Schroeder had saved up a fortune over the years. He had no living descendants, so before he died, he went to his lawyer with a plan for his money.
“He said, ‘I never got the opportunity to go to college. So, I’d like to help kids go to college,'” Nielsen said. Not only did Schroeder have enough money to send a few kids to college, he had enough saved to send dozens.
“Finally, I was curious and I said, ‘How much are we talking about, Dale?’ And he said, ‘Oh, just shy of $3 million.’ I nearly fell out of my chair,” Nielsen remembered.
Schroeder’s friend was shocked by his secret fortune. So were the strangers who received pieces of it.
Overspending, however, is too easy. In fact, about 48 million Americans are still paying off credit card debt from last holiday season, according to a NerdWallet survey conducted by The Harris Poll. USA Today shows how to avoid financial regrets in 2020 by shop intentionally. Here’s how:
Understand why overspending is easy: Pressures and emotions run high. Ideally, your holidays are full of joy. But they may be loaded in other ways, like the pressure to buy everyone presents …
Learn to shop intentionally: Acknowledge emotions and triggers. Recognize feelings, like sadness, and that they may lead to overspending. Plan to cope in another way, like calling a friend …
Everyone knows that having friends boosts well-being. In fact previous research has even suggested that having numerous friends reduces the risk of medical conditions like heart disease. However, a new study finds that not all friendships are created equal. Researchers from the University of Leeds conclude that well-being is more closely related to how people feel about their friends than their overall number of friends. Study Finds reports:
According to the survey results, older adults had fewer friends on average than younger adults, but the number of acquaintances participants called “close friends” wasn’t related to age. Younger adults did, however, report more general acquaintances because of social media networking sites. These sites, like Facebook, facilitate larger and more impersonal friend groups, the researchers theorize.
Only the reported number of close friendships was found to be significantly associated with social satisfaction and well-being. This finding even stayed consistent after accounting for the number of family members, neighbors, or acquaintances each participant reported.
It’s called the online installment loan, a form of debt with much longer maturities but often the same sort of crippling, triple-digit interest rates. Bloomberg reports:
If the payday loan’s target audience is the nation’s poor, then the installment loan is geared to all those working-class Americans who have seen their wages stagnate and unpaid bills pile up in the years since the Great Recession.
In just a span of five years, online installment loans have gone from being a relatively niche offering to a red-hot industry. Non-prime borrowers now collectively owe about $50 billion on installment products, according to credit reporting firm TransUnion. In the process, they’re helping transform the way that a large swathe of the country accesses debt. And they have done so without attracting the kind of public and regulatory backlash that hounded the payday loan.
“Installment loans are a cash cow for creditors, but a devastating cost to borrowers,” said Margot Saunders, senior counsel for the National Consumer Law Center, a nonprofit advocacy group.
For many families struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages, it’s a cost they’re increasingly willing to bear.
Apple Pay has overtaken the Starbucks mobile app to become the most popular mobile payment system in the United States, claims a new report out today. MacRumors reports:
According to eMarketer, Apple Pay became the market leader last year, when 27.7 million Americans used the app to make a purchase. Since then, however, Apple Pay has grown even faster than expected.
In 2019, Apple Pay will have 30.3 million users, or 47.3 percent of mobile payment users. That compares with Starbucks’ 25.2 million customers via its mobile app in the same year, representing 39.4 percent of mobile payment users.
“Apple Pay has benefited from the spread of new point-of-sale (POS) systems that work with the NFC signals Apple Pay runs on,” said eMarketer principal analyst Yory Wurmser. “The same trend should also help Google Pay and Samsung Pay, but they will continue to split the Android market.”
Four recent studies reveal that wealth inequality among boomers specifically has been growing, turning this massive generation into one of haves and have nots. The nonpartisan reports, which analyzed boomers’ retirement security, financial assets and housing status, come from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO); the National Institute on Retirement Security think tank; the St. Louis Fed’s Center for Household Financial Stability and the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.
Wealth disparities continue as we age. The GAO reviewed the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances data for households with people 55 or older and said that although disparities in income decreased as older Americans aged from their 50s into their 70s, “disparities in wealth persisted.” The continued wealth disparities among older Americans, the GAO noted, “may be due to significant differences in the median value of retirement accounts and home equity between higher- and lower-earning households.”
This finding echoes what the St. Louis Fed determined looking at wealth inequality overall in America. It determined that “wealth inequality has grown tremendously from 1989 to 2016, to the point where the top 10% of families ranked by household wealth own 77% of the wealth ‘pie.’ The bottom half of families ranked by household wealth own only 1% of the pie.”
There’s fresh evidence that eating a healthy diet, one that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and limits highly processed foods, can help reduce symptoms of depression. NPR reports:
A randomized controlled trial published in the journal PLOS ONE finds that symptoms of depression dropped significantly among a group of young adults after they followed a Mediterranean-style pattern of eating for three weeks. Participants saw their depression “score” fall from the “moderate” range down to the “normal” range, and they reported lower levels of anxiety and stress too.
Alternatively, the depression scores among the control group of participants — who didn’t change their diets — didn’t budge. These participants continued to eat a diet higher in refined carbohydrates, processed foods and sugary foods and beverages. Their depression scores remained in the “moderate severity” range…
In this study, participants in the “healthy eating” arm of the study ate about six more servings of fruits and vegetables per week, compared with the control group. Participants “who had a greater increase in fruit and vegetable intake showed the greatest improvement in depression symptoms,” Francis said.
Participants were also instructed to increase consumption of whole grains to a recommended three servings per day, as well as three servings per day of protein from lean meats, poultry, eggs, tofu and beans. In addition, they were told to get three servings of fish per week. As for dairy, the recommendation was three servings per day, unsweetened. Participants were also instructed to consume three tablespoons of nuts and seeds per day, as well as two tablespoons of olive oil per day, and were advised to add in spices, including turmeric and cinnamon.
About half of millennials and 75 percent of Gen Zers have quit their jobs for mental health reasons, according to a new study conducted by Mind Shares Partners, SAP and Quatrics. It was published in Harvard Business Review. Fox Business reports:
That’s compared to just 20 percent of respondents overall who said they’ve voluntarily left a job in order to prioritize their mental health — emblematic of a “shift in generational awareness,” the authors of the report, Kelly Greenwood, Vivek Bapat and Mike Maughan, wrote. For baby boomers, the number was the lowest, with less than 10 percent quitting a job for mental-health purposes.
It should come as no surprise that younger generations are paving the way for the de-stigmatization of mental health. A Wall Street Journal article published in March labeled millennials the “therapy generation,” as todays 20- and 30-somethings are more likely to turn to therapy, and with fewer reservations, than young people in previous eras did.
A 2017 report from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State University found that, based on data from 147 colleges and universities, the number of students seeking mental-health help increased at five times the rate of new students starting college from 2011 to 2016. And a Blue Cross Blue Shield study published in 2018 revealed that major depression diagnoses surged by 44 percent among millennials from 2013 to 2016.
The Cato 2019 Welfare, Work, and Wealth National Survey finds that Americans under 30 stand out from their parents and grandparents’ in their attitudes toward socialism, capitalism, and resentment toward the rich. These results may help explain the striking success of self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders in capturing the support of the young. Young Americans feel more resentment toward the rich. Emily Ekins writes on Cato Institute:
Young Americans are the only cohort in which a majority believe the wealthy didn’t earn their wealth. A slim majority (52%) of Americans under 30 say that “most” rich people in the United States got rich “by taking advantage of other people.” In contrast, a strong majority (72%) of seniors (65+) say that most wealthy people in America “earned their wealth” without exploiting people.
Across the board, younger people are more likely than older people to hold negative attitudes toward the rich. Americans under 30 are about 20–35 points more likely than Americans age 65 and older to feel “angry” when they read or hear about rich people (44% vs. 11%), to feel more “resentment” than “admiration” of rich people (39% vs. 16%), to believe it’s “immoral” for society to allow people to become billionaires (39% vs. 13%), and to believe that citizens taking violent action against the rich is sometimes justified (35% vs. 10%). Young people are also about 10–25 points more likely than older people to believe billionaires are a threat to democracy (51% vs. 26%), to disagree that billionaires earned their wealth by creating value for others (39% vs. 26%), and to disagree that rich people make society better off by investing in new businesses that create jobs and invent technology (38% vs. 21%).
The gap between the haves and have-nots in the United States grew last year to its highest level in more than 50 years of tracking income inequality, according to Census Bureau figures. AP News reports:
Income inequality in the United States expanded from 2017 to 2018, with several heartland states among the leaders of the increase, even though several wealthy coastal states still had the most inequality overall, according to figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The nation’s Gini Index, which measures income inequality, has been rising steadily over the past five decades.
The Gini Index grew from 0.482 in 2017 to 0.485 last year, according to the bureau’s 1-year American Community Survey data. The Gini Index is on a scale of 0 to 1; a score of “0″ indicates perfect equality, while a score of “1″ indicates perfect inequality, where one household has all the income…
The inequality expansion last year took place at the same time median household income nationwide increased to almost $62,000 last year, the highest ever measured by the American Community Survey. But the 0.8% income increase from 2017 to 2018 was much smaller compared to increases in the previous three years, according to the bureau.
Pew defines the upper class as adults whose annual household income is more than double the national median. That’s after incomes have been adjusted for household size, since smaller households require less money to support the same lifestyle as larger ones.
About half of American households, 52%, were considered middle-class, while 29% were lower-class. The median income of middle-class households was $78,442 in 2016. For lower-income households, it was $25,624. These numbers are in 2016 dollars and scaled to reflect a three-person household.
Pew looked at various household sizes. Here’s the minimum amount you’d have to earn each year to be considered upper-class, depending on the size of your family:
Household of one: Minimum of $78,281 to be upper-class
Household of two: Minimum of $110,706 to be upper-class
Household of three: Minimum of $135,586 to be upper-class
Household of four: Minimum of $156,561 to be upper-class
Household of five: Minimum of $175,041 to be upper-class
According to a survey of 1,000 Americans aged 25-45, financial stress and worries are quite literally making people sick. Respondents listed health care as the main financial worry of their lives, and three in four admitted to having a “negative experience” due to financial stress. John Anderer writes on Study Finds:
Ironically, 39% said that financial stress has had a negative impact on their health; indicating a troubling cycle of financial stress brought on by health care costs, which in turn leads to more health problems.
Additionally, 35% of respondents said financial stress has harmed their relationship with a spouse or significant other, and 26% said financial worries had harmed close friendships. Another 26% said it had affected their performance at work, and 21% said it had hurt their attendance at work.
A running theme throughout the survey’s responses was that young Americans aren’t addressing their health needs due to the cost. Many respondents reported that this strategy only allows the illness to worsen, resulting in higher medical bills by the time they make it to the doctor’s office. In fact, three in four surveyed young adults reported taking “risky” actions to save money on medical expenses. More specifically, 33% delayed seeking medical help in the hope that their condition would just go away, 27% considered avoiding medical attention due to high deductibles, and 22% scheduled a medical appointment but never showed after considering the bill.
With only 23 percent of Americans reporting that they are “very confident” they will have enough money for retirement, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2019’s Best & Worst Places to Retire as well as accompanying videos. Orlando is ranked as the best city to retire.
To help Americans plan for a comfortable retirement without breaking the bank, WalletHub compared more than 180 U.S. cities across 46 key measures of affordability, quality of life, health care and availability of recreational activities. The data set ranges from cost of living to retired taxpayer-friendliness to share of the population aged 65 and older.
|Best Cities to Retire||Worst Cities to Retire|
|1||Orlando, FL||173||Providence, RI|
|2||Tampa, FL||174||Baltimore, MD|
|3||Scottsdale, AZ||175||Rancho Cucamonga, CA|
|4||Charleston, SC||176||Fresno, CA|
|5||Miami, FL||177||Newark, NJ|
|6||Denver, CO||178||Bakersfield, CA|
|7||Fort Lauderdale, FL||179||San Bernardino, CA|
|8||Cape Coral, FL||180||Warwick, RI|
|9||Minneapolis, MN||181||Bridgeport, CT|
|10||Cheyenne, WY||182||Stockton, CA|
If you were going to lose your job, would you prefer to be replaced by a robot or another person? If you said robot, you’re in the majority. Most people would prefer a robot to take their job if they had to lose it, but they would prefer to see another human step in if a co-worker was going to lose theirs. NewScientist reports:
“Being replaced by modern technology versus being replaced by humans has different psychological consequences,” says Armin Granulo at Technical University of Munich in Germany. He and his colleagues set out to examine these differences.
They asked 300 people to judge whether they would prefer an existing member of staff to be replaced by a robot or a human. In that case, 62 per cent of people said they preferred to have a human step in. But when they were asked to shift their perspective and imagine losing their own job, 37 per cent preferred being replaced by a human rather than a robot…
The team found that people rated robots as less threatening to their self-identity than human replacements in a job setting. They asked questions about which type of replacement would make someone feel more devalued, raise more doubts about themselves, or make them question their own abilities.
That may be because people don’t feel they can or must compete with a robot or a piece of software in the same way as they might another person, says Granulo.
A new study from NORC at the University of Chicago, an independent social research institution, found that 51% of working adults in the United States would need to access savings to cover necessities if they missed more than one paycheck. MarketWatch reports:
Certain communities were more prone to economic hardship in the event of missing a paycheck. Roughly two-thirds of households earning less than $30,000 annually and Hispanic households would be unable to cover basic living expenses after missing more than one paycheck, the researchers found.
“Even short disruptions in pay can cause significant hardship, as most Americans appear to be living paycheck-to-paycheck,” Angela Fontes, director of the Behavioral and Economic Analysis and Decision-Making (BEAD) program at NORC at the University of Chicago, said in the report.