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Ask The Experts: Making Sense of Dynamic Pricing

by John S Kiernan on April 16, 2014

dynamic pricingHere’s a riddle for you:  What all-American seats go up and down and all around, bringing strangers peanuts and proximity in nearly all weather?

The answer:  Tickets for an American Airlines flight and a Major League Baseball game.  You see, the airline industry and professional sports – American and MLB, in particular – have been innovative with their use of “dynamic pricing” in recent years, offering blueprints for other consumer-facing businesses to embrace the role of auction-based technology and big data in the modern buying-and-selling process.

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Trend Investing Made Easy

by George Kesarios on April 10, 2014

tracking sales trendsIs it possible to invest money and be successful at it, without knowing anything in particular about what you are investing in? In theory yes, and there are people who are successful in this style of investing.

This school of investment thought says that everything is accounted for in the market at any point in time, therefore it is hopeless to try to outsmart the market based on fundamentals. And since the fundamentals are baked in the cake, why bother? The only think investors need to bother with is the trend. If the trend is up, you should be invested, and if it is down, you should either be out of the market or short.

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Infographic: The 2014 Masters Tournament By The Numbers

by John S Kiernan on April 7, 2014

The number most significant to the 2014 Masters Tournament is undoubtedly 1.  It will be the 1st Masters since 1995 without Tiger Woods, the world’s No. 1 player, in the field.  And three individuals – Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson and Jason Day – actually have a chance to overtake Woods in the world rankings come Sunday.

This just goes to show how much things have changed since 2005 – the last year Woods took home the green jacket.  Both the golf industry and the economy were riding high then, buoyed by the real estate market’s bubblicious growth.  But the housing market collapsed and disposable income dried up, leading to the closure of nearly 650 courses and forcing 4.7 million people to give up the game, according to the National Golf Foundation.

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Ask The Experts: Inside the Household Budget

by Richard Serlin on April 2, 2014

University of ArizonaWhile the economy has been displaying begrudging improvement of late, there is still reason for concern at the household level – primarily when it comes to spending and debt.  The average household owes more than $7,000 to their credit card company, according to CardHub research, and outstanding student loan balances total well over $1 trillion.  What’s more, after displaying year-over-year improvement in credit card spending and payment habits –indicative of overall reliance on debt – in six out of the previous seven quarters, U.S. consumers added 8% more to their tab in Q4 2013 than they did in fourth quarter of 2012.

The question is:  How are we going to turn things around?  We need to learn our Great Recession lessons about the dangers of habitual overleveraging and the importance of making sensible money-management decisions with an eye to the future.  Widespread overspending helped intensify the downtown, and pre-recession spending levels are even less sustainable without the support of the housing bubble.  That means the three in five Americans who don’t maintain a budget need to change their ways and we all need to take a long, hard look at what we consider to be “necessities.”

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Avoiding Identity Theft: Expert Tips from CSUN Police Services

by Daniel Foster on April 2, 2014

CSUN logoIn today’s world, an individual’s prevention efforts against identity theft/fraud have to span far beyond tearing up credit card offers.

Technology has made the criminal’s job much easier to target a larger group of unsuspecting victims. Phishing scams can be like shooting fish in a barrel, opposed to the “old school” ways of diving through a neighborhood of dumpsters for personal information haphazardly thrown away.

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Rise of the Machines: Examining the Future of Capital & Labor in Production

by L. Dwayne Barney on March 26, 2014

Rise of the MachinesAre we entering a Star Trek economy where nearly all of our desires are met by the simple push of a button?  With 3-D printing, robots used in manufacturing, and program trading of stocks it seems we are moving that direction.

While 3-D printing is only in its infancy, the technology’s potential is stunning.  The technology has been used to produce jewelry, guns, and medical devices.  Moreover, robots and computers are now used to do repetitive tasks in manufacturing, to answer your calls when you telephone the bank, and to explore deep oceans and outer space.

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Ask the Experts: Corporate Responsibility, Financial Literacy & Branding

by John S Kiernan on March 25, 2014

Corporate Responsibility Financial Literacy and BrandingCompanies across the country are hopping on the financial literacy bandwagon in droves.  Some are conducting money management seminars with military families.  Others are teaming up to develop interactive games, inner-city outreach programs, awareness campaigns, and a variety of other initiatives.

But what are their motives in doing so?

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Ask The Experts: Examining Financial Literacy in the Workplace

by John S Kiernan on March 24, 2014

Workplace Financial LiteracyThe issue of financial literacy, or a lack thereof, has rightfully earned a great deal of mainstream attention in the wake of the Great Recession.  It seems that while we refuse to learn our lesson about the dangers of habitual overleveraging, judging from the more than $73 billion in credit card debt that we’ve racked up in the past two years alone, we do want to help future generations avoid repeating our mistakes.

The question is how corporate America fits into the picture.  It’s clear that parents and teachers have an inherent responsibility to prepare young people for the financial realities of the “real world,” and most school systems are experimenting with different methods of incorporating personal finance and economics into the curriculum.  But do businesses, from small organizations with just a handful of employees to Fortune 500 companies, have any business coming anywhere close to the issue?

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Ask The Experts: The Economics of Oscar Season

by John S Kiernan on February 26, 2014

OscarMovie-goers are usually in for a treat when winter rolls around. It’s Oscar Season, after all, and big studios are busy lobbying for the inclusion of their films in the discussion for an Academy Award. Prestige obviously is a driving factor in all of the Oscar hoopla, but it’s dollar signs that studio execs, agents, actors, writers, producers, and directors see when they look at that iconic gold statuette (officially known as the Academy Award of Merit).

Winning an Academy Award – or even being nominated – can greatly help a studio's bottom line and make the careers of industry professionals. But you’ve got to spend money to make money, and millions of dollars are invested in the Oscar selection process each year.

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Ask The Experts: A Bit about Bitcoin

by John S Kiernan on February 18, 2014

bitcoinIn an era dominated by digital technology it should come as no surprise that someone has developed a digital currency. Paypal is a digital payment system but Bitcoin, developed in 2009, is an actual digital currency that, in the last several months, has generated excitement and interest – and yes, a little concern --  in the financial services industry.

Bitcoin uses crytography to create and transfer money. Any country's currency can be transformed into bitcoins so users can make payments. To use a bitcoin you need wallet software that runs on a computer or mobile device.

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2014 Predictions for Your Wallet

by Odysseas Papadimitriou on February 18, 2014

WH-2014-Predictions2013 was a year characterized by economic distractions, with things like the government shutdown, concerns about a potential U.S. default, and overall political obstinacy taking center stage.  So, it’s fair to wonder:  Will 2014 be any different?

While it’s impossible to know for sure, we can certainly offer some educated predictions for what the New Year has in store for consumers’ wallets.  From GDP growth and unemployment to the stock market and gas prices, you can get a sneak peak of the most important issues facing your money in 2014 by checking out our predictions below.

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Ask The Experts: Investing for a Secure Financial Future

by John S Kiernan on February 18, 2014

investing approachThe recent government shutdown and threat of default shook financial markets and caused many consumers to reassess their financial plans. But has it fundamentally changed the way we should be investing our money?

Probably not, say the experts we consulted. But it certainly has raised new risks that all investors should take into account.

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Sochi Olympics By The Numbers

by John S Kiernan on February 6, 2014

The 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia are record-setting in an astounding number of ways, from the seaside town’s traditionally warm February temps to fact that the Olympic torch visited space for the first time. But it’s when you start talking money that things truly get interesting.

The record $51 billion that Russia has invested in the Games is more than the previous 21 Winter Olympics combined. That figure also includes some $25 billion lost to corruption and theft as well as $8.7 billion spent on a transportation system to the mountains that could have been paved with a nice layer of Louis Vuitton bags for the same price. You can’t ignore the $775 million that NBC spent on the rights or the $1.05 billion in advertising revenue they’re expected to rake in either.

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Super Bowl XLVIII By The Numbers

by John S Kiernan on January 28, 2014

The Super Bowl is a game of numbers, from the Roman Numerals that denote each contest to the millions of people and billions of dollars that are engrossed in it each year.

Given the societal importance of the Big Game, the emphasis it places on social media, and the fact that the world's economic epicenter is serving as this year's backdrop, it only makes sense for WalletHub – the first social network built from the ground up around personal finance – to audit the figures that make the game tick.

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Job Search Tips from an Expert Career Counselor

by Angel McCormack MS on January 27, 2014

Career PathNo matter the climate of the current job market, most people do not enjoy the job search process. Understandably so; it can be a daunting process. That is why having a good coach, counselor or even a good friend can help tremendously.

There’s no shortage of job search information out there, but just like anything else, you will need to be a savvy shopper in deciphering what works for you. The one thing that every job seeker needs to have, regardless of age, is a job search strategy. I’m a strong believer of the old adage “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” Preparation is the key when it comes to the job search. A good book that outlines this theory is Luck is No Accident by John Krumboltz and Al Levin.

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Health Economics: One Expert’s Take on Obamacare & National Health Objectives

by Debra Dwyer on January 27, 2014

Health EconomicsA healthier nation is a more productive nation.  According to a study published in Social Science and Medicine by Dollard and Neser earlier this year, there is a direct link between health, mortality and GDP.  The authors advise governments to account for population health when considering economic goals.  The Nobel Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman, has been advising this for years whenever the focus of central government has been on the poor economy.

Given the attention to health care policy – I believe revealed preference suggests we are in agreement in the US that we would like to be healthy.  How healthy, who gets to decide, how we will produce that level of health, and who gets what – those are the questions that need to be addressed in health care reform.

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Ask The Experts: Examining the Murray-Ryan Budget Deal

by John S Kiernan on January 24, 2014

Ryan - MurrayWhen President Obama this month signed a $1 trillion spending bill, funding the U.S. government through September, it completed a drama that, as recently as a few weeks ago, few in Washington believed likely to end anytime soon. Republicans and Democrats were able to find enough common ground to pass a budget that enough lawmakers in both parties found palatable.

After all, a deadlock last October among Republicans and Democrats over spending led to a 16-day government shutdown, causing nervousness in the financial markets. But in December one-on-one negotiations by Rep. Paul Ryan (D-WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee, and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, produced a blueprint both sides could live with. Right away it provided hope that Washington would be able grapple with what were once routine economic matters without becoming embroiled in partisan warfare.

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Should You Get the Flu Shot? Your Physical & Financial Health is on the Line

by John S Kiernan on December 20, 2013

Flu ShotLadies and gentlemen, it’s flu season. That’s great news for the good folks at Kleenex, but the rest of us have to deal with runny noses, congestion, and the threat of serious illness as we navigate falling temperatures and the annual germ exchange more commonly known as the holiday shopping season.

Such is why we find ourselves each year wondering whether or not to get the flu shot. It’s an age-old question borne from significant historical need, advances in medical technology and, last but not least, a whole lot of money.

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WalletHub’s 14 for ’14: Financial Resolutions for the New Year

by Odysseas Papadimitriou on December 17, 2013

WH 2014 ResolutionsWith the economy finally improving and Congress even getting its act together, it’s time for us as consumers to do our part.  And what better time than New Year’s to make some resolutions for financial improvement?  We devised a list of 14 of the most important personal finance improvements you can make in ’14, so check them out and get to work!

 

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Ask The Experts: Why is Wall Street All Atwitter About IPOs?

by John S Kiernan on November 14, 2013

IPOWall Street investors who were active in the late 1990s no doubt recall the “dot-com boom” that saw countless Internet companies – with no profits – make initial public offerings (IPOs) and have their stock prices rocket to the stratosphere.

Investors poured money into these companies based on “potential” – potential for a cornerstone role in online life and therefore potential to make a killing. But it all came crashing down in 2000. The bubble burst and the IPO market was depressed for years thereafter due to a combination of a downtrodden economy and investor fears.

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