National News

Get rich by giving up lattes? Not so fast

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-10 11:01

There's a long-percolating concept among personal finance gurus: The money you spend on small purchases, say, a latte every day or so, could be redirected towards huge savings. Think hundreds of thousands of dollars over 30 years, if invested. Proponents have included Suze Orman, Penelope Wang of Money Magazine, and most notably author David Bach. 

But another personal finance writer, Helaine Olen, says no way. 

"We weren't spending more money on luxuries," Olen said of the late 1990s. "We were spending less."

Using herself as an example, Olen says the cost of coffee and other small expenses pales in comparison with the rising cost of health care, education, and housing. 

"Think of it this way: at $5 per latte, I would need to give up 260 caffeinated drinks per month to pay my monthly health insurance bill."

She recently traced the history of the concept in a Twitter essay. 

[<a href="//storify.com/annielowrey/the-latte-factor" target="_blank">View the story "The Latte Factor" on Storify</a>]

Nielsen finds a pretty giant glitch in its ratings

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-10 11:00

The good people at Nielsen, the television ratings company, said today they've discovered a glitch. Bloomberg reports some of their ratings have been wrong for oh...the past six months or so.

People were counted as watching one network when, in fact, they were watching a different one. Looks like ABC was the big winner.

Nielsen ratings are, of course, worth bazoodles of dollars because that's what advertising rates are based on.

 

Why are so many holidays on Mondays?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-10 10:49

If Columbus Day for you is a time to stock up on towels - or better yet, get out of town - you’re in good company. And you’re doing exactly what Congress wanted you to do back in 1968, when it passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act: spend money. 

“Well there was very strong support in Congress, but the initiative came from the tourism and vacation interests,” says Gerald Friedman, economics professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Groups like the hotel industry lobby and the American Automobile Association, he says. You could see why hotels that would normally be dead on a Sunday night would be all about this. “It was a very conscious decision that we wanted to promote vacations and leisure, and people felt a three-day holiday would lead to more traveling,” he says. 

And it has. During a typical three-day weekend, AAA estimates more than 34 million Americans hit the road. And even if people don’t leave town, there’s always the mall. “So we have things like Veterans Day sales, we have Columbus Day sales, we have Memorial Day sales,” says John McNamara, senior education fellow at the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. 

The National Retail Federation doesn’t track sales over Monday holidays, but they’re big shopping days.

McNamara says there's a downside: people are so busy spending, they forget why they have the day off.  They don't think about what makes the day historically significant.   That’s one reason Veteran’s Day was shifted back from a Monday holiday to its traditional Nov. 11.

So, if this stuff isn’t set in stone, maybe more three-day weekends are in store.  “I’m kinda waiting for them to move Fourth of July to a Monday,” McNamara laughs.  

But he says don’t plan that Fourth of July weekend getaway just yet, because it’s not likely to change. 

Weekly Wrap: Surprise, surprise (oh wait)

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-10 10:43

To absolutely nobody's surprise, the week ended badly on Wall Street. All three major indices headed south Friday, and most of the other indexes as well.

The Wall Street Journal's Sudeep Reddy and Redfin's Nela Richardson joined Kai Ryssdal to talk about the week that was.

Microsoft CEO Nadella's Remarks Add To Tech's Sexism Problem

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-10 10:36

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is facing public criticism after his comments suggesting that women should not ask for raises. But they also underscore questions about tech's male-dominated culture.

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Porridge Aficionados Vie To Make Theirs The Breakfast Of Champions

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-10 10:27

Once derided as Scottish food better suited to horses than people, porridge these days is more cool than gruel. In the U.K., competitions have porridge lovers battling with their best recipes.

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Sloppy Splinting Can Make A Child's Broken Arm Much Worse

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-10 10:08

A pediatrician who specializes in fixing broken bones in kids and teens says about 90 percent of the fractures he treats have been splinted improperly in a community ER or urgent care center first.

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Oregon First Lady Sorry For 'Marriage Of Convenience' With Green Card Seeker

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-10 09:58

In 1997, Cylvia Hayes received money to marry an Ethiopian who wanted a green card. Her fiance, Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber, is seeking a fourth term. She says he didn't know of the marriage.

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Turkey Agrees To Train, Equip Moderate Syrian Opposition

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-10 09:36

The pledge to create a force to assist in fighting the self-declared Islamic State comes a day after Ankara called for creating a buffer zone around its border with Syria.

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