Movie-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.
In 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.
2013 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.
The 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.
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.
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.
No 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.
A 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.
When 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.
Ladies 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.
With 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!
Wall 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.
It has been more than two weeks since the federal government closed many of its doors, sending roughly 800,000 employees home to wait without pay and taking a yet unknown toll on the country’s economic recovery from the Great Recession. During that timeframe, as politicians have pontificated to no end and worried consumers have prepared cash flow contingency plans, we’ve all kept one eye glued to cable news and another focused on the calendar – Thursday Oct. 17, to be specific.
That date has been looming over the debate from the jump, as it represents the time by which the U.S. Treasury will have exhausted its legal borrowing authority and will therefore no longer be able to guarantee its capacity to pay the country’s debts.
When the U.S, government shut down Oct. 1, many consumers outside the Beltway watched with only passing interest. After all, if you aren’t a federal worker or a government contractor, you aren’t really affected, right?
Not so fast. The shutdown could have far-reaching economic implications, according to the experts we consulted. So far, consumers have only been inconvenienced by closed museums and national parks. But the real impact could eventually hit consumers in the wallet.
New Site Provides the Tools Needed to Make Smarter Financial Decisions & Save Money
Today, Evolution Finance, parent company of the leading credit card comparison website CardHub.com, is reinventing personal finance with the launch of WalletHub.com out of beta mode.
Remember the “comfort dogs” – those furry, four-legged therapists who offered victims in Newtown and Boston a welcome respite from the cruel realities of domestic terrorism? Well, who are the comfort dogs for the comfort dogs?
It’s a question that certainly bears asking because while dogs may be man’s best friend, we don’t always reciprocate the sentiment. In fact, from Michael Vick and his Bad Newz Kennels to the misguided, reactionary targeting of pit bulls and the proliferation of puppy mills, we can be downright cruel to our animal pals.
There must be something in the water – gold perhaps – in Alexandria, Virginia. Not only do the city’s residents rank among the top 1% nationally in terms of charitable giving, but the three largest U.S. charities – United Way, The Salvation Army, and Catholic Charities USA – are all based there. So, what makes this particular area about six miles south of the Nation’s Capital the charity capital of the U.S.?
“[It’s] likely nothing specific to Alexandria, VA, but not entirely coincidental given its proximity to Washington, DC, which may be attractive to non-profits seeking to stay on top of legislature, lobbying, etc.,” says Karen Winterich, an assistant professor at Penn State who studies charitable giving and consumer decision-making. “However, each of these big 3 have a strong presence in local communities across the country. These local roots, rather than the city of headquarters, are most likely what leads to success given that people tend to donate to organizations with which they feel closest.”
As budget debates have consumed Washington, eyes have turned towards modifying the mortgage interest tax deduction. Long considered untouchable, changing the way homeowners can deduct their mortgage interest has drawn support from both sides of the political spectrum, though the solutions proposed range from eliminating the deduction all together to reforming the program into a tax credit.
It’s pretty much a given that you’ve seen an advertisement at some point in the last few years telling you that “now is the best time to buy a house!” before quickly moving on to pictures of happy couples and new homes with “Sold!” signs in front of them. While that whole spiel has become rather cliché, it’s perhaps truer now than ever before.
Not only are rates sitting at record lows, but most projections have the cost of a mortgage increasing in the near future as the economy continues its slow but steady recovery. That’s important because even a small change in the market can lead to paying far more for your home over the long term, as we’ll see below. Given experts’ negative outlook for the rental market and many signs that housing market is continuing a turn around, the window to buy a house cheaply might be closing.
Over the last few weeks we’ve documented important changes to the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) mortgage insurance program and suggested there might be more on the horizon. Well, it looks like the biggest one yet is about to land: the FHA will likely require a bailout from the federal government. For all 79 years of its history, the FHA has operated without ever taking a taxpayer subsidy. But due to extraordinary losses it is becoming increasingly likely that the agency will have to take one by September 30, when it is required by law to be solvent.
The FHA currently insures mortgages worth more than $1.1 trillion, a large share of the total housing market. To back those loans, the agency maintains the Mutual Mortgage Insurance (MMI) fund, which as of its November 2012 report, held reserves of $32.1 billion. However, the same report projected nearly $48.4 billion in losses for 2013, essentially predicting a budget shortfall of $16.3 billion. Factoring in recent changes, a bailout of around $943 million is being currently planned, though it might require a “little bit more, or a little bit less” according to Carol Galante, the FHA Commissioner.