I can find a money lesson in nearly anything. Case in point, there is wisdom buried in the madness of coverage regarding Beyonce’s surprise-album-release. A piece of feedback our blessed Mama Bey received on her Facebook page was a creative response from a fan – feedback that turned into an online sensation (language: NSFW or toddlers). Looking beyond the well-parsed expletives and the vegan cupcakes, what caught my money-tuned eyes was this quote: “Do you realize how many people thought they were gonna buy a good ass lunch tomorrow but now have to forgo those plans … because you demanded everybody’s last coin?”
Yup, folks. We make choices with our money. And for some of the now nearly 1 million buyers of ‘Beyonce’, it’s between bringing the magic of Mrs. Sean Carter into their ears vs. eating more than Ramen for lunch. Tough choices, and I sympathize. If this happened when I was in my 20s, I’d be making the same choice.
We talked about these daily spending decisions the other week on the show. I was joined by a couple who talked about how the excuses we make when money is tight have a lot to do with how we choose to spend our money. Afya Ibomu, wife of half the rap duo Dead Prez, a.k.a. Stic, noted that when it comes to people saying that healthy food costs too much: “If you drink alcohol, if you smoke cigarettes, if you have more than basic cable, if your kids have video games, [if] you're on name brands, if you can afford to do these things, you can afford to eat healthier. [I]t goes back to priorities.”
That’s not to say that making those choices is easy. There was an internet hullabaloo last month in response to the blogger KillerMartini who wrote about how she spent money on cigarettes even though she knew it wasn’t a good choice, for her health or her money. When money is that tight, the stress alone makes it hard to make the right choices every single time. I’ve been there; we’ve probably all been there.
But if we’re in a better position now, why are we still ‘there’? If you have money now to get all your bills paid and you’re enjoying a fairly solid quality of life, why still bemoan your inability to afford the things that will give you true and real financial stability? For example, you’re carrying credit card debt or have struggled building an emergency fund. Are you really making the right choices day in and day out? What have you done to set aside another $100 a month -- what do you chose to spend your money on?
Our money choices start early. I recently started my 7-year old on an allowance of $5 a week. This weekend she asked me if I could buy her some “coins” for an app she was playing. I told her sure, but it’s going to have to come out of your allowance. It was $4.99. “That’s all my allowance...” she mumbled. Yup. But would you rather have those coins for that one game or get two more games for $.99 each and save the rest of your money? Her eyebrows went up: “I’m going to look for two more games ... Then I’ll have two games and money left over!” Of course, it’s all about enjoyment and personal return when it comes to choosing games, but my point was taken. I wanted to teach her about choice and the power of thinking spending choices through. Where do you get the most value for your money? Are there other choices you could make that could save you money and help you reach goals? Once a week, look at something you regularly buy and ask: “Can I do this differently and for less?”
And for the record, “Beyonce” is slammin’.
In 2011 the radio preacher famously said — twice — that the world was about to end. Thousands of people professed their belief in his warnings. After they didn't prove true, he conceded that his predictions were "incorrect and sinful."
President Obama is hosting a high-profile group of technology executives at the White House on Tuesday. Almost every one was a big financial backer of the president's political career. Chad Dickerson, chief executive of Etsy, is among the group but only gave $500 to the Obama campaign.
President Obama is hosting a high-profile group of technology executives at the White House Tuesday. Almost every one was a big financial backer of the president's political career. Chad Dickerson, chief executive of Etsy, was among the group but only gave $500 to the Obama campaign.
Vitamin deficiencies can cause deadly diseases like scurvy, and other major health problems like spina bifida. But for most people, adding a multivitamin to their daily routine doesn't affect their health at all, studies say. Still, 40 percent of Americans continue to take multivitamins.
Formerly, Kurt DelBene oversaw Microsoft's Office division. He will take over for Jeff Zients, who was appointed after the website launched with crippling issues.
Most social networks require users to be at least 13. But Itay Eshet's daughter, like many kids, wanted to join Facebook when she was just 10. So Eshet created a site just for younger kids, designed to protect them from bullying and other risks while teaching them to navigate social media safely.
Republican Sen. Tom Coburn is out with his annual account of "wasteful and low-priority spending." He says he's tallied up nearly $30 billion from 2013 alone.
For the first time in decades, America's obesity rate remained flat this past year, according to the United Health Foundation. Tell Me More host Michel Martin speaks with Dr. Reed Tuckson about the report. Marquette University Professor Andrew Williams, who is developing a robot to help children exercise and make better nutritional choices, also joins the conversation.
The death of world leaders and celebrities dominated both world and U.S. searches. Oh, and lots of people also searched for the Harlem shake.
President Obama is meeting with tech industry leaders this morning. One of the big issues on the table is the National Security Agency’s big surveillance program. A federal judge just ruled that some of the government’s practices were probably in violation of the Constitution. The executives Obama is meeting with today, including Eric Schmidt from Google and Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook, have publicly called on the government to scale back its data collection.
“Pot, meet kettle,” says tech analyst Laura Didio. She says although these companies are also collecting our data, it doesn’t compare to the scale of what the government is doing.
“The NSA is 8 times bigger than the CIA,” Didio says. “The NSA’s secrets have secrets.”
Now tech companies are worried that concerns about government spying could rub off on their bottom lines. “If the U.S. is simply going to camp out on every server of every social network, you’re going to see a real chilling of relationships between the consumer and the networks, says Will Riegel, with Point3 Consulting.
“That starts costing a significant amount of money,” Riegel says.
Riegel says companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter and Apple are worried about seeming too welcoming of government surveillance. They’re also aware that any regulations that come out of the NSA scandal could affect their own data collection practices.
Flu season is in full swing and as many of us get ready to travel for the holidays, we’re all trying our remedies of choice to avoid getting sick. A lot of people use antibacterial hand soap to help stay flu-free. But now, the Food and Drug Administration is asking makers of antibacterial soap to prove their product is more effective than regular soap.
In today's tech world -- alongside the tales of the newly-minted, young male billionaire entrepreneurs -- another narrative is emerging: the comparative absence of women. Up to 90 percent of the engineering teams at start-ups are men. Some women in the Valley are trying to engineer some change.
The Beatles have a new release out today on iTunes -- "new" in the sense that these are recordings that have never been sold commercially. There are 59 songs including some outtakes from BBC and studio sessions and a few demos from 1963. The reason for the release has more to do with copyright law than demand.
The jackpot could reach a seemingly impossible $1 billion if no one wins in Tuesday's drawing. Experts say the odds of winning are astronomical, but lottery officials say ticket sales are ahead of projections.
A bubbling kettle, walking the twins to school, a trolley ride and a neighbor's hammer drill — all sounds of an expat's life abroad.
When it comes to making livestock agriculture more sustainable, there's no one-size-fits-all approach. That's the conclusion of a study of livestock around the world.
Susan Desmond-Hellmann, currently the chancellor at University of California, San Francisco, will take the helm of one the largest charitable organizations in the world in May.
All this week, Marketplace Tech is talking about the digital currency Bitcoin. Yesterday, we found out that like most forms of currency, Bitcoin is "a massive hallucination we all agree upon." But it's also a techy idea -- a network where computers with a shared record of transactions can trade long strings of letters and numbers to keep track of who has what. Whether that description sounds simplistic or overly complicated, there's a company in Silicon Valley called Coinbase designed to make sure we don't ever have to worry about it.
Coinbase is getting big money in venture capital funding -- another $25 million announced just last week. Venture capitalists like Coinbase because they think it might be the company to bring the use of Bitcoin from the nerds to the rest of us. Bitcoin co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong certainly hopes so. He characterizes his company as a sort of PayPal for Bitcoin, that both connects merchants with consumers, and allows people a way to store their money online.
"We are serving three completely different segments of the Bitcoin market," Armstrong says. "We have a consumer wallet. We have merchant services, helping businesses accept Bitcoin. And we also will have a developer platform that 3,000 developers have built apps on it. So, yes, it's a challenge, but many parts of the Bitcoin ecosystem work better when you have multiple parties talking together."
One unique service that Coinbase provides is it allows people who hold Bitcoins to cash out, Armstrong says.
"We allow people to both buy and sell Bitcoin on Coinbase," he says. "We're still the only company offering it, essentially, where people can connect any bank account in the U.S., and they can convert dollars into and out of Bitcoin."
Lately, as Bitcoin has been getting more media attention, the cryptocurrency has also come under the scrutiny of governments from the United States to China. But Armstrong doesn't worry that if Bitcoin goes mainstream that it will get saddled with the sort of baggage its supposed to be disrupting -- like credit card-style service charges.
"I don't think it will ever have the same characteristics of proprietary payment networks, like credit cards or wires or bank transfers before it," Armstrong says. "The reason is that it's fundamentally an open system. So let's look at email as an example. If you ever didn't like your particular email provider that you were using, you could switch to another one -- and economists might call that 'low switching costs' -- but the net effect to consumers is that the price of those services always has a downward pressure on it. It's a competitive market because the underlying platform beneath it is open, and anyone can participate on it."
Armstrong says Bitcoin has put us on the precipice of a massive new infusion of wealth into our society, and that a newly enriched segment of the population could significantly shape our future.
"There's a lot of people who have gotten in early on Bitcoin, right? They might have been early adopters, or people who were particularly interested in the currency for one reason or another, and there's going to be a massive amount of wealth generated amongst people who were early into the Bitcoin ecosystem. What happens when a sort of techy nerd segment of society -- for lack of a better word -- has a massive increase in wealth in the next 5 to 10 years? What does that mean for public policy or education or government or anything?"
Today, the German Parliament confirmed one of the most powerful leaders in Europe for a new term. Chancellor Angela Merkel was formally voted into her third term by a coalition government of her party, the Christian Democratic Union and their allied Christian Social Union, as well as the center-left Social Democrats. Merkel's CDU swept September's elections by its biggest margins in 20 years.
Though, a year ago, with Europe in the middle of an economic mess, it didn't quite look like Merkel would enjoy the popularity she has today. The BBC's Steve Evans says that Germans have a deep affection for their chancellor.
"They call here 'Mutti,' the mother of the nation. And, that's the way Germans feel about her. There's not much dissent here, and the measure of that approval was her large election victory, which means now that she's been formally redeclared as chancellor over this new coalition government, she will be the top dog. She's the one in charge. Nobody doubts that."
To hear more about Merkel's political capital, the future of the German economy, and Merkel's decision to keep her finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble in place, click the audio player above.
It isn't yet known what caused the aircraft, said to be a helicopter, to come down. But Reuters reports that initial reports do not indicate that it came under attack. Regardless, it is the deadliest incident involving foreign troops in months.
At issue is the arrest last week of India's deputy consul general in New York. She is accused of using false documents to get a work visa for her Manhattan housekeeper. India is calling her arrest "despicable and barbaric," and announced retaliatory steps against U.S. diplomats in the country.