With a February start and a June convention, the party hopes to regain some control over the chaotic presidential nominating process. Among the proposed changes: a June convention.
With a February start and a June convention, the party hopes to regain some control over the chaotic presidential nominating process. Among the proposed changes: A June convention.
With the 2013 regular season now over, teams are starting to fire coaches who produced disappointing results. The least surprising dismissal so far: that of Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan. His departure had been rumored for weeks.
We’re running to the gym and chewing carrots. It must be January!
After a couple of months of ingesting, imbibing, spending and swiping, so begins our attempts to make 2014 the year when we get everything right. Well, maybe just better.
And we can make things better, especially when it comes to our money. In the spirit of knowing the ‘enemy’ to win the battle, let me introduce you to what tends to trip up our best New Year's money efforts and what we can do to make 2014 the year that works:
The Money Is Just the Wrapping
We had on the show recently a couple with the financial resolution for this year to save more money and get out of a paycheck-to-paycheck way of life. The Mrs. is a professional bookkeeper and her husband builds spreadsheets to track their spending. But despite all this tracking experience, they can’t stop spending too much. I pointed out to them that though tracking a behavior can change the behavior, they’ve set their sights on tracking the wrong thing -- the price tags, the money. The numbers are a reflection of spending, but not the act of spending itself.
I nudged them to think about focusing on the behavior, not the dollars, to write down physically, with pen, or pencil, and actual paper, what they spent every dollar on, every day for thirty days. They should also note how much something costs but by writing down the actual item and having to focus on the "what" vs. the how much, they'd have to process what their spending behavior actually is which can lead them to spend less.
It was an "Ah-ha!" moment for them. So ask yourself: If you haven't had success with a money resolution that required you to change your behavior, were you focused on the right thing -- the 'what?'
Your Resolution May Be a Blob
Resolutions without parameters and definition are amorphous -- they're blobs. Blobs don’t stay in place and they don’t get you where you need to be. You need your resolution to live in concrete. Or, at least to include a couple of bricks.
If I asked you what your financial resolution is and you said: "To save more money." Would you be able to tell me how much money in total and within what timeframe and where the money would come from?
Defining the how-much, the how-long and where-it’s-going-to-come-from takes away the psychological barrier of ambiguity. To spell out your New Year's resolution with as much detail as comfortably possible is to give it a better chance at life.
Want to save money this year? How much money? (Looking for a realistic, hard number here, people!) Why are you saving this money? And where will it come from?
Now, break it down further: How much time do you have? That will help determine how much you need to save every month to get to your goal. Cutting long-term goals down into shorter and shorter timeframes -- in effect, creating mini-goals -- helps us celebrate mini-victories. Every time you reach a mini-goal, that pat on the back makes it more likely that you'll keep going.
Make your resolution live: give it definition. Give it a timeframe. Make it realistic and write it all down. Soon your 'blob' of a promise to yourself will be rockin’ a six-pack.
Why Are You Going At It Alone?
There's a reason why it was a big deal for Tyra Banks and her studio audience to show up with t-shirts emblazoned with their weight.: How embarrassing!
The same goes for money. It's hard to share our financial reality and goals with others. But, for most of us, social support is just what we need to stay on track. And maybe it's not so much the cheerleading, but having to be accountable to someone else for what you do. Being watched changes behavior. Add to that surveillance folks who love you and want to see you succeed, and you’ve got a lot of 'juice.'
So many of us keep our money struggles private. (How's that workin'?) But before you start sharing your 'bidness' on Facebook, make a tally of those folks who are there for you in good times and bad and of course, who won't tell the world your bank balance. Create a Facebook mini-support-group. You can set this up so only people you chose can see what you’re doing, not all your 'friends.' Tell them what your resolution is and ask for support. Report in often and let yourself be called out when you stray. Just think of the shared joy when you’ve made it.
Sometimes it takes a village to reach the finish line.
It was a big day Friday for the mobile phone carrier Sprint. It's stock rose 8.3 percent, amid unconfirmed chatter that it might one day merge with T-Mobile. Sprint's CEO, Dan Hesse doesn't comment on speculation, but he is willing to talk to us about all the equipment his troops have been ripping out this year -- at the cost of some disruption -- to provide data-sucking smart phones with more speed.
"2013, first of all, has been a year of rebuilding, and we think our customers will see it as very worth it when we get it completed, which we hope to do sometime later next year," Hesse says of the infrastructure improvements Sprint has been working on. "Sometimes, we use the analogy of 'The Three Little Pigs.' We're the third pig whose building that brick house, who's taking a little longer, and there's a little bit of disruption. And so next year what you're going to see is Sprint Spark, which we announced on October 30 for five big cities."
Spark is Sprint's beefed up data network. "Basically what it means for the customer is your phone can work about 50 megabits per second," Hesse says. "A year from now it will be double that, and two years from now, triple that. So you're talking 150 megabits per second for the phone."
Hesse says that aside from a faster data network, Sprint customers should soon expect to have better quality sound on phone calls.
"We have announced something called 'high definition voice,' where your wireless phone will the be better of your devices, between your landline and your cell phone. So, today, somebody with perfect hearing hears about 10 octaves. The cell phone gives you about 4 octaves. 'High definition voice' will give you 7 of those 10 octaves, so I don't think it's going to be unusual at all six months from now for people to say, 'Let's get off this landline and let's have this call on a cell phone so we can hear each other better.'"
If those advances sound like they should be enough to catapult Sprit over Verizon and AT&T from its spot as the number three carrier, Hesse says his company is more focused on a long term strategy that doesn't involve becoming number one overnight.
"I still believe we'll be number three in size for some time. You know, Verizon and AT&T are so much larger than us," he says. "We can have five phenomenal years and still not necessarily not move into the one or two spot just because of the size of the big two."
Back in October, Marketplace Morning Report talked to T-Mobile CEO John Legere, who used words like "suck" and "bloated" to describe competitors AT&T and Verizon. But when we asked him to comment on Sprint, Legere took a more measured and complimentary tone. Does that mean a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint is on the horizon? As one would expect, Hesse is staying mum on the topic. But he seems open to the possibility.
"I will say that what T-Mobile has done and what we're doing is we have to be very innovative in a variety of areas, including price, because of the size of the big two," Hesse says. "The industry would be healthier and competition would be better if there was some consolidation, and number three was closer in size to one and two."
Saudi Arabia has been throwing its cash around in an apparent effort to influence world affairs. It supports the rebels in Syria, and the kingdom is helping to bankroll the military-backed Egyptian government.
This morning, there's word Saudi Arabia has made a $3 billion pledge to help Lebanon buy arms to counteract the role of Hezbollah, the Shia militia and political group backed by Iran. The BBC's Carine Torbay reports on the latest from Beirut. Click the audio player above to hear more.
The MV Akademik Shokalskiy has been stuck in the ice for a week. The 74 passengers and crew are safe, but may have to be airlifted to ships in open water. They continue to post messages and videos — some indicating that life on board may be getting a bit tedious.