle —about $6,304 in additional interest payments over the life of a $20,000, five-year loan — than consumers with excellent credit.
- Financing Sources: Consumers in the market for a new car should begin their search for financing with car manufacturers (rates at 38 percent below average) and credit unions (rates at 29 percent below average). Secondary options include national banks (rates at 2 percent above average) and regional banks (rates at 30 percent above average).
- Transparency: Car manufacturers continue to lack transparency when it comes to leasing offers, with the average automaker receiving a WalletHub Transparency Score of 4.68 out of 10.
The mob burns Venezuela man alive over $5 as the country sinks deeper into chaos and the justice system falls apart. Five dollars might not be a lot for you, but in Venezuela it could have bought a family a week’s worth of food. The AP reported: “The mob didn’t know at first what Roberto Bernal had done, but he was running and that was enough. Dozens of men loitering on the sidewalk next to a supermarket kicked and punched the 42-year-old until he was bloodied and semi-conscious. After all, they had been robbed of cell phones, wallets and motorcycles over the years, and thought Bernal had a criminal’s face. Then a stooped, white-haired man trailing behind told them he’d been mugged. The mob went through Bernal’s pockets and handed a wad of bills to the old man: The equivalent of $5. They doused Bernal’s head and chest in gasoline and flicked a lighter. And they stood back as he burned alive.” One of the participant, Eduardo Mijares, said: “We wanted to teach this man a lesson. We’re tired of being robbed every time we go into the street, and the police do nothing.” (ap.org)