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What the royals would earn if they had real-life jobs

<p><span>As members of the royal family, the Dukes and Duchesses might be <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/international-travel/the-world-s-richest-royal-in-2019-revealed/">worth millions of dollars</a> – but how much would they earn as a commoner?</span></p> <p><span>Training and qualifications provider <a rel="noopener" href="http://www.theknowledgeacademy.com/" target="_blank">The Knowledge Academy</a> has analysed the royals’ skills and qualifications to discover the job and the salary they would have if they were part of today’s job market.</span></p> <p><span>Duchess Meghan came out as the top earner with an expected annual salary of £350,000 thanks to her acting experience, while Prince Harry and Prince William could earn between £21,000 and £55,000 as a charity worker or a major in the army.</span></p> <p><span>Duchess Kate – the first royal bride with a university degree – could earn up to £23,000 in a corporate administrative or marketing role, considering her experience working for high-end retailer Jigsaw and her parents’ party supplies company Party Pieces.</span></p> <p><span>Sophie, Countess of Wessex would earn £40,000 with her secretarial training and PR experience. Her husband Prince Edward, who had worked in production for theatre and television, could earn up to £28,000 as an experienced production assistant.</span></p> <p><span>Princess Anne and Duchess Camilla, who had limited work experience, were expected to have a salary of £19,000 and £17,500 as a charity worker and a secretary respectively.</span></p>

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Why shopping addiction is a real disorder

<p>UK-based healthcare group the Priory is well-known for treating gambling, sex, drug, alcohol and computing addictions – especially of the <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/7327125/the-priory-celebrity-guests-katie-price-rehab-centre-cost/">rich and famous</a>. Now it has added a new condition to its list: shopping addiction.</p> <p>Research suggests that as many as <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/add.13223">one in 20 people</a> in developed countries may suffer from shopping addiction (or compulsive buying disorder, as it’s more formally known), yet it is often not taken seriously. People don’t see the harm in indulging in a bit of “retail therapy” to cheer themselves up when they have had a bad day.</p> <p>Indulging in the occasional bit of frivolous spending is not a bad thing, if it is done in moderation and the person can afford it. But for some people compulsive shopping is a real problem. It takes over their lives and leads to genuine misery. Their urges to shop become uncontrollable and are often impulsive. They end up spending money they don’t have on things they don’t need.</p> <p>The worst part is that compulsive buyers continue to shop regardless of the negative impact it has on them. Their <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMc1805733/">mental health gets worse</a>, they get into serious debt, their social network shrinks, and they may even contemplate suicide – but shopping still provides the brief dopamine rush they crave.</p> <p>There is no doubt that people who engage in this behaviour suffer, and often badly. But it is debatable whether compulsive buying disorder is a condition in its own right or a symptom of another condition. Often it is difficult to diagnose because people with compulsive buying disorder have symptoms of other disorders, such as <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1994-29953-001">eating disorders and substance abuse</a>.</p> <p><strong>Formal criteria needed</strong></p> <p>The most commonly used manuals for diagnosing mental disorders are the <a href="https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm">DSM</a> and <a href="https://icd.who.int/en">ICD</a>, and neither include diagnostic criteria for compulsive buying disorder. One reason may be that there are many theories about what kind of illness the disorder is. It has been likened to <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1995-01870-001">impulse control disorder</a>, mood disorders, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1360-0443.1987.tb00424.x">addiction</a> and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005789402800259">obsessive-compulsive disorder</a>. How the disorder ought to be classified is an ongoing debate.</p> <p>What is also an <a href="https://www.macmillanihe.com/page/detail/Consumption-Matters/?K=9780230201170">ongoing debate</a> is what the disorder should be called. To the general public, it’s known as “shopping addiction”, but experts variously call it compulsive buying disorder, oniomania, acquisitive desire and impulse buying.</p> <p>Researchers also struggle to agree on a definition. Perhaps the lack of a clear definition stems from the fact that research shows that no single factor is sufficiently powerful to explain the causes of this compulsive behaviour.</p> <p>What most experts seem to agree on is that people with this condition find it difficult to stop and that it results in harm, showing that it is an involuntary and destructive kind of behaviour. People with the condition often try to hide it from friends and partners as they feel shame, thereby alienating themselves from the people who are best placed to support them.</p> <p>Although the disorder has not yet been clearly defined by name, symptoms or even category of mental health problem, most researchers agree on one thing: it is a real condition that people truly suffer from.</p> <p>The fact that the Priory, a well-established healthcare group, is treating people with compulsive buying disorder, may help to raise awareness of the condition. Hopefully, this will result in more research being conducted to help define diagnostic criteria. Without the criteria, it will be difficult for healthcare professionals to diagnose the illness and treat it. This is a condition that is crying out to be properly recognised and should not be trivialised.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/123813/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Cathrine Jansson-Boyd, Reader in Consumer Psychology, Anglia Ruskin University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/shopping-addiction-is-a-real-disorder-123813" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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How to tell when a special deal is not so special

<p>Special offers at the supermarket aren’t always what they seem. It doesn’t mean you can’t get better value by taking advantage of discounts and deals – you just need to make sure it really is going to save you money. Here are some “deals” that you should approach with caution:</p> <p><strong>1. Price cuts that aren’t real</strong></p> <p>Just because some deals say it costs less than full price, it doesn’t always mean it was on sale at the higher price for long. Sometimes promotions featuring a “was/now” price change sticker are on sale at the reduced price for longer and more often.</p> <p><strong>2. Bigger packs more expensive</strong></p> <p>Big “value packs” suggest the best value. But it’s sometimes the case that it’s cheaper to buy the smaller packs. You can also get caught out by the packaging being downsized but the price staying the same, or fruit and vegetables being cheaper sold loose rather than in packs (and vice versa).Tip: Most supermarkets have the unit price (eg, per 100g) on the label located on the shelf, so you can check whether it’s cheaper to buy in bulk.</p> <p><strong>3. Multi-buys can cost more than single items</strong></p> <p>If you need more than one of an item, multi-buys such as Buy One, Get One Free, can save you cash. Be careful though: some supermarkets have been found to increase the price of one item when they’re in a promotion and lower it when they’re not. This makes you think you’re saving more than you really are.</p> <p>The word “Special!” makes the shopper believe the product on sale is scarce, available only in one shop, and for a short time only. The shopper responds almost instinctively by buying the product – retail psychologists called this response the Scarcity Effect.</p> <p><em>This article first appeared in </em><span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/How-to-Tell-When-a-Special-Deal-is-Not-So-Special" target="_blank"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a rel="noopener" href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V" target="_blank"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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Majority of people return lost wallets: The most honest countries

<p>Honesty is one of the traits we value most in others. We often assume it is a rather rare quality, making it important for us to find out who we can actually trust in this selfish world. But according to new research, there’s no need to be so cynical – it turns out most people in the world are honourable enough to return a lost wallet, especially if it contains a lot of cash.</p> <p>The study, <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/science.aau8712">published in <em>Science</em></a>, looked at how often people in 40 different countries decided to return a lost wallet to the owner, after the researchers handed it in to the institution in which they said it had been found. Surprisingly, in 38 countries, the wallets with higher sums of money were returned more often than those with smaller amounts. This was the opposite of what the researchers had expected, they thought there would be a minimum dollar value at which participants would begin to keep the money.</p> <p>Overall, 51% of those who were handed a wallet with smaller amounts of money reported it, compared with 72% for a larger sum. The most honest countries were Switzerland, Norway and the Netherlands whereas the least honest were Peru, Morocco and China.</p> <p>So why is this and what does it tell us about the psychology of honesty? To get an idea, I ran a very informal focus group to find out what kinds of things people may ask themselves when making a decision to return a found wallet. A common view was that no one wanted to appear to act in a socially unacceptable way, and nobody wanted to appear to be a thief. And, of course, the more money in the wallet, the greater the crime.</p> <p>An important aspect of the new study, however, was that the wallets were handed in to people working in the institutions in which they were said to be found. Given that people in one institution may know each other and may start suspecting each other, there was a very real chance of being found out if the wallet was not handed in. This is perhaps different from finding a wallet yourself on public transport when all you may grapple with is your own conscience.</p> <p>The “found wallet” test has been used in research before but this is the first global study to use it and it involved more than 17,000 lost wallets. In 2009, a researcher <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=26&amp;v=33SwGGm9eQc">carelessly “dropped”</a> a number of wallets all over Edinburgh to see what would happen. He got 42% of the wallets back, but wasn’t not the most interesting finding. It wasn’t only the money in the wallet that influenced whether it would be returned. Where a family photo, an image of a cute puppy, a baby or an elderly couple were included, the chances of the wallet being returned significantly improved.</p> <p><strong>Impressive advantages</strong></p> <p>We value honesty and other moral traits <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258920778_Moral_Character_Predominates_in_Person_Perception_and_Evaluation">higher than non-moral qualities</a>, including intelligence or humour. As honesty has become one of the cornerstones of society, we start eduacting fellow citizens about it from an early age, even in nurseries. Developmentally, we make decisions early on about morality and moral behaviour, such as whether to share a toy. In 1958, psychologist <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Kohlberg">Lawrence Kohlberg</a> developed an entire theory about the <a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/Lawrence-Kohlbergs-stages-of-moral-development">stages of moral development</a>.</p> <p>But doing the “right” thing is often very hard in reality. Recent research shows there is a trade off – acting honestly can <a href="https://scholarship.richmond.edu/jepson-faculty-publications/89/">significantly inhibit</a> your own desires. Luckily, there are important advantages. One study suggests that <a href="https://psychology.nd.edu/faculty/anita-e-kelly/">there are tangible health benefits</a> from being honest. In one study, researchers compared groups of people who were instructed to be either honest or dishonest, and found that the honest group reported fewer sore throats, headaches and general feelings of sickness during the duration of the experiment.</p> <p>Being honest <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/19/well/mind/how-honesty-could-make-you-happier.html">may also make people happier</a>. This might be unsurprising when you consider a view in evolutionary psychology that honesty <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01503/full">is a marker that encourages trust and cooperation</a>. So being honest gets you more collaborators and greater success, meaning it provides an evolutionary advantage. If we have evolved in this way, then it is hardly surprising that making a dishonest decision may go against our very nature.</p> <p><strong>The honest individual</strong></p> <p>Given how socially important honesty is, we often struggle to deal with being dishonest ourselves – it can fundamentally threaten our view of who we are. Indeed <a href="http://danariely.com/">behavioural economist Dan Ariely</a> has shown that we often <a href="http://danariely.com/books/the-honest-truth-about-dishonesty/">convince ourselves that we are honest</a> even though we may behave dishonestly, as long as those moral lapses are not huge.</p> <p>The memories of such failures can also become less vivid or even distorted over time. For example, we may attribute reasons for our behaviour that aren’t entirely accurate (“I only kept the found wallet so I could give half of the money to a beggar”) but better support our views of ourselves. Essentially <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-we-are-all-moral-hypocrites-and-what-we-can-do-about-it-66784">we are all moral hypocrites</a>.</p> <p>But which people are the most honest? We may be tempted to think it is those who are most trusted in our society. In the past, those in the UK who needed a passport application signed could choose from individuals from a number of trusted professions including <a href="https://www.nature.com/news/banking-culture-primes-people-to-cheat-1.16380">bankers</a>, priests, teachers, police officers and members of parliament. You probably smiled when you read that list – we’ve all heard of dishonest politicians, for example. Clearly, honesty is not universal in any profession, or among any one category of people.</p> <p>We are all human, and as such open to the same psychological pressures and difficult choices when faced with temptation – we arrive at our own threshold of honesty, and these thresholds can change over a lifetime. There is evidence that, as we age, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167215594189">we get more honest</a> as a result of becoming more norm focused – breaking the rules or seeking excitement becomes less common.</p> <p>But is honesty the best policy? Probably. That said, we will all agree that a “little white lie” here and there may be the best option sometimes. For example, choosing dishonesty over hurting someone’s feelings could in many cases be compassionate and socially acceptable.</p> <p>Knowing when to lie and understanding the consequences of it is the trick. Easing someone’s distress, or protecting ourselves from harm may certainly be acceptable – and we learn this too from an early age. I’ve concluded, for example, that telling a publisher that you’ve been working non-stop on an article as you rapidly approach deadline is a totally acceptable lie.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/119118/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Nigel Holt, Professor of Psychology, Aberystwyth University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/majority-of-people-return-lost-wallets-heres-the-psychology-and-which-countries-are-the-most-honest-119118" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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12 kitchen mistakes that are costing you money

<p>When you need to cut back on expenses, the usual financial advice focuses on slashing your entertainment fund, cancelling subscriptions like Spotify Premium, investing in energy-efficient lightbulbs, or other tricks. No one ever tells you about all the money you’re wasting on food.</p> <p>Because eating is pretty much a basic necessity, people don’t think it’s a place where they can save – but that’s far from true. Global food loss and waste amounts to between one-third and one-half of all food produced… a staggering figure. “Without a set budget, it can be easy to look at your bank account at the end of the week and wonder how you spent hundreds on one-off trips to the grocery store or spontaneous pizza orders,” says Justin Bailey, co-founder of Vimvest, a financial planning app. Read on to discover the kitchen habits that are unknowingly draining your bank account, and how staunch the flow.</p> <ol> <li><strong> Your Uber Eats addiction</strong></li> </ol> <p>Everyone has days when they don’t feel like making dinner, but this may help you get in the cooking spirit: According to an analysis done by Forbes last year, ordering out could be costing you five times as much as cooking the same meal at home. Even delivery kits that supply ingredients for you to assemble into a meal are around three times as expensive as shopping and cooking yourself.</p> <ol start="2"> <li><strong> Convenience food</strong></li> </ol> <p>“I’ve learned that saving money in the kitchen is not about what you buy, but more how you buy it,” says Bailey. “Instead of buying something that is already chopped and in sealed off containers, buy the whole vegetable. These purchases tend to be cheaper and provide you with more of the item to work with.” Chop and slice enough for the week on a Sunday night and you won’t even be out much time.</p> <ol start="3"> <li><strong> Storing produce improperly</strong></li> </ol> <p>“Most people don’t know how to store their food properly, and it goes bad really quickly,” says Alma Schneider, founder of the blog and consulting company Take Back the Kitchen, and a licensed clinical social worker. “Moisture is your enemy.” She recommends wrapping fragile veggies like lettuce and herbs in a paper towel inside a resealable bag to extend their freshness. You can also dry fresh herbs so they last longer.</p> <ol start="4"> <li><strong> Single-use supplies</strong></li> </ol> <p>Oh, and while we’re on the subject, don’t toss those plastic bags after one use, Schneider adds. You can rinse and reuse them – she even repurposes the liners from cereal boxes for kitchen storage. Ditto paper towels – use fabric cloths instead. It’s better for the environment and your wallet.</p> <ol start="5"> <li><strong> Not using your freezer</strong></li> </ol> <p>A well-stocked freezer is a frugal chef’s BFF. Not only is freezing ideal for storing bulk buys (see #6), it’s also a great way to preserve produce or other foods that are about to go bad. “Most things can be frozen if you store them properly, then thawed and used as needed,” Schneider says.</p> <p>Bread, leftover pasta sauce, soup and fruit for smoothies are just a few of the foods you didn’t know you could freeze.</p> <ol start="6"> <li><strong> Buying ingredients for one meal at a time</strong></li> </ol> <p>“One of the first rules of saving money at the grocery store is to buy in bulk,” says Bailey. “Larger quantities equal less packaging and less waste, which means spending less money.” Non-perishables or things that can be frozen like meat are good to stock up on.</p> <ol start="7"> <li><strong> Passing on leftovers</strong></li> </ol> <p>One national survey found that two out of five people hate leftovers. We’re not sure how they got such a bad rap, but it is entirely undeserved. In addition to enjoying last night’s roast meat and potatoes for lunch the next day, you can use ingredients that weren’t quite used up, like half a jar of salsa or cooked quinoa, to make a delicious new meal like a salad or grain bowl, rather than throw it out. “Creative uses of portions of leftover food can make for fun, money-conscious meals,” says Bailey.</p> <ol start="8"> <li><strong> Wasting water</strong></li> </ol> <p>It’s a common misconception to think hand-washing your dishes is the more economical choice, but energy-star rated appliances are so efficient, they can slash your utility bills by more than $40 per year. If you have them, use them. Making sure to run a full load and shutting off the heat drying part of the cycle to let dishes air dry instead can increase your savings.</p> <ol start="9"> <li><strong> Eating too much meat</strong></li> </ol> <p>Plant-based diets tend to not only be healthier and better for the planet but less expensive, too. In one analysis, researchers compared the costs of a meat-based menu with a plant-based one. They found that eating a vegetarian diet could save more than $745 per year. You don’t have to give meat up if you love it, but cutting back or using recipes where you can stretch a little will help your bottom line.</p> <ol start="10"> <li><strong> Buying out-of-season produce</strong></li> </ol> <p>Blueberries in July might sound refreshing, but you’ll pay a premium for them. Shopping with the seasons will not only save you cash, but it’s also likely to taste better too, since what you’re eating has been grown fresh naturally, not in a greenhouse somewhere and shipped across the globe. You can also try preserving summer picks yourself by pickling or canning to last through the off-season.</p> <ol start="11"> <li><strong> Tossing stuff because of the “best by” date</strong></li> </ol> <p>No one wants to risk food poisoning, but the dates on food labels don’t mean what’s inside is no longer safe to consume. According to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, “except for infant formula, dates are not an indicator of the product’s safety.” If the food looks and smells okay and has been handled and stored properly, it’s generally fine to consume.</p> <ol start="12"> <li><strong> Not planning ahead</strong></li> </ol> <p>“The overarching theme for people who waste money in the kitchen is they don’t plan ahead,” says Schneider. Having a basic meal plan for the week can help you use up fresh ingredients before they go bad and reuse leftovers from one meal in the next one. It also helps prevent impulse buys at the supermarket, says Bailey. “If you aren’t sure what you are going to eat for dinner and don’t have appropriate ingredients at home, you’re more likely to overspend by making last-minute decisions that aren’t strategic money-wise.”</p> <p><em>Written by Jill Waldbieser. This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/kitchen-tips/12-kitchen-mistakes-that-are-costing-you-money"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a rel="noopener" href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V" target="_blank"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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How to save money without pinching pennies

<p><span>Saving is necessary – yet the idea of limiting your spending can feel restrictive and stifling. Here are a few tricks you can try to make saving easier and more fun.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Look for a great deal</span></strong></p> <p><span>Whether you’re buying a new item or signing up for ongoing services – phone, internet, insurance, credit cards and more – it’s a good idea to browse through comparison sites to find the best rates. This could help you save hundreds or even thousands in the long run. Looking through discount sites or online reviews can also help you make your financial decisions. </span></p> <p><strong><span>Review your subscriptions</span></strong></p> <p><span>It’s easier than ever to subscribe to streaming services, online newspapers and mobile apps, but that also means there may be some spending that you leave unaccounted. Take a look at your accounts to see any active subscriptions and cancel the ones you no longer use.</span></p> <p><span>You can also take advantage of the family deals that these subscriptions often offer – if the people in your household all use the same services, consider getting a joint account to make the monthly bill a little lighter.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Go for pre-loved items</span></strong></p> <p><span>From clothing to appliances, shopping second hand or refurbished can be a great option. You can also use the same platform to sell your old belongings.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Consider home brands</span></strong></p> <p><span>Some staples such as toothpaste, tissue rolls, and soap will almost always be needed in a household. If you don’t feel tied to any particular brand, it’s time to make the economical switch and go for supermarket home brands. They generally have similar active ingredients and/or quality as the name brand products, but come at a fraction of the price. </span></p> <p><strong><span>Get app’d</span></strong></p> <p><span>Some mobile apps can help you put some money aside by taking spare change from everyday purchases into a savings or investment account. This type of apps usually charge fees, so read the fine print before you begin.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Visualise the goal</span></strong></p> <p><span>Once you set your savings goal, create a visual representation to see how far along you are in the journey. This will make your goal seem more tangible and help motivate you to stay on the course and accomplish the task. If you’re aiming to save $10,000 by the end of the year, you can draw a thermometer or graph to track your progress. Looking towards a specific objective, like saving up for a Hawaii holiday? Print out pictures of the places you want to visit and place them in your wallet or other spots you frequent as a reminder. This also helps shift your focus from the restrictions (“I can’t buy this because I have to be mindful!”) to the opportunities (“This will help me purchase a new car sooner!”).</span></p>

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8 foods you don’t need to refrigerate

<p>Do you know which foods don't need to be refrigerated? For many of us, the answer is a matter of what we grew up with or personal preference.</p> <p>But there are some hard and fast rules. </p> <p>Here are some foods you definitely shouldn't put in your fridge.</p> <p><strong>1. Tomatoes</strong></p> <p>Tomatoes are best left on the bench and not in your fridge because they're sensitive to ethylene – a gas that accelerates ripening. Keeping your tomatoes separate from ethylene-producing foods, such as bananas, apples, pears and oranges, will ensure they stay fresh for longer. <br /><br /><a href="https://choice.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=270103a13e38b9f6643b82a8e&amp;id=1fe3558b8d&amp;e=7f9260877c">Research</a> also shows that chilling tomatoes below 12°C limits their ability to generate substances that contribute to aroma and taste. In other words, they won't be as nice to eat. <br /><br />"Tomatoes lose flavour when placed in the fridge," says CHOICE's home economist Fiona Mair. "I always keep my tomatoes in my fruit bowl or on the window sill. <br /><br />"I like to buy a mixture of firm and slightly soft tomatoes so I have beautifully ripened tomatoes I can use across the week." </p> <p><strong>2. Coffee</strong></p> <p>Ground or whole-bean coffee should never be kept in the fridge, even if it's in an airtight container. Why? Because coffee works as a deodoriser and absorbs moisture, odours and flavours from the air around it, making your morning cuppa taste less like the nectar of the gods and more like a nasty flavouring of 'fridge'. Ew. <br /><br />Instead, keep your beans in an airtight container in a dark space such as your pantry, away from sunlight, heat, steam and moisture. For the best  flavour and freshness, buy your beans as fresh as possible and use them within 72 hours of roasting. <br /><br />If that's not possible, you can store your coffee beans in the freezer for up to a month, according to the US National Coffee Association. But do so in small portions because, once you've taken your beans out of the freezer, it's best not to put them back in again.</p> <p><strong>3. Uncut root vegetables </strong></p> <p>Root vegetables, such as potatoes, onions, sweet potato and garlic, thrive outside the fridge crisper. The high humidity in fridges can cause root vegetables to rot faster. It's also important that you don't store root vegetables together, as this can affect their flavour. <br /><br />"Keeping these types of food out of the refrigerator is generally to avoid moisture absorption that happens in the refrigerator, as this can cause foods to ferment and reduce the taste and quality," says Mair. "Best to find a cool dry dark spot in your kitchen." <br /><br />According to Aloysa Hourigan, accredited practising dietitian and nutritionist and media manager at <a href="https://choice.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=270103a13e38b9f6643b82a8e&amp;id=9db113104f&amp;e=7f9260877c">Nutrition Australia</a>, there are some exceptions to the rule, especially after the vegetables have been cut. <br /><br />"Onions are best stored out of the fridge until they're cut, then need to be covered or placed in a sealed container and kept in the fridge," she says. <br /><br />"Whole pumpkins can be stored out of the fridge for many weeks, but once cut, they need to be stored in the fridge." <br /><br /><br /><strong>4. Coconut oil</strong> <br />"Coconut oil is climate-dependant and will solidify at temperatures lower than 24°C, so it's best to keep it in a cool, dark place like the pantry," says Fiona. <br /><br />But she says as a general guide, nut and seed oils are best kept in the refrigerator, otherwise they're "more likely to oxidise and go rancid quickly." <br /><br />Whether or not you need to put a condiment in the fridge depends entirely on the type of sauce, oil or spread you have, how much preserving salt or sugar they contain, and whether it's been opened. <br /><br />"With bottled sauces, such as soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, oyster sauce and curry pastes, it's always best to check the label to see if it says 'refrigerate after opening'," says Hourigan. <br /><br /><strong>5. Bread</strong></p> <p>Bread doesn't belong in the fridge – it'll go stale much faster than if you just keep it in the pantry. <br /><br />Instead, keep your bread in an airtight tin, bread box or, for hard-crusted bread, a brown paper bag. Avoid plastic too, as this encourages bread to go mouldy faster. <br /><br />Fresh bread will only last a few days before it naturally goes stale, but you can extend its life span by putting it in the freezer. Doing so slows down the natural process of retrogradation and recrystallisation, and stops it going stale.</p> <p><strong>6. Honey and peanut butter</strong></p> <p>Honey and nut spreads are all unique, so all need different types of storage. This is why it's important to always check the label for advice.</p> <p>Honey is unique - one of the few foods in the world that never spoils thanks to its one-of-a-kind chemical make-up. The reason honey doesn't go bad is because bacteria can't grow in it, so it's happy to sit at room temperature in your pantry, where it stays soft and easy to spread. When refrigerated, honey crystallises, but is still perfectly edible.</p> <p>Honey's durability is legendary. When archaeologists opened ancient Egyptian tombs, they found jars of honey from the days of the Pharaohs that were still good to eat.<br />As for peanut butter, it's fine in the pantry for three months or so after opening. But to extend its shelf life and avoid oil separation, you can also keep it in the fridge, though this will harden it and could make it a bit more difficult to spread.</p> <p><strong>7. Basil and parsley </strong></p> <p>Some herbs such as coriander and mint are best kept in the refrigerator crisper, wrapped loosely in absorbent paper and put in a sealed container. <br /><br />But basil and parsley will turn a nasty shade of yuk if you keep them in the crisper. <br /><br />"These herbs seem to do better out of the fridge," says Hourigan. "The dry air in the refrigerator causes the leaves to wilt easily." <br /><br />To store your basil and parsley, Mair says, cut the bottom of the stems, place them in a jar with a small amount of water, then leave the jar in a cool place. "You'll just need to change the water and cut the bottom of the stems every couple of days," she says. <br /><br /><strong>8. Warm leftovers</strong></p> <p>Putting hot food in the fridge can wreak havoc on its internal temperature, which may affect other food in the fridge as well. <br /><br />So, for the sake of freshness, leave your warm leftovers to fall to room temperature first.  </p> <p><em>Republished with permission of <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.choice.com.au/home-and-living/kitchen/fridges/articles/eight-foods-you-do-not-need-to-refrigerate" target="_blank">CHOICE</a>.</em></p>

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What should you do with unexpected money?

<p><span>Perhaps you just won a lottery, landed a big client in your business, or simply received your tax refund. Either way, a sudden influx of cash is always welcome. </span></p> <p><span>But how can you best manage the incoming cash? Here are a few things you should consider.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Put it towards your top financial goal(s)</span></strong></p> <p><span>If you are working on paying off debt, saving up for a down payment or upgrading your car, the windfall may put you on the fast track or at least provide some shortcuts.</span></p> <p><span>If you have no specific goal in mind, putting a good chunk of the money aside as a fallback or emergency fund is a good idea in case of a rainy day.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Save it up</span></strong></p> <p><span>Park your cash in a savings account with your bank or financial institution. The interest rates may help your money grow, even at a modest pace.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Invest</span></strong></p> <p><span>Put your money to work by investing. There are a lot of options today, from shares and property to cryptocurrencies. Don’t forget to evaluate the risks and read the fine print.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Treat yourself</span></strong></p> <p><span>Budgeting does not always have to be dull and restrictive – if you feel like indulging yourself, set aside a small part of the extra cash for hobbies, trips, beauty treatments or other fun activities you’ve always wanted to do. </span></p> <p><span>You can also use this to buy more time for yourself – for example, instead of doing chores, outsource the task and allow yourself some relaxing downtime. Alternatively, depending on the size of your windfall, you can invest in a new car or white goods that will let you <a href="https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2019/07/what-to-do-with-unexpected-money/">complete tasks faster</a>. </span></p>

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Why you should keep your everyday bank account to the bare minimum

<p><span>When you sign up with a bank, you are likely to receive two accounts – one for everyday transactions and one for savings. </span></p> <p><span>A transaction account usually comes with a card so that you can withdraw cash at the ATM and pay day-to-day expenses. On the other hand, a savings account does not usually have a linked card – but it offers higher interest rates compared to the transaction account, allowing you to grow your balance. </span></p> <p><span>Many people put a large sum of their money on their transaction accounts for practical purposes – who knows when you need to make a major purchase? – but experts say this move may not be so wise in the bigger picture.</span></p> <p><span>“I … realised that money sitting in a debit account just, well, sits there,” Laura Munoz of <a href="https://thefinancialdiet.com/5-life-changing-financial-habits-i-took-way-too-long-to-adopt/"><em>The Financial Diet</em></a> wrote. “It doesn’t earn interest and it’s not working for you, so there’s no real reason to keep more than a healthy buffer there in case you need to take out cash in a pinch.”</span></p> <p><span>While it is important to maintain a healthy balance to pay bills and everyday needs in your transaction account, Munoz said savings should be prioritised before spending. By working out how much you roughly spend every month, you can plan ahead and keep only the bare minimum amount in the transaction account to cover everyday expenses while transferring the rest to the savings account immediately.</span></p> <p><span>As <a href="https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/managing-your-money/banking/transaction-accounts"><em>MoneySmart</em></a> advises, “Only keep the money you need to cover your everyday costs in your transaction account. Put the rest of your money in a savings account and watch your savings grow with the extra interest.”</span></p> <p><span>This can also help you curb your shopping habits, as the limited amount will make you more aware of the dollars you fork out.</span></p> <p><span>Munoz said she is now putting most of her cash in two places –a high-yield, risk-free savings account and another savings account that is invested in the stock market. This does not have to be the case for you if you are more risk-averse – find a savings account where your earnings can comfortably grow, and make money work for you.</span></p>

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Why we perceive ourselves as richer than we really are

<p>Every day billions of people make countless decisions that have economic implications. Buying new clothes, having dinner at a Japanese restaurant, renting a house: most of our decisions determine how much money we spend or save. Some of our decisions also increase the amount of debt we have accumulated, such as when we buy a book and pay by credit card or when we obtain a loan to buy a new car.</p> <p>Do people always weigh up pros and cons, use all the available information and commit to their long-term goals when making such decisions? Research in behavioural economics suggests this is not the case.</p> <p>For example, even though many Americans argue that they should be saving more for retirement, they declare that they frequently <a href="https://scholar.harvard.edu/laibson/publications/hyperbolic-consumption-model-calibration-simulation-and-empirical-evaluation">do not commit to their saving decisions</a>.</p> <p>In general, psychologists and behavioural scientists have long found that the gaps between people’s intentions and their actual behaviour are often due to cognitive biases – <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/9780470939376.ch25">systematic errors in thinking</a> that affect individual decisions and judgements.</p> <p>Cognitive biases explain why our economic decisions often appear to be flawed by self-control problems, myopic behaviour, changes in preferences over time and other behavioural inconsistencies.</p> <p>For instance, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1540-6261.2009.01518.x">scholars</a> have found that people have a cognitive bias that often leads them to underestimate the true cost of debt, thus borrowing more than what they can afford.</p> <p>As another example, research in economic psychology <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/23547394_Unfixed_Resources_Perceived_Costs_Consumption_and_the_Accessible_Account_Effect">has shown</a> that the perceived cost of an item is lower than the actual cost if people compare it to greater, rather than smaller, financial resources.</p> <p>For instance, even though a person knows that the objective cost of a T-shirt is 25 euros, that person is more likely to buy the T-shirt if she mentally compares the cost to the money in her bank account (for instance 23,000 euros) rather than the money in her wallet (let’s say 100 euros).</p> <p><strong>The bias on wealth perception</strong></p> <p>Following this line of research, at the Complexity Lab in Economics (CLE) of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, <a href="https://www.axa-research.org/en/projects/alberto-cardaci">I have recently started a new project</a>, “Cognitive biases, perceived wealth and macroeconomic instability”, with the help of a postdoctoral scholarship by the AXA Research Fund.</p> <p>By combining findings from behavioural economics and social cognitive psychology with the techniques of experimental economics, the project essentially tests the hypothesis that some people tend to spend more than they “should” because they have the wrong perception of how wealthy they are.</p> <p>In other words, our working assumption is that, depending on <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/terms/l/leverage.asp">the value of leverage</a> (that is, the ratio between debt and net worth), people may feel wealthier even when their net worth has not changed, and that this makes them psychologically more prone to increase their spending, as well as their borrowing. We call this the “leverage bias hypothesis”.</p> <p>At CLE we have run some preliminary laboratory experiments to test the presence of the leverage bias. Our first results (to be published) confirm that around 78% of the participants have a wrong perception of the amount of wealth owned and this perception changes based on <em>how</em> wealth is composed, even when the net value remains constant.</p> <p>We postulate that this misperception of wealth may play a significant role at explaining individual consumption and borrowing decisions that do not appear rational based on canonical economics.</p> <p>Indeed, the potential implications of a cognitive bias of this type are substantial. An individual with a distorted perception of wealth may feel financially better off, consume more, borrow a larger amount of loans and overestimate her ability to pay back her debt in the future.</p> <p>This behaviour would have consequence not only for the borrower, but also for the lender: a borrower’s inability to meet the debt obligations would result in the accumulation of non-performing loans on the balance sheet of financial institutions in the credit market.</p> <p><strong>Partial explanations for massive crash</strong></p> <p>By extending this reasoning to a greater scale, it is also possible that macroeconomic fluctuations be (at least partially) explained by the excess spending and debt accumulation trigger by the leverage bias. This is the case when a large number of people perceive themselves as richer than they actually are: consumption can rise in the aggregate to the extent that such people possibly increase their debt being inaccurately confident that they will be able to pay it back.</p> <p>Before the 2007 financial crisis the level of household debt skyrocketed, going <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/updates/usa-national-debt/">beyond 100 per cent of GDP</a>. In those years, the American society easily and quickly moved from debt-led to debt burdened.</p> <p>While almost certainly not all personal debt accumulated in society could be attributed to behavioural fallacies, it is worth investigating whether distorted perceptions of wealth may have tremendous costs not only at the individual level but also at the macroeconomic one.</p> <hr /> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/202296/original/file-20180117-53314-hzk3rx.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption"></span></p> <p><em>Created in 2007, the Axa Research Fund supports more than 500 projects around the world conducted by researchers from 51 countries. To learn more about the work of Alberto Cardaci, visit his <a href="https://albertocardaci.wixsite.com/alcardaci">site</a> as well as the <a href="https://www.axa-research.org/en/projects/alberto-cardaci">Axa Research Fund dedicated page</a>.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/95965/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Alberto Cardaci, Post-doctoral fellow, Complexity Lab in Economics (CLE), Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore - Catholic University of Milan</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/why-we-perceive-ourselves-as-richer-than-we-think-we-are-95965"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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3 ways to save money without sacrificing your social life

<p><span>It’s hard to stay social when you’re trying to curb expenses. However, there are tricks that will allow you to spend some quality time with friends and loved ones without having to feel like you’re throwing money down the drain.</span></p> <p><strong><span>1. Be honest, be positive</span></strong></p> <p><span>You don’t have to make flimsy excuses to avoid going out – be open about your intentions, but frame it positively. Instead of saying “these events are too expensive”, you can tell them, “I’m trying to be really good at saving and staying home these days”. While it may be uncomfortable to say no to invites outright, your friends may turn out to be more supportive to your goals than you expected.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Provide alternatives</strong></p> <p><span>Fill your social calendar with free or cheap activities. This could be a visit to the new art exhibition in your city, a potluck picnic at the park, a hike by the mountains, a game night at your home, and more. Don’t forget to look out for special promos and discounts on popular websites like Groupon or Scoopon for more affordable options.</span></p> <p><strong>3. Put it in the budget</strong></p> <p><span>Don’t want to skimp on your bar outings or group classes? It’s time to look at your budget. Once you determine the amount you need to save every month, set aside some of the rest for fun-related expenses. Budgeting allows you to figure out your priorities and stay within the limits. Stick to your allocated budget well – once it’s out, do not extend it any further!</span></p>

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Couple pays off $197,000 worth of debt with a simple budgeting trick

<p><span>An American couple said a simple budgeting trick is the secret behind their success in paying off their debts.</span></p> <p><span>Amanda and her husband Josh said they had a combined debt of US$133,763 (around NZ$197,000 at the time), which consisted of 16 student loans, eight credit cards, two vehicles and a personal loan. After 43 months, the pair finally paid off all their debts in July 2018.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BzoGMWQFUKL/" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BzoGMWQFUKL/" target="_blank">A post shared by Amanda Williams (@debtfreeinsunnyca)</a> on Jul 7, 2019 at 12:01pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span>They said increasing their incomes and cutting expenses have helped them become debt-free. The pay increase came from raises, working overtime and being on-call. They also put a hold in expensive hobbies and traveling plans while making the most out of work perks, such as carpooling.</span></p> <p><span>Increased earnings may encourage more spending – however, the couple managed to resist the temptation using a simple budgeting method: cash envelopes.</span></p> <p><span>Every payday, the couple would take out cash for groceries, gas, spending money and any sinking funds they were saving for to last the fortnight. The cash would then be divided and put into envelopes based on their categories.</span></p> <p><span>“For that two-week period, all groceries come out of the grocery envelope. Same with gas and spending money. Once it’s gone, it’s gone!” Amanda told <a href="https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2019/04/how-amanda-paid-off-133763-in-debt-in-43-months.html"><em>Making Sense of Cents</em></a>.</span></p> <p><span>“This method really helps curb your spending because you feel it more when you use cash. It’s also easy to look in your wallet and see how much money you have for each category to stay on track.”</span></p> <p><span>While the technique can help minimise unnecessary spending, you can still have fun with it, Amanda said. “Budgeting doesn’t mean you have to cut out all your fun! Put it in the budget. The point is to know where your money is going and to spend it intentionally.”</span></p>

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How addiction to money is destroying the world

<p>In a widely cited confessional in the <em>New York Times</em> in 2014, former Wall Street trader <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/opinion/sunday/for-the-love-of-money.html">Sam Polk outed himself as a recovering wealth addict.</a></p> <p>He intimated a toxic childhood and an abusive parent (<a href="https://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/addiction/child-abuse-alcoholism-drug-addiction/">a common theme in the biographies of addicts</a>).</p> <p>He revealed the exhilaration (a well-known <a href="https://www.ama.org/publications/MarketingNews/Pages/feeding-the-addiction.aspx">symptom of dopamine release</a>) at the power that money provided him.</p> <p>He admitted that he abused money like he abused alcohol and cocaine — to feel better about himself.</p> <p>In the powerful throes of his deep addiction, his “fixes,” including cash bonuses, were never big enough. Like the “users” on Wall Street who <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/opinion/sunday/for-the-love-of-money.html">fly into addiction-fueled rages</a>, he would do anything, including bringing harm to others, to amass more cash. A typical addict, he didn’t care as long as he could have more.</p> <p><a href="https://news.vanderbilt.edu/2012/05/01/dopamine-impacts-your-willingness-to-work/">Scientists are beginning to see the addictive link between dopamine and money</a>, but we don’t have to wait for them to catch up. We know this is a problem. As I argue in this video, money is the most highly addictive substance on the planet:</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ir0R7yAFiO8"></iframe></div> <p>It is a powerful addiction, unrivalled in its ability to trigger good feelings, and what’s most frightening about it is that you can’t ever physically overdose.</p> <p>Cocaine, heroin and crack will kill you if you do too much, but not money. Money won’t harm you, physically anyway. The cash addict can madly mainline moolah from the trading floor, the Senate floor or, with smart phone in hand, the bathroom floor without ever risking a deadly OD. It would be comical if it wasn’t so tragic, yet it is very tragic indeed, for the addict, their families and society at large.</p> <p><strong>Money addiction as tragic as any other</strong></p> <p>Make no mistake about this. Like all addiction stories, wealth addiction is tragic. Like all junkies, cash junkies will do anything to service their need. They will <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/child-neglect">certainly neglect</a> their own families while they work long hours to make more.</p> <p>To the outside world, everything will seem fine. They will “keep it in the family” as they dissemble, distract and confuse. They will buy nannies and ponies and cars. They will snort cocaine and go shopping and jet off to exclusive resorts to hobnob with other wealthy people. They will present their wealth fashionably, but as Sam Polk one day realized, the pain and anguish are real.</p> <p>And it’s not just the neglected family that suffers. There are no boundaries. Like a fentanyl addiction, it takes over and distorts everything. Cash addicts in the U.S. government (<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2015/05/19/clintons-blizzard-of-malfeasance/?noredirect=on&amp;utm_term=.bc12c8b61878">in any government, really</a>), their campaigns funded by the wealthy, will <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/11/26/senate-gop-tax-bill-hurts-the-poor-more-than-originally-thought-cbo-finds/?noredirect=on&amp;utm_term=.21b5e131da3b">steal from the poor</a>, <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/15000-scientists-warning-to-humanity-1.4395767">destroy the environment</a>, <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/05/trump-childrens-health-insurance-program-chip-cuts-2018.html">rip off sick children</a>, engage in <a href="http://www.afroworldview.com/colonialism-was-driven-by-greed/">colonial exploitation</a>, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/what-trumps-decision-on-iran-nuclear-deal-means-for-oil-prices/2018/05/07/c202d2be-4fcf-11e8-b725-92c89fe3ca4c_story.html?utm_term=.d4163ca8fbad">start wars</a> and even sacrifice kids in yet <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/18/us/texas-school-shooting/index.html?utm_source=CNN-News-Alerts&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_campaign=Texas+high+school+shooting962ef9ef-8590-4f44-a345-2f4d74f31d97&amp;utm_term=ff070d394080a1d443546fee6b64f212">another school shooting</a>, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/04/opinion/thoughts-prayers-nra-funding-senators.html">if it means they can make some more bucks</a>.</p> <p>And that’s not even the worst of it.</p> <p>The addicts will <a href="https://theconversation.com/star-wars-is-a-religion-that-primes-us-for-war-and-violence-89443">hijack human spirituality</a>, <a href="http://time.com/4577724/donald-trump-deplorable-administration/">exploit hatred</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-we-should-all-cut-the-facebook-cord-or-should-we-93929">brainwash the masses</a>, derail <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/16/politics/cambridge-analytica-congress-wylie/index.html">democratic politics</a> and <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/madeleine-albright-fascism-a-warning-trump-north-korea/">tinker with fascism</a> in their desire to have more.</p> <p>So what to do?</p> <p><strong>Possible cures</strong></p> <p>Well, as strange as this is going to sound, <a href="https://www.futurity.org/dopamine-inequality-money-882572/">there might be a pill for all this</a>. In a remarkable experiment in the journal <em>Current Biology</em>, tolcapone, a drug that prolongs dopamine feelings, made participants who took it rather than a placebo become more egalitarian about money. A magical cure seems all right to me. But even if you can’t get access to tolcapone, there are immediate things you <em>can</em> do.</p> <ol> <li> <p>Stop neglecting and abusing children. <a href="https://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/addiction/child-abuse-alcoholism-drug-addiction/">The research is coming in on this one</a>: Abuse and neglect in childhood cause copious mental and emotional problems, and lead, via damage to neurochemical systems, to addictions in adult life. If we don’t want to raise another generation of addicts, speak up when you see children being mistreated by their parents, <a href="https://www.academia.edu/33737469/The_emotional_abuse_of_our_children_Teachers_schools_and_the_sanctioned_violence_of_our_modern_institutions">teachers</a>, <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/topic/catholic-church">priests</a> or anyone else given access.</p> </li> <li> <p>As cliched as this may sound, do something about the addict in your life. Stop avoiding the situation. Quit enabling the addiction. Stop suffering in silence. Don’t lie to yourself. We all have experiences with addiction and we all know, if we don’t do something, it only gets worse. So do something.</p> </li> <li> <p>To make sure we don’t fall victim to a money addiction, get out and get active. Educate. Prognosticate. Most important, <a href="http://time.com/5107499/record-number-of-women-are-running-for-office/">get involved politically</a>. At the very least, get out and vote. <a href="http://www.gmfus.org/blog/2018/04/06/democracy-under-attack-outlook-india">Democracy may be under global attack</a> and <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/madeleine-albright-fascism-a-warning-trump-north-korea/">fascism may soon come a knocking</a>, but we still have the power to vote. Sure, <a href="https://theconversation.com/star-wars-is-a-religion-that-primes-us-for-war-and-violence-89443">they’d like you to believe it is a “good versus evil”</a>, left versus right, Darth versus Luke sort of thing, but there are addicts on both sides, <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/carrie-fisher-bipolar-disorder-addiction-mental-health-stigma/">and even the princesses struggle with addiction</a>.</p> </li> </ol> <p>See this problem for what it is: A loosely organized group of global addicts <a href="http://time.com/4362872/bilderberg-group-meetings-2016-conspiracy-theories/">getting together</a> to <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/16/politics/senate-judiciary-committee-trump-tower-transcripts/index.html">figure out ways</a> to enrich each other financially. If you think this is about “<a href="http://time.com/donald-trump-drain-swamp/">draining the swamp</a>” and <a href="https://www.politico.com/story/2016/09/donald-trump-jobs-economic-plan-228218">jobs for the people</a>, you are gravely mistaken. It is about <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/17/nyregion/kushner-deal-qatar-666-5th.html">sidling up to the trough</a> and gobbling as much as they can, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/jan/16/worlds-eight-richest-people-have-same-wealth-as-poorest-50">no matter how obscene it gets</a>. It is about the <a href="https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/5/15/17355202/trump-zte-indonesia-lido-city">“you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”</a> service of globalized addiction. It is a serious problem, and we should all be concerned, because to the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/18/republicans-trump-silence-racism">enabling addicts</a>, everything, even a holocaust, is merely an “<a href="http://mondoweiss.net/2007/04/the_holocaust_a/">opportunity</a>” for amassing more wealth.</p> <p>Like any addict in the throes of their addiction, there’s no limit to how far this can go.</p> <p>While there is still time, gently, carefully, take their <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/12/politics/pentagon-budget-increase-trump/index.html">big sticks</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/03/donald-trump-boasts-nuclear-button-bigger-kim-jong-un">red buttons</a> away. Don’t hurt them and punish them, because that’s what made these people sick to begin with. Instead, remind them of the illness that binds them, and get them the help that they need.</p> <p><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/opinion/sunday/for-the-love-of-money.html">Don’t let yourself or the ones you love become like Sam Polk, “a giant fireball of greed.”</a></p> <p>See the truth. Take some action. If you need it, get help.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/96517/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Mike Sosteric, Associate Professor, Sociology, Athabasca University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/how-money-is-destroying-the-world-96517"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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Why you should think twice before playing slot machines

<p>Slot machines, video poker machines and other electronic gaming devices make up the bulk of all the economic activity in the gaming industry. At casinos in <a href="https://irgc.iowa.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2017/03/annual_report_2016.pdf">Iowa</a> and <a href="http://dor.sd.gov/Gaming/Industry_Statistics/PDFs/Stats%20by%20Denom%20for%20cy2016.pdf">South Dakota</a>, for example, such devices have contributed up to 89 percent of annual gaming revenue.</p> <p>Spinning-reel slots in particular are <a href="http://www.principlesofcasinomarketing.com/Introduction-to-Casino-Management.php">profit juggernauts</a> for most casinos, outperforming table games like blackjack, video poker machines and other forms of gambling.</p> <p>What about slot machines makes them such reliable money makers? In part, it has something to do with casinos’ ability to hide their true price from even the savviest of gamblers.</p> <p><strong>The price of a slot</strong></p> <p>An <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/terms/l/law-of-supply-demand.asp">important economic theory</a> holds that when the price of something goes up, demand for it tends to fall.</p> <p>But that depends on <a href="http://investinganswers.com/financial-dictionary/stock-market/price-transparency-3233">price transparency</a>, which exists for most of the day-to-day purchases we make. That is, other than visits to the doctor’s office and possibly the auto mechanic, we know the price of most products and services before we decide to pay for them.</p> <p>Slots may be even worse than the doctor’s office, in that most of us will never know the true price of our wagers. Which means the law of supply and demand breaks down.</p> <p>Casino operators usually think of price in terms of what is known as the average or expected house advantage on each bet placed by players. Basically, it’s the long-term edge that is built into the game. For an individual player, his or her limited interaction with the game will result in a “price” that looks a lot different.</p> <p>For example, consider a game with a 10 percent house advantage – which is fairly typical. This means that over the long run, the game will return 10 percent of all wagers it accepts to the casino that owns it. So if it accepts $1 million in wagers over 2 million spins, it would be expected to pay out $900,000, resulting in a casino gain of $100,000. Thus from the management’s perspective, the “price” it charges is the 10 percent it expects to collect from gamblers over time.</p> <p>Individual players, however, will likely define price as the cost of the spin. For example, if a player bets $1, spins the reels and receives no payout, that’ll be the price – not 10 cents.</p> <p>So who is correct? Both, in a way. While the game has certainly collected $1 from the player, management knows that eventually 90 cents of that will be dispensed to other players.</p> <p><a href="https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/grrj/vol15/iss1/2/">A player could never know this</a>, however, given he will only be playing for an hour or two, during which he may hope a large payout will make up for his many losses and then some. And at this rate of play it could take years of playing a single slot machine for the casino’s <a href="https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/grrj/vol15/iss1/2/">long-term advantage to become evident</a>.</p> <p><strong>Short-term vs. long-term</strong></p> <p>This difference in price perspective is rooted in the gap between the short-term view of the players and the long-term view of management. This is one of the lessons I’ve learned in my more than three decades in the gambling industry analyzing the performance of casino games and as a researcher studying them.</p> <p>Let’s consider George, who just got his paycheck and heads to the casino with $80 to spend over an hour on a Tuesday night. There are basically three outcomes: He loses everything, hits a considerable jackpot and wins big, or makes or loses a little but manages to walk away before the odds turn decidedly against him.</p> <p>Of course, the first outcome is far more common than the other two – it has to be for the casino to maintain its house advantage. The funds to pay big jackpots come from frequent losers (who get wiped out). Without all these losers, there can be no big winners – which is why so many people play in the first place.</p> <p>Specifically, the sum of all the individual losses is used to fund the big jackpots. Therefore, to provide enticing jackpots, many players must lose all of their Tuesday night bankroll.</p> <p>What is less obvious to many is that the long-term experience rarely occurs at the player level. That is, players rarely lose their $80 in a uniform manner (that is, a rate of 10 percent per spin). If this were the typical slot experience, it would be predictably disappointing. But it would make it very easy for a player to identify the price he’s paying.</p> <p><strong>Raising the price</strong></p> <p>Ultimately, the casino is selling excitement, which is comprised of hope and variance. Even though a slot may have a modest house advantage from management’s perspective, such as 4 percent, it can and often does win all of George’s Tuesday night bankroll in short order.</p> <p>This is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1938965508315368">primarily due to the variance</a> in the slot machine’s pay table – which lists all the winning symbol combinations and the number of credits awarded for each one. While the pay table is visible to the player, the probability of producing each winning symbol combination remains hidden. Of course, these probabilities are a critical determinant of the house advantage – that is, the long-term price of the wager.</p> <p>This rare ability to hide the price of a good or service offers an opportunity for casino management to raise the price without notifying the players – if they can get away with it.</p> <p>Casino managers are under tremendous pressure to maximize their all-important slot revenue, but they do not want to kill the golden goose by raising the “price” too much. If players are able to detect these concealed price increases simply by playing the games, then they may choose to play at another casino.</p> <p>This terrifies casino operators, as it is difficult and expensive to <a href="https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/grrj/vol15/iss1/2/">recover from perceptions</a> of a high-priced slot product.</p> <p><strong>Getting away with it</strong></p> <p>Consequently, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1938965518777223">many operators resist</a> increasing the house advantages of their slot machines, believing that players can detect these price shocks.</p> <p><a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1938965518777223">Our new research</a>, however, has found that increases in the casino advantage have produced significant gains in revenue with no signs of detection even by savvy players. In multiple comparisons of two otherwise identical reel games, the high-priced games produced significantly greater revenue for the casino. These findings were confirmed in <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1938965518787454">a second study</a>.</p> <p>Further analysis revealed no evidence of play migration from the high-priced games, despite the fact their low-priced counterparts were located a mere 3 feet away.</p> <p>Importantly, these results occurred in spite of the egregious economic disincentive to play the high-priced games. That is, the visible pay tables were identical on both the high- and low-priced games, within each of the two-game pairings. The only difference was the concealed probabilities of each payout.</p> <p>Armed with this knowledge, management may be more willing to increase prices. And for price-sensitive gamblers, reel slot machines may become something to avoid.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/100700/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Anthony Frederick Lucas, Professor of Casino Management, University of Nevada, Las Vegas</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/how-slot-machines-work-and-why-you-should-think-twice-before-playing-them-100700" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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How using your smartphone at the supermarket can increase your shopping bill

<p>Are you constantly checking your phone when you’re out and about? Do you have trouble resisting the lure of ever more screen time? If so, be careful when you go grocery shopping – as your phone may be costing you more than you think.</p> <p>A <a href="https://researchportal.bath.ac.uk/en/publications/in-store-mobile-phone-use-and-customer-shopping-behavior-evidence">recent study</a> suggests that grocery shoppers who use their phones in the supermarket end up spending, on average, 41% more than those who don’t.</p> <p>This may sound counter intuitive. Previously, many bricks-and-mortar retailers have regarded shoppers’ smartphones as a distraction – or worse. They worried that customers who paid attention to their phones spent less time looking at enticing product displays in the store, or might use their phones to search for better deals online.</p> <p>To find out if these fears were justified (specifically when people go grocery shopping) a team of researchers conducted an experiment. We placed special eye-tracking glasses on more than 400 shoppers, who then went about their shopping as usual.</p> <p>The glasses allowed us to see precisely what the shoppers were doing when they were shopping – and what they looked at. Some of the participants were encouraged to use their mobile phones, while some were asked to put them away for the duration of their shopping trip.</p> <p>It turned out that the effect is ultimately the opposite of what we might have thought. Shoppers who checked their phone while shopping spent on average 41 per cent more at the till – and those people who used their phones the most also tended to spend the most money.</p> <p><strong>Inside a shoppers’ mind</strong></p> <p>The reason for this lies in the way the human brain works when we are shopping – and the vast amount of choices on offer.</p> <p>Even a small grocery store may keep 10,000 unique products in stock, while large supermarkets stock many times that. It is impossible for the human mind to consciously process and choose between all these available items. We simply cannot cope with all these decisions, which means our brains are trying to simplify the complexity of a grocery store in different ways.</p> <p>One way is to activate a kind of internal autopilot, which acts as a kind of shopping script, prescribing what we do and see in the store. Essentially, this means that most shoppers usually go to the shelves and sections they always go to, and buy the same products repeatedly.</p> <p>Say, for example, that you regularly buy milk, chicken and bananas. Your inner autopilot will lead you between the points in the store where you know these items belong.</p> <p>Similarly, if you are cooking food for a weekday dinner, you may have an inner script of what products should be in that. Products that are not part of that script are most often filtered away by your brain as irrelevant information.</p> <p>After all, why would you be interested in looking at baking products when you are planning a quick shop for a stir fry, before getting home after a long day at work? All these products we do not consciously see do not stand a chance of getting into the shopping basket. The harsh fact is that shoppers are very habitual creatures – most of us vary our grocery purchases between fewer than 150 products a year.</p> <p><strong>Smartphone distractions</strong></p> <p>But something different happens when we pick up our phones. Whether it’s to make a call, send a text message, check social media or browse holiday destinations, our minds are forced to switch our very limited attention capacity from the shopping task to the phone.</p> <p>As attention is distracted, the way shoppers behave in the store drastically changes. They suddenly walk more slowly and in unpredictable patterns, wandering along the aisles.</p> <p>They find themselves spending more time in the store, and becoming more receptive to looking at a wider assortment of products as the autopilot has been interrupted. This means they (you) are less likely to filter off information regarding products outside the normal script and more like to be inspired to buy more of them.</p> <p>In essence, shoppers who look at their phones spend more time in the store, look at more products, and buy more things. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as you may be reminded to buy products that are needed at home that were not on your mental shopping list – or you may be inspired to try a new ingredient.</p> <p>But if you are conscious of sticking to your shopping plan and budget, then it may be best to keep your phone in your bag or pocket. Remember that an online friendly store – with free wi-fi or smartphone docking stations on trolley handles – may simply be landing you with a bigger shopping bill.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/117619/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Carl-Philip Ahlbom, Prize Fellow in Management, University of Bath</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/using-your-smartphone-at-the-supermarket-can-add-41-to-your-shopping-bill-117619"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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Why optimism is not always good in entrepreneurship

<p>Most business start-ups end badly. While the number of new businesses created in the UK in 2016 – 414,000 – looks impressive at first, it is less so when set against the number that failed that same year: <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/business/activitysizeandlocation/bulletins/businessdemography/2016">328,000</a>.</p> <p>Failure has always been the hallmark of entrepreneurship – only around 50 per cent of businesses survive their first five years. And not only are the chances of survival slim, but there is evidence that on average <a href="https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/262131">business owners earn less</a> than if they had remained as someone else’s employee. They also work substantially <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-6435.2007.00361.x">longer hours</a> than their counterparts in paid employment.</p> <p>So what sort of person decides to leave the relative security and comfort of employment and invest on average <a href="https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/00028280260344452">70 per cent of their wealth</a> on the high risk lottery ticket that is entrepreneurship? And in such large numbers? The answer: optimists.</p> <p>Sure, the potential returns from founding a successful business and becoming the next Bill Gates may be so great that the gamble is possibly worthwhile. Or perhaps the attraction of “<a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1336091">being our own boss</a>”, is part of the attraction. But a dash of optimism is a powerful catalyst to action.</p> <p>Psychologists have long documented our tendency to be optimistic. In fact, optimism is one of the most pervasive human traits. By optimism, we mean a tendency to overestimate the probability of doing well (or conversely, underestimating the probability of failure).</p> <p>For instance, most people overestimate their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0001457589900249">driving ability</a>, their <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/boer.12107">future financial prosperity</a>, and their chances of a successful, <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167204271325">happy marriage</a>. Across many different methods and domains, studies consistently report that a large majority of the population (<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982211011912">about 80 per cent according to most estimates</a>) display an overly optimistic outlook.</p> <p>Viewing ourselves and our chances of future success in implausibly positive ways may increase ambition and persistence. It may persuade others to cooperate with us. There may even be an element of self-fulfilling prophecy, whereby exaggerated beliefs increase the probability of success.</p> <p>Nevertheless, there is a downside. As it is better to use correct information when making choices, optimism tends to result in faulty assessments and mistaken decisions. Yes, it may well enhance our performance but it also results in participation in activities doomed to fail.</p> <p><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014292118301582">In our research</a>, we examine how these forces play out in business start-ups – a big decision involving much uncertainty. Previous studies have documented that optimistic thinking tends to be highest when outcomes are uncertain. It also flourishes when success is perceived to be under the individual’s control.</p> <p>So it is no surprise that optimists are attracted to the uncertain and turbulent world of entrepreneurship. The greater an individual’s optimism, the more likely they have been fooled into thinking they have found a good business opportunity and that they have what it takes to exploit it successfully. Every episode of the BBC’s <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006vq92">Dragons Den</a> provides examples of such delusional thinking. Realists and pessimists are less likely to proceed with unpromising prospects.</p> <p>Our findings provide evidence that higher optimism is indeed associated with lower entrepreneurial earnings. Optimism is measured as bias in forecasting personal financial outcomes when subjects are still in paid employment, prior to beginning their entrepreneurial adventure.</p> <p><strong>The downside of optimism</strong></p> <p>Allowing for earnings while an employee, we find that business owners with above average optimism earn some 30 per cent less than those with below average optimism – suggesting they would have been better off if they had made the prudent choice of remaining an employee.</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ta01yF59agc"></iframe></div> <p>Marriage is in some ways like starting a business. As a further test of whether optimism leads to rash decisions, we found that optimists are more likely to divorce.</p> <p>Overall, our results suggest that many entrepreneurial decisions can be viewed as mistakes, based upon an excessive belief in the probability of doing well. Too many people are starting business ventures, at least as far as private returns are concerned.</p> <p>It seems likely that optimism is partly responsible for the sizeable churn of business births and deaths that happen year on year around the world. Governments should therefore be cautious in adopting policies that encourage start-ups – it seems people need little encouragement as it is.</p> <p>And while it is true that new businesses create new jobs, it should also be noted that when start-ups fail, they are responsible for a great deal of job destruction and heartache.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/101417/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Chris Dawson, Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Business Economics, University of Bath and David de Meza, , London School of Economics and Political Science</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/why-optimism-and-entrepreneurship-are-not-always-a-good-mix-for-business-101417"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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Why we resort to retail therapy

<p><span>We all have our own ways to blow off steam – but for some, making an impulse purchase seems to be the answer.</span></p> <p><span> A study from the University of Michigan found that shopping can reduce sadness by restoring one’s sense of control in life. </span></p> <p><span>The researchers discovered that making buying decisions helped reduce negative emotions by subverting the belief that “situational forces control the outcomes in one’s life”.</span></p> <p><span>Although some may worry that impulse treats may put a dent in their wallet and therefore make their mood even worse, another <a href="https://northstarpsych.com/files_uploaded/8df9f1b646b4900b8dd33849f6e898c5.pdf">study</a> published in <em>Psychology &amp; Marketing</em> suggested that buyer’s remorse is not an issue. “There seem to be few, if any, downside consequences of engaging in the unplanned purchase of treats,” the researchers wrote. The study participants, they wrote, “did not experience anxiety, guilt, or buyer’s remorse,” nor did they “attempt to engage in compensatory activity” or “suffer a downturn in mood post-purchase”.</span></p> <p><span>However, retail therapy can only go so far in repairing mood and reducing stress. The study said shopping helps temporary and mild slumps but not “chronic negative conditions” such as loneliness. </span></p> <p><span>“We are currently dealing with small transactions and fleeting emotions. I am interested in larger purchases and chronic conditions,” said Scott Rick, a marketing professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “How far can the healing go?”</span></p> <p><span>If you want to reap the benefits while still keeping your budget in check, there are a few tricks you can apply. Katherine Burson, a marketing professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business recommended using your imagination. “The people who simply imagine that they are buying have less sadness at the end of the experiment, suggesting that imaginary shopping may have some of the restorative benefits we see in real shopping, which might be the ultimate solution,” said Burson.</span></p> <p><span>You can also make the shopping experience a little less practical by using cash instead of card and removing your credit card details online – you are <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/07/30/can-shopping-become-an-addiction_a_23057029/">less likely</a> to buy on a whim if you have to produce bills or manually enter your information.</span></p> <p><span>Finally, wait it out – making decisions in a tight time span can cloud your judgment over the true necessity of the item. Plan ahead and give yourself some time before committing to fork out some money.</span></p>

Retirement Income

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These are the world's most valuable brands in 2019

<p>Apple has topped <em>Forbes</em>’ list of the world’s most valuable brands for the ninth year in a row.</p> <p>The world’s 100 most valuable brands in 2019 are worth a cumulative US$2.33 trillion (AU$3.34 trillion / NZ$3.52 trillion), increasing by 8 per cent from the previous year according to the magazine’s annual list released in late May.</p> <p>Tech giants dominated the list, led by Apple with a brand value of US$205.5 billion, up 12 per cent over the past year. The company – which was noted for its unique ability to move its customer base from one product category to another – has become the first to cross the $200 billion threshold.</p> <p>Google came in second with US$167.7 billion in brand value, followed by Microsoft (US$123.5 billion) and Amazon (US$97 billion). Facebook rounded up the top five with a value of US$88.9 billion, down 6 per cent over the past 12 months.</p> <p>Brands from 16 countries made the 2019 list. US companies comprised the majority with 56 brands among the top 100, as well as 80 per cent of the top 10. Other prolific countries included Germany with 11 brands, France with seven and Japan with six.</p> <p>No New Zealand companies made the final cut.</p> <p><strong>World’s most valuable brands:</strong></p> <ol> <li>Apple (US$205.5 billion)</li> <li>Google (US$167.7 billion)</li> <li>Microsoft (US$125.3 billion)</li> <li>Amazon (US$97 billion)</li> <li>Facebook (US$88.9 billion)</li> <li>Coca-Cola (US$59.2 billion)</li> <li>Samsung (US$53.1 billion)</li> <li>Disney (US$52.2 billion)</li> <li>Toyota (US$44.6 billion)</li> <li>McDonald’s (US$43.8 billion)</li> </ol> <p>Find the full list <span><a href="https://www.forbes.com/powerful-brands/list/#tab:rank">here</a></span>.</p>

Retirement Income