Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Can you rid yourself of 2020’s financial stress as we head into 2021?

<p>2020 has been a tough year for nearly everyone, and that may be especially true for retirees and those nearing retirement who suddenly are worried about whether their careful planning and years of saving could be upended by events beyond their control.</p> <p>After all, retirement is supposed to be a pleasurable and satisfying time when you kick back and enjoy the fruits of all those decades of labor. That’s difficult to do if you’re jittery about a volatile stock market, or you fret over every expenditure because you aren’t sure whether your savings can go the distance in a lengthy retirement.</p> <p>As this year draws to a close, and we look toward 2021, plenty of people still have worries. For them – and maybe for you – the future is uncertain. But frankly, the future is always uncertain, and worrying about your finances without taking charge of your situation does no one any good.</p> <p>So, if you’re already in retirement or plan to be there soon, how can you reduce some of that financial stress that’s weighing you down in these tumultuous times? Let me offer a few ideas:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Take control.</strong> Just stewing and letting the emotional strain rule your days and nights does no good. Instead, focus on actions you can take to help reduce some of that stress. Often, just doing something – anything – can help you feel better. Review your financial assets so you truly know where you stand. Those assets might include savings accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance, real property or other items. You can’t create a plan unless you know exactly where you stand, so taking stock of things should be the first step. That way you aren’t operating in the dark. And what about the “T” word? Taxes! Have you imparted tax-efficiency as a part of your retirement plan? Do you know your options when it comes to this certainty?</li> <li><strong>Reconsider the timing of your retirement.</strong> Whenever the economy is shaky, it’s best to consider your options ahead of time so you can be prepared before problems arise. If you’re still working, for example, and you suddenly lose your job, one option may be to retire earlier than you originally planned and take Social Security. That can come with downsides, though. If you begin drawing Social Security before your full retirement age (between 66 and 67 for most people) you receive a reduced monthly check. That could cost you tens of thousands of dollars over a long retirement. Conversely, if your job situation is stable but you're worried your nest egg is inadequate, consider postponing retirement. That will allow you to save more, potentially increase your Social Security benefits, and can potentially give your investments time to recover from temporary market declines.</li> <li><strong>Review your budget and clean up bad habits.</strong> Many of us have less-than-stellar financial habits that we developed over the years. Those patterns of behavior don’t magically disappear as you approach retirement. You need to be intentional about changing bad habits so you aren’t spending more money than you need to – or should. To help you determine the difference between necessary and discretionary spending, review the past six months to a year of expenditures. As you review your spending, think beyond all those momentary, one-time splurges. Include your regular household bills, such as utilities, cable and cell phone service. You might be able to save money through a family plan, by bundling services, or by cutting the cord altogether.</li> <li><strong>Evaluate the risk in your portfolio.</strong> Perhaps you have had an aggressive investment strategy, and that’s how you accumulated a big nest egg that (you hope) was designed to carry you through decades of retirement. But, in an uncertain market and with retirement already here or close at hand, it may be wise to re-evaluate how much risk you’re holding in your portfolio. Now would be a good time to diversify and consider other investment options so you can help protect what you already have.</li> </ul> <p>Remember, though, that if your unsteady financial situation is getting the better of you, you don’t have to go it alone. Find an experienced financial professional who can help you develop a plan that can potentially ease at least some of your worries.</p> <p>It’s possible to get back on track financially – and, hopefully, set aside those concerns that could mar your enjoyment of life in retirement.</p> <p class="p1"><em>Written by Alan Becker, president and CEO of <a href="http://www.rsgusa.net">Retirement Solutions Group</a> and author of Return on Investment or Reliability of Income? The True Meaning of ROI in Retirement.</em> </p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

12 easy ways to save $20 a day

<p><strong>Define your budget</strong><br />Saving $20 a day can be as basic as sitting down and crafting a realistic budget. “Our society has done a poor job at teaching people how to save as well as construct a real budget and stick to it,” says Tom Graneau, author of Pennies to Power. He asserts that our money problems can be traced to a lack of discipline rather than a lack of funds. Graneau recommends putting away 15 to 20 per cent of your pay every time you’re paid, making it unlikely you’ll have that extra $20 lying around to spend on something frivolous.</p> <p><strong>Consign your clothes</strong><br />When you’ve grown bored with a once-beloved item of clothing, consider its condition. If you feel it’s too good to be put in a charity bin, a local consignment shop or online consignment space could be the perfect place to score some extra cash. “Selling clothes through consignment is a great way to earn money,” says consignment website co-founder Brielle Buchberg.</p> <p><strong>Make your own coffee</strong><br />This sounds way too simple but your daily café runs seriously add up, especially if you like the fancy stuff. Once you factor in a café latte, perhaps an overpriced pastry, and a second coffee run later in the day, by the end of the week you have seriously blown your budget. Become a DIY barista and make your own concoctions.</p> <p><strong>Say bye to gym memberships</strong><br />Many of us belong to a fitness studio, and those memberships don’t come cheap. If you use them regularly, fine, but it not you could try exercising with the help of a Fitness app instead. Look for one that offers live classes so, even though you are exercising in the privacy of your own home, you can still get that group camaraderie. It will cost you a fraction of the price of a gym membership.</p> <p><strong>Get paid for your opinion</strong><br />As a consumer, your thoughts are incredibly valuable to marketing companies. So much so that you can often find paid survey opportunities when you reveal your purchasing habits and how you decide to buy items.</p> <p><strong>Mark two no-spend weeks on the calendar</strong><br />Depending on your consumer habits, this could be a real exercise in frugality. “Other than petrol in your car and groceries in your fridge, try at least two no-spend weeks each month where you don’t pay for any extras (like that new tech gadget you don’t need),” advises Jill Caponera, a Consumer Savings Expert. “You’d be surprised how much extra money you’ll save when you’re not constantly spending it.</p> <p><strong>Experience your city… for free</strong><br />Boredom can lead to unnecessary spending, yet finding inexpensive entertainment can feel impossible. However, there are likely dozens of fun and free events either in your city or a nearby destination that can save you money while offering up a unique experience you might never have otherwise considered. Type keywords like ‘free events’ in your search engine along with the name of your city or town to discover what’s happening nearby.</p> <p><strong>Don’t be afraid to borrow</strong><br />If you’re a good neighbour, you likely have trustworthy relationships with the folks who live nearby. Before you go out and purchase, say, a power tool or a leaf blower that you may only use once a year, chat to your neighbours to see if they have the item available to borrow. The savings add up and you’re reducing waste at the same time. It’s a win-win.</p> <p><strong>Keep your budgeting style old school</strong><br />Money-saving apps are great, but they aren’t for everyone. Caponera suggests using the good old ‘envelope system’ if you prefer to keep your cash in plain sight. “Set aside a specific amount of money in individual envelopes to cover different categories of your budget,” she says. “If you’ve budgeted $400 a month for groceries, take that amount out of your bank account at the beginning of the month and put the cash in a labelled envelope. This will help you to keep your spending in check and not dip into extra money that could be saved for the future.”</p> <p><strong>When you treat yourself, create a savings ‘match’</strong><br />This idea is truly genius. According to a campaign run by a non-profit organisation, you should match the cost of what they describe as ‘non-essential indulgence’ in savings. This means that if you really want that giant cookie from the coffee shop, you should match its cost in your savings account (or a labelled envelope in cash). Think of it this way, if you can’t afford to save the matching amount, you can’t afford the treat either.</p> <p><strong>Sell some stuff</strong><br />Whether you bought into the Beanie Baby craze of the ’90s or have some other collection that simply isn’t bringing you joy anymore, it’s time to let it go. Find an app to help you list and sell items that you no longer need, or get some neighbours together for a joint garage sale. When multiple families join forces for a sale, it tends to attract more buyers looking for a great deal.</p> <p><strong>Skip takeaways</strong><br />This always feels easier said than done, but if you plan your lunches and dinners for the week, your bank account will come out ahead. Take a look at grocery ads for weekly sales and what could make for a cost-effective but healthy dinner. Bringing your own lunch to work every day also saves you a packet, so if you make more dinner than you can eat, you can have leftovers for lunch.</p> <p><em>Written by Kelly Bryant. This article first appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/food-home-garden/money/12-easy-ways-to-save-20-a-day?pages=1">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.co.nz/subscribe"><span class="s1">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a>.</em><span></span></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

The do’s and don’ts of the share economy

<p>Selling in the sharing economy seems efficient. You have a spare room you aren’t using, rent it on Airbnb. You have spare time and a car, drive for Uber. You have mad Ikea skills, sell them on Airtasker. Work in the sharing economy can be a major income earner or a cash booster. Whether it's your primary income or you're testing the waters, there are a few dos and don’ts to maintain financial security in the sharing economy.</p> <p><strong>The dos</strong></p> <p>1. Contribute to superannuation</p> <p>Everyone earning income needs to be paying into superannuation. This is the most tax effective investment you can make in your future. Missing a few years of super payments because you were travelling and covering costs with small gigs will set you back. Even putting a little bit away helps.</p> <p>2. Get insurance</p> <p>Maintain your income protection insurance to protect against sickness or injury, trauma and TPD insurances. This is more important with the latest legislation change. You might also need professional indemnity and public liability insurance. Professional indemnity protects you if clients claim your service has caused them a loss. Public liability protects you if you injure a customer or damage their property. Check you are covered for general insurances – home, contents, car if you are using them for a side hustle.</p> <p>3. Research tax requirements, benefits and government regulations</p> <p>Governments are constantly catching-up to the sharing economy. Regulations and tax laws update frequently. Surprise tax bills are nobody’s friend, so keep on top of this. If you’re using your home, car or other assets you have opened up a new world of tax deductions. It’s worth your time to look into this. If this is an undeclared income you can’t claim deductions, but declaring a second-job might mean more tax deductions for things you previously couldn’t claim. Weigh up the options.</p> <p><strong>The don'ts</strong></p> <p>1. Don't underestimate the lifestyle costs of this work.</p> <p>Consider how this will impact your life. Is it going to be profitable enough to justify the distraction? Could it impact your primary income? What are the actual costs, like cleaning and wear and tear? Would the time and energy spent on this be better spent on a second job or seeking a promotion? Often, we think we can do it all, but everything has a cost. Be honest with yourself about how you want to live.</p> <p>2. Don't sacrifice your personal finances</p> <p>Know your limits and how much you want to invest to make it work. You’re effectively starting a new business. In the initial set up you will invest your own money. After that draw a clear line between business and personal finances. Think about whether you run the business in your own name, as a trust or as a company. This decision could determine whether you are personally liable for any debts. Understand your finances: what’s coming in, what’s going out, what you owe and what others owe you. This will help you avoid costly mistakes.</p> <p>3. Don't go in without an exit plan.</p> <p>Regulations change or you might hate it. You need an exit strategy that minimises financial losses. Think about this at the start, before you’ve invested. It may change how you do the initial set up. And if you’re relying on this income, then you’ll also need a back-up plan if you’re not earning it anymore.</p> <p>I have clients who have been earning income for years through the share economy. If planned and structured well it can make a real change to your financial situation. But flying in without considering costs, or personal security, could be dangerous. Take the time to think about your options. Time researching and planning is always a good investment.</p> <p><em>Helen Baker is a licenced Australian financial adviser and author of two books: On Your Own Two Feet – Steady Steps to Women’s Financial Independence and On Your Own Two Feet Divorce – Your Survive and Thrive Financial Guide. Proceeds from the books’ sales are donated to charities supporting disadvantaged women. Helen is among the 1% of financial planners who holds a master’s degree in the field. Find out more at <a href="http://www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au">www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au</a></em></p> <p><em>Note this is general advice only and you should seek advice specific to your circumstances.</em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

9 things financial advisors wish you knew

<p><strong>Check out the financial planner's credentials</strong><br />When shopping around for a financial advisor, look for accreditations, such as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or Registered Financial Planner (RFP). If they will be handling your investments, choose a reputable Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).</p> <p><strong>Don’t delay</strong><br />If you’re trying to get out of debt or are sandwiched between dependent children and ageing parents, take a seat. “We recognise that financial advisors can take a back burner,” says money coach and CFP Sheila Walkington. “But it’s like insurance – get it before you need it.”</p> <p><strong>Go beyond the usual suspects</strong><br />Using your bank’s in-house financial advisors may be convenient. But while their products might suit your needs, they’re limited. It’s best to ask for a referral from family and friends. Look for a financial advisor whose clients are roughly in the same financial situation and life stage as you. And don’t be afraid to interview more than one candidate.</p> <p><strong>Everyone gets a little intimidated</strong><br />Many people don’t seek out financial planning advice because they don’t know what questions to ask. Good financial planners expect they’ll need to talk you through complex matters. “There’s a lot of shame associated with money,” says CFP Robyn Thompson. “But we don’t expect you to be an expert.”</p> <p>The initial discomfort is worth it. A survey by Canada’s Financial Planning Standards Council found people who have worked with a comprehensive financial plan felt twice as confident that they will have enough money to retire. As a general rule, you’ll need about 70 per cent of your pre-retirement annual income available each year.</p> <p><strong>Come ready to chat</strong><br />Good financial advisors will spend at least a couple of hours getting to know you before recommending products or strategies. “We’ll look at your taxes, income, investments, retirement savings, estate planning, insurance, debt and any other issues,” says Thompson. Your planner should check in with you at least once annually.</p> <p><strong>Keep things simple</strong><br />It’s your financial advisor’s responsibility to make sure they clearly communicate concepts to you. If they talk down to you or bewilder you with jargon, bid them adieu.</p> <p>Also, beware of the exaggerator. Head for the door if your advisor promises to “beat the market” – no one can safely guarantee that.</p> <p><strong>Be honest</strong><br />Lay out your income and spending, warts and all. “We can bring clarity to your financial habits and give you tools to help,” says Walkington.</p> <p><strong>Know how your financial advisor gets paid</strong><br />It’s fair to ask whether they receive fees for recommending some products over others, and be sure what you’re buying meets your needs.</p> <p>If you’re looking for an unbiased approach, fee-for-service financial advisors will charge by the hour or project, and isn’t motivated by commissions to sell you certain products.</p> <p><strong>Don’t D.I.Y.</strong><br />Just because you think you can handle your own securities trades, it doesn’t mean you should. Reading headlines about the latest market meltdown can make even the most level-headed investor act rashly. An experienced financial planner can keep you on an even keel through the market’s ups and downs.</p> <p><em>Written by Anna-Kaisa Walker. This article first appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/food-home-garden/money/9-things-financial-advisors-wish-you-knew"><span class="s1">Reader’s Digest</span></a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.co.nz/subscribe"><span class="s1">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

$1 solutions you’ll wish you knew sooner

<p><strong>Pull nails out gently</strong><br />If you’re planning to pull a nail out of wood but worry that the hammerhead will hurt the grain, protect the wood before using the hammer. How? Slip a plastic spatula under the head of the hammer before you start the job.</p> <p><strong>Replace the oil in baking</strong><br />Fat makes baked goods moist and tender. It’s also incredibly kilojoule-dense, and if you’re cutting kilojoules, it’s an easy place to start. But say you don’t like your cakes and muffins dry and tough? Then applesauce is the answer. Replace up to 2/3 of the oil called for in a cake or muffin recipe with applesauce, and you’ll add moisture and flavour while ditching the fat.</p> <p><strong>Sweeten the house</strong><br />People who are allergic to air fresheners and sprays can still enjoy the benefits of a sweet-smelling house. Wet a cotton ball with vanilla and dab it very lightly on the outside of a regular light bulb (not a halogen bulb) in your lamps. When you turn on the lamp, the bulb heats up and a faint but alluring scent of vanilla drifts out.</p> <p><strong>Soften beans</strong><br />Afraid those dry beans have been on the shelf too long? Help soften them by adding a pinch of baking soda to the soaking water. Add a fresh pinch to the cooking water, too, and you can significantly reduce the aftereffects of bean consumption.</p> <p><strong>Neutralise mouth ulcers</strong><br />Place an antacid tablet directly on the ulcer, giving it time to dissolve, or simply chew one. The medicine will stop the acids and enzymes in your mouth from attacking the tissue in the sore, and more importantly, it will stop the pain. (Be sure to check the product’s label for correct dosage instructions.)</p> <p><strong>Rip it off the right way</strong><br />Pulling an adhesive bandage off your child’s skin can be tough on both of you. Make it easier by rubbing the bandage with a cotton ball soaked in baby oil. Rub until you can easily pull the bandage off. This trick works well for adults with sensitive skin, too.</p> <p><strong>Clean your carpet overnight</strong><br />Whether your carpet smells dank and musty because of a pet, a smoker, or a season of rain, take the odour out with baby powder. Using a flour sifter, spread the powder generously over the carpet. Let it sit overnight – a few hours will suffice, but overnight is better – and vacuum up the powder and the smells in the morning.</p> <p><strong>Hold a nail</strong><br />Stop hitting your fingers every time you hammer a nail in place. Use the teeth of an ordinary comb to hold the nail while you hammer.</p> <p><br /><strong>Get rid of fishy odours</strong><br />Been chopping something pungent? The smell of garlic or fish can linger on your fingers long after the food is gone. Avoid that by scrubbing your wet hands with baking soda, just as if it were soap, then rinse in warm water. Your hands will smell sweet – and feel softer, too.</p> <p><strong>Remove splinters</strong><br />Make a paste of Epsom salt and water and apply it to the area harbouring a splinter. The paste will pull the splinter to the surface of the skin in about 10 minutes. It will pull insect stingers out of your skin, too.</p> <p><br /><strong>Skip the shaving cream</strong><br />Use hair conditioner for a smooth, clean shave – on your legs, under your arms, and (for men) even on your face. The conditioner will pamper your skin as well as your hair! You can also use hair conditioner as a soothing agent for legs irritated by shaving.</p> <p><strong>Preserve your bouquet</strong><br />Spray the undersides of your cut flowers – leaves and petals – with hair spray to prolong their life. Be sure to stand about 30 cm away when you spray them for best results.</p> <p>Numb your eyebrows<br />Make plucking your eyebrows much less painful by putting an ice pack on them until they’re uncomfortably cold. At that point your skin will be numb enough to begin plucking. You won’t even feel the tug!</p> <p><strong>Train a dog</strong><br />Most dogs hate the sound of dried beans rattling in a can. Use that to your advantage when training a dog by putting a handful of beans in the bottom of an empty aluminium soda can. Seal the top with a strip of tape. When your dog misbehaves, shake the can a couple of times.</p> <p><br /><strong>Refresh tired feet</strong><br />Take this tip from marathon runners, who know that a ten-minute soak in a sugarless mouthwash will take your tootsies from tired to terrific. Alcohol invigorates and mint will make them smell sweet again.</p> <p><strong>Remove crayon from walls</strong><br />If you find crayon markings on your wall, don’t get mad – get shaving cream. Spray the shaving cream directly onto the offending artwork, and scrub it off with a toothbrush or scrub brush.</p> <p><strong>Make a close-fitting hot pad</strong><br />Soothe aching muscles with a custom-made hot pad. Fill a long sock, such as a tube or athletic sock, with dried beans, and tie the top tightly closed with ribbon or string. Heat in a microwave on high for 30 seconds. Place it right on your painful spot. You can drape it around a stiff neck or wrap it around a sore wrist, and it will mould to you, providing faster relief.</p> <p><strong>Keep cookies fresh</strong><br />Homemade chocolate chip cookies can go from tasting deliciously soft and cakey to feeling hard and crunchy in a matter of days. To keep your freshly baked cookies tasting freshly baked, put a couple of slices of bread into the tin or jar where you store the cookies, laying the bread right on top of the cookies. The bread will keep that just-out-of-the-oven flavour and texture intact for up to a week.</p> <p><strong>Wax your windows</strong><br />Do your double-hung windows have a bumpy ride every time you open or close them? If your windows don’t slide up and down with ease, let a candle help them. Clean the insides of the window frame where the sashes travel, then rub the same area with a candle. The windows will have a much smoother journey.</p> <p><strong>Make your garage floor sparkle</strong><br />If you find a puddle of oil on your concrete garage floor, pour paint thinner over it, and then cover the area with kitty litter. (Make sure that the garage is well ventilated by keeping the garage door open, and don’t let anyone smoke or strike matches anywhere near the affected area – and keep the cats away.) The kitty litter will absorb the oil. Just sweep up the mess and you’re done.</p> <p><strong>Clean smudges off suede</strong><br />Suede jackets, shoes and handbags look great, but they’re prone to picking up dirty marks. Clean fresh smudges off quickly and easily before they set into stains by rubbing the suede gently with a piece of fresh white bread. Use a small, circular motion. You may need a second piece of bread to get the spot clean.</p> <p><strong>Keep down items from clumping</strong><br />Throw one or two tennis balls into the dryer the next time you dry down-filled items like pillows, comforters and jackets. They’ll ditch the flat look they get from the washing machine and puff up again with pride.</p> <p><strong>Repel mosquitoes</strong><br />You may love the mild apple-like flavour of chamomile tea but mosquitoes absolutely hate it. Brew a very strong batch of chamomile tea and keep it in a spray bottle in the fridge. Before you relax in the back yard or run through the tall grass, spray exposed skin liberally. It’s fragrant, potent and totally safe for children.</p> <p><strong>Fill a stripped screw-hole</strong><br />If the screw keeps turning and turning in a piece of wood, push a bit of foil loosely in the hole and try again. It will grab tight.</p> <p><strong>Freshen a fridge</strong><br />If something soured in your fridge or the freezer failed, clean it out, then fill a wide, shallow bowl with fresh coffee grounds and leave it in the fridge or freezer overnight. The strong scent of coffee will permeate the space, eradicating any hint of what went wrong.<br /><br /><strong>Banish burned-on food</strong><br />Liquid fabric softener is your best friend when it comes time to scrub pots and pans soiled by your worst enemy, baked-on grime. Soak the offending vessel in water and a squirt of fabric softener. Let it sit for an hour. Wash and rinse it all away.</p> <p><strong>Feed your plants</strong><br />Used coffee grounds are full of nitrogen, so it’s a shame to throw them away each day. Coffee is especially good for acid-loving plants, like camellias, evergreens, rhododendrons, azaleas and rose bushes, so be sure they don’t miss out on the occasional cup of coffee – grounds, that is.</p> <p><strong>Oil squeaky hinges</strong><br />Spray a little oil-based furniture polish on a squeaky door hinge, then open and shut the door several times to work the lubricant into the hinge. The furniture polish is a lot cleaner than the oil you’d usually use for a noisy hinge, and it works just as well to silence the squeak.</p> <p><strong>Untangle a shoelace</strong><br />Junior got a knot in his sneaker and pulled and pulled until it became an impenetrable mass. Sprinkle the knot generously with cornflour, and then work the knot again. The laces will start to slip and slide, and you’ll be able to get the kinks out.</p> <p><strong>Breathe better with a paper bag</strong><br />Got a case of the hiccups? Stop them before you start to hurt. Breathe in and out of a paper bag for a few minutes. You’ll create a build-up of carbon dioxide in your lungs, which helps relax your diaphragm – whose involuntary tightening causes the hiccups in the first place. This trick works if you’re hyperventilating, too.</p> <p><strong>Give the jar a hand</strong><br />No more banging a jar on the floor to loosen a tight lid. No more running it under hot water. And no more fancy tools designed to do the trick – that somehow don’t work. Just put on a pair of rubber gloves, and open the jar with ease. (Psst – sandpaper also works wonders!)</p> <p class="p1"><em>This article first appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/food-home-garden/home-tips/1-solutions-youll-wish-you-knew-sooner?pages=1"><span class="s1">Reader’s Digest</span></a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.co.nz/subscribe"><span class="s1">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

The one quality Steve Jobs always looked for in employees

<p>Do you have what it takes to land a career that can make you a millionaire before you retire? Sure, you can perfect your resume, dress to impress, and nail the trickiest interview questions. But odds are, you’re probably forgetting one rather underrated quality – and for the late Steve Jobs, it mattered much, much more than a polished CV.</p> <p>In a rarely seen interview, a then-young Jobs revealed that when he was first hiring professional managers for Apple, he quickly learned that “most of them were bozos.” “They knew how to manage, but they didn’t know how to do anything,” he added.</p> <p>So, from there on out, Jobs began to value a different trait in job candidates. “We wanted people who were insanely great at what they did, but were not necessarily those seasoned professionals,” he said. “But who had at the tips of their fingers and in their passion the latest understanding of where technology was and what they could do with that technology.”</p> <p>In other words, forget job experience; Jobs wanted passionate people on his team, instead. Why, you ask? Not only can enthusiastic employees manage themselves, but they also understand the company’s mission – and strive for that common goal with earnest.</p> <p>To find employees with this type of passion, the Apple team interviewed each job candidate by presenting a Macintosh prototype and noting his or her reaction. “We wanted their eyes to light up and to get really excited,” Andy Hertzfeld, one of Apple’s first software engineers, said. “Then we knew they were one of us.”</p> <p><em>Written by Brooke Nelson. This article first appeared on </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/culture/what-steve-jobs-looked-for-in-an-employee"><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.co.nz/subscribe"><em>here’s our best subscription offer</em></a><em>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

5 ways to downsize your debt

<p>It’s said that only death and taxes are certainties in life, but in the modern world, some form of debt is almost guaranteed too. Here are five ways to downsize your debt and get more control over your finances.</p> <p><strong><br />1. Look at your money holistically</strong></p> <p>It’s all too easy to look at our money in different silos: this is what we owe, this is what we have, and this is what we expect to come in.</p> <p>But you have to consider all your money as a single pool to work out what represents the best <em>overall</em> value for you financially.</p> <p>For example, tax deductions for extra superannuation contributions may be bigger than the low home loan interest rate you’re currently paying, meaning you could be better off by beefing up your retirement earnings than paying down the mortgage a bit faster.</p> <p><strong><br />2. Tackle the most expensive debts first</strong></p> <p>We often think of debt as the mortgage, but it may also be personal loans, car loans, credit cards and store cards/repayment plans. And each will have different interest rates.</p> <p>You’ll downsize your debt much faster by tackling the most expensive – that is, the ones with the highest interest rates – first. That’s because debts with high interest rates will grow much quicker, and can even spiral out of control.</p> <p>Depending on your circumstances, it may even be worthwhile consolidating some or all of your debts into one larger debt, particularly one with a much lower interest rate.</p> <p><strong><br />3. Make your mortgage work harder for you</strong></p> <p>Speaking of mortgages, these can actually be used in your favour, if you know what to do and do it wisely.</p> <p>Over time, you’ll build more and more equity in your home, as property prices increase over time and as you pay down the loan. And that equity can be used to make more money than the interest it would attract by being withdrawn.</p> <p>As such, look at whether your mortgage has an offset account or redraw facility that you could tap into. If not, it may be time to refinance to one that does.</p> <p>Consider too whether to go for a fixed, variable rate or a combination of both on your mortgage, and which makes more sense for your current circumstances. Fixed will give you budget certainty, but variable offers more flexibility.</p> <p><strong><br />4. Boost your income through investments</strong></p> <p>We often focus on paying down debt without building other investments. Chances are you’ve thought to yourself at some point “When I’ve paid off my home, then I will then invest”.</p> <p>But you lose precious time doing this, and time is our friend when it comes to investing – the longer your investment timeframes, the more you’re likely to earn through compound interest and higher asset values.</p> <p>So, consider whether you could be doing both simultaneously – investing for the future AND paying down existing debt. You may even find the proceeds of one will help you pay down the other much faster too.</p> <p><strong><br />5. Get your kids to pay their way</strong></p> <p>By the time you’re in your 40s and 50s, your kids – if you have any – are likely in their late teens or 20s. And a variety of factors, including full-time study, high house prices and more recently the COVID-19 crisis, mean that many young adults are still living at home.</p> <p>You may or may not be happy to still have them in your nest, but they can be a substantial drag on your finances if you let them.</p> <p>When they’re earning money of their own, get them to contribute to household bills, insurances and grocery costs. They would pay more if they were out on their own anyway. If they’re not working, then they can still contribute in other ways – cleaning the house and mowing the lawns won’t cost them a cent, but will save you from having to hire a cleaner and gardener.</p> <p>Either way, you’re freeing up extra cash to help pay down your debts!<br /><br /></p> <p>Helen Baker is a licensed Australian financial adviser and author of two books: <em style="font-weight: bold;">On Your Own Two Feet – Steady Steps to Women’s Financial Independence</em> and <em style="font-weight: bold;">On Your Own Two Feet Divorce – Your Survive and Thrive Financial Guide</em>. <em style="font-weight: bold;">Proceeds from the books’ sales are donated to charities supporting disadvantaged women. </em>Helen is among the 1% of financial planners who hold a master’s degree in the field. Find out more at <a href="http://www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au"><strong>www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au</strong></a></p> <p><strong><em>Note this is general advice only and you should seek advice specific to your circumstances.</em></strong></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Coronavirus: Your guide to winners and losers in the business world

<p>As we adjust to life with the new coronavirus around us, our behaviours and habits are quickly changing. What will be the impact of these changes on the organisations and industries around us?</p> <p>We broadly see three business categories:</p> <ul> <li>The winners: sectors that will benefit;</li> <li>The losers: sectors that will suffer;</li> <li>The inbetweeners: sectors that could go either way depending on how they respond.</li> </ul> <p>The third category is the most interesting, as actions they take now will move them into one of the first two categories. Let’s look at each in turn.</p> <p><strong>The winners</strong></p> <p>These sectors have found themselves serendipitously on the right side of history. By applying a basic level of competence, they should thrive. The natural strategy for these companies is to aggressively invest in opportunities and growth.</p> <p><strong>Ecommerce marketplaces</strong></p> <p>People are moving online to do their shopping. Already, Amazon <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/16/amazon-to-hire-100000-warehouse-and-delivery-workers.html">is adding</a> 100,000 new jobs to manage the extra demand. Some other marketplaces are struggling to add capacity. For example, online grocer Ocado <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51941987">has suspended</a> new orders until it can clear its backlog of deliveries.</p> <p>Some marketplaces are turning to technology for help. Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com <a href="https://technode.com/2020/02/07/jd-completes-first-unmanned-delivery-for-coronavirus-aid-in-wuhan/">is using</a> unmanned vehicles to deliver food and medical supplies in Wuhan.</p> <p><strong>Pharmaceuticals</strong></p> <p>Pharmaceutical companies are inevitably playing a large role in the crisis. Gilead, which owns the rights to treatment drug Remdesivir; Moderna, actively working on a vaccine; Roche, a major supplier of testing kits; and Fujifilm, with existing treatment drug Avigan, are all poised to benefit.</p> <p><strong>Logistics/delivery</strong></p> <p>As people around the world are blocked from leaving their homes, products and services will need to be delivered. Cainiao, Alibaba Group’s logistics arm, launched the <a href="https://www.alizila.com/cainiao-green-channel-speeds-medical-supply-delivery-coronavirus/">Green Channel initiative</a> on January 25 in response to the increased demand for protective clothing and medical supplies, especially for front-line medical staff in Hubei province. In just nine days, Cainiao received more than 7,000 calls and shipped over 5 million medical products to Wuhan and neighbouring cities.</p> <p>Meanwhile, UK food delivery app Deliveroo has <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/topic/deliveroo">launched a</a> “no-contact drop-off service”. This provides restaurants with additional packaging and seals for orders to be left on customers’ doorsteps.</p> <p><strong>Video conferencing</strong></p> <p>Videoconferencing start-up Zoom has benefited massively. The <a href="https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/03/04/zooms-q4-earnings-crush-estimates.aspx">company’s sales</a> and <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/ZM/">share price</a> are already up over 50% in 2020. <a href="https://blog.node4.co.uk/blog/the-rise-and-rise-of-cisco-webex">Webex</a> from Cisco and <a href="https://news.microsoft.com/2020/02/26/microsoft-update-on-q3-fy20-guidance/">Skype and Teams</a> from Microsoft are also seeing major upticks in sales. Most are offering special deals for their conferencing services during the outbreak.</p> <p><strong>Entertainment streaming and gaming</strong></p> <p>Platforms like <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2020/03/13/will-coronavirus-really-help-or-hurt-netflix-stock/#313202d922aa">Netflix</a>, <a href="https://www.rollingstone.com/product-recommendations/lifestyle/hidden-amazon-prime-features-967087/">Amazon Prime video</a>, and <a href="https://nypost.com/2020/02/28/how-coronavirus-benefits-netflix-and-other-in-home-services/">Disney+</a> all report increased viewership. Online gaming platforms <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/13/intl_business/gaming-china-coronavirus/index.html">are also experiencing</a> record volumes.</p> <p><strong>The losers</strong></p> <p>For the losers, their managements will need a Herculean effort to pull them through the crisis. Even if they succeed, many will be seriously damaged. The natural strategy in these sectors will be to cut costs, de-risk operations and be ready to return when conditions improve.</p> <p><strong>Airlines, trains and cruise ships</strong></p> <p>The global airline industry <a href="https://www.scmp.com/business/companies/article/3075730/global-airline-industry-needs-aid-us200-billion-survive">has said it will need</a> up to US$200 billion (£171 billion) in emergency support, and Boeing <a href="https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/transport/boeing-calls-for-us60b-lifeline-for-us-aerospace-industry">has called for</a> US$60 billion (£51 billion) in assistance for aerospace manufacturers as the international travel industry bleeds cash. Norwegian <a href="https://media.uk.norwegian.com/pressreleases/norwegian-to-cancel-85-percent-of-its-flights-and-temporarily-layoff-approximately-7300-colleagues-2982294">has already cut</a> 85% of its routes and laid off 90% of its staff. Virgin Atlantic <a href="https://thehill.com/policy/transportation/487852-virgin-atlantic-reducing-flights-by-80-percent-asking-staff-to-take">intends to</a> park up to 85% of its fleet during the month of April and is asking staff to take up to eight weeks unpaid leave over the next three months to avert job losses.</p> <p>IAG, parent company of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Level and Vueling, <a href="https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2020/03/16/willie-walsh-to-delay-retirement-as-iag-sets-out-coronavirus-response/">will cut capacity</a> by 75% in April and May, while the Air France-KLM group <a href="https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2020/03/16/coronavirus-air-france-klm-to-cut-capacity-by-up-to-90-per-cent/">is set to</a> cut capacity by between 80% and 90%. Most cruise ship operators <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/articles/cruise-lines-suspending-operations-over-coronavirus/">have ceased</a> operations, and bankruptcy is likely for some.</p> <p><strong>Tourism</strong></p> <p>The US Travel Association <a href="https://thehill.com/policy/transportation/488063-tourism-industry-predicts-46-million-travel-related">is projecting</a> that close to 5 million travel-related American jobs will be lost. This is more than 25% of the 15.8 million Americans who work in the sector. The situation is equally dire elsewhere. For example, <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/france-ski-resorts-close-coronavirus/">all ski resorts</a> in Italy, France, Austria and Switzerland are effectively closed for the season.</p> <p><strong>Oil and gas</strong></p> <p>On January 1, a barrel of crude oil sold for US$67.05 on New York’s NASDAQ exchange. At the time of writing, it was <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/cmjpj223708t/oil">trading at</a> around US$26 per barrel. So companies’ oil reserves are worth less than half that of the start of the year. The value of giants like BP reflects this – on March 19, it <a href="https://www.hl.co.uk/shares/shares-search-results/b/bp-plc-ordinary-us%240.25">was worth 51%</a> of what it was at the start of January.</p> <p><a href="https://www.iea.org/news/global-oil-demand-to-decline-in-2020-as-coronavirus-weighs-heavily-on-markets">According to</a> the International Energy Agency, global oil demand is set for its first annual drop since 2009. Contrast this with the agency’s <a href="https://www.offshore-technology.com/news/opec-cuts-oil-price-russia-summit/">February prediction</a>, when it expected annual growth of 825,000 barrels per day.</p> <p><strong>Investment banking</strong></p> <p>Hundreds of London and New York investment bankers are set to lose their jobs amid a slump in deal-making. Shares of leading US banks <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/quotes/?symbol=JPM">JPMorgan Chase</a>, <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/quotes/?symbol=BAC">Bank of America</a> and <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/quotes/?symbol=C">Citigroup</a> are all down more than 30% from January highs.</p> <p><a href="https://www.fnlondon.com/articles/bankers-set-to-lose-jobs-as-ma-activity-tumbles-on-coronavirus-fears-20200316">Financial News</a> spoke to senior London investment bankers who predicted a drop in fees of up to 50% in the first six months of 2020. That would mean around <a href="https://www.fnlondon.com/articles/bankers-set-to-lose-jobs-as-ma-activity-tumbles-on-coronavirus-fears-20200316">US$10.7 billion (£9 billion)</a> in lost revenues across equity deals – the worst first half of a year since 2009.</p> <p><strong>Traditional retail</strong></p> <p>With people confined to their homes, there isn’t much point keeping traditional retail stores open. The largest US mall owner, Simon Property Group, <a href="https://eu.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/03/18/coronavirus-mall-closings-simon-closing-malls-starting-wednesday/2867904001/">announced on</a> March 18 that it would close all its malls across the country. Similar decisions have been made across Europe and Asia. Apart from grocers and pharmacies, it will take a long time for traditional retail to recover.</p> <p><strong>Professional sports and entertainment</strong></p> <p>Italy, Europe’s worst-hit country, <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/51605235">cancelled</a> all sporting events until at least April 3. <a href="https://www.france24.com/en/20200313-sporting-events-around-the-world-cancelled-due-to-coronavirus">France</a>, <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/51853524">Spain</a>, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-chaos-forces-widespread-sporting-cancelations/a-52328912">Germany</a> and <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/0/coronavirus-cancelled-premier-league-six-nations-london-marathon-2020-postponed/">the UK</a> quickly followed suit. This year’s Copa America and Euro 2020 football tournaments <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/17/sports/euro-2020-postponed.html">have been postponed</a> until 2021.</p> <p>North America’s Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/12/sports/coronavirus-sports.html">have suspended</a> their seasons, and restricted locker room access to players and “essential staff” only. The African Nations Championship 2020 soccer tournament scheduled for April in Cameroon <a href="https://nationalpost.com/pmn/health-pmn/african-nations-championship-2020-postponed-due-to-coronavirus">has been postponed</a> indefinitely. Long cancellations mean major losses for sports channels and the traditional cable TV ecosystem, as live sports has kept millions of viewers from cutting the cord on cable.</p> <p><strong>Cinemas</strong></p> <p>Analysts <a href="https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/film-industry-facing-5-billion-loss-coronavirus-outbreak-1282038">predict that</a> the global film industry is facing a US$5 billion (£4.2 billion) loss from diminished box office revenues and production restrictions. That could grow if more countries force people to remain at home or order public space to close.</p> <p><strong>The inbetweeners</strong></p> <p>These sectors will probably struggle if they continue as is. Many companies will fail, though a few will adapt their business models to take advantage of new and emerging opportunities. In some cases, this will build a solid foundation for continued success.</p> <p><strong>Banking</strong></p> <p>Most banks will lose money as individuals and businesses struggle to pay back loans. If the world economy enters a recession, which <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/16/economy/global-recession-coronavirus/index.html">seems very likely</a>, the market for financial products will also fall.</p> <p>Banks can, however, generate goodwill with businesses that need assistance, and create relationships with new customers. Several UK incumbents, including Barclays, Santander and RBS, <a href="https://e.businessinsider.com/click/19644859.4/aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cudGhlZ3VhcmRpYW4uY29tL3dvcmxkLzIwMjAvbWFyLzAzL2JhbmtzLWlzc3VlLWVtZXJnZW5jeS1sb2Fucy10by1maXJtcy1oaXQtYnktY29yb25hdmlydXMtY3Jpc2lz/5d233c18f730436f2414784fBec4debd6">are already</a> offering emergency loans and overdrafts to at-risk business customers. Many consumers will need temporary solutions, which could yield a spike in demand for small and medium-sized loans.</p> <p><strong>Healthcare</strong></p> <p>Some players in this sector emerge with new ideas that could improve healthcare. Others will be pushed past breaking point and will never return.</p> <p>Chinese digital firm Baidu is among those that has been quick to innovative. It <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/04/coronavirus-china-alibaba-tencent-baidu-boost-health-tech-efforts.html">launched a</a> Fight Pneumonia app to help the public get accurate and useful information about the epidemic in real time. It is also offering its online medical advice platform free to users seeking COVID-19 consultations. This has seen over 100,000 doctors across China responding to tens of millions of inquiries.</p> <p>Baidu has also released an intelligent healthcare unit that responds to common questions through a conversational chatbot. This so-called “call bot” makes automated phone calls to ask people about their recent travels, health condition and contacts.</p> <p><strong>Manufacturing</strong></p> <p>Many manufacturers will struggle as the goods they produce are no longer in demand, but more agile operators will shift to making different products. For example, Chinese car manufacturer BYD <a href="https://www.energylivenews.com/2020/03/20/chinese-ev-maker-byd-builds-worlds-biggest-coronavirus-face-mask-factory/">has opened up</a> production lines for surgical masks and hand sanitisers. It was one of 2,500 Chinese companies to respond to a <a href="https://www.inkstonenews.com/business/coronavirus-china-ramps-mask-production-and-reminds-world-it-manufacturing-king/article/3074900">call from</a> President Xi Jinping for a “people’s war” against the virus.</p> <p>GM, Ford and Tesla are <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/19/business/ford-gm-ventilators-coronavirus/index.html">talking about</a> producing ventilators. LVMH, the French luxury goods company behind Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Givenchy, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/15/perfume-giant-lvmh-to-make-hand-sanitiser-to-give-to-french-hospitals">is also shifting</a> to produce hand sanitisers, and aims to make 12 tonnes within the first week of production. LVMH is giving the product to French authorities to distribute at hospitals at no charge.</p> <p><strong>Education</strong></p> <p>Most schools, universities and private education providers have closed their doors, but not necessarily their operations. As more and more people are confined to their homes, there is a golden opportunity for education institutions to expand the scale and scope of their operations online.</p> <p>In China, Kuaishou, a social video platform valued at US$28 billion (£23.5 billion), has <a href="https://hbr.org/2020/03/how-chinese-companies-have-responded-to-coronavirus">promoted online education offerings</a> to compensate for school and university closures. The company and other video platforms have partnered with the ministry of education to open a national online cloud classroom to serve students.</p> <p>Zhejiang University, one of China’s leading universities, officially started online teaching on February 24 in line with the term calendar. This covers all ZJU students, although many courses are open to learners worldwide. Two weeks in, the university was offering more than <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/coronavirus-china-the-challenges-of-online-learning-for-universities/">5,000 courses</a>. 2,500 graduate students are expected to defend their theses in the spring, and will also be able to do an online oral defence to graduate as planned.<!-- 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/134205/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-wade-445001">Michael Wade</a>, Professor of Innovation and Strategy, Cisco Chair in Digital Business Transformation, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/international-institute-for-management-development-imd-3333">International Institute for Management Development (IMD)</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-your-guide-to-winners-and-losers-in-the-business-world-134205">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Inside the mind of the online scammer

<p>When Dame Helen Mirren revealed she had been the victim of a <a href="https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1199903/Dame-Helen-Mirren-latest-telephone-scam-warning-BBC-Radio-4-news">“humiliating” scam</a> on the press junket for her latest movie (in which, coincidentally, she also plays the victim of a hoax), it highlighted how everyone needs to be on their guard against fraudsters. Even members of the royal family are not immune, as was illustrated when Prince Charles was dragged into a <a href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/prince-charles-hit-counterfeit-art-20799908">major counterfeit art scandal</a>. But what motives scammers, other than greed? I believe the answer can be gleaned by investigating why humans lie in the first place.</p> <p>Online fraudsters carry out a sophisticated and well-planned array of deceiving strategies to con people. These include <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49825888">romance scams</a> in which the victim is enticed to contribute cash to foster a fake romantic relationship, fraudulent lotteries, prize draws, sweepstake games and auction sites. Substantial winnings are offered if the victim can send in some cash.</p> <p>The fraudsters are <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/scammers-have-upped-their-game-former-conman-shares-tips-protecting-ncna1057631">constantly building better mousetraps</a> in order to lure in increasingly sophisticated mice. For example, scams are being personalised to the victim by including references to familiar people or by targeting the victim’s occupation.</p> <p><strong>What’s behind the deception?</strong></p> <p>Scams are carried out using almost untraceable methods, so the criminals are often unknown, despite concerted efforts by law enforcement to identify and prosecute them. But the knowledge from several disciplines (<a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/ethology">ethology</a>, social psychology and criminology) can help us to understand them.</p> <p><strong>Deception to ensure survival</strong></p> <p>Ethologists study animal behaviour. They have observed that species, including humans, have developed a complex means of deceiving their prey in order <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1745691614535936">to ensure their survival</a>. For example, ethologists have identified complex forms of deceptions in other species, such as the jumping spider, which uses behavioural and chemical mimicry. This allows them to coexist with ants and feed on them. This is regarded as comparable to humans engaging in embezzlement by which they use their privileged access to resources and reputation for illegally extracting finances from other people.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vAS3kahu76k?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><strong>Altruistic lies?</strong></p> <p>Social psychologists have found that when humans lie for altruistic purposes or advancement of the group, the lie is often praised rather than denigrated. For example, even young children (aged between five and seven) show a willingness to tell “white lies” in order <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bjdp.12083">to make others feel better</a>. Meanwhile other research shows that adults perceive lying that benefits others (because sometimes the truth hurts) <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022103114000328?via%3Dihub">as more “ethical”</a> than honest statements.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wJCRzgAPwE4?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><strong>Typical and serious lies</strong></p> <p>Social psychological research shows that <a href="https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9781351035743">lying is part of normal life</a>. Frequently, people tell everyday lies that are rather benign. Most of these lies are self-serving, but many are designed to benefit others.</p> <p>People most often tell <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=uC1NDwAAQBAJ&amp;pg=PT116&amp;lpg=PT116&amp;dq=doi:+http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/s15324834basp2602%263_4&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=b4Yp7Aw_WK&amp;sig=ACfU3U1sEhUyv82mQ4iTYFaGTKveIwdjpQ&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=2ahUKEwijj9Dhq8HmAhWJa8AKHRFiB08Q6AEwAHoECAcQAQ#v=onepage&amp;q=doi%3A%20http%3A%2F%2Fdx.doi.org%2F10.1207%2Fs15324834basp2602%263_4&amp;f=false">“serious lies”</a> to their closest relationship partners. They tell serious lies in order to avoid punishment, protect themselves from confrontation, appear a highly desirable person, to protect others and also to hurt their partner. Common serious lies tend to involve affairs and taking money from others without their knowledge.</p> <p><strong>Liars, fraudsters and corruption</strong></p> <p>Frauds represent a complex array of deceptive behaviour that originates in species and arises, in part, from some of the typical motivations for deception. It is, of course, a criminal activity that is well understood by criminologists. Most criminals are typically male and have parents with criminal records, delinquent peer friends, arrests at a young age and come from poor areas with <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5892438/">higher crime rates</a>.</p> <p>Today’s most common online scams are often carried out by people from poor countries. These countries and their government officials are generally regarded as corrupt by <a href="https://www.transparency.org/files/content/pages/2018_CPI_Executive_Summary.pdf">international corruption indexes</a>. Such corruption conveys the message that deception is a desirable strategy. Poverty combined with high corruption contributes to a heightened motivation to deceive others for survival.</p> <p>The criminals in question tend to have traits of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047235217301897">psychopathic and antisocial personality disorders</a>. Research has investigated illegal downloading and hacking in adolescents from 30 countries. It was found that “<a href="https://www.cybercrimejournal.com/Udrisvol10issue2IJCC2016.pdf">cyber deviance</a>” was mostly carried out by males and by people who experienced “school disorganisation” (stealing and vandalism) and “neighbourhood disorganisation” (having untrustworthy or criminal neighbours).</p> <p>These “cyber deviants” tend to have <a href="https://www.cybercrimejournal.com/Udrisvol10issue2IJCC2016.pdf">elevated cognitive ability</a> and, of course, have access to computers and technology. This type of fraud is often well planned and the fraudsters employ a range of deceptive tactics.</p> <p>The law tries to keep these criminals at bay. In September 2019, Operation reWired in the US succeeded in prosecuting <a href="https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/281-arrested-worldwide-coordinated-international-enforcement-operation-targeting-hundreds">281 email scammers</a> from several countries.</p> <p>But the large numbers of fraudsters who combine deceptive and complex strategies make it extremely difficult to keep these crimes under control. So an understanding of how their minds work and their modus operandi is vital if one is to avoid becoming a victim.<!-- 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/127471/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ken-rotenberg-272715">Ken Rotenberg</a>, Professor in Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/keele-university-1012">Keele University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/inside-the-mind-of-the-online-scammer-127471">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Fancy working for the Queen? The Palace is now hiring

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>The Royal Family is hiring again and this time, they’re looking for the best of the best when it comes to numbers and spreadsheets.</p> <p>Buckingham Palace is looking to hire an accountant to join the Privy Purse and Treasurer’s Office.</p> <p>The role is based at Buckingham Palace and offers a whopping £40,000 <span>($NZD $81,000)</span> a year salary while promising a job that’s “forecasting figures whilst surrounded by a priceless past”.</p> <p>"No two days will be the same and the deadlines we work to will stretch you," the job description reads.</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/B6fflJVn-oE/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" 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/B6fflJVn-oE/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by The Royal Family (@theroyalfamily)</a> on Dec 25, 2019 at 2:29am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>"Yet in all that you do, you'll rise to the challenge and deliver faultless accuracy and a first class service to this unique organisation."</p> <p>The right candidate needs to be able to work well under pressure, and "feel comfortable with a high level of responsibility and variety in your work."</p> <p>"You'll produce management information and financial accounts for the official and private finances of a number of entities and account holders including both retail and charitable bodies."</p> <p>"You'll provide everything from annual reports and statements, to tax advice. Preparing budgets, forecasts and reconciliations, your timely financial planning and control will be vital."</p> <p>The right person also needs to be as “good with people as you are with numbers, which is crucial, given the customer faced nature of this role”.</p> <p>If you’re interested in relocating as well as working within the walls of Buckingham Palace, better get in quick as applications close at the end of February.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="post-action-bar-component-wrapper"> <div class="post-actions-component"> <div class="upper-row"><span class="like-bar-component"></span> <div class="watched-bookmark-container"></div> </div> </div> </div>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

British coin sparks grammar controversy

<p>Britain’s new 50 pence coin has sparked debate after a renowned author pointed out the absence of a certain punctuation mark on the piece.</p> <p>On January 31, the Royal Mint launched three million coins with the slogan “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations” to mark the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.</p> <p>Novelist Philip Pullman called for a boycott against the new coin ahead of its release, citing what he perceived as a grammatical error.</p> <p>“The ‘Brexit’ 50p coin is missing an Oxford comma, and should be boycotted by all literate people,” Pullman wrote on Twitter.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">The 'Brexit' 50p coin is missing an Oxford comma, and should be boycotted by all literate people.</p> — Philip Pullman (@PhilipPullman) <a href="https://twitter.com/PhilipPullman/status/1221365577157087232?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 26, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>The <em>Times Literary Supplement </em>editor Stig Abell also wrote, “The lack of a comma after ‘prosperity’ is killing me.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Not perhaps the only objection, but the lack of a comma after “prosperity” is killing me. <a href="https://t.co/ZCN6Zt45cH">pic.twitter.com/ZCN6Zt45cH</a></p> — Stig Abell (@StigAbell) <a href="https://twitter.com/StigAbell/status/1221405487725453312?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 26, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>According to the Associated Press, Oxford commas should be used whenever necessary to clarify.</p> <p>“We say: If omitting a comma could lead to confusion or misinterpretation, then use the comma. But: If a comma doesn’t help make clear what is being said, don’t use it. ‘The flag is red, white and blue’ is clear.”</p> <p>Writing for <span><a href="https://theconversation.com/comma-again-philip-pullmans-oxford-comma-rage-doesnt-go-far-enough-130699"><em>The Conversation</em></a></span>, Associate Professor Roslyn Petelin of the University of Queensland’s School of Communication and Arts said the absence of Oxford comma is not the coin’s only shortcoming.</p> <p>“Does ‘Peace with all nations’ make grammatical sense? No. Does ‘Prosperity with all nations’ make grammatical sense? No,” Petelin wrote.</p> <p>“As admirable … as Pullman might be in advocating for the use of the Oxford comma on the coin, it’s clear this coin has committed more than one crime against the rules of grammar.”</p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Why we value diamond rings and other Valentine's Day gifts

<p>“Diamonds are a girls best friend”, so the saying goes. These shiny rocks are durable and pricey. And on Valentine’s Day, it’s likely someone’s new diamond engagement ring will pop up on your Facebook or Twitter feed.</p> <p>Many couples rely on rings to communicate their deepest feelings to each other and the world. An engagement ring is worth more than its sticker price: it tells family, friends and strangers that you are planning a wedding, you are cherished, you are an adult. It is likely the most expensive and most important object many of us will ever own, but why do we invest sentimental feelings in inanimate objects?</p> <p>Turning objects into cherished items is nothing new. People have been spinning tales about why <a href="http://www.utpjournals.press/doi/abs/10.3138/ecf.23.2.347">things matter</a> to them for centuries. Think of your favourite teddy bear, your baby blanket, the hand-me-down furniture and bric-a-brac around your home. These objects may be crafted from ordinary cotton, wood or clay, but our feelings about them turn them into valuable assets. We cost them well above their price in the marketplace.</p> <p><strong>Not just a ring</strong></p> <p>It’s a story I know all too well. Over ten years ago, as my now husband and I were starting to talk marriage, I asked my mother if she was ready to part with her grandmother’s engagement ring. The setting needed work, she said, and the “diamonds” were small (I believe she used the word “paste”).</p> <p>It was clear she wasn’t ready. And after all, I had never even met my great grandmother. Margaret had endured an unhappy marriage: she left her husband in 1925 and divorced him in 1941 (the grounds were adultery). How could this ring possibly ensure anyone’s happiness?</p> <p>Two years after my son was born, my mother bestowed this ring, of no great monetary value, upon me. We both teared up. Three weeks later, I lost the ring. I turned our house upside down searching for it. I cried. I lied to my mother about how much I was wearing it.</p> <p>Six months later, my toddler ran into my bedroom, gleefully brandishing a small, shiny object he had discovered (or more likely squirrelled away). It was the ring. I screamed. I cried again. I rang my mother to confess. The ring had transformed from a keepsake passed from mothers to daughters for three generations into a new tale of lost and found.</p> <p><strong>Stories about objects</strong></p> <p>In the 18th-century, dozens of writers took to a new form of fiction that focused on ordinary things – coins, banknotes, shoes, carriages, dolls. These stories brought things to life, granting them their own voices. Today literary scholars call them “object-narratives” or “it-narratives”, so named after their inanimate protagonists. Think Toy Story, Georgian-style.</p> <p>My own research into <a href="http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/literature/english-literature-1700-1830/women-work-and-clothes-eighteenth-century-novel?format=PB#7ipO191ldzRTSTjh.97">18th-century clothes</a> has meant reading novels narrated by waistcoats, petticoats, shoes and slippers. Georgian object narratives overflow with scandalous gossip about the foibles of humans.</p> <p>The brothel is a frequent stop in these tales of circulation and the truths (mostly of the bedroom variety) owners seek to conceal from the world. And at the time, these stories became so popular that book reviewers complained about them flooding the literary marketplace.</p> <p>By the late 18th-century, the genre had grown up to focus on children and their possessions. Children could read about <em><a href="https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=The+Adventures+of+a+Pincushion&amp;oq=The+Adventures+of+a+Pincushion&amp;aqs=chrome..69i57j69i64.2014j0j9&amp;sourceid=chrome&amp;ie=UTF-8">The Adventures of a Pincushion</a></em>, the <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/The_Life_and_Perambulations_of_a_Mouse.html?id=6YY6AQAAMAAJ&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;source=kp_read_button&amp;redir_esc=y#v=onepage&amp;q&amp;f=false"><em>Life and Perambulation of a Mouse</em></a>, <em><a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/The_Adventures_of_a_Whipping_top.html?id=SPt4mQEACAAJ&amp;redir_esc=y">The Adventures of a Whipping-Top</a> </em>and <em>The Silver Thimble</em>. English professor and author Lynn Festa has <a href="http://www.bucknell.edu/script/upress/book.asp?id=255">written brilliantly</a> about how these stories instructed Georgian children to care for their things: good owners made good British subjects. And in this way, it’s not hard to see how these stories paved the way for books like <em><a href="https://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q%3Dtbn:ANd9GcSZ7ylq6PDaokG7VNWpt6qbBSxnnyL9q8R1_fFIV3-yc5yE5gAe&amp;imgrefurl=https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Velveteen_Rabbit_Or_How_Toys_Become.html?id%3DcRumDgAAQBAJ%26source%3Dkp_cover&amp;h=700&amp;w=543&amp;tbnid=_fzxhK683qN9ZM:&amp;tbnh=160&amp;tbnw=124&amp;usg=__2yGT0rjbbLH3hEm7BsDkJ4GqZWE%3D&amp;vet=10ahUKEwiK17mTnaDZAhXJAMAKHYh5AjQQ_B0IkwIwHQ..i&amp;docid=DLhr4nyP5RT_wM&amp;itg=1&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwiK17mTnaDZAhXJAMAKHYh5AjQQ_B0IkwIwHQ">The Velveteen Rabbit</a></em> and <a href="https://www.waterstones.com/series/paddington"><em>Paddington Bear</em></a>.</p> <p><strong>The story of things</strong></p> <p>Last year, I led a school project that taught children how to recreate these tales. In the <a href="http://www.fairfaxhouse.co.uk/education/story-of-things/"><em>Story of Things</em></a>, year four and five pupils devised their own versions of the histories of secret dresser drawers, tea caddies, dolls, shoes and yes, many chamber pots, inspired by the collection of Georgian furniture at <a href="http://www.fairfaxhouse.co.uk">Fairfax House</a> in York.</p> <p>I thought I was teaching the children, but their brilliant stories convinced me of our <a href="http://www.fairfaxhouse.co.uk/education/story-of-things/teacher-resources/">continued longing</a> to connect with the objects around us and our imaginative capacities to turn inanimate things into vivid, talkative beings.</p> <p>On Valentine’s Day, it’s all to easy to feel annoyed by couples advertising their deepest feelings with objects – or by the ever more elaborate stakes of social media ready proposals. But it’s important to remember, that we all hold at least one object close to our hearts – no matter how chic or shabby. And in this way, the stories we tell ourselves about the things we own remind us of the ways we love and are loved by others.<!-- 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/89056/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><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/chloe-wigston-smith-429745">Chloe Wigston Smith</a>, Lecturer in 18th-century Literature, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-york-1344">University of York</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-we-value-diamond-rings-and-other-valentines-day-gifts-89056">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Global trust crisis as people no longer believe hard work will bring a better life

<p>Many people no longer believe that <span><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/2020-edelman-trust-barometer-shows-growing-sense-of-inequality/11883788">hard work will lead to a better life</a></span>, a new survey found.</p> <p>In its <span><a href="https://www.edelman.com/sites/g/files/aatuss191/files/2020-01/2020%20Edelman%20Trust%20Barometer%20Global%20Report_LIVE.pdf">20<sup>th</sup> annual Trust Barometer</a></span>, which polled more than 34,000 people in 28 countries, public relations firm Edelman found that despite strong economic performance, the majority of people in developed markets said they believe they and their families will not be better off in five years’ time.</p> <p>“We are living in a trust paradox,” said the agency’s CEO Richard Edelman.</p> <p>“Since we began measuring trust 20 years ago, economic growth has fostered rising trust. This continues in Asia and the Middle East but not in developed markets, where national income inequality is now the more important factor in institutional trust.</p> <p>“Fears are stifling hope, as long-held assumptions about hard work leading to upward mobility are now invalid.”</p> <p>Trust in government also continued to decline as people grappled with concerns over job insecurity and income inequality.</p> <p>More than four out of five (83 per cent) employees said they worry about losing their job due to a range of factors, including gig economy, looming recession, foreign competitors and automation.</p> <p>Government was viewed as the most unethical and least competent institution, with only 42 per cent of respondents saying they have confidence that government leaders will be able to address the challenges int their country.</p> <p>Media was also considered incompetent and unethical, with 57 per cent saying the media they consume contain untrustworthy information.</p> <p>Business ranked the highest in competence but was deemed unethical, with the majority of respondents agreeing that capitalism does more harm than good in the world today. No institution was seen as fair in the survey’s index of public perception.</p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Why paper maps still matter in the digital age

<p>Ted Florence is ready for his family trip to Botswana. He has looked up his hotel on Google Maps and downloaded a digital map of the country to his phone. He has also packed a large paper map. “I travel all over the world,” says Florence, the president of the international board of the <a href="https://imiamaps.org/">International Map Industry Association</a> and <a href="https://www.avenzamaps.com/">Avenza Maps</a>, a digital map software company. “Everywhere I go, my routine is the same: I get a paper map, and I keep it in my back pocket.”</p> <p>With the proliferation of smartphones, it’s easy to assume that the era of the paper map is over. That attitude, that digital is better than print, is what I call “technochauvinism.” In my book, <em><a href="https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/artificial-unintelligence">Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World</a></em>, I look at how technochauvinism has been used to create an unnecessary, occasionally harmful bias for digital over print or any other kind of interface. A glance at the research reveals that the paper map still thrives in the digital era, and there are distinct advantages to using print maps.</p> <p><strong>Your brain on maps</strong></p> <p>Cognitive researchers generally make a distinction between surface knowledge and deep knowledge. Experts have deep knowledge of a subject or a geography; amateurs have surface knowledge.</p> <p>Digital interfaces are good for acquiring surface knowledge. Answering the question, “How do I get from the airport to my hotel in a new-to-me city?” is a pragmatic problem that requires only shallow information to answer. If you’re traveling to a city for only 24 hours for a business meeting, there’s usually no need to learn much about a city’s layout.</p> <p>When you live in a place, or you want to travel meaningfully, deep knowledge of the geography will help you to navigate it and to understand its culture and history. Print maps help you acquire deep knowledge faster and more efficiently. In experiments, <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.10.014">people who read on paper consistently demonstrate better reading comprehension</a> than people who read the same material on a screen. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0165551512470043">A 2013 study</a> showed that, as a person’s geographic skill increases, so does their preference for paper maps.</p> <p>For me, the difference between deep knowledge and surface knowledge is the difference between what I know about New York City, where I have lived for years, and San Francisco, which I have visited only a handful of times. In New York, I can tell you where all the neighborhoods are and which train lines to take and speculate about whether the prevalence of Manhattan schist in the geological substrate influenced the heights of the buildings that are in Greenwich Village versus Midtown. I’ve invested a lot of time in looking at both paper and digital maps of New York. In San Francisco, I’ve only ever used digital maps to navigate from point to point. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know where anything is in the Bay Area.</p> <p>Our brains encode knowledge as what scientists call <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.10.014">a cognitive map</a>. In psychology-speak, I lack a cognitive map of San Francisco.</p> <p>“When the human brain gathers visual information about an object, it also gathers information about its surroundings, and associates the two,” wrote communication researchers Jinghui Hou, Justin Rashid and Kwan Min Lee <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.10.014">in a 2017 study</a>. “In a similar manner to how people construct a mental map of a physical environment (e.g., a desk in the center of an office facing the door), readers form a ‘cognitive map’ of the physical location of a text and its spatial relationship to the text as a whole.”</p> <p>Reading in print makes it easier for the brain to encode knowledge and to remember things. Sensory cues, like unfolding the complicated folds of a paper map, help create that cognitive map in the brain and help the brain to retain the knowledge.</p> <p>The same is true for a simple practice like tracing out a hiking route on a paper map with your finger. The physical act of moving your arm and feeling the paper under your finger <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/06/smarter-living/memory-tricks-mnemonics.html">gives your brain haptic and sensorimotor cues</a> that contribute to the formation and retention of the cognitive map.</p> <p><strong>Map mistakes</strong></p> <p>Another factor in the paper versus digital debate is accuracy. Obviously, a good digital map is better than a bad paper map, just like a good paper map is better than a bad digital map.</p> <p><a href="https://medium.com/@mitpress/3-recommendations-to-combat-technochauvinism-9099b257b92c">Technochauvinists</a> may believe that all digital maps are good, but just as in the paper world, the accuracy of digital maps depends entirely on the level of detail and fact-checking invested by the company making the map.</p> <p>For example, a <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2012/dec/20/business/la-fi-tn-apple-google-maps-lost-20121220">2012 survey by the crowdsourcing company Crowdflower</a> found that Google Maps accurately located 89 percent of businesses, while Apple Maps correctly found 74 percent. This isn’t surprising, as Google <a href="https://www.google.com/streetview/understand/">invests millions in sending people</a> around the world to map terrain for Google StreetView. Google Maps are good because the company invests time, money and human effort in making its maps good – not because digital maps are inherently better.</p> <p>Fanatical attention to detail is necessary to keep digital maps up to date, as conditions in the real world change constantly. Companies like Google are constantly updating their maps, and will have to do so regularly for as long as they continue to publish. The maintenance required for digital content is substantial – <a href="https://www.pprune.org/private-flying/601767-maps-obsolete.html">a cost that technochauvinists often ignore</a>.</p> <p>In my view, it’s easier to forgive the errors in a paper map. Physical maps usually include an easily visible publication date so users can see when the map was published. (When was the last time you noticed the date-of-last-update on your car navigation system?) When you are passively following the spoken GPS directions of a navigation system, and there is, say, an unmarked exit, it confuses the GPS system and causes chaos among the people in the car. (Especially the backseat drivers.)</p> <p><strong>The best map for the job</strong></p> <p>Some of the deeper flaws of digital maps are not readily apparent to the public. Digital systems, including cartographic ones, are more interconnected than most people realize. Mistakes, which are inevitable, can go viral and create more trouble than anyone anticipates.</p> <p>For example: Reporter Kashmir Hill has written about a Kansas farm in the geographic center of the U.S. that has been <a href="https://splinternews.com/how-an-internet-mapping-glitch-turned-a-random-kansas-f-1793856052">plagued by legal trouble and physical harassment</a>, because a digital cartography database mistakenly uses the farm’s location as a default every time the database can’t identify the real answer.</p> <p>“As a result, for the last 14 years, every time MaxMind’s database has been queried about the location of an IP address in the U.S. it can’t identify, it has spit out the default location of a spot two hours away from the geographic center of the country,” Hill wrote. “This happens a lot: 5,000 companies rely on MaxMind’s IP mapping information, and in all, there are now over 600 million IP addresses associated with that default coordinate.”</p> <p>A technochauvinist mindset assumes everything in the future will be digital. But what happens if a major company like Google stops offering its maps? What happens when a <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/19/16910378/government-shutdown-2018-nasa-spacex-iss-falcon-heavy">government shutdown</a> means that <a href="http://satnews.com/story.php?number=827160505">satellite data</a> powering smartphone GPS systems isn’t transmitted? Right now, ambulances and fire trucks can keep a road atlas in the front seat in case electronic navigation fails. If society doesn’t maintain physical maps, first responders won’t be able to get to addresses when there is a fire or someone is critically ill.</p> <p>Interrupting a country’s GPS signals is also a realistic cyberwarfare tactic. The U.S. Navy has resumed training new recruits in <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11931403/US-navy-returns-to-celestial-navigation-amid-fears-of-computer-hack.html">celestial navigation</a>, a technique that dates back to ancient Greece, as a guard against when the digital grid gets hacked.</p> <p>Ultimately, I don’t think it should be a competition between physical and digital. In the future, people will continue to need both kinds of maps. Instead of arguing whether paper or digital is a better map interface, people should consider what map is the right tool for the task.</p> <div><a href="https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/artificial-unintelligence"></a><em>MIT Press provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.</em><!-- 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 --></div> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/meredith-broussard-659409"><em>Meredith Broussard</em></a><em>, Assistant Professor of Journalism, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/new-york-university-1016">New York University</a></em></span></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-paper-maps-still-matter-in-the-digital-age-105341">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

8 ways to make more money in 2020

<p><span>The start of a new year is a great time to evaluate your money habits and identify places where you can boost your income or decrease your spending. While the process can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re drowning in bills, you’ve got this – and we’ve got your back. We rounded up a wide assortment of great tips for all aspects of your financial life so that you can turn your dream of saving money into a reality. Believe it or not, just a few simple tweaks can help you get (and keep) more money in your pocket in 2020.</span></p> <div class="tg-container categorySection detailSection"> <div id="primary" class="contentAreaLeft"> <div id="page3" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <h2 class="slide-title">1. Buy gift cards at a discount, and sell ones you don’t want</h2> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Most of us have at least a few old, unwanted gift cards stashed away in a drawer. Leaving them unused is like throwing away money. Instead, turn them into cash by selling them online. Many of the sites that buy gift cards also sell those cards at a discounted price. This is a great way to save money on gift cards for yourself or others.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="tg-container categorySection detailSection"> <div id="primary" class="contentAreaLeft"> <div id="page4" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <h2 class="slide-title">2. Shop through sites that offer cashback rewards</h2> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Meghan Fox, a savings expert, suggests users maximise their savings by buying discounted gift cards and then using those cards at a site that pays cash back. Check out sites such as Cashrewards and PricePal which offer cashback rewards for purchases at a variety of retailers and websites.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page5" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <h2 class="slide-title">3. Use social media for positive motivation</h2> <div class="slide-description"> <p>“Follow financially savvy young professionals instead of, say, travellers,” says Brian Walsh, a certified financial planner at SoFi. “They will inspire you to stick to your goals rather than keeping up with the Joneses.”</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page6" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <h2 class="slide-title">4. Declutter and make money on Facebook Marketplace</h2> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Go through your closet, apartment, garage or storage unit, and sell things you no longer wear or need on Facebook Marketplace. “I have sold several thousand dollars worth of stuff to declutter our house!” says Deb Liu, Vice President of Marketplace and Commerce at Facebook. “I [also] get the kids involved. We’ve sold some of their games and toys. It’s a win-win: They think they’re earning money for even more toys, and I get to teach them about math and budgeting!”</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="tg-container categorySection detailSection"> <div id="primary" class="contentAreaLeft"> <div id="page7" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <h2 class="slide-title">5. Cash in on special-event items you won’t use again</h2> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Lindsey Nickel, a wedding planner at Lovely Day Events, suggests newlyweds help recoup some of their wedding expenses by selling items they used at their event. “These items are very wedding-specific and probably won’t be used again,” she says. “So instead of taking up storage, I tell them to sell them on sites like Facebook Marketplace and help out the next bride instead. Ask your professional photographer for the big day to take high-quality pics of the items.”</p> <div class="tg-container categorySection detailSection"> <div id="primary" class="contentAreaLeft"> <div id="page8" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <h2 class="slide-title">6. Take advantage of price matching</h2> <div class="slide-description"> <p>This can help you avoid a lot of driving around or wasting time shopping at a bunch of different sites. But be sure to read the store policies carefully. Some will only price-match the items at brick-and-mortar stores (not websites) or stores within a certain geographic location.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page9" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <h2 class="slide-title">7. Become a preferred shopper</h2> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Sign up for retailers’ email promotions and follow them on social media. You will often get access to special coupons, sales and discount promotions. That said, it’s a good idea to create a special email address for these promotional emails to keep them from swamping your primary inbox.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="tg-container categorySection detailSection"> <div id="primary" class="contentAreaLeft"> <div id="page10" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <h2 class="slide-title">8. Let your home pay for itself</h2> <div class="slide-description"> <p>All over the world, there are millions of unused bedrooms in homes that could potentially be rented out. “This is often especially true for empty nesters and retirees,” says Wendi Burkhardt, CEO of Silvernest. “Rather than letting them gather dust, profit from them by renting them out to a long-term housemate. Estimates show that you can earn an average of $10,000 a year per room. Even better is that you can split bills with your housemate, helping you slash monthly expenses while you’re earning passive income on the side.”</p> <p><em>Written by Bobbi Dempsey. This article first appeared in </em><span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/money/38-ways-to-make-more-money-in-2020" target="_blank"><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> </div> </div> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

The psychology behind why people buy

<p>Between <a href="https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/joreco/v21y2014i2p86-97.html">40% and 80%</a> of purchases are impulse buys. Marketers often get blamed for this, but while marketing tactics may be <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2010.01187_2.x">cynical, manipulative, and even deceptive</a>, shoppers are generally wise to their ways.</p> <p>Of greater concern, is the fact that up to <a href="https://academic.oup.com/joc/article-abstract/64/5/915/4086043?redirectedFrom=fulltext">95% of our daily decisions</a> are potentially determined by <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S105774080570108X">impulsive, unconscious processes</a>. All too often, consumers are ignorant of the <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1992-98649-000">social influences</a> and <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288902202_Social_psychology_and_consumer_psychology_An_unexplored_interface">psychological states</a> that make them vulnerable shoppers. In fact, most people entertain a costly <a href="http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.552.7516&amp;rep=rep1&amp;type=pdf">illusion of invulnerability</a> and consider themselves especially shrewd shoppers.</p> <p>You can avoid spending too much by becoming more mindful of the factors that influence your shopping behaviours. Here are six factors which could cause you to overspend, along with some tips about how to counteract them.</p> <h2>1. Social pressure</h2> <p>Human beings are very susceptible to social pressures. The cooperative and competitive behaviours, which have ensured our survival as a species, also nudge us <a href="https://youtu.be/_qHYmx7qPes">to spend more than we need</a>.</p> <p>For example, the social norm of reciprocity obligates us to exchange gifts and good deeds at Christmas.</p> <p>Competition also fuels consumption: sales reinforce a sense of scarcity, and use time constraints to provoke a fear of missing out among shoppers – even when they’re buying online. Flash sales – such as Black Friday – create a herd mentality, which can provoke panic buying, hysteria <a href="http://blackfridaydeathcount.com/">or worse</a>. Being aware of these pressures will minimise their effects and allow you to maintain a sense of perspective.</p> <h2>2. More abstract money</h2> <p>The concept of money is a shared myth, powered by the human imagination. Our <a href="https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062316097/sapiens/">imagination has been instrumental</a> in the rapid development of the species, allowing people to swap pieces of paper and bits of metal for things they want. From notes and coins, to debit and credit cards, and most recently phones and <a href="https://www.fitbit.com/uk/fitbit-pay">Fitbits</a>, the human imagination accommodates increasingly abstract forms of money. This is dangerous.</p> <p>These new forms of money ease the “<a href="https://youtu.be/PCujWv7Mc8o">pain of paying</a>”, reducing the level of guilt we feel when parting with money. It temporarily hides the financial repercussions of our purchases (the lower bank balance or lighter wallet). This leads people to splurge without keeping track of the true financial costs of their decisions. Using cash when shopping will increase the pain of paying and make you more sensitive to how much you’re spending. This, in turn, will ensure that you only spend money on the items you really want.</p> <h2>3. Decision fatigue</h2> <p>Research <a href="https://www.guilford.com/books/Handbook-of-Self-Regulation/Vohs-Baumeister/9781462533824">suggests that</a> people have limited reserves of willpower. As we make decisions throughout the day, this reserve becomes exhausted, resulting in “resource depletion”. <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/510228">Resource depletion</a> causes people to act impulsively. Doing shopping early in the day, and avoiding other sources of stress, such as big crowds, will minimise the risk of resource depletion.</p> <h2>4. Mindsets</h2> <p>Psychological states known as “<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1057740810000215">mindsets</a>”, which influence perceptions and decision making, can also make people more likely to spend. They occur outside of our conscious awareness, when the thought processes we use in one situation are carried over and used to process information in the next.</p> <p>Thinking positively in one situation can predispose a person to think positively in an unrelated situation – for example, generating supportive thoughts about giving to charity might prime a person to have positive thoughts about the bottle of detergent they see in an ad break a few minutes later. The makes them more likely to buy it.</p> <p>Mindsets also influence shopping goals. People with a “deliberative mindset” are open minded and likely to review all their options, while people with an “implemental mindset” are more close-minded and goal-focused. An implemental mindset reduces procrastination and focuses people to pursue their buying goals. These goals could be explicitly stated in a shopping list or even activated unconsciously.</p> <p>The implemental mindset can be dangerous, because it creates <a href="http://journals.ama.org/doi/10.1509/jmkr.44.3.370">shopping momentum</a>. This is when buying one thing makes you more likely to buy another since your goal-focused mindset remains active even after you bought what you intended. This is one of the reasons why people emerge from shopping centres burdened down with several bags, having gone in to buy one item.</p> <p>Unfortunately, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S074959781000110X">switching between different mindsets</a> can deplete your mental resources and cause you to spend more. Making rules to guide your decisions before you go shopping can counteract the effects of these mindsets and reduce the risk of shopping momentum. For example, telling yourself that if a product is below a certain price, you will buy it, but if it costs more, you will not. Making a list and setting a budget will help you remember the old adage, “it is not a bargain unless you need it”.</p> <h2>5. Making comparisons</h2> <p>Shopping is essentially a three step process. First you ask yourself, “do I want to buy something?”; then, “which product is the best?”; and finally, “how will I buy the product?”. But when people consider two possible purchases, it induces a “<a href="https://academic.oup.com/jcr/article-abstract/34/4/556/1820298?redirectedFrom=fulltext">which-to-buy</a>” mindset, which primes them to skip the first question, and makes them more likely to buy something.</p> <h2>6. The halo effect</h2> <p>Using mental shortcuts help us navigate everyday life more efficiently. Yet these shortcuts <a href="https://www.penguin.com.au/books/thinking-fast-and-slow-9780141033570">can also lead to</a> incorrect assumptions and costly mistakes. In the context of shopping, not all assumptions are bad. Indeed, some assumptions are central to marketing. For example, branding works because we assume that products under the one brand have a similar level of quality.</p> <p>But other assumptions are less reliable. The “halo effect” occurs when we make incorrect assumptions, which lead us to think positively about something. So, the eye catching deals we see in the front window often make us assume that the other in-store deals are equally valid and generous.</p> <p>To counteract the halo effect, you need to come prepared. Knowing the recommended retail price (RRP) of products will ensure that you are not influenced by high anchor prices that give the impression of deep discounts. Remaining sceptical and calm will improve your decision making and reduce the risks of cognitive bias. This will likely be good for society, the environment and your pocket.<!-- 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/108680/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><em><!-- 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 --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brian-harman-648072">Brian Harman</a>, Lecturer in Marketing, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/de-montfort-university-1254">De Montfort University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/janine-bosak-400922">Janine Bosak</a>, Associate Professor in Organisational Psychology, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/dublin-city-university-1528">Dublin City University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-avoid-overspending-uncover-the-psychology-behind-why-people-buy-108680">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Why we think businesses are out to get us

<p>Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, made headlines in the U.K. for <a href="https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/speaking-and-writing/speeches/archbishop-canterburys-speech-tuc">his speech</a> at the Trades Union Congress conference in Manchester, England.</p> <p>His remarks were forcefully pro-union and strongly disapproving of corporations, the profit motive and the wealthy.</p> <p>He singled out Amazon for not paying their fair share of taxes in the U.K. and the gig economy as a “reincarnation of an ancient evil.”</p> <p>To the archbishop, capitalism, with its pursuit of profit and inequality of outcomes, is inherently immoral.</p> <p>Other religious leaders have, over the years, made similar points. In 2015, Pope Francis <a href="https://nationalpost.com/news/world/dung-of-the-devil-pope-francis-denounces-capitalism-greed-and-the-pursuit-of-money">denounced capitalism</a> and the pursuit of money and, in 2008, the then-archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, wrote an article for a British magazine <a href="https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2012/03/from-the-archives-rowan-williams-on-capitalism-and-idolatry/">criticizing capitalism</a> in the wake of the financial crisis.</p> <p>Such negative views of business and profit are hardly uncommon.</p> <p>A recent article in the <em>Journal of Personality and Social Psychology</em> documented widespread <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2017-31434-001.html">anti-profit beliefs</a>.</p> <p>In my research with some of my graduate students, I have found that people often take a dim view of businesses, interpreting many different actions —such as a <a href="http://acrwebsite.org/volumes/1010014/volumes/v39/NA-39">small price increase</a> or a <a href="http://tinyurl.com/ybptgtra">product recommendation</a> — as an attempt to take advantage of consumers.</p> <h2>Viewed as conscious entities</h2> <p>But what underlies these views? Why is business and the pursuit of profit so maligned?</p> <p>We think the answer lies, in part, in how people view firms and the resulting inferences they draw from the attempts of these firms to make a profit. To the first point, people seem to view companies as conscious entities — as living, breathing organisms with thoughts, feelings, intentions and motives.</p> <p><a href="https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/15/do-corporations-have-minds/">Research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanners</a> has found that patterns of neural responses when considering other people’s mental states (<a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/socioemotional-success/201707/theory-mind-understanding-others-in-social-world">the parts of the brain involved in “theory of mind”</a>) are indistinguishable from the pattern of responses when considering the behaviour of organizations.</p> <p>What this means is that people are likely to attribute distinctly human motives to business actions that are the product of entirely different processes.</p> <p>In addition to viewing companies as people, consumers often view their transactions with firms as zero-sum — like sharing a pie, where more for one person means less for the other. This means that when companies are perceived to be making a profit, that profit is viewed as coming at the expense of customers.</p> <h2>Distrust of profitable firms</h2> <p>This is where profiting becomes problematic. Because we mentally view firms as people, this is seen as a wilful act — a deliberate attempt to take advantage of customers — and it violates an important norm of interpersonal conduct, a moral norm even, that forbids benefiting at another’s expense.</p> <p>We have found that a wide range of actions by businesses appears to be interpreted in this light: price increases, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002243591100090X">discounts for other people</a>, product recommendations and even advertisements.</p> <p>Even when people don’t buy goods or services from a company, and therefore no profit is made, perceptions that a firm tried to profit lead to negative responses.</p> <h2>Even sales clerks are suspect</h2> <p>In one extreme example, we found that even when a salesperson recommended the cheaper of two alternatives, customers still assumed it was to benefit at their expense.</p> <p>Our research has not yet investigated how firms can mitigate such reactions or whether they even can. If our results are anything to go by, some readers may think that these are legitimate reactions that should not be curtailed.</p> <p>However, we would point out that a purchase is a consumer decision. No company is forcing consumers to buy their products against their will.</p> <p>What’s more, businesses bear the burden of the risk in offering products for consumers’ consideration; the products that they make available to us are often a tremendous source of value in our lives; and, ultimately, the only reason companies develop and offer such products is to make a profit. Otherwise, what would be the point of going into business?<!-- 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/103977/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>Laurence Ashworth, Associate Professor, Marketing, Queen's University, Ontario</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/why-we-think-businesses-are-out-to-get-us-103977" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Retirement Income

Placeholder Content Image

Should we stop buying new clothes?

<p>The fashion industry is one of the most <a href="https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/putting-brakes-fast-fashion">polluting industries</a> in the world, producing 20% of global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions – and it’s estimated that by 2050 this will have increased to <a href="https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/environment/fashion-industry-may-use-quarter-of-world-s-carbon-budget-by-2050-61183">25%</a>. A staggering <a href="https://www.governmenteuropa.eu/fast-fashion-waste/92213/">300,000</a> tonnes of clothes are sent to British landfills each year.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.greenmatters.com/p/what-is-fast-fashion">fast fashion</a> business model, first developed in the early <a href="https://www.edology.com/blog/fashion-media/rise-of-fast-fashion/">2000s</a> is responsible for the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/four-factors-fuelling-the-growth-of-fast-fashion-retailers/">increase in consumer demand</a> for high quantities of low-quality clothing. Many fashion products now being designed and made specifically for short-term ownership and premature disposal. Clothing quality is decreasing along with costs, and the increased consumption levels of mass-manufactured fashion products are pushing up the consumption of natural resources.</p> <p>The pressure to facilitate consumer hunger imposes significant social and environmental pressures on the manufacturing supply chain. The UK’s consumption levels of fashion are the highest in Europe, at <a href="https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/news-parliament-2017/fashion-bosses-reveal-environmental-record-17-19/">26.7kg per capita</a>. This compares to a consumption rate of 16.7kg in Germany, 16kg in Denmark, 14.5kg in Italy, 14kg in the Netherlands and 12.6kg in Sweden.</p> <p>The need for change is tentatively being acknowledged by fashion brands and manufacturers. Many different market sectors in fashion, from high street to high end, are increasingly taking action. But it’s very conservative. For example, high street retailer H&amp;M are boycotting the use of <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/amazon-fires-brazil-hm-brazil-leather-deforestation-cattle-a9094586.html">Brazilian leather</a> over concerns that the country’s cattle industry has contributed to the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. Meanwhile, other brands, such as Adidas, Stella McCartney and Patagonia, are focusing their action on the use of waste products in the development of textile materials for new collections.</p> <p>Of course, such policies can only be positive. But are fashion brands really doing enough to change? Recent <a href="https://www.un.org/press/en/2019/ga12131.doc.htm">UN reports</a> state that we have 11 years to prevent irreversible damage from climate change. It’s doubtful that the small, incremental changes made by brands will do enough to significantly contribute towards the fight on climate change, so more pressure from consumers and campaign groups is needed.</p> <p>Fashion brands are not the only ones who have the power to create change. Consumers also have leverage – and it’s key that they use it. As London Fashion Week opened earlier this month, large <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/london-fashion-week-extinction-rebellion-protest-funeral-march-finale-a9109816.html">protests and demonstrations</a> highlighting fashion’s contribution to climate change reinforced the impact that consumers can have on raising public awareness of environmental issues. Consumer-driven behaviour change can encourage brands to adapt their practices towards a more sustainable future for the fashion industry.</p> <p>If real change is to happen, more people must begin to take a proactive approach and act in reflection of their moral values. Small lifestyle changes can create a big sustainable impact. So here are four things for you to consider before you buy any new clothes:</p> <h2>1. Think before you buy</h2> <p>Before we just buy more new clothes and contribute to escalating pollution, we need to think about the alternative options. This might not only save us money, but is also certainly better for the environment. These options include using what we have, borrowing, swapping, thrifting and making. Buying new items should be seen as the final choice, once all other options have been considered. This approach goes very much against the principles of fast fashion, with slow and considered consumption being the priority.</p> <h2>2. Shop by your values</h2> <p>We need to think about where we shop, as each purchase effectively acts as a vote towards the practices of a brand. By doing a small amount of research into a company’s responsible values, we can begin to make informed decisions about our shopping behaviour. This will ensuring that your chosen store reflects your personal beliefs.</p> <p>For example, if you want to know where your fashion comes from then you need to choose a brand that is transparent and open about their supply chain. Brands like <a href="https://communityclothing.co.uk">Community Clothing</a>, owned by Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant, tell shoppers exactly where the raw materials were sourced from, where the yarn was produced and even where the final garment was made. Likewise, if you specifically want to take action against ocean plastic waste, then a brand like <a href="https://ecoalf.com/en/">Ecoalf</a> might be for you.</p> <h2>3. Buy a pre-loved item</h2> <p>The second-hand market is having a revival. Once seen as an edgy, individual and cost-effective method of shopping, it soon fell out of favour, to be replaced by cheap, mass-market product from fast-fashion retailers. But with Oxfam opening their <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-49650226">charity superstore</a> and Asda launching a pre-loved fashion <a href="https://www.edie.net/amp-news/12/Asda-forays-into-second-hand-clothing-market/">pop up shop</a>, buying second-hand clothing can give fashion products a new life and prevent the purchasing of new fashion garments.</p> <h2>4. Dispose responsibly</h2> <p>As well as considering where we buy our clothes, we too must consider the end-of-life options for our fashion items. It is estimated that <a href="http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/clothing-waste-prevention">£140m</a> worth of clothing goes to landfill each year. Many of these items will be made from synthetic fibres, meaning they can take anywhere between <a href="https://www.close-the-loop.be/en/phase/3/end-of-life">20-200</a> years to decompose. Again, people should explore a range of options available here, such as donating clothing to charity, recycling, reuse, repair and passing on items to friends and family. Why not hold a clothes swap at your house one weekend?</p> <p>Responsible procurement, ownership and disposal are all vital considerations when exercising your power to create sustainable change for the future of the fashion industry. Today, shoppers have more influence and ability to create change than ever before, with <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/jefffromm/2018/02/21/how-gen-z-is-using-social-media-to-affect-real-life-social-change/#1f29e7d149f4">social media platforms</a> allowing easier voicing of complaints and concerns. Meanwhile, the emergence of a <a href="https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy/concept">circular economy</a> business model is again pushing consumers to take a more active role in creating change.</p> <p>We can no longer sit back and wait for brands to take action. Individual drive and willingness to change everyday behaviour will be crucial in changing the future environmental impact of fashion.<!-- 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/123881/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>Alana James, Senior Lecturer in Fashion, Northumbria University, Newcastle</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/why-you-should-stop-buying-new-clothes-123881" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Retirement Income