As outstanding student loan debt in the United States rose to $1.3 trillion and the class of 2015 was the most indebted ever with the average of over $35,000 for 70% of graduates, free college degrees in Europe become an option for many families. Katie Lobosco writes on CNN Money: “There are at least 44 schools across Europe where Americans can earn their bachelor’s degree for free, according to Jennifer Viemont, the founder of an advising service called Beyond The States. All public colleges in Germany, Iceland, Norway and Finland are free for residents and international students. And some private schools in the European Union don’t charge for tuition either. Many are going out of their way to attract foreigners by offering programs taught entirely in English. When they do charge for tuition, the bill is paltry compared to the U.S. The average cost of tuition in U.S. is currently $9,410 at public colleges and $32,405 at private colleges, while a majority of programs in Europe charge less than $2,225 a year.” (cnn.com)
Consumer Reports just released their ranking for Best Cars of 2016 with extensive data to back it up. The ranking is based on performance, reliability, owner satisfaction and safety.
- Best Subcompact Car: Honda Fit
- Best Compact Car: Subaru Impreza
- Best Midsized Car: Toyota Camry
- Best Small SUV: Subaru Forester
- Best Luxury SUV: Lexus RX
- Best Large Car: Chevrolet Impala
- Best Pickup Truck: Ford F-150
- Best Minivan: Toyota Sienna
The New Yorker has a long article detailing the life story of Peter Adeney, the Man behind Mr. Money Mustache, who retired in 2005 at age thirty. He is, by his own reckoning, a wealthy man, without want, but he and his wife Simi, who have one child, spend an average of just twenty-four thousand dollars a year.
Adeney presents thrift as liberation rather than as deprivation. Living a certain way is his life’s work. His goals, he says, are as follow:
- To make you rich so you can retire early
- To make you happy so you can properly enjoy your early retirement
- To save the whole Human Race from destroying itself through overconsumption of its habitat.
The blog Mr. Money Mustache, which he started five years ago, is currently one of the top blogs on the list of Top Personal Finance Blogs. His blog is now earning around $400,000 a year and he plans to donate the money away some day.
Glenn Carter writes: “This series of posts teaches seniors and retirees how to leverage the digital tools available to them to live more economically and independently. The key focus of this article is income supplementation and independent living through the sharing economy… So what is the sharing economy exactly? The sharing economy is about how we capitalize on abundance. Specifically, the sharing economy is composed of hundreds of online platforms that enable people to turn otherwise unproductive assets into income producers. This include homes, cars, hobbies, pets, spare space, parking spots, clothes, consumer items, and much more.” So join in the sharing economy and earn some income during retirement. (thecasualcapitalist.com)
Forbes Contributor Mike Patton explains that the reasons behind do-it-yourself investors routinely sabotage their investment success are due to two common biases. “Two of the most powerful emotions we experience are fear and greed. When an individual invests in the stock market and stock prices decline, at some point the pain becomes too much to bear and fear begins to dominate. This investor may believe that things will only get worse and that the near term will resemble what has happened most recently. In short, they become convinced that stocks will continue to decline and decide to sell everything, thus escaping further pain. This is called the ‘recency bias’ and is quite common… The second bias is the ‘bandwagon effect.’ Many investors have a subconscious, but strong tendency to follow the crowd. If everyone is doing it, it must be right.” Hopefully Investors who manage their own portfolio can learn these two common biases and avoid making the costly mistake. (forbes.com)
Personal finance bloggers often explain that one of the easiest way to save money is to minimize the cost of cellphone plan and device. Now there’s a trend for digitally weary users to switch back to simple phone. Daniel Thomas writes on Financial Times: “In January, British actor Eddie Redmayne made headlines around the world as he became the latest in a growing band of smartphone refuseniks. ‘It was a reaction against being glued permanently to my iPhone during waking hours,’ he explained, turning instead to an old-fashioned dumb phone handset that could only make and take calls. He is not alone. There is a small but busy market for phones that are simple and cheap at a time when smartphones are becoming ever more complex and expensive.” (ft.com)
Millennial Lauren Martin writes: “I don’t have any savings, but I also don’t have any wants. I don’t know about you, but I like to enjoy my life. I like to go out to eat, buy clothes I don’t need and spend money with friends on memorable nights out. This goes back to a piece of advice a very successful friend gave me: Don’t save money. Make more money.” This is simply a very bad advice on many levels that can set a dangerous mindset for young people. If you are in early 20’s and saddled with credit card debts and student loan debts, avoid this bad advice to not save money in your 20’s. In fact when you are young that’s the best time to start saving and investing to take advantage of compounding interest. Moreover, start saving early let you prepare for financial emergencies later in life. (elitedaily.com)
Business Insider reports that Chinese companies have been buying up American businesses at a record rate and it’s freaking lawmakers out. “To date, there have been 102 Chinese outbound mergers-and-acquisitions deals announced this year, amounting to $81.6 billion in value, according to Dealogic. That’s up from 72 deals worth $11 billion in the same period last year. And they’re not expected to let up anytime soon.” (businessinsider.com)
It’s not a surprise that a bit of planning can save you a lot of money when it comes to buying throughout the year. Lifehacker has a comprehensive, up-to-date guide on the best times to buy everything this year. Certain things are always cheaper at certain times such as holiday airfare during September or Television during December. Whether you’re buying airfare, dining out, shopping online, or buying anything else, there is often a “best time to buy.” (lifehacker.com)
The Practical Saver writes: “A lot of people go on with their lives not knowing how to manage money. As a result, they tend to bury themselves in debt and not save for their future. As a parent, I like my kid to grow as a responsible person especially when it comes to handling money. A lot of people may argue that kids won’t understand the concept behind the proper handle of money but I would argue for the opposite.” Here are some ways to teach your kids about money: Be a good model, teach kids about math then money, talk about money, give them allowance and allow them to spend. (thepracticalsaver.com)
Do you consider yourself “rich” if you have a million dollar net worth? If someone makes over $100,000 per year is she rich? Or wealthy means that you have paid off your mortgage and have enough money in investment accounts to retire early? So what does it meant to be rich? Amy Livingston at Money Crashers says: “The truth is, we don’t all know what “rich” means, because it means different things to different people. And if becoming wealthy is one of your personal financial goals, it’s important to think about exactly what wealth means to you. You need to have a clear idea of what your dream of wealth looks like – what kind of rich person you want to be – before you can come up with a plan to make that dream a reality.” Livingston explores what it means to be rich in different nuances: Wealth as income, wealth as net worth, wealth as lifestyle and wealth as life satisfaction. (moneycrashers.com)
Erik Carter, a Forbes contributor, says you can save up to $286 per month by 6 easy ways. “If saving is so important, why do so many people neglect to save enough? I suspect one of the main reasons is that we tend to view saving the same way we see dieting: as a form of deprivation. Another reason is that we think that small savings just won’t make much of a difference. Fortunately, there are relatively painless ways to save more that could make a huge difference.” He goes into details how you can save money on insurance, cell phone, fitness, cable TV, checking accounts and other bills. (forbes.com)
Computerized Investing editors list and review the best investment and financial websites. Here are the top 11 sites that they recommended.
A recent Standard & Poor’s study found that two out of three adults worldwide don’t have a clue about personal finance. While the U.S. ranks 14th worldwide in financial literacy, there’s more catching up to do. Here’s some of the best ways to save money. Check on CardHub.com for over 1,000 offerings in many different credit cards. For resource on auto financing, check WalletHub.com. Use Mint to track your money and help you establish a household budget, and define reasonable savings goals. For investing, make use of microinvesting service Acorns and Betterment.com. For deeper-pocketed, online investors, securities sites like Marketriders.com, Wealthfront.com, and PersonalCapital.com can help.
Worldwide the cost of corruption equals more than 5% of global GDP. In Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy where easy access to oil revenues opens the door to corruption, a respected former central-bank governor lost his job after claiming that $20 billion had been stolen. Most Nigerians live in poverty, and millions would be spared if officials stopped pilfering from the public purse. In fact, Nigeria ranks 32nd from the bottom of 168 countries surveyed by Transparency International. According to an analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers, corruption in Nigeria could cost up to 37% of GDP by 2030 if it’s not dealt with immediately. This cost is equated to around $1,000 per person in 2014 and nearly $2,000 per person by 2030. (economist.com)