Archive for Market

Not there yet Janet Yellen: System is safer now, though ‘all-too-familiar’ risks remain

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, looking back a decade after the onset of the financial crisis, said Friday the financial system is safer now than it was then though some adjustments to regulations may be needed.

The central bank chief spoke at the Fed’s annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Though the speech is closely watched in financial markets, Yellen offered no clues about the future of monetary policy, instead focusing on the history of the crisis and what regulators have done in response. She warned that future crises are inevitable but said the housing meltdown taught valuable lessons.

“The events of the crisis demanded action, needed reforms were implemented, and these reforms have made the system safer,” she said in prepared remarks.

Yellen rejected arguments that regulation had stifled banking activity, insisting that higher capital requirements actually promoted loan growth.

Her review came less than six months before her term ends in February. President Donald Trump has been circumspect about whether he will reappoint her, and Yellen has refused to speculate about her future.

 

Fed watchers had been looking for some level of reflection from Yellenabout the Fed’s response to the crisis, and that was the focus of the speech. She cited the need for the bailout programs put into place in response to a liquidity crush on Wall Street and touted the effectiveness of the new regulations, such as the Dodd-Frank reforms.

However, she said the Fed is continually reviewing the moves to see what’s working and what might be holding back the system.

“A broader set of changes to the new financial regulatory framework may deserve consideration. Such changes include adjustments that may simplify regulations applying to small and medium-sized banks and enhance resolution planning,” she said.

“More broadly, we continue to monitor economic conditions, and to review and conduct research, to better understand the effect of regulatory reforms and possible implications for regulation.”

For instance, she said the Volcker Rule, which limits banks’ ability to trade for their own benefit, may need some “simplifying.” She also said regulations should be examined to make sure they aren’t disproportionately harming community and regional banks.

She cautioned against wholesale changes, particularly when it comes to risk-taking in the financial markets.

“Any adjustments to the regulatory framework should be modest and preserve the increase in resilience at large dealers and banks associated with the reforms put in place in recent years,” she said.

Yellen also was expected to address the current climate and the potential for dangers ahead like the real estate bubble that precipitated the crisis.

Fed officials have expressed varying levels of worry about the continuing climb of risk assets like stocks.

Indeed, Yellen cited the likelihood of “the all-too-familiar risks of excessive optimism, leverage and maturity transformation re-emerging in new ways that require policy responses.” read more

Save loads with homemade laundry detergent

Did you know: You can make a year’s worth of laundry detergent for you and your family for under $20?
An average family can spend over $70 on store-bought detergent per year. Making your own isn’t only better for the environment, it can save you over 80 percent — and it only takes three ingredients.

First, take one bar of natural soap (like castile or a gentle glycerin soap) and finely grate it with a cheese grater. Then, take the soap flakes and sprinkle in one cup of washing soda and one cup of borax, sealing your new cleaning concoction in an airtight container.

When it’s laundry time, mix in about 1-2 tablespoons per load. It doesn’t take much with this concentrated material — one batch of super-soap can get you through 40-50 loads.

Make more as needed, and you can even add powdered fabric softener and essential oils for a fresh scent. And yes, it’ll even work in your high-efficiency washing machine too.

Spend a few minutes making your own laundry detergent, and you and your family can see savings all year long.

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Category: cleaning products, did you know, home hacks, Laundry Detergent, savings experiment

Is a Honeywell Bid for JDA Software Imminent?

Rumors that Honeywell (NYSE: HON) was discussing the acquisition of supply-chain software firm JDA Software first surfaced on Aug. 8, according to “people familiar with the matter.” Word had it the price being considered was about $3 billion, including JDA Software’s $2 billion plus in debt.

Neither Honeywell, JDA Software, nor its largest shareholder, New Mountain Capital, are commenting. However, the latest murmurings suggest an announcement confirming the deal could come as early as Monday. Though Honeywell is widely known as an industrial conglomerate, bringing JDA Software into the fold would be in line with CEO David Cote’s expressed plans to expand his company’s suite of software-driven manufacturing and supply chain solutions.

Just last month, Honeywell announced a $1.5 billion deal to buy supply-chain and warehouse-automation software provider Intelligrated. And according to Cote, half of Honeywell’s 23,000 engineers are already focused on developing software. Though JDA Software, with its significant debt load, may not seem the most attractive of acquisitions — it was recently downgraded by Moody’s due to “risk of impairment” unless it reduced debt or found a capital infusion — there’s no faulting Cote’s decision to enhance Honeywell’s manufacturing-related technologies.

The manufacturing industry has been one of the earliest adopters of Internet of Things solutions, and is expected to lead the charge as the world becomes increasingly connected. Of the four industries expected to generate over half the estimated $14.4 trillion in annual sales IoT will account for by 2022, manufacturing’s 27% share is head-and-shoulders above the 11% retail will garner, and three times that of information services and the finance and insurance industry’s projected 9% shares. …read more

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Category: HON

Pick the best travel credit card like a pro

 

Travel rewards have become about much more than just earning airline miles, and if you’ve been carrying the same card for years, you might be missing out on better rewards for the same or lower fee as banks and airlines fight for your business.

If you don’t want to think much, and just want one card with a good offer, a comparison site like MileCards.com will let you enter your spending habits and tell you which cards earn you the most miles, or you can browse a list of the best travel credit cards.

But travel pros who have racked up millions of miles diversify their loyalty to reap the most rewards.

Gary Leff, an air travel expert who writes the View From the Wing blog, suggests three reasons to get a card. The first reason is the sign on bonus, which can offer significant value. The second is to take advantage of perks offered by the card, including free bags and priority boarding. And third, you should use a card that lets you rack up miles most quickly based on your spending pattern.

Very few cards offer do all three of these things well, so experts often hold more than one credit card to get the most out of things.

For example, many of the airline branded cards offer a first free checked bag. If you tend to use the same airline a couple times a year and check a bag, you can save the annual fee in bag fees, plus get perks like priority boarding. But these cards rarely offer you the most miles for every dollar you spend.

Instead, consider putting your spending on a card that earns transferable points, while keeping the airline card for the perks.

Transferable points are a favorite of Brian Kelly, founder of The Points Guy blog. They let you book travel two ways. First, you can transfer them into real airline miles with several airlines. Second, you can choose to use them like cash to book flights on any airline.

That makes them really flexible – you can add to the miles you’ve earned by flying, or you can use them like cash if you don’t want to deal with the rules of airline miles for a trip. Chase, American Express, and Citibank each have cards that offer transferable points. Many offer special bonuses on spending categories like dining and gas, so they can earn points more quickly than a single airline card.

Regardless of what card you choose – get to know the benefits. Many travel credit cards offer coverage that’s similar to the travel insurance airlines and travel agencies will try to sell you. You could be reimbursed if you need to cancel a trip because you get very ill, or get covered for a hotel if your flight gets delayed. There’s no extra charge – just book your flight with the card to activate the coverage. These benefits aren’t …read more

Read more here: Pick the best travel credit card like a pro

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10 ways to become financially sexier

One example is a blog post written by Shannon of Financially Blonde. According to Shannon, a good credit score and a savings rate of at least 15 percent are the biggest indicators of a financially sexy person.
When it comes to the qualities it takes to become “financially sexy,” several personal finance bloggers have already weighed in.

J. Money from Budgets are Sexy wrote a post on the topic as well, citing good credit, a solid savings rate above 15 percent, an emergency fund, and very little debt as the top qualities of a super sexy, fiscally responsible person.

But I wanted to take things a few steps further. Being financially sexy is great and all, but why not become financially sexier?

10 Ways to Become Financially Sexier

In my eyes, financially sexier individuals are the ones who shoot for the stars when it comes to their finances. Not only do they take care of their credit and financial well-being, but they aim to retire early, fund exciting financial goals like paying for college or building a business, and even become filthy rich.

Financially sexier people don’t just have a solid job in an in-demand industry; they actually own the company. And instead of saving just 15 percent of their income, they might save 30 percent, 40 percent, or even 50 percent, and live on the rest.

Since financially sexier people come in all shapes and sizes, I reached out to several money bloggers and financial planners to get their take on the best ways to boost your appearance when it comes to looks and money.

Want to become financially sexier? Here are some ways to make it happen:

#1 Don’t Skimp On Life Insurance

“Sexy is purchasing life insurance to make sure your loved ones are taken care of in case you pass away,” says Joseph Carbone of Focus Planning Group. “Sexier, however, is purchasing 10 to 15 times your salary to protect them.”

According to a recent survey from Bankrate, 42 percent of families don’t have life insurance at all. Plus, nearly half of respondents who did carry life insurance reported having $100,000 or less in coverage. For most people, that is not nearly enough.

By buying enough life insurance to take care of your family in the event of your death, you’re covering your bases and helping your family sleep better at night. Can you think of anything sexier than that?

#2 Use Credit Wisely…and Earn Credit Card Rewards

“Sexy is paying off all your high-interest credit card debt and making sure your bills are paid in full every month,” says Andrew McFadden, CFP and Founder of Panoramic Financial Advice. After all, it’s never sexy to carry a balance on your credit card, and it’s not sexy at all to pay interest on your purchases.

“Even sexier, though, is paying your balance every month and maximizing the rewards of the credit card to furnish one of life’s pleasures,” says McFadden.

Using credit wisely …read more

Read more here: 10 ways to become financially sexier

Category: bonds, cloud, computers, data, dell, earnings, earnings season, healthcare, nasdaq, nyse, oil prices, stock market, stocks, utilities, wall street, csx, nj, jnj, tast, intc, jpm, fast, gs, bac, ge, lly, wfc, c, unh, emc, tri

6 Reasons You’re Failing At Saving Money

 

When it comes to your finances, positive affirmations, a willingness to learn, and a good attitude are a plus. However, none of these attributes will help you grow your bank account unless you back them up with some action.

To add to that, far too many people are plagued with bad financial habits as well. Whether it boils down to overspending, not being realistic, or not setting goals, it’s much easier to bury your head in the sand than to make an uncomfortable change.

6 Reasons You’re Not Saving Money

If you’re not saving money, the first question to answer is “why?” If you’re drawing a blank, here are six possible scenarios that might apply in your situation:

You’re wasting money haphazardly.

If you’re spending all you make or more each month, you should do your best to locate your “budget drains,” says Peter Huminski, President and Wealth Advisor at Thorium Wealth Management.

Wasteful spending can come in many different forms, and it’s not the same for each person. For someone, weekly stops at the local mall might be a problem. For another, it might be an addiction to pricey electronics and gadgets.

For a large percentage of people, however, it’s food spending that’s to blame for their money troubles. If you’re heading out to a restaurant for lunch each day, for example, you could literally be eating your savings away.

“Stop going to out to lunch at work and bring your own lunch,” says Huminski. “If you have a job that is conducive to bringing your own lunch, you can save over $50 per week. That is $2,600 per year. If you do it for 10 years you would have saved over $26,000 and you will be healthier as well.”

You don’t have any goals.

According to financial planner Joseph Carbone, Jr. of Focus Planning Group, not having goals hurts more than people realize. When it comes to retirement planning, for example, people often contribute enough to get their company’s 401(k) match to feel good, yet don’t have a clue if their retirement savings will be enough. And the same can be true for any of their other savings goals, whether it’s saving up the down payment for a house, saving for a new car, or simply building an emergency fund.

If you’re going to save towards a goal – and you should, Carbone suggests starting with the end in mind then working backwards. For example, after fiddling around with a retirement calculator and speaking with your financial advisor, you might figure you need $2 million dollars to retire. If you have thirty years left until you reach retirement age, you should determine how much you need to invest each month – and how much your investments need to earn along the way.

“If you don’t go through this simple task, you need not even bother to start working toward this kind of goal because you’re setting yourself up to fail,” says Carbone.

You’re not taking action.

Often times, people honestly …read more

Read more here: 6 Reasons You’re Failing At Saving Money

Category: saving

4 ways hotel points beat airline miles

If you’re facing sticker shock from your travel this summer, earning points and miles is a great way to save on next year’s vacation. And while you might think airline miles are the best place to start, there are several ways hotel points can save you more with less hassle. They’re worth a look if you’ve given up on airline miles, or of you’re just getting started thinking about travel rewards.
1. Finding rooms with points is easier than flights with miles.

Hotels aren’t as aggressive with blocking rooms from awards as airlines are. While there are some restrictions, most of the big programs let you book just about any standard room with points. If there’s a room for sale with cash, you can book it with points, and don’t have to pay double the points on popular days. It’s a lot easier to score one hotel room in a good location for your family than 4 award seats on the same flight at a reasonable time.

2. They’re more flexible.

Hotel rewards don’t have change fees, and you can often cancel them right up until a day or so before you arrive, so you have lots of flexibility. Adding or deleting a night is just a quick phone call.

And if you decide you’re just not interested in hotel rewards, most hotel points can be transferred into real airline miles, though they’ll get diluted some in the process.

3. You can earn them more quickly.

Many hotel credit cards let you earn bonuses in categories like dining and gas spending, while the big airline credit cards tend to only give you one mile per dollar spent on anything but tickets with the airline. So with the right card, you can earn miles a lot faster.

If you want to compare the best hotel credit cards, this calculator at MileCards.com lets you see what the hotel points you earn from various cards mean in dollar rewards, so you can compare more easily.

Several cards also throw in a free night each year, without having to use points.

4. You can share them easily.

Some of the big hotel programs let you share points with family for free or a small charge. So if your spouse has just enough points to top off your account to get a free night, you can combine your points. Hyatt Gold Passport and Starwood Preferred Guest let you do this free, while Marriott Rewards charges a small fee.

Airlines charge you for this privilege, often hundreds of dollars, so the cost of combining miles is often more than buying a ticket in cash without miles.

The downside to hotel points is they can be harder to compare than airline miles. A mile gets you pretty much the same thing at each of the big airlines. But with hotel programs, what a point means varies a lot more.

If you’re trying to pick a hotel points program, this tool lets you see a map of what hotels …read more

Read more here: 4 ways hotel points beat airline miles

Category: bonds, cloud, computers, data, dell, earnings, earnings season, healthcare, nasdaq, nyse, oil prices, stock market, stocks, utilities, wall street, csx, nj, jnj, tast, intc, jpm, fast, gs, bac, ge, lly, wfc, c, unh, emc, tri

Starbucks’ Surprise Pay Raise Comes With A Catch

Starbucks announced last week it will increase employee wages in the U.S. on Oct. 3 as part of an “ongoing commitment to make investments in our partners” and build trust, CEO Howard Schultz wrote in an open letter. But some employees won’t be getting as much of a raise as they might have expected.

The company — recently the target of an online petition about declining morale among workers due to labor cuts — confirmed to BuzzFeed News Wednesday that the raise in October “is an expedited wage increase for fiscal 2017” and “there will be no additional increase in January.” The company’s scheduled pay raises normally happen early in the calendar year.

“That’s disappointing, but not unexpected,” said Jaime Prater, the Starbucks worker who organized the petition (which now has gained more than 13,000 signatures). “Typically, when Starbucks gives something, they take away something else.” Many baristas, for instance, complained that after the company announced raises in late 2014, they only received a flat pay bump once a year, compared to twice-a-year merit raises previously.

Following last week’s announcement — which also included improved stock and healthcare benefits — some Starbucks workers expressed concern about how the company would deal with the regularly scheduled pay increase. “Does this take the place of our raise in January or do we get that as well?” one Facebook user asked. “Is the October increase in lieu of our January raise or in addition too?” wrote another. Others said they did not expect the October raise to exceed upcoming minimum wage increases in their area.

Still, Schultz’s letter drew many positive responses. Starbucks spokeswoman Jaime Riley said because the raise will be moved up a few months, the October pay bump will be an additional partner investment for Starbucks.

“People are happy to know they will get a minimum increase of 5%, and that it is coming sooner” than 2017, she said. “People are excited. We’ve gotten positive feedback.” Riley added that the company understands there are still partner concerns and is working with employees to resolve them.

Starbucks Staff Are Getting A Raise After Claims Morale Is SinkingBaristas Say Morale At Starbucks Is Sinking

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Category: TGT

Easy and cheap ways to make your home more secure — Savings Experiment

 

Did you know: Home security doesn’t always need to come with a hefty price tag?

To make sure your home isn’t a target for burglars, use inexpensive plug-in timers to operate your lights and appliances while you’re away. Leaving a small desk radio on for 6 hours a day only costs about 22 cents per month.

Also look into motion-detecting floodlights, which cost as little as $12. Just remember to put them in a high enough place so they can’t be broken or dismantled easily.

Lastly, remember the most common entry points for thieves — the front, side and back doors, the first floor window, and the garage. Always keep these points locked and secure, and while you’re at it, put up home security stickers in these spots too. You can find these for as low as $10 on eBay. Having a few displayed will make anyone think twice before breaking in.

So remember, even if you don’t have a big budget, there are some low-cost ways you can protect your home.

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Category: did you know, home security, Savings Experiment

More airlines are auctioning off seats

By The Economist online

AS LONG-TIME readers of The Economist can testify, this newspaper likes auctions. For economists, it is the best solution to most problems. It is more elegant than the other two main forms of setting a fee: haggling and menu pricing. The former is inefficient because the seller might not be negotiating with the person prepared to pay the most. The latter will be inefficient unless the seller has exhaustive knowledge of the supply and demand conditions and can quickly adjust his prices accordingly.

Airlines generally take a version of the latter approach. They use dynamic pricing that calculates demand for seats on their planes and updates the fare accordingly. Generally, their algorithms do a pretty good job. Even though the price of the same seat on a flight can vary greatly over the period it is on sale, the average plane is around 80% full.

But more and more are also having a look at auctions, particularly for those looking to upgrade their seats. Some 30 carriers around the world have tried it out. The latest is Singapore Airlines, which has unveiled a new bidding system in which economy-class flyers can bid for a swankier seat in premium economy. Passengers receive an e-mail around a week before the flight asking whether they would like to bid for an upgrade and setting a minimum price. This can then be changed or cancelled any time until 50 hours before the flight, when the “winners” are informed.
Premium-economy seats offer a few marginal benefits over the standard ones, such as more legroom. For this, they cost perhaps $50 more. However, they are not always full. So sometimes airlines will simply shunt a few lucky passengers forward from the very back of the plane. But that is becoming a less common practice. As we have discussed before on this blog, many carriers now prefer to keep those hallowed seats empty, and in full view of the doleful souls who have refused to stump up the extra, pour encourager les autres.

Auctions should alleviate this problem. Assuming it is done efficiently, the issue of empty seats accruing no extra cash should disappear. For those who consider premium economy essential—the long-legged for example—the marginal saving of going through an auction will not be worth the risk of missing out altogether. For those who have always thought that the benefits do not warrant the extra expense, there is a chance to try their luck with a price they do consider to be worth it.…read more

Read more here: More airlines are auctioning off seats

Category: Business and finance, Gulliver

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