Dining Out Is Just About the Worst Thing You Can Do to Your Finances

Illustration by Sibel Ergener

by John McDermott

It’s not just the check—restaurant meals put us in a ‘consumer mindset’

One of the most common pieces of advice you’ll get from personal finance experts is to eat out less. By cooking at home, you almost always manage to spend less money on food (not to mention eat healthier).

But a new study not only confirms that eating out is bad for your finances, but suggests that eating out is among the worst things you can do for your personal financial health.

“What we saw consistently throughout the study was that when people reported their dining-out budget for the second time during the experiment, it was significantly higher than what they stated the first time,” Penn State professor Amit Sharma, one of the study’s co-authors, tells Futurity. “What this tells us is that obviously they thought they would spend less in a week, but as the week progressed, they realized they were spending a lot more and they rationalized that increase.”

Specifically, people increased their personal dining out budgets from less than $18 in the first week of the study to $55 in week two, when they realized the first figure was unrealistic.

I’m not sure where these study respondents live that any of them think $18 would last them a week’s worth of dining out. They certainly don’t live in L.A., where $18 gets you a tablespoon of quinoa with a side of two fig leaves, or New York, where $18 is the admission price for the privilege of waiting to maybe buy a cronut.

What’s most interesting, though, is the rationalization part. Rather than curb their dining out in the face of that information, people just readjust their budgets to meet their actual spending habits.

People’s tendency to overspend is partially due to valuing immediate gratification over the long-term benefits of saving. In Sharma’s study, people’s weekly budget goals were no match for their pressing desire to go out and eat some delicious food. “We tend to discount the future more than we should and, therefore, place higher value on current consumption,” says Sharma.

Worse, the study suggests that eating out changes people’s mindset from saving to consumption.

Serious savers know that a commitment to saving is about more than abstaining from the occasional splurge — it’s a mindset that informs every aspect of their lives. They understand that while spending $5 at Starbucks may seem like a minor purchase, it’s actually very important. That daily $5 purchase each morning equates to more than $1,200 over the course of a year, so serious savers opt for the shitty office brew. Conduct that calculus on all the small, seemingly inconsequential purchases in one’s life, and you have significant savings.

The people MEL profiled in our Into the Black series, for instance, didn’t pay off their debts because they refrained from buying expensive cars. They did so by identifying and cutting out any and all unnecessary purchases, no matter the size, and letting the savings accumulate over time. They bought cheap beer, hosted game nights and potlucks and took up free hobbies such as rock climbing instead of meeting their friends out at fancy cocktail bars.

But going out to eat seems to take a person out of that vigilant savings mindset: What’s a $5 coffee when I already spent $12 on lunch?

Way more than they could have imagined. In fact, foregoing that morning coffee could turn them into a millionaire, according to personal finance guru David Bach. If you’re younger than 30, and put the money you usually spend on a morning latte into a retirement account, it’ll grow to $1 million by the time you’re retirement age.

And that’s money you can dine out on.

https://melmagazine.com/dining-out-is-just-about-the-worst-thing-you-can-do-for-your-finances-bbee7062048e#.yywk7ha3p

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The Real Story of David Rockefeller That the Media Isn’t Telling

Mint Press News
Waking Times

No one person encapsulates the enduring legacy of the “robber barons” of the Industrial Age quite like David Rockefeller. Rockefeller, who died today at the age of 101, was the last surviving grandson of John D. Rockefeller, the oil tycoon who became America’s first billionaire and the patriarch of what would become one of the most powerful and wealthiest families in American history. David Rockefeller, an undeniable product of American nobility, lived his entire life in the echelons of U.S. society, becoming symbolic of the elite who often direct public policy to a much greater extent than many realize, albeit often from the shadows.

Rockefeller made it clear that he preferred to operate out of public view despite his great influence in American – and international – politics. Due to his birthright, Rockefeller served as an advisor to every president since Eisenhower, but when offered powerful positions such as Federal Reserve chairman and Secretary of the Treasury – he declined, preferring “a private role.

As evidenced by the numerous obituaries bemoaning the loss of the last of the Rockefeller’s grandsons, he was largely successful in hiding his most significant wrongdoings from public view, as evidenced by his characterization as a generous philanthropist and influential banker.

But as is often the case, Rockefeller’s true legacy is much more mired in controversy than major publications seem willing to admit. In addition to having the ear of every U.S. president for the better part of the last 70 or so years, Rockefeller – once again operating “behind the scenes” – was instrumental in shaping the more cringe-worthy aspects of U.S. policy during that time, as well as being a major force in establishing banking policies that led to debt crises in the developing world.

Rockefeller – as the head of Chase Manhattan Bank from 1969 to 1981 – worked with government and multinational corporations throughout the world to create a “global order” unequivocally dominated by the 1 percent, of which his family was a part. As the New York Times noted back in the 1970s, Rockefeller became embroiled in controversy when his constant trips overseas caused the bank to become less profitable, as he prioritized the bank’s influence on foreign politics over its actual business dealings.

During his time as Chase CEO, Rockefeller helped laid the foundation for repressive, racist and fascist regimes around the world, as well as architecture for global inequality. In addition, Rockefeller helped to bring the debt crisis of the 1980s into existence, in part by direct action through Chase Bank and also indirectly through his former employee-turned-Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker. Two years before the debt crisis erupted, Rockefeller, Volcker and other top bankers met at the International Monetary Conference in 1980s to argue for the establishment of a “safety net” for major banks – like Chase – that were embroiled in bad loans given largely to countries in the developing world.

David Rockefeller, center, chairman of the Chase Manhattan?s Bank?s International Advisory Committee and the banks? former chairman of the board and chief executive officer, receives the 1983 International Leadership Award from the U.S. Council for International Business, presented by Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, former Secretary of State, left, and Ralph A. Pfeiffer, Jr., U.S. Council Chairman, at New York?s Pierre Hotel on Thursday, Dec. 9, 1983. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to world trade and investment. (AP Photo/Ron Frehm)

After the crisis brought financial ruin to Latin America and other developing areas throughout the world, Rockefeller – along with other bankers – created austerity programs to “solve” the debt crisis during subsequent IMC meetings, provoking inequality that still persists to this day. However, thanks to the “safety net” conveniently established years prior, Chase avoided the economic consequences for its criminal actions.

In addition, Rockefeller supported the bloody and ruthless dictatorships of the Shah of Iran and Augusto Pinochet of Chile while also supporting Israeli apartheid. Rockefeller then went on to found the influential Trilateral Commission while also serving as a major force on the Council on Foreign Relations that he, along with his close friend Henry Kissinger, would come to dominate.

Both of these organizations have come under fire for using their powerful influence to bring about a “one-world government” ruled by a powerful, ultra-wealthy elite – an accusation to which David Rockefeller confirmed as true in his autobiography. Far from the generous philanthropist he is made to be, David Rockefeller deserves to be remembered for his true legacy – one of elitism, fascism and economic enslavement.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/03/23/real-story-david-rockefeller-media-isnt-telling/

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If Your Partner Lies About Their Finances, Your Relationship is Doomed

Illustration by Dave van Patten

by John McDermott

The costliest kind of deceit

When Cary Carbonaro found out her husband had hidden $70,000 in student-loan debt from her, it was the beginning of the end for their young marriage. It wasn’t the only reason they got divorced — he was a verbally abusive cheater — but it was the first sign that something was seriously wrong. And as with many relationship missteps, the cover-up was worse than the crime.

Carbonaro was a victim of “financial infidelity,” her term for when a person lies about financial matters to their partner. It can mean racking up thousands of dollars in debt on a secret credit card, lying about the financial health of your small business or pilfering your joint retirement account to satisfy a gambling addiction.

Whichever the case, it always involves deceit, she says, and it’s almost always a relationship-killer.

“Money is a litmus test for your relationship,” says Carbonaro, managing director at the wealth management firm United Capital and author of The Money Queen’s Guide: For Women Who Want to Build Wealth and Banish Fear. “If you have money issues, you’re gonna have relationships issues.”

Financial infidelity is shockingly common. A recent survey by CreditCards.com revealed that a staggering 12 million Americans have a secret bank or credit card account they keep concealed from their partner. That’s kind of a lot! Is it a shocking amount? That’s hard to say. But it certainly seems significant. A 2016 Harris Poll finds 42 percent (!!!) of people in couples commit some form of financial infidelity, up from 33 percent just two years prior.

Here’s also some anecdotal evidence: Carbonaro is currently working on her second book, which will be co-authored by a divorce attorney. And Carbonaro’s co-author tells her the most common causes of divorce among her clients are sexual/emotional infidelity, money issues or both.

Another interesting tidbit from the CreditCards.com study: Boomers are four times more likely to have a secret account than millennials, and twice as likely to make a purchase of $500 or more without consulting their partner. Turns out those entitled millennials lack the financial hang-ups of their parents’ generation.

You may know less about your partner than you realize. A 2015 study from Fidelity Investments reveals couples know less about their partner’s finances than they realize. The overwhelmingly majority of couples surveyed (72 percent) report they communicate well about financial matters, yet 43 percent of respondents couldn’t identify their partner’s income. Of that group, 10 percent couldn’t guess it within $25,000. And about half (48 percent) of all respondents disagree with their partner on how much they’ll need to save for retirement.

That is, even couples who think they’re being transparent with each other about their money situation are still ignorant to certain aspects of their partner’s finances. (If you think that applies to you and yours, you can take Fidelity’s free financial compatibility quiz and illuminate any disconnects between you and your partner.)

Hiding debt is the most common form of financial infidelity. As noted above, financial infidelity can manifest in many ways. That said, hiding a splurge purchase that you intend to pay off in the near future probably doesn’t qualify as full-blown infidelity, Carbonaro says. And degenerate gambling cases are rare.

People not divulging how much they owe in debt, however, is very common. They’re usually doing so because they’re worried their poor finances will upset or put off their partner. “A lot of people are embarrassed by their debt and spending,” says Carbonaro. “They don’t want to be judged.”…

more…

https://melmagazine.com/if-your-partner-lies-about-their-finances-your-relationship-is-doomed-f4e3660a8e80#.yry7a2x7j

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16 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Live In California

 

San Francisco Skyline - Public Domain

By Michael Snyder

It has been said that “as California goes, so goes the nation”.  That is why it is such a shame what is happening to that once great state.  At one time, California seemed to be the epicenter of the American Dream.  Featuring some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the entire world, the gorgeous weather and booming economy of the state inspired people from all over the world to move to the state.  But now people are moving out of the state by the millions, because life in California has literally become a nightmare for so many people.

I certainly don’t have anything against the state personally.  My brother and sister were both born there, and I spent a number of my childhood years in stunning northern California.  When I was younger I would sometimes dream of getting a place on the coast eventually, but for reasons I will discuss below I no longer think that would be advisable.

In fact, if I was living in California today I would be immediately looking for a way to move out of the state unless I specifically felt called to stay.  The following are 16 reasons why you shouldn’t live in California…

#1 The entire California coastline is part of the “Ring of Fire” seismic zone that roughly encircles the Pacific Ocean.  The San Andreas Fault has been described as a “time bomb“, and at some point there will be a catastrophic earthquake that absolutely devastates the entire region.  In fact, a study that was just released says that a “major earthquake” on the San Andreas Fault “is way overdue”

A recently published study reveals new evidence that a major earthquake is way overdue on a 100 mile stretch of the San Andreas Fault from the Antelope Valley to the Tejon Pass and beyond.

Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey released the results of the years-long study warning a major earthquake could strike soon.

#2 Out of all 50 states, the state of California has been ranked as the worst state for business for 12 years in a row

In what is sounding like a broken record, California once again ranked dead last in Chief Executive magazine’s annual Best and Worst States for Business survey of CEOs – as it has all 12 years the survey has been conducted. Texas, meanwhile, earned the top spot for the 12th straight year.

Among the survey’s subcategories, the 513 CEOs from across the nation ranked California 50th in taxation and regulation, 35th in workforce quality and 26th in living environment, which includes cost of living, the education system and state and local attitudes toward business. Notably, California placed worst among the nine states in the Western region in all three categories.

#3 California has the highest state income tax rates in the entire nation.  For many Americans, the difference between what you would have to pay if you lived in California and what you would have to pay if you lived in Texas could literally buy a car every single year.

#4 The state government in Sacramento seems to go a little bit more insane with each passing session.  This time around, they are talking about going to a single-payer healthcare system for the entire state that would cost California taxpayers 40 billion dollars a year

On Friday, State Senator Ricardo Lara introduced legislation that would transition California’s healthcare into a single-payer system. (RELATED: Read what a retired colonel said about the real purpose of Obamacare). The system would be very similar to the healthcare system currently in place in Canada and would cost California taxpayers roughly $40 billion for the first year alone. Given the poor economic climate California has already created for itself, this will no doubt be just one more burden on the people of California, and one step closer towards total bankruptcy.

Micah Weinberg, the president of the Economic Institute at the Bay Area Council, raised concerns over the financial consequences of the proposed legislation. “Where are they going to come up with the $40 billion?” he asked. He went on to suggest that adopting a state level single-payer system is “just not feasible to do as a state.”

#5 The traffic in the major cities just keeps getting worse and worse.  According to USA Today, Los Angeles now has the worst traffic in the entire world, and San Francisco is not far behind.

#6 A lot of money is being made in Silicon Valley these days (at least for now), but poverty is also exploding in the state.  In desperation, homeless people are banding together to create large tent cities all over the state, and the L.A. City Council recently asked Governor Jerry Brown “to declare homelessness a statewide emergency“.

#7 Thanks to unchecked illegal immigration, crime is on the rise in many California cities.  The drug war that has been raging for years in Mexico is increasingly spilling over the border, and many families have moved out of the state for this reason alone.

#8 California is one of the most litigious states in the entire nation.  According to the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, the “lawsuit climate” in California is ranked 47th out of all 50 states.

#9 Every year wildfires and mudslides wreak havoc in the state.  Erosion is particularly bad along the coast, and I have previously written about how some portions of the California coastline are literally falling into the ocean.

#10 California has some of the most ridiculous housing prices in the entire country.  Due to a lack of affordable housing rents have soared to wild extremes in San Francisco, where one poor engineer was actually paying $1,400 a month to live in a closet

more…

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/16-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-live-in-california

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Swedish Insanity – Welfare Is Funding 300 Islamic Terrorists

AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

Swedish Welfare State Funding Islamic Terrorism

A new damning report shows that multiple Islamist fighters who have travelled from Sweden to fight in Syria and Iraq have been the beneficiaries of welfare payments from the Swedish government.

The new report created by the by the National Defence University on behalf of the Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) shows that around 300 Islamists have claimed benefits by using others to give the government the impression that they are still in Sweden despite the fact that they are in Syria or Iraq fighting for jihadist groups, Swedish broadcaster SVT reports

Terrorist researcher and one of the authors of the report Magnus Ranstorp said the problem isn’t just limited to Sweden. Commenting on the results, he said: “it was not surprising, we have seen the same pattern in other countries. Most surprising was that almost all had it in some form. But it is the monitoring that needs to work better. The problem is that there is too little follow-up.”

The 300 individuals covered in the report traveled from Sweden to the Middle East between 2013 and 2016, and are thought to have participated in fighting for groups including the terrorist Islamic State.

Housing allowances, child support, student loans, maintenance and parental benefits are the most common types of benefits earned by the Islamists, often collected by a third party with the money then sent to them overseas. ” It’s not big money, they do not get rich on it, but it can go a long way in a conflict zone,” Ranstorp said.

Police say that student loans, in particular, are an issue because the fighters can game the system by pretending to be going overseas to study and receive large lump sums from the Swedish government. 

Swedish Minister for Upper Secondary School and Adult Education and Training Anna Ekström said the problem was “totally unacceptable. No state funds will be used for something that is in the vicinity of terrorism. We must take hold of this immediately. We are preparing now to go to the parliament and ensure that the government gets the opportunity to ensure that we do not pay out such large sums at once.”

Sweden has seen at least one case in which the government paid a jihadi before. Late last year, Muslim convert Michael Skråmo was revealed to have been paid £4,300 by the government since leaving for the Middle East in 2014. 

The Swedish government has also essentially legalised the flying of the Islamic State flag after a Swedish court refused to prosecute a man who displayed the symbol on his social media account as a promotion of the terrorist group. 

In 2015 it was shown that the Swedish city of Gothenburg sent more Islamists to the Middle East per capita than any other city in Europe.

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/03/12/swedish-welfare-state-funding-islamic-terrorism/

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The Worst Job I Ever Had: Working in a Call Center for a Cell Phone Company

by John McDermott

It was four straight hours of listening to complaints, a lunch break, and then another four hours on the phone.

Lucas McDaniel, 31, Bloomington, Indiana

Current Job: IT Technician at Indiana University
Worst Job Ever: Customer service representative for a large cell-phone plan provider

How I got in

I was just out of college, struggling to find a job, and expenses were piling up — student loans, rent, utilities, food, car insurance. I felt the walls closing in and knew I had to find a job, any job.

I decided to apply for a job at a call center, answering customer service calls for a large telecom provider. The place had a bad reputation — a couple friends had worked there and told me, “It sucks, but it’s a job.” Which was my exact mindset heading in.

All I had to do was walk in and fill out the application. The next week they invited all the new applicants in for a mass interview, and if you made it that far, you were basically hired.

We had about eight weeks of training, all of it paid at $8 per hour. The training consisted of the new crop of employees sitting in a room for eight hours a day, looking at PowerPoint slides and listening to recordings of people dealing with customers.

Fewer and fewer people showed up over the course of training. They got a couple paychecks, then bailed. It was demoralizing. I had just earned an engineering degree from a four-year university, and here I was among a bunch of high-school dropouts.

The last week of training was spent on the floor, where we watched customer service reps field actual calls from customers. I learned more that week than I did the previous seven. All the other training was a waste.

When I realized it was going to suck

That’s when I realized I was totally unprepared for the job. I watched the customer service reps log their call information in the internal software system, and quickly realized I had no idea how to use it. “What did you just do?” I asked them. “We didn’t go over that in training.”

“Ask your supervisor,” they’d say.

The supervisor said if we had any questions, we should just look it up in the internal learning database and follow the script. But the database didn’t account for most of the situations the customers described. Or the customer would give a response not included in the script, and we’d be left flying blind.

I often had to put the customer on hold just so I could call over a supervisor and ask them what to say.

There were about 500, 600 people on the call center floor at once. It was a wide-open warehouse, with rows of cubicles, 10 to each row. The partitions between them were small, so our calls often bled into each other’s. I worked nights, and it was miserable going from fluorescent lighting to utter darkness.

Our base pay was $9.50 an hour, but you could make up to $12 if you stuck it out long enough. Promotions were on a merit system. You were judged harshly by the customer satisfaction surveys conducted after each call. If you weren’t able to fix someone’s problem, even if you followed the script, the customer would rate you low and ruin your chance for a raise or bonus…

more…

https://melmagazine.com/the-worst-job-i-ever-had-working-in-a-call-center-for-a-cell-phone-company-b5dd66d4a097#.qgb0pyv8p

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From Icarus To Humpty Dumpty – The Art & Science Of Spending Other People’s Money

Resultado de imagem para images of The Art & Science Of Spending Other People's Money

image edited by Eeb Investigator

by Tyler Durden

Via MN Gordon of EconomicPrism.com,

“We have assembled a best-in-class team of policy advisors to drive President Trump’s bold plan for job creation and economic growth.” Gary Cohn, Chief Economic Advisor to President Trump

Promises of Slop

The art and science of spending other people’s money is not an occupation suited to just anyone.  Rather, it’s a skill reserved for the professional world-improver.  To be successful, one must act with a zealous devotion to uplifting the down and out, no matter the cost.

Lawyers, bankers, economists, and government philosophers with fancy resumes, whom attended fancy schools.  These are the devoted fellows who comprise President Trump’s team of economic policy advisors.  Moreover, these are the chosen associates who are charged with bringing Trump’s economic vision to fruition.  Are they up to the task?

Only time will tell.  But, already, it’s quite evident that Trump’s economic policy advisors have their work cut out for them.  During Trumps speech to Congress on Tuesday night, he called for more jobs, more education, more military, and more affordable health insurance.

By all accounts the speech sounded delightful.  Promises were made to spread the government’s slop far and wide.  Trump pledged offerings that just about anyone and everyone – with the exception of grumpy face Bernie Sanders – could standup behind and applaud.

Indeed, articulating these plans is one thing.  Using the force of government to execute them is another.  This is where the advisors come in.

From Icarus to Humpty Dumpty

According to Wall Street, President Trump said all the right things.  On Wednesday the DOW jumped up over 300 points to over 21,100.  And despite yesterday’s pullback, the DOW ended the day above 21,000.  What’s going on?

New York Fed President William Dudley says the market’s “animal spirits have been unleashed.”  He also says “the case for monetary policy tightening has become a lot more compelling.”  The case being, as noted by Dudley, “sturdy” jobs gains, inflation increases, and rising optimism for both consumers and business owners.

Hence, Dudley and the Fed may increase the price of credit at the next FOMC meeting later this month.  In fact, as of yesterday, CME Group puts the odds of a pending Fed rate hike at over 75 percent.  Bloomberg puts the odds at 90 percent.  In other words, unless the stock market crashes before March 15, it’s highly likely the Fed will raise the federal funds rate.

Maybe the market will crash before March 15.  Maybe it will crash after.  Maybe it won’t crash at all.  Who knows?

One analyst at Bank of America, with a creative metaphorical mind, has somehow penciled out a market path leading to a great fall in the second half of 2017.  But first, says Michael Hartnett, investors must finish climbing the “wall of worry.”  At that point, his “Icarus Trade” will turn into the “Humpty Dumpty Trade.”  Thus, the great fall.

A 30 Year Mess in the Making

No doubt, Trump’s economic advisors are facing a tall order.  Stocks are extremely overvalued.  The Fed’s unwittingly jawboned itself into a March rate increase.  Yet GDP, as reported for the fourth quarter 2016, slouches along at just 1.9 percent.

At the same time, it’s projected the government will hit the debt ceiling on March 16 After that, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will have to take “extraordinary measures” – shuffle money around – to keep the lights on.  By October, if Congress doesn’t raise the debt limit, the lights fade to black.

Somehow Trump’s advisors have to figure out how to boost the economy without boosting spending.  So far their plan only accounts for half of the equation.  That is, to boost the economy by pumping money into defense and infrastructure.  But if spending isn’t going to also increase, where’s the money going to come from?

Earlier this week it was reported that Trump wants to increase military spending by $54 billion without increasing the deficit.  The $54 billion increase would be offset by cuts to other government departments and agencies.  While this proposal doesn’t increase the $500 billion deficit, it doesn’t decrease it either.  In short, a half trillion dollars will still be added to the debt.

In the meantime, in just under two weeks there will be an abundance of excitement emanating from Washington DC.  Specifically, a rousing Congressional debt ceiling standoff will commence.  Reagan era Budget Director, David Stockman’s calling it a fiscal bloodbath:

I think we are likely to have more of a fiscal bloodbath rather than fiscal stimulus.  Unfortunately for Donald Trump, not only did the public vote the establishment out, they left on his doorstep the inheritance of 30 years of debt build-up and a fiscal policy that’s been really reckless in the extreme.

People would like to think he’s the second coming of Ronald Reagan and we are going to have morning in America.  Unfortunately, I don’t think it looks that promising because Trump is inheriting a mess that pales into insignificance what we had to deal with in January of 1981 when I joined the Reagan White House as Budget Director.”

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-03/icarus-humpty-dumpty-art-science-spending-other-peoples-money

 

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