Retirement Income

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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>

Retirement Income

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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>

Retirement Income

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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>

Retirement Income

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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>

Retirement Income

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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>

Retirement Income

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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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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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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 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>

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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>

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When is it OK to spend money on yourself?

<p><span>One of the most common financial wisdom is to skip on gratifications – buy home brands, cut back on takeouts, make your own coffee, stay in for the weekend and more. However, most financial experts agree that frugality is not always helpful. In fact, there are some circumstances where spending will bring more benefits to your life than saving.</span></p> <p><span>“There is more to life than repaying debt or saving for a rainy day,” said Ryan Guina, founder of <a href="https://cashmoneylife.com/spending-money-is-good/"><em>Cash Money Life</em></a>. “Money is for spending. Money is for living.”</span></p> <p><span>Here are some of the occasions where you do not have to lose sleep over splurging. </span></p> <p><strong><span>When you’re in a transition</span></strong></p> <p><span>Life changes – be it a new job, a new city or a breakup – can be difficult to navigate. Setting aside some discretionary cash will help you <a href="https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2018/02/its-okay-to-increase-your-discretionary-spending-sometimes/">start afresh</a> and settle in. Making acquaintances, becoming part of a new community and rethinking what you want out of life often means spending money. During these times, don’t feel guilty about taking a class, trying out neighbourhood restaurants, joining book clubs or buying new clothes – they are likely to be worthwhile expenses.</span></p> <p><strong><span>When quality is important</span></strong></p> <p><span>Being frugal does not always mean resorting to the cheapest options. Longevity comes at a cost – a low retail price may not mean much if the product wears out more easily or needs to be replaced after minimum use. For example, getting a budget vehicle may not do your wallet any favour if they are a gas-guzzler or require frequent repairs, upgrades and maintenance works. The same goes with furniture, appliances and other everyday items such as bags and wallets – is your time worth the hassle of dealing with broken products?</span></p> <p><strong><span>When time is key</span></strong></p> <p><span>It’s wise to prepare a fund for a rainy day, but there is also a positive side to seizing the day. A recent study</span> <span>published in the <a href="https://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty-and-research/anderson-review/occasion-matching"><em>Journal of Marketing Behavior</em></a> found that delayed gratification can backfire as we wait too long to enjoy special things. The researchers discovered that people were more likely to wait for the “right” occasion to use things that are labelled as more special, such as chocolates from a fancy boutique or a VIP concert pass. Moreover, those who delayed were eventually less satisfied with the things and expressed more regret than those who did not wait.</span></p> <p><span>Our time in the world is limited, and there can only be so much memories. If your financial health is in shape, do not put off your plans. Cash out that gift card, take your dream trip, go and attend that concert – in other words, enjoy the things that prompted you to save up in the first place.</span></p>

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Why you should reframe your financial goals

<p><span>Ever heard the mantra that we need $1 million or more for a comfortable retirement? This is one of the many popular financial goals that revolve around specific numbers – for example, saving $30,000 for a home loan deposit or collecting $10,000 in savings in a year. Settling on a target amount to save may seem wise at first – it can give you a clear idea on what you should achieve and help you strategise on ways to get there.</span></p> <p><span>However, there is more to personal finances than dumping cash to your savings account.</span></p> <p><span>Focusing on numbers may not be the best way to frame your goals. As the personal finance website <em>The Financial Diet </em>said, “Accumulating money for the sake of a number misses the point entirely – life should be treated as a story you are writing, and money should be the ink that helps you write, not the story itself.”</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">"Being rich" is among the most empty goals a person can have. Accumulating money for the sake of a number misses the point entirely -- life should be treated as a story you are writing, and money should be the ink that helps you write, not the story itself.</p> — The Financial Diet (@TFDiet) <a href="https://twitter.com/TFDiet/status/1117800774724128768?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 15, 2019</a></blockquote> <p><span>In other words, it can be more helpful to focus on what you want to do with your money rather than how much money you have to earn. </span></p> <p><span>A focus on numbers revolve around what you <em>should </em>do – and thus may seem intimidating and unattainable – but paying attention to the potential results helps shift your perspective to what you <em>can </em>do and gives you more fuel to work towards your goal.</span></p> <p><span>Making your goals about experiences instead of numbers can help you become more flexible and inspire ideas to achieve your desired ends with <a href="https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2019/05/tie-your-financial-goals-to-results-not-numbers/">less spending</a>. For example, trying to put aside $25,000 to buy a new car is different to keeping in mind that you want to find and get a nice, affordable car.</span></p> <p><span>Setting the goal of “touring Europe” instead of “saving up $8,000 to travel around Europe” may also prompt you to get creative and think up of faster, more affordable ways to get to the other side of the world without being tied down to a certain amount.</span></p>

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Why you shouldn't throw away empty prepaid cards

<p><span>You may come into possession of a prepaid debit card through many different ways – perhaps you purchased it to keep your transactions secure and under control, or maybe it had been gifted to you. No matter how you use it, you might want to keep the card even after the balance is completely spent.</span></p> <p><span>Many people often would simply choose to declutter their wallet and throw out the card as soon as it is emptied out of instinct. However, it might be worth hanging onto – even when it’s used up, there are some reasons why keeping it may be beneficial or even necessary. Here are some situations where a used-up card may come in handy.</span></p> <p><strong><span>When you need a “dummy”</span></strong></p> <p><span>Many free trial programs require you to give out credit card details, so that you can be charged once the try-out period expires. Instead of putting reminders, you can avoid these unwanted charges by putting in the info of your empty prepaid card. </span></p> <p><strong><span>When you need to get a refund</span></strong></p> <p><span>Looking to get something returned to the store? If you are eligible for a refund or rebate, it often goes directly onto the card. The merchant might not be able to process it otherwise, as many banks have a matched refund policy to prevent fraudulent transactions. So if the card you used to purchase has been thrown away, you may have little luck re-accessing your money.</span></p>

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5 tips to ensure your supermarket is listening to you on social media

<p>Making yourself heard by big businesses can be tricky. Even when companies have a presence on social media, you might question whether they are genuinely interested in providing opportunities for meaningful dialogue. Is anyone really listening, or are we just talking to ourselves?</p> <p>There have been refreshing signs that supermarkets can be persuaded to listen to the demands of their customers.</p> <p>So how do you make yourself heard by retailers on social media? After qualitatively examining over <a href="https://researchportal.bath.ac.uk/en/publications/the-never-ending-story-discursive-legitimation-in-social-media-di">68,000 supermarket social media posts</a> with colleagues at the University of Nottingham, here are my five tips for communicating with corporations – and getting noticed.</p> <p><strong>1. Introduce yourself</strong></p> <p>There are countless posts vying for attention in the virtual world of social media, so you need to carve out a unique voice. Why should the retailer listen to you?</p> <p>Begin by making it clear who you are. Start with: “As a loyal customer…”, “As a farmer…”, “As a woman…” or “As a dad…” and you give yourself an identity. Do you live near a polluted river that is full of discarded plastic bags? Are you a parent who volunteers in the local community and needs help? Have you been a loyal consumer for years? This is a strategy used particularly well by the #stopfundinghate campaign, which is targeting retailers who advertise in <em>The Sun</em>, <em>Daily Mail</em> and <em>Daily Express</em>:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/coopuk?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@coopuk</a> As a member &amp; regular shopper i would 💙 to see you <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/stopfundinghate?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#stopfundinghate</a>. Jars with <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/thecoopway?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#thecoopway</a> ethics?? Make a stand! <a href="https://twitter.com/StopFundingHate?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@StopFundingHate</a></p> — Dominique Wedge (@MistyWedge) <a href="https://twitter.com/MistyWedge/status/833970051111870464?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 21, 2017</a></blockquote> <p>Building authority is key to establishing a legitimate base upon which to launch your argument. Do not underestimate the voice of experience.</p> <p>2. Back up your argument</p> <p>You may well have a valid point to make. But no amount of ANGRY CAPITAL LETTERS, repeated exclamation marks or sad face emojis will communicate a reasoned argument. Instead, a strong case can be built by linking to the content of the organisation’s own policy, relevant legislation, a news article, or even a key image or video:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">Tesco <a href="https://twitter.com/Tesco?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Tesco</a>, I wanted to buy Organic produce from you today but I kept walking. I bought my produce elseware today just because of your needless plastic packaging. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/refusingplastic?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#refusingplastic</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/organic?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#organic</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/tesco?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#tesco</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/plasticfree?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#plasticfree</a> <a href="https://t.co/AKL8WOclCv">pic.twitter.com/AKL8WOclCv</a></p> — Betty's Garden 🌻 (@BettyInCork) <a href="https://twitter.com/BettyInCork/status/957305468594065408?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 27, 2018</a></blockquote> <p>In lobbying supermarkets to stop stocking <em>The Sun</em> newspaper back in 2012, the <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/no-more-page-3-our-grassroots-campaign-took-on-a-huge-corporation-and-we-won-9992371.html">“No More Page 3” (#NMP3) campaign</a> provided a masterclass in rational argument of an emotive issue. Through a whole host of <a href="https://twitter.com/NoMorePage3?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">social media discussions</a>, campaigners skilfully drew on <a href="http://proceedings.aom.org/content/2015/1/16085.short">facts, figures and feelings</a> to persuade retailers such as Tesco, Sainbury’s and the Co-op to stop selling <em>The Sun</em> newspaper until it removed Page 3.</p> <p>In a world of fake news, make sure you are armed with facts.</p> <p><strong>3. Go compare</strong></p> <p>Competition between UK supermarkets is stiff – so holding retailers to account against their rivals is a great way to galvanise action. Back in 2013, Co-op bowed to social media pressure and announced that it would only sell “lads mags” that were covered by <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/jul/29/loaded-owner-cooperative-lads-mags-ban">“modesty wraps”</a>. Days later, Tesco did the same, saying it had <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23558211">“listened carefully”</a> to consumer suggestions (and perhaps those of its competitors). Today, we have seen a similar approach taken to the under-16 energy drink ban:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">VICTORY for <a href="https://twitter.com/jamieoliver?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jamieoliver</a> and the <a href="https://twitter.com/DailyMirror?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DailyMirror</a> on our energy drinks campaign that can make the nations children healthier. <br /><br />All these supermarkets have now banned the sale of energy drinks to under 16s<br /><br />✅ Waitrose<br />✅ Aldi<br />✅ Asda<br />✅ Tesco<br />✅ Sainsburys<br />✅ Morrisons <br />✅ Lidl</p> — Johnny Goldsmith (@MirrorJohnny) <a href="https://twitter.com/MirrorJohnny/status/956841243438469120?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 26, 2018</a></blockquote> <p>You can even compare supermarkets to themselves. Does the talk match the walk? Are there inconsistencies between what the supermarket said it would do, and what it actually did?</p> <p><strong>4. Tell a story</strong></p> <p>On social media, arguments should be short and concise. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a narrative. Making an emotional connection is key and what better way to do this than setting the scene with a dramatic plot, personal triumph, unresolved mystery, happy ending or tale of woe?</p> <p>On the topic of <a href="https://theconversation.com/whatever-happened-to-bans-on-gm-produce-in-british-supermarkets-51153">genetically modified organisms</a>, for example, we found evidence of retailers being construed both as villains (“I will no longer be shopping in your stores now you are to use GMO fed meat”) and heroes (“Thank you for your reassurance, I will continue to happily shop in your stores”). Characterisation helps to convey an opinion:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">Thanks for the heads up <a href="https://twitter.com/ProfTimLang?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ProfTimLang</a>, will start building my own network of trusted suppliers now, don't trust supermarkets anymore. not interested in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GMO?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GMO</a> corn fed chicken and all that crap. Sorry <a href="https://twitter.com/Tesco?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Tesco</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/asda?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@asda</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/LidlUK?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@LidlUK</a> etc. <a href="https://t.co/E7pT9vMAvE">https://t.co/E7pT9vMAvE</a></p> — Anna Lehmann (@BusterOnAir) <a href="https://twitter.com/BusterOnAir/status/951141308093075456?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 10, 2018</a></blockquote> <p><strong>5. Play devil’s advocate</strong></p> <p>Social media is seen by some as something of a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/nov/29/vortex-online-political-debate-arguments-trump-brexit">vortex</a> – a negative time drain that consumes far too much emotional energy. But there is a benefit to online rage, in that it makes conversations continue.</p> <p>The more vibrant and charged discussions involve a plurality of perspectives and some healthy antagonism, particularly around complex socio-political topics such as gender objectification or animal welfare. Keep fuelling the fire and stoking the debate with original and divisive opinions. Keep disagreeing with each other – and the companies. It is when organisational boundaries are truly tested that the real learning can occur.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">why is it going to take 5 years to replace plastic packaging with card or paper packaging? especially when compared with much larger stores like asda or tesco you do not have as many own label products as them? would be nice if could be done in 2 years</p> — Kev (@kevcampbell) <a href="https://twitter.com/kevcampbell/status/955018179499188224?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 21, 2018</a></blockquote> <p>So whether it’s consumer reward schemes, customer convenience or issues of social responsibility, every comment in supermarket social media adds to the rich tapestry of online debate. There are ways to make yourself heard, and to improve the way retailers serve their customers. Social media channels can be effective online petri dishes for organisational learning – the companies just have to keep listening.<!-- 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/90634/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>Sarah Glozer, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, Business &amp; Society, University of Bath</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/five-tips-to-ensure-your-supermarket-is-listening-to-you-on-social-media-90634"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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3 ways to be generous on a budget

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When it comes to spending on your loved ones, it can be easy to go overboard. But giving does not have to be expensive – after all, it’s the thought that counts. Here are the various ways you can show your love and generosity to those around you without breaking the bank.</span></p> <p><strong>1. Buy in bulk</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Instead of coming up with ideas on a unique present for each recipient, buying items in bulk can help you save more and simplify your gift-giving plans. It can be thoughtful, too – a touch of personalisation can make a big difference. For example, you can get plain mugs and add your drawing or handwriting with permanent markers along with small, affordable extras like chocolate, soap bars or cards. </span></p> <p><strong>2. Do it yourself</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is nothing like receiving gifts that have been handmade from scratch. Try to look into the things you already love doing, and go from there. If you like to spend your time baking, prepare a special batch of brownie or pie to share. Enjoy knitting? A handmade sweater or pair of gloves could go the distance. You can also appeal to the shared memories between the two of you through sentimental DIY projects such as photo albums, mixtapes, scrapbooks, drawings and more.</span></p> <p><strong>3. Spend time, not money</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Your presence can truly be a present. Instead of getting some gifts off the store, you can try giving more of yourself – be it by helping in the kitchen, reorganising old cabinets and closets, or taking care of the overgrown lawn. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Apart from giving your service, you can also suggest a gathering where family members and/or friends can spend time and have fun with low-cost food and activities, such as hiking, playing games, or simply chatting over toasted marshmallow and a hot cuppa. Spending some quality time and creating new memories together can indeed be the true gift.</span></p>

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5 ways to trick your mind into spending less

<p><strong>1. Think things through</strong><br />Farnoosh Torabi, author of<span> </span><em>Psych Yourself Rich</em>, explained a few mental approaches on a<span> </span><em>Huffington Post</em><span> </span>blog. First is to give serious thought to your purchase. Pressured? Rushed? You’ll spend more recklessly.</p> <p><strong>2. Examine your finances regularly<span> </span></strong><br />Is your budget fine the way it is? So-called status quo bias means you’ll keep paying what you’re paying – credit cards, pay TV bills – unless you have a compelling reason to change.</p> <p><strong>3. Saving money is relative</strong><br />Behavioural economist Dan Ariely says we’re bad at making comparisons: we may readily pay $3,000 to upgrade to leather seats in a new $25,000 car because it’s a relatively small percentage of the total price, but we’d think a lot longer about paying $3000 for a new couch we’d sit on every night.</p> <p><strong>4. Automate<span> </span></strong><br />Ramit Sethi, who runs the website I Will Teach You To Be Rich, gave some tips on increasing financial willpower to the Bucks blog of the<span> </span><em>New York Times</em>. Key? Pay bills automatically to avoid late fees. Similarly, channel a portion of your salary to your savings accounts.</p> <p><strong>5. Start small<span> </span></strong><br />If you’re overwhelmed by choices, it’s easy to do nothing. “Instead of trying to save a little bit on everything,” Sethi says, “focus on your two biggest discretionary expenses,” like eating out and drinking, in his case. Over the following six months, cut each down by 25 to 33 per cent.</p> <p><em>This article first appeared in </em><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/5-Ways-to-Trick-Your-Mind-Into-Spending-Less"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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12 things lotto winners won't tell you

<div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>1. Secrets of their success</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>On the whole, lottery winners tend to keep a fairly low profile when it comes to discussing their newfound wealth. We asked past winners to weigh in on losing friends, becoming spectacles, and increasing the odds of striking it rich.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>2. Easy come, easy go</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Whether they win $500 million or $1 million, about 70 percent of lotto winners lose or spend all the money in five years or less.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>3. Take a second chance</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>If available, always play the second-chance drawings. Some games require you to mail in your losing ticket. Others tell you to go online and register the ticket’s serial number. People either don’t know about the drawings or don’t take the time to enter, so your odds of winning are always better.<span> </span></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>4. We don’t quit while we’re ahead</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Do lotto winners still play the lottery? Absolutely. And we’re sure we’re going to win again.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>5. You will be exploited – possibly by your friends</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>I had one friend who told me this sob story about how behind she was on her taxes, how they were going to take her house because she couldn’t pay. After she left, I got on my computer, looked up her tax records, and saw that she wasn’t behind. When I printed out that page and sent it to her, well, that was the end of our friendship.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>6. A lot can seem like a little</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>If you win $6 million and find yourself in a room full of lotto winners who won $100 million or more, all of a sudden, you feel like the poor one. It’s all relative. But don’t feel too bummed – there are plenty of big lottery winners whose money (and luck) ran out.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>7. We answer for our impulse purchases</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>After we won the lottery, we bought an eight-bedroom, seven-bath, 10,000-square-foot mansion because we could, and it sounded amazing. Well, now we’re selling the eight-bedroom, seven-bath mansion because it’s impractical for a family of four. If only we knew ahead of time that it was one of the 13 things rich people never waste their money on.<span> </span></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>8. We are still looked down upon by the truly wealthy</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>After we won and moved into an exclusive neighbourhood, we planned a huge party and invited all our neighbours. None of them came – they thought we didn’t earn our money.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>9. We’re sick of money questions</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>It drives me nuts when people ask where I keep the money, how I spend it, and if I still have it. No one would dream of asking a CEO those questions. </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>10. Your friends will change with your lifestyle</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>All lotto winners think they’re going to have the same friends and do the same things. But if you have $100 million and you want to fly to Hong Kong for the weekend, you need to either find someone who can afford to go with you or be willing to subsidise someone. And subsidising people gets old.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>11. ‘Tis better to give</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Now that I can buy anything I want, I’ve learned that what really matters – and what I enjoy most – is being able to do things that help other people.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>12. Don’t donate all at once</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>If you want to give a charity a big sum of money, never give it all at once. It’s better to donate $100,000 a year for ten years so you can retain some control and make sure the cash is being spent wisely.<span> </span>Make sure you're giving wisely with our guide to sensible charity donation. </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even">Who are we kidding? Life is great.</div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>You haven’t lived until someone picks up the laundry from your front porch and brings it back to you that night, completely done and neatly folded.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Michelle Crouch</span>. This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/12-things-lotto-winners-wont-tell-you"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Retirement Income

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3 steps to get out of debt

<p>Getting into deep debt causes more problems than just financial troubles. The effect on your mental health and relationships can be devastating. Follow this advice to break the habit of overspending once and for all.</p> <p><strong>Can I undo the damage?<span> </span></strong></p> <p>Yes, but it’s not easy. The process of getting out of debt takes time, it can be hard on your ego and your lifestyle, you must be constantly vigilant and it’s easy to revert to old habits. But for those who succeed – and many do – the results are stunning.</p> <p><strong>1. Build a repair plan</strong></p> <p>Learn about money management. You can’t master your money if you don’t understand the rules and methods of personal finance. Find a straight­forward book or website and learn all you can about credit cards, budgeting and investing.</p> <p><strong>2. Put your credit cards on ice<span> </span></strong></p> <p>Literally. Put them in a cup, add water and place it in the back of the freezer so you can’t use them for any impetuous purchases.</p> <p><strong>3. Create a budget<span> </span></strong></p> <p>How much money is coming in each month? How much are you spending on essentials and how much on frivolous purchases? Then, follow these guidelines to help control your debt.</p> <ul> <li>Pay more than the minimum due each month on bills.</li> <li>Pay more than the minimum on your highest-interest credit card. After you pay that off, move to the one with the next highest interest.</li> <li>Automate good money habits. Have your wages paid directly into your account and bills paid automatically from it. Also have small amounts automatically diverted to savings accounts.</li> <li>Find an incentive to cut unnecessary spending: set a goal and post a photo of it where you will see it often.</li> </ul> <p><em>This article first appeared in </em><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/Steps-to-Get-Out-of-Debt"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Retirement Income