Wage inequities by state – Privacy issues and smart vibrators

I know many of you are dealing with a blizzard with major eastern cities getting 12 to 24 inches of snow today, sorry about that… it’s hard to think about that when I’m sitting here on my balcony in the nearly 90 degree weather in sunny southern California listening to the birds chirping.

There is an advantage that all of you in the snow have that the rest of us don’t have… most of you are probably off from work and/or school today. Oh well, the rest of us will simply have to muddle through.

There’s a lot to cover today: from women’s wages to vibrators and privacy issues, and everything in between.

Featured Bits

Animated map shows how much less women make than men in every state– While today may be a special day (see the next bit) we felt this report deserved top billing. There is a video on this site which will show you where your state stands in how well it pays women compared whit the other states. If you are a woman in New York, you can feel good knowing that you live in the state with the smallest pay gap; granted, women in New York are still making over 11% less than men, but it’s better than any other state in the nation. Which state is the worst? Wyoming… over 32% pay gap.

Celebrate Pi Day With These Deals On Pies And Pizzas – In celebration of π Day (today is 03/14/17…  or 3.14) many pies and pizza (pie) shops are running deals.

Dollar Bits

Passive investing set to impact Treasuries market – Against this duration and yield backdrop, and with the growing trend of automation, we contemplate how the growth of passive investing has affected not just the investors choosing a passive approach, but the overall U.S. fixed-income landscape. In observing this trend, examining both index construction and the issuance of securities, we find Treasuries are the fixed-income sector most impacted by the growth of passive investing.

You can now send and request money in Gmail on Android – Google Wallet has been integrated into Gmail on the web since 2013, but today Google is rolling out a new integration on mobile. Starting today, users of the Gmail app on Android will be able to send or request money with anyone, including those who don’t have a Gmail address, with just a tap.

Steady Wins the Investment Race – The 95 percent plunge in the price of shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals since 2015 echoes the sentiment that passive index investing is the way to go for most of us. Like the turtle; slow and steady wins the race.

18 Ways Being Too Nice Is Hurting Your Wallet – It’s nice to be nice, but sometimes it comes with a price. If you have trouble saying no to everyone, from commission-earning salespeople to bosses to your own family and friends, you’re probably overspending and under-earning.

6 Millennial Money Habits Every Retiree Should Learn – When it comes to money matters, Millennials don’t always get a good rap. These young adults are likely to view themselves in good financial health so long as they make the bills at the end of the month, let alone stow a little extra away for retirement. But don’t mistake them as financial illiterates. In fact, there are some common ways Millennials handle their money that could benefit the older generations.

How Much Do I Need to Save per Month? – No pension, no 401(k), and an expectation that there will be no Social Security benefits. How much should a 28 year old be putting away for retirement?

How to Get a Guaranteed Rate of Return on Your Money – Don’t be misled by the title, this isn’t about showing you how to capitalize on little known savings ideas which produce above-market interest rates. This just shows the various options available to you today, and how much — or how little — interest they are paying you. By the way, Warren Buffett suggests that putting money in bonds today is foolish. However, this is nothing new; he felt the same way in 2013, in 2010

If You Want Free Checking, Try a Credit Union – An overwhelming 98 percent of standalone checking accounts at credit unions are either free or pretty close to it. If you are unable/unwilling to keep a high enough balance in your bank account to get yourself free checking, you should check out your local credit union.

Health Insurance Bits

1 in 3 Can Barely Afford Medical Care – More Americans have health insurance, but they’ve also become increasingly worried over the past two years about how to pay for every aspect of their medical care. While the majority of insured adults still can afford their health care, the minority who say it’s “difficult” to pay their monthly premiums, doctor and prescription co-payments, and deductibles is growing.

Credit Card Bits

A Review of the Platinum Card from American Express and Its New Benefits – Can a card with a $550 annual fee be worth your consideration? It better have lots of perks. It better offer $200 in Uber credit and invitations to exclusive events. It does… and more.

Debt Bits

More than 1 million borrowers defaulted on their student loans last year – Roughly 1.1. million borrowers entered default on their Direct Loans, a type of federal student loan, last year, about the same as the previous year, according to an analysis of publicly available government student loan data by Rohit Chopra, a senior fellow at the Consumer Federal of America, a network of more than 250 nonprofit consumer groups. Overall, there were 4.2 million borrowers in default in 2016, up 17% from 3.6 million the year before, as some borrowers exited default while others remained in the red.

The Financial Aid Loophole That Cost Me Thousands – read the fine print.

Real estate bits

Crazy-high rent, record-low homeownership, and overcrowding: California has a plan to solve the housing crisis, but not without a fight – In the past decade, there has been an average of 80,000 homes a year built in California — 100,000 units below what’s needed to keep pace with population growth through 2025, according to a recent report by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). To manage the cost of living, more and more Californians are moving in together, often sharing rooms at twice the rate of the national average, according to the HCD.

The 10 best cities in each American region if you want to retire early – MagnifyMoney evaluated 217 US cities on cost of living (50%), quality of life (30%), and employability (20%) to determine which places in America are best for setting an early retirement plan into motion, awarding each city a composite score out of 100.

The 15 US states where young people are moving in, jobs are plentiful, and business is booming – It’s been nearly nine years since America fell into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. While the recovery has been slow and steady on the whole, some states have bounced back stronger than others. As part of its 2017 best states ranking, U.S. News & World Report ranked each US state on three economic indicators:

Mortgage Rates Are Set to Jump. Here’s How to Lock In a Low Rate Now – A decade after banks clamped down on the easy-money practices that led to the mortgage crisis, lenders are starting to loosen up a bit. Credit availability increased in December for the fourth consecutive month, reaching its highest level since 2008, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. It could loosen up still more this year if President Trump follows through on deregulation promises.

4 Reasons to Avoid a 30-Year Mortgage at All Costs – When Americans borrow money with which to buy a home, the most commonly used loan is the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, with more than 80% of homebuyers opting for it. Thirty-year mortgages have some definite pluses, but there are some meaning drawbacks, as well. Here are four reasons why you might want to consider some alternatives to the standard 30-year mortgage. See if they make sense to you and keep them in mind whenever you start the process of getting pre-approved and then approved for a mortgage — or a refinancing!

7 Tricks to Use When Refinancing a Mortgage– Interest rates are starting to inch up, with many expecting the Fed to raise rates a little more later this month. A recent strong jobs report is only making that more likely. If you have thought about refinancing your mortgage, you might want to think hard about it now, and perhaps lock in a low rate if you’re serious.

5 reasons you should (or should not) become a Realtor – Emotional investment, hard work and flexibility all drive a career in real estate — will they be your risks or rewards?

Retirement bits

Retirement planning is more than just saving money – Want to live a long, healthy, prosperous life? Then you may want to read a recent report from Merrill Lynch and Age Wave that identifies seven life priorities you should focus on. The report, “Finances in Retirement: New Challenges, New Solutions,” shows how your financial strategies integrate with other important aspects of your life. It’s based on a survey done in August 2016, with more than 4,800 adult respondents.

Misc Bits

Life Expectancy and Health Expenditure – we pay more, we die younger. Statistics can While this chart might say whatever you want them to…  for instance, I suspect that there are more guns in America than in these other countries. That might have an impact on life expectancy.

Paul Krugman: Facts Are Enemies of the People – The U.S. economy added 10.3 million jobs during President Obama’s second term, or 214,000 a month. This brought the official unemployment rate below 5 percent… But Donald Trump insisted that the good news on jobs was “phony,” that America was actually suffering from mass unemployment.

Then came the first employment report of the Trump administration, which at 235,000 jobs added looked very much like a continuation of the previous trend. And the administration claimed credit: Job numbers, Mr. Trump’s press secretary declared, “may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real now.”

9 Surprising Perks (and Some Drawbacks) of Paperless Billing – Back in 2001, paperless billing was still in its infancy, and I was a recent college graduate who was just getting started in the adult world. At the time, my car insurance provider offered me a discount if I signed up for online billing. The discount helped me overcome my reluctance to give up my paper statements and beloved check writing routine.

Americans will bet $10 billion on March Madness — and only 3% of that is legal – The National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament begins this week as 68 teams compete for the chance to win the championship; the final two teams will play for the title on April 3. Americans are expected to wager $10.4 billion on the tournament this year, up from $9.2 billion in 2016. That’s roughly equivalent to the gross domestic product of several countries including Armenia, Namibia and Malta.

Company Behind “Smart” Vibrator To Pay $3.75M In Settlement – Wow privacy issues!

The makers of an internet-connected sex toy who were accused of violating users’ privacy have agreed to pay $3.75 million to settle a federal lawsuit. Standard Innovation, makers of the We-Vibe smart vibrator, agreed to the settlement [PDF] this week, closing the book on allegations that the company improperly tracked customers’ use of the sex toy, including which vibration settings they selected.

Chart of the Day

Infographic: The Worst Roads in the USA | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista


Image credit: Thomas

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