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Teens & Money: Checking & Savings Accounts

Teens & Money: Checking & Savings Accounts

In this day and age, parents have left most of the child education responsibilities to schools and teachers. However, one subject remains untouched. Financial know-how is not taught in schools, thus when kids grow up and go to college they end up living in debt.

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Parents may have taught their kids how to spend wisely when shopping or even how to save cash on a piggy bank when they were small kids. Now that the kids are all grown and are now teenagers, the information should be upgraded to new ways of making money and managing it. This is where the idea of teaching your teenage kids about checking and savings accounts comes in.

Parents should first of all sit down with their kids and give them detailed information about a savings account. They should be made to understand that a savings account is one that does not have a debit card or check attached to it. As a result spending money from a savings account is rather difficult. Teens should be taught that when it comes to looking for the most ideal savings account, interest rates are the determining factor. This means that as the money is saved on the account, it tends to accumulate interest based on the percentage agreed upon on opening the account. This policy works in such a way that the more money that is saved, the greater the level of interest accumulated at the end of the day.

It is important to research on the different types of savings accounts before settling for any particular one. For instance a regular savings account would earn interest on a monthly basis and most definitely limits the number of withdrawals a teen can make in a month. Depending on the bank, there could be a fee for monthly maintenance. On the other hand there are other accounts referred to as CDs, which do not allow the teens to withdraw the cash within a stipulated period of time; it could be six months or even one year. Penalties are charged by banks for making withdrawals from the CDs before the stipulated period is complete. There are also the money market accounts that come with higher minimum balances and more limits on the number of withdrawals, but offer the benefit of higher interest rates than the other savings accounts.

For checking it is important to carry out a research with your teen on the different banks and their checking accounts. At the same time, a good number of banks come with teen-specific checking accounts and tools that would help your teen learn how to bank from scratch. At the same time such features would help the teens in matters like comparing terms such as monthly fees and ATM fees. You should open a checking account for your teen that features a debit card as well as checks. Teach your teen how to write a check but at the same new_teentime make him/her understand that checks are not funds. They should also be made to understand that they should not write a check if they do not have the required funds in their accounts, otherwise they are likely to incur some charges or penalties.

There are a number of key points that the teens should also be taught as they open their checking accounts such as how to balance a check book, that a debit card is not limitless, how to deduct the debit card purchases the same way and even how to record the deposits. On the other hand when opening a savings account it is essential to ensure that you sign up for automatic funds transfer. Once this is done, funds would be automatically deducted from the checking account into the savings account.

Housing Outlook is Mixed, Investors Should Look for Indirect Exposure

Housing Outlook is Mixed, Investors Should Look for Indirect Exposure

The U.S. housing market periodically shows signs of life, but with each resurgence in optimism follows a period of disappointment as expectations rise too quickly.  Housing starts remain below normalized levels based on historic data, and the timing of a recovery is uncertain despite improvements across other sectors in the U.S. economy.  While the housing market is slowly improving, the outlook and pace of a recovery remains uncertain.  Investors looking for housing should look to stocks with indirect exposure due to the risks that remain.

December Results were Mixed

Data released on January 21, 2015 indicated that new starts were up 4.4% in December, a positive swing at year-end.  Single-family homes, which had previously lagged apartments, were up 4.5% in the month, the largest increase since September 2012.  However the results were mixed.  Permits, an indication of future activity, were down 1.9%.

Housing2

Low interest rates, favorable government policies, interest from overseas buyers, and affordable prices should have all come together to make the housing market one of the first to recover.  However, housing starts are lackluster.  In the chart, note that while starts are on an upward trend, they are still at historic trough levels when looking at the data back to 1959.

The market should be stronger by just looking at mortgage rates.  Rates have continue to decline over the past year, especially on 30-year fixed rate mortgages (FRM).  Thirty-year FRMs are down to 3.66% from just under 4.5% in January 2014 (see following chart).  The problem is not the price of money, but the unwillingness of banks to soften the lending standards to those without the most perfect credits.

Housing1

Tight Mortgage Policies at Banks

Lending policies remain tight at banks, and they are still selective on mortgage lending.  The large penalties most banks had to pay after the crisis has caused increased caution in loan standards.  This continues to weigh on the resale market and on new starts.

Tight credit is a big problem for the housing market. Unless the buyer has outstanding credit, finding a loan is difficult.  This is despite low interest rates, and banks looking to invest their money.  Many banks are increasing loans in other parts of the business that have less regulatory risk.  Currently, the new regulations require that if a bank errors in a loan it underwrites, it must repurchase those loans.

Fannie & Freddie Relax Standards

The Obama Administration is implementing new policies to try and loosen up the mortgage market.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently adjusted lending standards for packages of mortgages they back.  The new policy allows for down payment requirements as low as 3%.   Also, to address the threat banks could face from having to repurchase loans, Fannie and Freddie have more clearly laid out what issues would trigger an event.

The FHA also took action and cut the annual mortgage-insurance premium to 50 bp to 0.85%.  HAMP was also extended beyond 2015 as the current backlog to extend repayment terms is still over 200,000.

While these actions are somewhat marginal, the government lacks significant levers to pull.  Interest rates are already low and concerns remain in the market from the housing bubble.  That said, these actions and a rebounding economy could be enough in 2015 to act as the catalyst for a more robust recovery in housing.  Some markets are showing positive signs on the margins.

Marginal Data from Redfin is Positive

Data from Redfin, a real-estate broker, indicates that 35% of homeowners are renting out homes prior to selling versus 39% in 2013.  This shows increasing confidence in current prices.   Data from the same firm shows that only 11% of homeowners in its market had negative equity in November 2014 compared with 19% in the previous spring.  This increases homeowners’ confidence in the market and increases the likelihood they look to trade-up to pricier homes.

Stock Ideas to Play Housing for 2015

While the timing of a recovery remains uncertain, investors looking to find stocks with housing exposure to benefit from a recovery should look to mortgage writers and related retailers.  A financial like Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) or Bank of America (NYSE: BA) will benefit when the number mortgages they underwrite starts to increase.  Home improvement centers like Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and Lowes (NYSE: LOW) should also benefit from an improving housing market and a stronger retail outlook for 2015.    Even Target (NYSE: TGT) benefits when housing improves, since people that move purchase new home related products.  Homebuilders are a more direct way to gain exposure to the market.  Each one has a certain profile, so investors should dive into this a little deeper to understand geographic and segment exposure.

The Outlook Remains Uncertain

Analysts have a wide range of views on housing recovery for 2015.  While some expect double-digit increases, the more common view is for growth in the single-digits with some room for an upside surprise.  Investors should continue to closely watch the data as an economic barometer, but also to time entry into housing related equities.  Investors with a longer investment horizon, can look to invest in housing related stocks that should increase in value when the recovery does finally occur.

20 Odd Ways to Make Extra Money

By Money Talks News:

There comes a time when almost everyone could use a little more cash in their pocket.

While a part-time job may be your best bet for a steady stream of income, delivering pizzas or waiting tables might not be your thing. Or maybe you just need a little extra fun money to support your designer shoe habit.

Whatever the reason, we have a slew of unusual ways for you to bring in extra cash.

1. Sell your body. No, not that way! Instead, sell your plasma or even your hair. Either can be legally sold for money. Unfortunately, the government frowns on you selling a kidney — something about ethics, I hear. (In fact, it’s illegal.)

Plasma will garner you pocket change — maybe $15 to $40 — while there are big bucks to be made with the right hair.

2. Participate in a clinical trial. Do your part for science and earn some cash on the side by participating in a clinical trial.

Clinical trials are often intended for people who have specific medical conditions in the hopes of seeing how they respond to new treatments. However, some clinical trials also recruit healthy adults as a control group.

If you don’t mind being a guinea pig, you can find clinical trials by searching on the National Institutes of Health database or this Food and Drug Administration page. In either case, use the search words “healthy” or “normal” to find trials recruiting healthy volunteers.

3. Round up scrap metal. If you have access to a truck or trailer, you can collect old metal items and head to your local scrap yard.

You need to do a little research to learn which items can be scrapped and where to find them. But this can be a lucrative niche for those who know what they’re doing.

4. Walk some dogs — or clean up after them. Spread the word to family and friends that you are available for dog-walking services.

You could also post an ad on Craigslist or contact local kennels to see if they need anyone to exercise the canines under their care.

At the same time, you could also advertise a service to clean up after dogs. Some owners will gladly pay someone else to do the dirty work of picking up their yards.

5. House-sit. Baby-sitting kids is one way to earn money, but why stop there? Houses are so much quieter, don’t need to be fed and never talk back.

Several websites offer potential sitters the opportunity to connect with homeowners who need someone to keep an eye on their houses for an extended stay. It might be a good way to see the world, even if your compensation is just free room and board.

Advertise locally for people who are willing to pay you to check in on their house and maybe perform some light maintenance — such as lawn mowing — while they’re gone.

6. Get creative and open an online store. Sites for Etsy, Zazzle and CafePress make it …read more

Read more here: 20 Odd Ways to Make Extra Money

Category: career, fast money, jobs, make money, personal finance, side jobs

5 Frugal Hobbies to Help You Stress Less

By U.S. News...

There’s plenty to do in these waning summer days to melt away stress and anxiety. Heading to the beach or the pool on the weekend with a good book works well, and you can even take your lunch outside on the workday if it’s not too hot. Fresh air and sunshine can work wonders on your mental health.

With the busy school season and cooler temperature headed our way, you may want to think about how you can continue to make time for yourself during fall and winter. You might have to be indoors more often, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find your inner bliss.

Here are a few suggestions for new, relaxing hobbies you can adopt without shelling out a lot of cash:

Coloring

Who would have thought one of your favorite childhood pastimes is now a new hot trend for those looking to relieve stress? Many adults claim that coloring is a mindless activity that can help them relax and find quiet time for themselves. There are now many adult coloring books on the market, with intricate, beautiful designs and themes. Luckily, this hobby won’t cost you too much to start — many adult coloring books go for less than $10 on Amazon. You can take your hobby a step further and get together with coworkers or friends for group coloring.

Hiking

What better time to take up hiking than during the autumn foliage season? Even if you don’t live near mountainous terrain, you can find walking trails or nature preserves in almost every community. Hiking can keep you active even as it gets colder, and when the snow starts to fall you can continue your adventures with a good pair of hiking boots or snowshoes. Just search the sales and look for coupons to make sure you get a discount on a good brand of shoes — you shouldn’t skimp and buy a cheap version that might fall apart quickly or hurt your feet. Boots are one place it can make sense to spend a little more, especially if you’re wearing them to engage in an activity as thrifty as hiking. You can even pack your lunch and have a picnic, too.

Learning a Language

You might think learning a language requires expensive software or signing up for a pricy course. Thanks to the Internet, you can now learn languages for free. Websites like Duolingo and Memrise have countless hours of free resources and courses to help you learn whatever language you want, at no cost to you. You can even compete with others and earn points to stay motivated. If you start now, you might be able to impress your relatives in time for your annual holiday party!

Listening to Podcasts

There is an abundance of free podcasts available right on your mobile device. You can find stations and series on current events, happiness and well-being, sports, health, money, comedy — you name it and it’s there. It’s an incredible free resource and it already …read more

Read more here: 5 Frugal Hobbies to Help You Stress Less

Category: coloring, crafts, entertainment, family money, genealogy, hiking, hobbies, language, personal finance, podcast, saving money, shopping, stress

Indiana Allows Businesses to Refuse to Serve Gay Customers

By MainStreet.com:..By Eric Reed…

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Thursday signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which protect business owners who deny service to homosexuals.

Indiana’s version of religious freedom might end up costing the state big bucks.

Under a bill signed into law Thursday by the Republican Gov. Mike Pence, Indiana has become the 20th state to protect business owners who deny service to homosexuals. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows a business owner to cite his or her religious beliefs as a defense in court and bans local governments from making any law “substantially burdening” the free exercise of religion. The measure prohibiting local action addresses a recent spate of municipal anti-discrimination laws passed by cities across the country.

The law became a lightning rod almost instantly. “We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees,” wrote Indianapolis-based NCAA President Mark Emmert. While the Final Four will proceed as planned in Indianapolis this year, he said the conference will “closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.”

Defense by Conservatives

Proponents claim that this law is necessary to prevent business owners from being forced to act against their religious beliefs, while critics argue that conservatives use “religious freedom” as a thin veil for discrimination. Pence disagreed, further arguing that “the Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action.”

Conservatives argue that these bills are necessary to protect business owners from having to choose between the law and their own faith. They cite cases such as the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado as examples, whose owner refused service to a gay couple and said that he “would close down the bakery” before serving a gay wedding. Since neither Constitutional nor federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation there, state and local laws have been left to find their own way.

Legal experts, however, point out that Indiana’s religious freedom law could extend well beyond its intent. Under language that protects any claim of religious burden a virtual patchwork of faith-based issues could spring forth from businesses around the state. Fears of faith-based racism are, however, unfounded. Racial discrimination is banned under federal law which Indiana cannot supersede.

Criticism by Businesses, Churches

In the immediate wake of passage Indiana began receiving national criticism. In addition to concerns expressed by the NCAA, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff announced in a series of tweets that his company will cancel all programs that require its employees or customers to travel to Indiana, urging “slow rolling economic sanctions if the law is not thrown out.”

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman joined in with an open letter, saying that “it …read more

Read more here: Indiana Allows Businesses to Refuse to Serve Gay Customers

Category: chamber of commerce, civil rights, discrimination, final four, freedom of religion, gay rights, gays, homosexual, homosexuals, Indiana, march madness, mike pence, NCAA Tournament, refuse service, religious freedom, Salesforce.com, yelp

5 ways to get the best mortgage deal

5 ways to get the best mortgage deal

Buying a house usually means going through the process of finding a mortgage. While it’s easy to find a smallmortgage, it can be a lot more complicated to make sure that you’re getting the best deal. In addition to a low interest rate, a good mortgage should also have low closing costs and great customer service. In order to find a good mortgage, follow these tips.

  • Get your credit score as high as possible. Start by getting copies of your credit reports and look for errors. Work on correcting any bad information, then work on mistakes. While it isn’t always possible to get notations of bad incidents removed, it’s worth it to try. If you can’t fix anything, consider waiting a few months for bad information to fall off of your report.
  • Be honest on your loan applications. In today’s market, everything is going to be checked, so it doesn’t make sense to lie about your credit score or leave off assets and loans. If you need to use income from a bonus or second job in order to qualify for the loan, be prepared to show proof.
  • Make as big of a down payment as you can. The more of your money that you’re willing to invest, the less risky the loan is for the bank. That means a lower interest rate if you can come to the table with a large down payment. Try to save at least twenty percent of the value of the home before mortgage shopping. Of course, make sure that you can still afford your moving costs and the closing costs on the mortgage.
  • Don’t just look at the interest rate. While the interest rate can be important, its also critical to consider the fees and other charges that come along with the mortgage. Closing costs and other fees can add up to a lot more than the monthly interest charges.
  • Know how much your home is worth. This is critical if you’re doing a refinance, but it is also important for first time home buyers to know what the asset they’re buying is worth. Homes that are mortgaged for more than their appraised value tend to have mortgages with higher interest rates. If you know what your home is worth, however, you’ll be in a better position to negotiate a lower rate.

 

6 Unusual Ways to Make Money From Home

You can make money from your junk mail.
We’ve all heard the same-old, same-old suggestions for ways to make money from home: become an eBay seller, join online focus groups, start a blog. And while those are all great ideas, what if you’re looking for something a little more … different?

Whether you’re not interesting in the usual suggestions or you’re looking for something additional, here are six cool, lesser-known ways to earn some extra income from home.

1. Rent Out Parts of Your Home

In the past two years, I’ve earned an extra $40,800 by simply renting out the rooms in my home.

One of the easiest ways to make money from home is to — literally — make money from your home. Airbnb isn’t just for renting out your whole house or apartment when you’re on vacation; you can also rent part of your home, whether it’s a guest room or a finished basement. You can also arrange short-term rentals through Roomorama or even Craigslist.

Got room in your garage, basement or an extra crawlspace in your attic? You can also rent out storage space in your home through Store at My House or StoreWithMe. If you’ve got an office you rarely use, you can rent it out through Desktime. You can even rent out your driveway for a fee through JustPark or Park On My Drive.

2. Pet Sit

If you’re a dog lover, you can earn some extra dough by opening up your home to pups whose owners need to take a little time away. Sites like DogVacay and Rover allow you to list various services, from daycare to overnight sitting to walking and grooming, to turn your passion for pets into a nice little side business. Both sites provide insurance coverage for the animals in your care should an emergency arise while they’re with you.

You set your hours of availability, then get paid to play, pet and cuddle adorable pooches in your spare time. How sweet is that?

3. Rent Out Your Car

Have a car you rarely use? Don’t let it just sit there; put it to work for you by renting it out on sites like RelayRides and Getaround. Tell people when you won’t be needing your car and you can get some extra cash for that vehicle that would otherwise just be taking up space.

If you’re worried about someone damaging your car, these companies have you covered. Renters are required to purchase insurance policies and also to have your car cleaned and detailed if they get it dirty while using it.

4. Sell Your Junk Mail and Inserts

Most of just throw away those unsolicited offers that arrive in the mail, as well as the inserts in the Sunday paper. But there are companies and individuals who will actually pay you for these things.

Market research company SBK Center provides you with …read more

Read more here: 6 Unusual Ways to Make Money From Home

Category: airbnb, earn money, Fast Money, instagram, make money, make money fast, make money from home, make money online, quick cash

NVIDIA Stock Breaks Out After Price Target Hike

NVIDIA shares broke out to all-time highs following favorable analyst comments, but traders will be watching these levels. …read more

Read more here: NVIDIA Stock Breaks Out After Price Target Hike

Category: NVDA, AMD

How Does a Government Shutdown Impact Markets?

The federal government ran out of money Friday night after the Senate failed to agree to a funding proposal to keep it operating. After having already approved four short-term funding agreements this fiscal year, a fifth proved to be insurmountable. As the deadline approached on Friday, investors were unfazed, and the S&P 500 rose steadily into the close to post a 0.4 percent gain on the day.

…read more

Read more here: How Does a Government Shutdown Impact Markets?

Stay Connected and Invested in Verizon

Verizon is the cheapest “Dog of the Dow,” with a P/E ratio of 13.31 and a dividend yield of 4.60%. …read more

Read more here: Stay Connected and Invested in Verizon

Category: VZ

Netflix Subscriber Growth Must Exceed Content Cost

Netflix is not a value stock – it’s a momentum stock given an elevated P/E ratio of 222.69 and lack of a dividend. …read more

Read more here: Netflix Subscriber Growth Must Exceed Content Cost

Category: NFLX

Stocks March Higher Despite Ongoing Risks

U.S. stocks continued to surge this week despite high valuations, weak inflation and the looming threat of a government shutdown. …read more

Read more here: Stocks March Higher Despite Ongoing Risks

Category: SPY, DIA, QQQ, IWM

Sprint Stock Breaks Down From Key Support Levels

Sprint shares broke down from key support levels on Thursday, but traders will be watching these levels over the coming sessions. …read more

Read more here: Sprint Stock Breaks Down From Key Support Levels

Category: S, VZ

AmEx Breakout in Jeopardy After Buyback Suspension

American Express stock is testing November’s breakout above 2014 resistance and could break down in the coming weeks. …read more

Read more here: AmEx Breakout in Jeopardy After Buyback Suspension

Category: AXP

Legacy airlines are facing new competitors on transatlantic routes

By The Economist online…

Even for a global industry like aviation, Primera Air’s business model seems remarkably cosmopolitan. The Icelandic-owned budget airline is headquartered in Latvia, but mainly operates low-cost flights from Denmark and Sweden to sunny places in the Mediterranean. This summer, it will begin long-haul flights from Britain and France to America. The company bears more than a passing resemblance to Norwegian Air Shuttle, another nominally Scandinavian airline with global aspirations. More than two-thirds of Norwegian’s capacity by passenger-km now bypasses its home country, and the rapid growth of its long-haul operations are proving to be a serious challenge for legacy carriers such as British Airways. And its tentacles are spreading around the world. This autumn, the carrier will begin operating domestic Argentinian flights, 12,000km away from its home base.

Low-cost airlines are not new. Ryanair, founded in the 1980s, has grown to become Europe’s biggest and cheapest airline. But low-cost carriers like it have generally stuck to short-haul flights in their local region. That is now changing as a breed of budget outfits, including Norwegian and Primera, cast their gaze further afield.

Two ingredients have allowed airlines such as these to escape the limitations of their home markets. The first is the liberalisation of aviation regulations, notably in the form of the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) and the EU-US Open Skies treaty. The ECAA allows, with some exceptions, any European airline to fly between any two points in the continent. The EU-US Open Skies treaty similarly allows airlines based in those blocs to fly between any American and European airport. Second, these no-frills carriers are deploying new aircraft that, for the first time, cut costs deep enough to make viable budget airfares on long routes with low demand. Primera’s transatlantic flights will start from as little as $99 one-way, thanks to the fuel-efficiency of the Airbus A321neo, a plane sized for short-haul journeys but capable of reaching mid-haul destinations.

Flights across the Atlantic were once the preserve of the high-cost legacy carriers. Five years ago, 98.5% of capacity between London and New York was provided by five legacy airlines: British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. A network of joint-ventures—co-operation deals that allow separate carriers to behave as if they were one—effectively made the market an oligopoly of three. The only challenge came from Kuwait Airways, which had flights that stopped in Britain on route to America. This summer, however, the market share of the big three will drop below 90% thanks to the presence of Norwegian and Primera. That can only be good news for flyers. After years of fare rises, travelling across the Atlantic is becoming cheaper again, due in part to a 15% increase in the number of seats available since 2013.

Read more here: Legacy airlines are facing new competitors on transatlantic routes…read more

Category: Business and finance, Gulliver

Crypto Plays Set to Squeeze Overconfident Shorts

Bitcoin set off ‘buy’ signals on Wednesday after breaking psychological support at $10,000, dropping to a seven-week low at $9,231 and then closing back above the big round number. This price action made perfect sense from a structural standpoint, with the breakdown attracting a large supply of weak-handed short sellers hoping to capitalize on a momentum-fueled decline. The turnaround unfolded at a harmonic target, raising the odds for a bounce between $13,000 and $14,000.

Blockchain stock plays followed suit, dumping to multi-week lows and bouncing strongly into the closing bell. They are adding to gains on Thursday morning, with bitcoin lifting more than 15% overnight. Dip buyers not already positioned should watch key price levels for short-term signals that could generate windfall profits. Just keep in mind that these volatile instruments amplify the destructive impact of drawdowns, so it is important to keep position size small and place stops to limit losses. (See also: Is the Bitcoin Price Bubble Bursting?)

Bitcoin surged higher after breaking the $10,000 level, setting off a short squeeze that could gain traction in the coming days. …read more

Read more here: Crypto Plays Set to Squeeze Overconfident Shorts

Category: RIOT, KODK, BTC/USD

Why driverless cars may mean jams tomorrow

By The Economist online….

THE most distractingly unrealistic feature of most science fiction—by some margin—is how the great soaring cities of the future never seem to struggle with traffic. Whatever dystopias lie ahead, futurists seem confident we can sort out congestion. If hope that technology will fix traffic springs eternal, history suggests something different. Transport innovation, from railways to cars, reshaped cities and drove economic advance. But it also brought crowded commutes. Now, as tech firms and carmakers aim to roll out fleets of driverless cars, it is worth asking: might this time be different? Alas, artificial intelligence (AI) is unlikely to succeed where steel rails and internal-combustion engines failed.

More’s the pity. In America alone, traffic congestion brings economic losses estimated in the hundreds of billions of dollars each year. Such costs will rise unless existing transport systems receive badly needed investment. For example, fixing New York’s beleaguered, overcrowded subway will take at least $100bn, according to one recent estimate. A driverless deus ex machina might seem to spare governments some difficult decisions.

But congestion is a near-inevitable side-effect of urban growth. Cities exist because being near to other people brings enormous advantages. Proximity allows people to find friends, mates and business partners, to discuss ideas and generate new ones, and to trade (and so to capture the benefits of specialisation). Regrettably, clumping leads to crowding: the more people an area houses, the greater the competition for its scarce resources, from seats at a hot new restaurant to space on public roadways. Each new arrival enhances a city’s magic but also adds to congestion. Cities grow until costs outstrip benefits.

New transport technologies are not useless. Mass-transit railways and highways allowed big cities to get bigger. But their congestion-easing benefits inevitably proved temporary. When the New York subway extended into northern Manhattan, it became practical to live far from the dirty, expensive, crowded downtown area, while still enjoying access to the city’s social and economic benefits. So the city’s population rose—a lot—leaving New Yorkers once more cheek by jowl. A post-war highway-building boom in America yielded explosive growth in city suburbs. Cities once again found their equilibrium, however, as the suburban land-rush led to road congestion, raising the cost of living far from employment centres. In a paper published in 2011, Gilles Duranton, of the University of Pennsylvania, and Matthew Turner, of Brown University, identified a “fundamental law of road congestion”: namely, that building more highways does not alleviate congestion. Rather, it attracts more residents, leads to more driving by existing residents and boosts transport-intensive economic activity, until roads are once again crammed.

Read more here: Why driverless cars may mean jams tomorrow…read more

Category: Business and finance, Approved, Finance and economics, FINANCE

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