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Ally vs. Marcus vs. Wealthfront: How 3 of the most popular high-yield savings accounts stack up

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 6:48pm

The Federal Reserve has cut interest rates twice since late July. As expected, many banks and financial institutions have dropped their rates in response, but it's still a great time to save money.

Whether you're building up an emergency fund or saving for a down payment on a house (or both), it's probably time to open up a high-yield savings account.

There's no downside to having a high-yield savings account — it grows the money you're stashing away for a rainy day or a big purchase, while keeping it accessible and safe. But because so many banks offer them, it may seem difficult to choose the one that's right for you. Here's the good news: You really can't go wrong.

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High-yield savings accounts are attractive for their competitive rates. Even when the Fed's benchmark rate fluctuates, these accounts tend to earn up to 20 times more than a traditional savings account, and 200 times more than your typical checking account.

Dozens of banks have high-yield savings accounts and it may come down to where you prefer to bank — an online-only bank, an investment bank, or a robo-advisor, for example — as well as what you're looking for, whether it's minimal fees, the highest possible interest rate, the ability to transfer money whenever you want, a connected checking account, 24/7 customer service, or easy access to your account.

To help out, we compared three of the most popular high-yield savings accounts on offer today: Ally's online savings account, a favorite among financial planners and super savers; Marcus, investment bank Goldman Sachs' online savings account; and robo-advisor Wealthfront's cash account.

Below you'll find each of these high-yield savings accounts compared on a variety of metrics.

You may notice the interest rates vary among these accounts, with Wealthfront's offering the highest rate as of November 4, 2019. As mentioned before, interest rates on savings accounts fluctuate depending on inflation and the government's interest-rate benchmark.

For weeks leading up to the Federal Reserve's July 29 meeting, experts predicted an interest rate cut, leading banks like Ally and Goldman Sachs to preemptively drop the rates on their high-yield accounts. Shortly after the Federal Reserve reduced the target rate by 0.25%, Wealthfront said it would lower the rate on its cash account from 2.57% to 2.32%. After a second interest rate cut was announced in August, each institution dropped its rate further, and rates continued to drop through the fall.

Choosing the account with the highest interest rate today is a fine decision, but know that the rate offered when you open the account isn't locked in. In short, ensure the account is otherwise desirable — it has low fees, for example — before parking your savings there.

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Across the board, high-yield savings accounts offer better rates than a traditional savings account — hence: high-yield — so you've already made progress toward automatically building wealth by keeping your money there, regardless of how the rate shifts over time.

The bottom line: Many of us make the mistake of being paralyzed by indecision when it comes to money. Not saving because we don't know how much to save, not investing because we can't figure out the best way to invest, or losing money to fees and inflation because we won't choose a better bank account — I've been there and chances are you have, too. Don't let that hinder you from building wealth.

As financial expert and bestselling author Ramit Sethi puts it, "The single most important factor to getting rich is getting started, not being the smartest person in the room." Choose an account with little fees and high earning potential, Sethi says, and move on.

This post was updated on November 4, 2019, to reflect the listed accounts' changing interest rates.

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Over years teaching in China, I noticed 3 ways Chinese families think about money — especially when it comes to their kids

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 6:36pm

  • I spent about eight years teaching and tutoring children in China, many of whom came from wealthy families and were expected to continue their education in English-speaking countries.
  • I found Chinese parents considered education to be paramount and went to great lengths to enable their kids to get the best education possible, whether that was taking out loans to send them abroad or moving hours away for better job prospects that would pay for school.
  • On a separate note, I also found that cashless payment methods had become the norm by the time I left in 2016.
  • Read more personal finance coverage.

I left my native Canada to live in China for about eight years, working as an elementary teacher at an international school. To say it was a life-changing experience was an understatement.

As my reputation as a teacher grew, parents from other classes would approach me to help tutor their child to brush up on their English skills — everything from writing essays to improving their reading ability. Many of those families wanted their children to go to school in an English-speaking country like the US. 

Getting to know the families was an absolute privilege. Plus, working for so many different families taught me a lot about Chinese culture, including three ways Chinese families tend to think about money.

1. Parents go to great lengths to fund their child's education

Parents in China, given the means, will pay a lot for their child's education. The theory is that once the child gets a great education (which many seem to believe means send their children overseas), he or she would be able to provide for their parents in their golden years. For many families in China, the children are expected to help take care of their parents when they're older, sending money back home to provide for their needs.

It's no wonder that parents insist on trying to get their children in the best schools possible. It can start before elementary school. There are lots of kindergartens that have extra English language classes and other extracurricular activities. It can only get more intense from there.

I remember tutoring a 7-year-old who was about to take an English proficiency test to be able to go to a boarding school in England. I came to find out the parents were taking out a massive loan to be able to send her there, believing it would help her get ahead in life. I ended up tutoring her for two hours four nights a week to help her pass the test.

For many parents, the pressure is on to provide for their children — their financial future. 

2. Families do what they have to for their kids to get ahead

Although many consider China to be a booming country, many of its citizens living in smaller towns and rural areas are struggling. It's not uncommon for them leave their children with their grandparents at home while they go find work in urban locations where there are more job prospects.

The same goes for more well-off families. I tutored a few children whose parents lived hundreds of miles away because it was easier to leave them with their grandparents. Part of it is China's complex system to regulates population, called Hukou, which means in some cases that families may not be able to register their child at their chosen schools. 

I never met some of the parents of the students I tutored. I met their grandparents or other relatives instead. 

Whatever you may think of these differences, they're just that: differences. Living in China for as long as I did, I came to appreciate just how much families were simply working hard to live a comfortable life.

3. Mobile payments have become the norm

It wasn't as big when I first lived in China, but as smartphones got more popular, many locals would link their bank account to an app called WeChat, through which you can go shopping and send cash to other folks. Think Venmo with a social media platform built in. 

I never owned a smartphone during my stint there, so I didn't catch on. But the families I taught did, and over the years they would request that I show them my Wechat QR code. After much confusion, one of the parents explained to me that it was a feature of my WeChat account that allowed someone to scan and send me money. 

After asking a few friends about it, I came to find out many of them used their smartphones to pay for things as much as possible. Even the smaller produce markets started to take WeChat payments over cash. When I left China in 2016 there was a lot in the news about stores that didn't have cashiers — you took what you wanted and paid using WeChat.

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The top companies providing & using banking-as-a-service technology (BBVA)

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 6:01pm
  • Business Insider Intelligence is launching its brand new Banking coverage in early September.
  • To obtain a free preview of our Banking Briefing, please click here.

Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) is a key component to open banking, in which banks open up their systems and allow third parties to access their data to enhance their own services. This growing market is transforming retail banking, reshaping incumbents' relationships with customers, and easing entry for fintechs.

The UK is leading the open banking movement with regulatory efforts that are reverberating throughout the world. Countries across continents have introduced open banking regulations of their own, indicating that the financial services industry is moving toward an era where sharing data and infrastructure will be table stakes.

Here are the top companies already implementing BaaS strategies, broken out into two main categories:

  • Pure BaaS Providers
  • Retail Banks w/ BaaS Services
Pure BaaS Providers solarisBank

solarisBank bills itself as a "tech company with a banking license." The Berlin-based startup holds a German banking license and provides a BaaS platform that enables businesses to offer fully digital and compliant white labeled financial services to their end-customers.

Founded in 2016, solarisBank's lets customers seamlessly integrate financial services into their offerings through modern RESTful APIs. The team is focused on building fully automated processes, providing nearly invisible infrastructure to end users, and creating a global digital ecosystem for customers to build their own scalable banking products.

The company boasts nearly 60 global corporate clients, and closed a €56.6 million ($62.7 million) Series B funding round in early 2018 that included investments from BBVA, Visa, SBI Group, and Lakestar.

Some of solarisBank's customers include:

  • Kontist
  • Börse Stuttgart
  • Smava
  • Trade Republic
  • Tomorrow
  • Al Baraka Bank

Learn more about solarisBank.

Bankable

Bankable is a London-based startup focused on enabling incumbent financial institutions, fintechs, and other corporations to bring new payments solutions to market. Its BaaS solutions include a virtual ledger manager, digital banking, payment card programs, and e-wallets. 

Its end-to-end payment services are accessible via an interoperable proprietary platform that's PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standards) certified and hosted in Tier-4 data centers for advanced security. Bankable helps its partners meet the technological and regulatory challenges of developing disruptive financial services.

In April of 2019, Bankable announced a partnership with Visa to accelerate its digital banking solutions.

Some of Bankable's customers include:

  • Spendesk
  • GetYourGuide
  • Royale Oceanic

Learn more about Bankable.

Treezor

Treezor is a white label core banking platform that operates as a "one-stop shop payment solution" both receiving and issuing payments. The firm facilitates payment management by enabling its 30 licensed and unlicensed fintech clients to provide their customers personalized credit cards and dedicated International Bank Account Numbers (IBANs).

Founded in 2015, the Paris-based startup is accredited by the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (ACPR), and is a member of the Mastercard and SEPA networks. Treezor was acquired by Societe Generale in 2018 to accelerate the parent company's open innovation strategy.Some of Treezor's fintech clients include:

  • Lydia
  • Qonto
  • Compte CO2

Learn more about Treezor.

11:FS Foundry

UK-based SaaS/PaaS company 11:FS Foundry is in the process of developing a platform to offer core banking capabilities leveraging tech that eliminates the need to choose between agility and scalability. 

The firm is looking to make core banking upgrades and overhauls – historically seen as high risk, high cost, and, frankly, to be avoided – much more attractive and scalable for clients by  diminishing cost, time to market, and barriers of archaic infrastructure.

In mid-2019 the firm, which launched a year earlier as a subsidiary of 11:FS, announced that its investment partner and first lending client, DNB, had committed a second round of funding to the project.

Learn more about 11:FS Foundry.

Cambr

Formed in 2018 from a partnership between Q2 and StoneCastle, Cambr boasts a full-stack banking service and the nation's largest distributed deposit platform (StoneCastle's network of over 800 community banks).

Although it does not offer completely turnkey BaaS solutions like some of its competitors, Cambr offers the necessary underlying infrastructure by playing to the strengths of its founding partner companies: extensive industry experience, robust technology assets, and strategic banking relationships.

The company currently offers basic deposit accounts, compliance, payments, banking, and debit cards. 

Some of Cambr's customers include:

  • Qapital
  • MoneyLion

Learn more about Cambr.

ClearBank

WorldPay founder Nick Ogden unveiled UK-based ClearBank in 2017 after three years of secretly working on the project. The "bank for banks" provides no services to consumers — instead enabling financial service providers, FCA-regulated businesses, and fintechs to build their own solutions and services.

ClearBank is notably the UK's first new clearing bank in 250 years, and aims to transform the clearing bank experience and create a new level of open competition and transparency in the UK market. Its technology stack transforms the ability for financial institutions to provide current accounts to their customers, resulting in faster, more efficient payments, and financial inclusion.

The firm provides agency banking services including secure access to core banking solutions, payment schemes and systems, all operated within a liquidity-managed account.

Some of ClearBank's clients include:

  • Tide

  • Oaknorth

  • Nationwide

  • Dozens

Learn more about ClearBank

BaaS Providers w/ Retail Banking Services Starling Bank

In October 2018, Starling Bank CEO Anne Boden authored a company blog post announcing "the death of transaction banking" and, in turn, the firm's entrance into the BaaS and Payments-as-a-Service (PaaS) space.

With its pioneering BaaS offering, Starling has opened its APIs to enable banks, fintechs, retailers, and brands to use its banking license to develop customized financial products such as savings or current accounts and debit cards.

Some of Starling Bank's BaaS and PaaS clients include:

  • Raisin UK
  • Ditto
  • UK Department for Work and Pensions
  • Xero
  • Telleroo
  • Vitesse
  • PelicanPay

Learn more about Starling Bank.

Fidor Bank

Fidor Bank is a German digital-only challenger bank that helps financial, retail, and telecom businesses bring their digital banking concepts to life. The startup provides turnkey white label banking solutions covering bank license across Europe, technology, compliance, risk management, go-to-market strategy, and customer service.

Fidor designs, tests, and builds its clients' digital banking projects into its full-service proprietary digital banking platform fidorOS (fOS). Customers can also build a unique customer experience on top of Fidor's APIs if they choose.

Some of Fidor's clients include:

  • O2 Telefonica
  • ADIB
  • Van Lanschot

In 2017 Fidor Solutions and Fidor Bank were acquired by Groupe BPCE.

Learn more about Fidor Bank.

Green Dot

After making a name for itself as the leading provider of prepaid debit cards and, later, mobile banking technology and tax refund disbursement processing, Pasadena-based "branchless" bank Green Dot joined the ranks of BaaS companies in Q1 2019. The fintech's platform provides end-to-end infrastructure for managing a banking or payments program at scale.

Green Dot saw immediate returns after the initial BaaS launch, posting a 6% increase year-over-year in total operating revenue from Q1 2018. CEO Steve Streit attributed the bank's spike in active accounts primarily to its BaaS programs and partnerships, which added 420,000 new active accounts in Q1 2019.

Some of Green Dot's BaaS customers include:

  • Uber
  • Walmart
  • PayPal
  • Stash
  • Apple Pay Cash
  • Pangaea
  • EasyCorp

Learn more about Green Dot.

BBVA

BaaS isn't just for startups and emerging players. Multinational Spanish banking group – and one of the largest financial institutions in the world – Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (BBVA) moved its open platform out of beta in October 2018.

By connecting to BBVA's core digital banking platform, third parties can access its APIs and specific financial service features including Move Money, Identity Verification, Account Origination, and Card Issuance. 

In addition to offering paid access, the Open Platform team operates a sandbox testing environment, so interested companies can work through their proposals before fully signing up.

Companies using BBVA's APIs include:

  • Simple
  • Azlo
  • Xero
  • Modo
  • digit.co

Learn more about BBVA's open platform.

Growth of Banking-as-a-Service

The open banking movement is proliferating around the world, creating new opportunities for emerging players in the space, and forcing legacy banks to re-examine their business models as a result.

Many industry executives already view open banking as an inevitable and accelerating trend in financial services. In fact, Accenture projects open banking-related services will account for 7% of total banking revenue by 2020 — less than two years after the UK's open banking regulation rollout.

For now, these regulations don't require banks to begin offering BaaS, so those that choose to do so will be ahead of the curve — and likely see high demand as a result.

To keep you ahead of the industry's biggest shifts – like the open banking movement and BaaS – Business Insider Intelligence is launching Banking in September, a new research area with coverage including BaaS and open banking, consumer and business banking, mobile and online banking, digital account opening, and neobanks.

Click here to obtain an exclusive FREE preview of Banking!

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Krispy Kreme is giving 500 boxes of doughnuts to a student after trying to shut down his business reselling them in his hometown

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 5:56pm

  • Krispy Kreme is donating 500 dozen doughnuts to Jayson Gonzalez, 21, after learning he would cross state lines to resell their product. 
  • Minnesota does not have any Krispy Kreme stores, so Gonzalez, of Champlin, Minnesota, would drive 270 miles to a Krispy Kreme store in Clive, Iowa, every weekend and buy up to 100 boxes to resell in his hometown. 
  • When Krispy Kreme first learned of his business venture, they told him to stop, citing concerns of "product quality and regulatory compliance."
  • Now the company says it will allow Gonzalez to work "as an independent operator" so he can use the business venture to help pay off his student debt. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Krispy Kreme is giving a college student 500 boxes of doughnuts after first asking him to stop his re-sale business of their product.

Jayson Gonzalez, 21, of Champlin, Minnesota, told the Associated Press that he would drive 270 miles to a Krispy Kreme store in Clive, Iowa, each weekend to buy up to 100 boxes of 12 doughnuts and bring them back to Champlin, Minnesota, and resell them. Minnesota has been without Krispy Kreme stores for 11 years.

Gonzales said he would charge $17 to $20 a box, when the boxes usually sell for around $10. He stopped when he received a phone call from Krispy Kreme's Nebraska office telling him to stop after the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported on his money-making scheme.

But Krispy Kreme has apparently changed its mind and is now encouraging Gonzalez to continue his business venture, according to a statement provided to Business Insider.

Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation said that upon reaching out to Gonzalez, they learned he was hoping to graduate Metropolitan State University in St. Paul in 2021 completely debt free, and was putting money made from the doughnuts toward that.

Krispy Kreme praised the accounting student's "entrepreneurial spirit," and it wants to help him achieve his goals. The first step is donating 500 dozen doughnuts toward his cause. 

The company said it had initially told Gonzalez to stop selling its doughnuts because it wanted to "to ensure product quality and regulatory compliance to protect both Jayson and Krispy Kreme."

"Our main concern is that the doughnuts Jayson sells maintain our high product quality standards, given the distance and manner in which he is transporting and distributing them," the company said. "So, we are happy to work with Jayson as an independent operator to ensure consistent delivery of our high-quality doughnuts to our fans in Minnesota. We wish Jayson great success and we're thrilled to help him achieve it by donating 500 dozen doughnuts when he re-starts his business."

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I earn more than 1 million points a year, and 6 of my favorite strategies for racking up rewards don't even require a credit card

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 5:41pm

Rewards credit cards are a great way to reduce your travel costs or splurge on vacations that would otherwise be out of reach. Thanks to using cards like the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Hilton Honors Aspire Amex, I'm able to earn more than one million points and miles per year — and those rewards unlock a lot of travel.

But what do you do when you've spent the big welcome bonus and don't want to get another credit card, aside from flying with one airline or paying for hotel stays? If you're in this position, there are still plenty of ways to earn more rewards. Here are six ways to earn more points or miles that don't involve signing up for a credit card.

Shopping portals

Most people shop online these days and there's no easier way to earn extra miles than through an airline shopping portal. All the major frequent flyer programs have their own shopping portals, where you can earn as many as 36 miles per dollar spent.

Simply register for these portals using your frequent flyer account number and simply click through to your favorite merchants when you're ready to shop online.

Around the holidays, some of these portals also offer tiered bonuses based on spending. It's worthwhile to check these portals for special bonus point promotions, so you're earring the most miles possible.

If you want to save time while searching the highest shopping portal payouts, simply head over to CashBack Monitor, type in the merchant's name and you will get a list of portals paying out the most points.

Dining rewards programs

Every once in a while, I'll go out to dinner, pay the check, then get an email notification that I earned extra airline miles through a dining rewards program. Whether you're paying with your Chase Sapphire Reserve, the American Express® Gold Card, another card that earns bonus rewards on dining, or even a debit card, you can earn lots of miles this way. Simply sign up with a dining rewards program of your choice and register the card you most often use to pay for meals (debit or credit).

These dining rewards programs will automatically issue miles when you swipe your card at participating restaurants. All of them offer various bonuses when you join and spend a certain amount within the first 30 days.

It's important to note that while you can join all of these dining rewards programs, you can't register the same card with more than one. They're all part of the same network, so if you try to register the same card with multiple programs, your card will un-register from the previous program you linked it to.

Miles-earning debit cards

Credit cards aren't for everyone, but in an increasingly cash-free world, most people need some form of card payment: That's where debit cards come in. There are currently two banks issuing mile-earning debit cards:

Suntrust SkyMiles debit cards

Suntrust bank offers two mile-earning debit cards, the Delta SkyMiles World Debit Card and the Delta SkyMiles Business Debit Card. Both cards come with a 5,000-mile welcome bonus issued after your first purchase. Cardholders earn 1 mile per $2 spent, which is half what you'll earn from a Delta SkyMiles credit card.

These cards also have annual fees of $95 and $120 respectively, which also puts them at a disadvantage compared to Skymiles credit cards. However, for folks who don't qualify for credit cards or simply don't wan the responsibility, these Skymiles debit cards are a good alternative.

Bank of Hawaii

Bank of Hawaii has two mile-earning debit cards tied to the Hawaiian Miles program:

• Bankoh Hawaiian Airlines Visa Debit Card
• Bankoh Hawaiian Airlines Visa Check Card for Business

Both cards only earn 1 mile per $2 spent, and you need to pay $3 per month in lieu of an annual fee. There's an earning cap of 1,000 miles per month on the Bankoh Hawaiian Airlines Visa debit card. That may be a hindrance for some people, considering a free flight on Hawaiian Airlines starts at 7,500 miles one way.

Airline and hotel bonus point promotions

One of the easiest ways to earn more points without credit cards is to sign up for airline and hotel bonus point promotions. For example, Hilton Honors is currently running a double points promotion for hotel bookings made directly with Hilton. With just a few clicks of the mouse, you'll earn twice as many points as usual on your Hilton bookings.

How do you keep up with these bonus point promotions? Make sure you're opted in to receive marketing emails from your favorite airlines and hotel chains. You'll get notified when new offers appear and all you have to do is click through and provide your rewards number register.

Since marketing email can stack up, you may even want to create a separate email address linked to all your rewards accounts. That way, your point-earning activities won't interfere with your daily work and personal emails.

The United MileagePlus X app

The MileagePlus X app is one of the most underrated ways to earn extra miles. Simply download the app, log in with your United MileagePlus number, then check for participating merchants in your area. These include popular retailers like Starbucks, Nordstrom, Lowe's, Foot Locker, and more.

When you get to the checkout line, simply enter your total due into the MileagePlus X app. You will essentially buy a gift card in the exact amount due and earn up to 5 miles per dollar spent. Simply show the code to the cashier, they'll scan it, and you're done. If you end up returning the item, you'll receive your refund in the form of a store gift card.

What's really great about the MileagePlus X app is that it allows you to earn valuable United miles without having a credit card. In fact, you can link your debit card to pay for the gift card purchases or double-dip by using a United MileagePlus card like the United Explorer Card. Either way, this app lets you accelerate your miles-earning at some of your favorite merchants.

Earn points through partners

Whether you're in the market for a new cell phone plan, hotel, Airbnb, dog sitter or looking to refinance your student loans, you can earn thousands of extra miles thanks to airline partnerships with these vendors. It's worthwhile the check the partner offers page of your frequent flyer programs to find out all the ways you can earn more miles without credit cards.

We've highlighted a few below:

American AAdvantage Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Delta Air SkyMiles
  • Earn 1 mile per dollar spent on Lyft rides.
  • Illinois Energy customers earn a 2,500 bonus plus additional miles every month.
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards United MileagePlus

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A retired couple who travels full-time has 3 go-to strategies to make their savings last for years

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 5:25pm

  • Retired couple Joe and Karen Stermitz have been traveling the world since 2017.
  • In order to have this lifestyle, they sold their home and got into overlanding, where they travel with a camper on a truck bed.
  • As of writing, the Stermitzes are in South America. They prioritize their spending based on the experiences they want to have most, and buy very little in order to keep expenses low.
  • They agree that traveling to affordable countries, moving slowly, and prioritizing their spending is the best way to travel on a tight, fixed budget.
  • Read more personal finance coverage. 

Joe and Karen Stermitz have been traveling the world since April of 2017. Their travel probably isn't what you might expect from retirees taking their bucket-list trips — they live out of a camper they drive around the world, and they prioritize affordability in order to make their retirement funds last. 

"Most people's concept of traveling of course is a little different," Joe, 62, told Business Insider. "They're going to stay in hotels and that kind of thing. We found a way to do it a little differently." 

"It's called overlanding," he continued. "It's actually a huge blowing up industry right now." Overlanding is a type of long-term off-roading that allows travelers to get off the beaten path, and explore remote areas while being self-sustaining. 

For their overland vehicle, the Stermizes bought and retrofitted a Ram 2500 truck with a camper on the bed and packed up their camping gear. The former Hewlett-Packard employees sold their 4,000 square-foot home in southern Washington and downsized their possessions to fit into a small storage unit. They moved into their 42-square-foot overlanding vehicle and set out for South America.  

Since then, they've been finding ways to make their savings stretch while still having the experiences they want. After living their overlanding lifestyle for several years, they've learned to to avoid stretching themselves too thin while traveling, both financially and personally.

Here are three of the most important lessons they've learned to keep their lifestyle manageable:

1. Spend time in affordable countries

"One of our strategies is go to the cheap countries first," Joe said. "We're saving western Europe and northern Europe for four or five years down the road." By spending the bulk of their time in countries with lower costs of living, they hope to make their savings stretch. 

Currently in South America, they live fairly affordably, varying their spending based on where they are. "Right now, we're spending way over our normal daily amount because we're in Cartagena, Columbia," says Karen. "We're on average spending $100 a day here, but once we leave Cartagena, we'll cut back, for a couple of weeks or a month, to $50 a day to make up for it," says Karen. That cost includes their biggest expense: fuel. 

"It's pretty easy for us to ebb and flow our expenses," Karen said. "We can go from a nice, $200 restaurant to a $2 restaurant."

2. Keep costs low by taking it slow

By not moving around faster than they need to, the Stermizes are able to save money. Moving slowly both helps them cut back on gas expenses, but also keeps them from getting burnt out on camping and spending more than they need to on hotels. 

"Our biggest expense is gas. So, going slow is just the way it is," Joe said. "If we don't drive, we're spending half of what we would be if we were driving every day." 

"Being in a car camping, it gets tiring," Joe said. "In cheaper countries, you can rent a beautiful apartment. I wouldn't say it costs next to nothing, but it's so much cheaper." By taking their time in countries where the cost of living is lower than the US, they can afford to take a break from the camper when they need to. 

3. Prioritize your spending according to what matters

The Stermitzes don't buy much as they travel. And that's partially because they care more about being able to keep traveling than collecting belongings on the road. 

"I don't buy things. I don't own a lot of things," Karen said. Her best advice for anyone wanting to live their lifestyle is to do the same. "Get away from the focus on the things and focus on experiences and living life," she continued. 

And while they certainly have a budget and stick to it while traveling cheaply, they prioritize their spending to make the most of what they have.

"If your passion is to travel and you can do it on a decent budget, long-term travel has its own rewards that are just impossible to quantify," Joe said. "By living frugally and not spending a lot, we think it's going to work pretty well for us." 

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If you have the Amex Platinum or Business Platinum, you're eligible for premium-airfare discounts with more than 20 airlines

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 5:19pm

If you carry the American Express Platinum or Business Platinum card, you may not know about the Amex International Airline Program benefit available through your account. The program offers both special points redemption rates and discounted fares when you book premium-cabin seats on specific airlines. The devil, of course, is in the details, so let's dive in.

Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which will far outweigh the value of any points or miles. It's important to practice financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balances in full each month, making payments on time, and only spending what you can afford to pay back. 

What is the Amex International Airline Program?

The Amex International Airline Program gets you access to lower airfare with more than 20 participating airlines when you book in first, business, or premium economy class. 

You need to book directly through the Amex International Airline Program landing page — which is separate from Amex Travel — to get these discounts.

Fares that qualify for discounts

Amex International Airline Program special rates only apply to premium-cabin fares, including premium economy, first, and business class. Be sure to select the correct class of service in order to see qualifying fares for this program — for instance, you won't see these discounts if you select economy class.

You can purchase Amex International Airline Program fares for yourself and up to 7 people traveling with you on the same itinerary. However, you cannot purchase these fares for other people when you aren't traveling with them. The discounts apply to both refundable and nonrefundable tickets.

As mentioned above, you need to be an Amex Platinum or Business Platinum cardholder to access the Amex International Airline Program and its benefits.

Bonus Amex points 

Beyond discounts on eligible flights, you'll also get 5 Amex points per dollar when you book through the program when you pay with your Amex Platinum or Business Platinum card.

Paying with points

You can spend your Membership Rewards points at a rate of 1 cent per point toward travel purchases with Amex Travel, and this includes special fares purchased through the Amex International Airline Program.

Business Platinum card members will also get a 35% points rebate when using points on first and business class fares, as well as premium economy fares on the airline they selected for the annual airline incidental fee credit.

This rebate makes using points for flights a reasonable option to consider; for personal Platinum cardmembers, however, you'll generally get much better value by transferring your points to an airline loyalty program and booking premium-cabin award seats.

Restrictions

Note that Amex International Airline Program fares may carry restrictions and offer different benefits than regular fares sold directly by the airline. So be sure to read the fine print!

For example, not all special fares are refundable, even in a business-class cabin. Special fares may also be ineligible for ground services such as limousine service or lounge access (as is the case with certain fares on Emirates).

Finally, note that Amex charges a $39 fee to make bookings over the phone, so it's best to book online whenever possible.

Airline options

Although flights from most airlines are available through Amex Travel, special Amex International Airline Program rates are only available from these participating airlines:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air China
  • Air France
  • Air New Zealand
  • Alitalia
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Austrian
  • Brussels Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • China Airlines
  • Delta
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • KLM
  • LATAM
  • Lufthansa
  • Qatar Airways
  • Qantas
  • South African Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Swiss
  • Virgin Atlantic

If you're traveling to a destination that isn't served by one of the above airlines, you won't be able to find a special rate with the Amex International Airline Program. However, because Amex Travel is a full-service travel agency, other fare options will be shown.

How to book through the International Airline Program

By default, when you search for flights through Amex, you'll just get normal rates. To use the Amex International Airline Program,you need to go to the specific program link. Make sure to log in to your American Express account before you search.

If you search for premium-cabin flights, itineraries that are eligible for the International Airline Program discount will be highlighted in the search results. You'll see the original price crossed out and the discounted price shown in its place.

The "original price" for this itinerary shown on the Amex Travel website matches what Virgin Atlantic is charging on its own website – in this case, the International Airline Program fare is more than a $300 discount compared to what Virgin Atlantic is charging for direct bookings.

However, just because it's discounted doesn't mean it's the best fare – for these dates, British Airways flights without the International Airline Program discount are still $150 cheaper than the discounted Virgin Atlantic flights.

When to use the Amex International Airline Program

If you need to book a cash ticket in premium economy, business, or first class and you have an Amex Platinum or Business Platinum, checking IAP for discounts is a no-brainer.

But the International Airline Program can also be a great way to use points to book discounted premium fares for less than you'd pay for an award ticket. Let's look at a business-class flight from Los Angeles to Beijing for an example.

One way to book this ticket is to transfer your Membership Rewards points to Avianca Lifemiles and book an award ticket, which would cost 150,000 Membership Rewards points plus about $36 in taxes and fees.

A cash ticket on the same dates costs $1,705 — already a pretty good price for business class from Los Angeles to China — and with the International Airline Program, you'll save another $180, making it just $1,525 round-trip.

If you have a Business Platinum card, you can pay 152,485 Membership Rewards points, and you'll get a 35% rebate of 53,370 points, making your net cost just over 99,000 points.

On top of that, you can earn miles for the ticket with the frequent flyer program of your choice. For example, if you gave Air China your United MileagePlus number, you would earn 15,592 United Airlines miles and 2,500 Premier Qualifying Points — that's halfway to United Silver status with just one round-trip flight.

Bottom line

The Amex International Airline Program sometimes offers highly attractive fares for premium-cabin travel compared to the rates that are available to the general public. On top of that, you'll earn 5x Membership Rewards points for your flight purchases. And if you have a Business Platinum card, you can use Membership Rewards points to pay for the flight and get a 35% points rebate for business and first class (or premium economy on your selected airline).

Will you want to regularly use this program? That depends on your travel patterns, but probably not. That being said, if you're stuck buying a ticket, the International Airline Program, is always an option worth checking, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the savings.

Click here to learn more about the Business Platinum Card from American Express.

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The best Chase credit cards you can sign up for in 2019

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 5:07pm

Credit card points and frequent flyer miles can be incredibly useful, no matter what kinds of rewards you earn or what you eventually choose to do with them. While there are a few different types of credit card rewards, you benefit regardless of which kind your card earns by collecting a rebate on your everyday spending — as long as you practice financial discipline and pay off your statement in full each month.

Aside from rewards, a lot of credit cards come with perks, benefits, and complimentary services that can be extraordinarily useful and valuable. Think airport lounge access, roadside assistance, free primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, and more.

Here are our top picks for the best Chase cards in 2019: Why you should consider a Chase card

Over the past few years, Chase has become a powerhouse in the credit card rewards and benefits space, growing its Ultimate Rewards program with the lucrative Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, and then launching the premium Sapphire Reserve in 2016 with a massive introductory sign-up bonus of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points.

While that bonus has since dropped, the card remains a powerhouse of value, and the Ultimate Rewards program is fiercely competitive, with a ton of different ways to redeem points and a number of different cards available with varied benefits

If you're looking for a new Chase card to boost your stores of Ultimate Rewards points, or you're interested in getting access to new benefits or perks, it might be worth opening a new Chase card — just make sure that you know how opening a new card for the sign-up bonus or benefits can affect your credit.

Don't forget about Chase's 5/24 rule

Before you start applying for Chase credit cards, there's an important restriction you should know about. Chase has something called the 5/24 rule, which prevents you from opening most Chase cards if you've opened five or more credit cards with any bank in the last 24 months. Due to this rule, many award travel enthusiasts focus on opening Chase credit cards before cards with other banks. 

Take a look below at our choices of the best available Chase cards, including our overall winner, the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which will far outweigh the value of any points or miles. It's important to practice financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balances in full each month, making payments on time, and only spending what you can afford to pay back. 

The best Chase card overall

Why you'll love it: The Chase Sapphire Reserve makes it easy to earn rewards for travel and more with a great sign-up bonus and a lucrative points-earning scheme.

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 points (after spending $4,000 in the first three months)

Not only is the Sapphire Reserve our favorite Chase card — but it's also our pick for the best rewards credit card overall.

Earning 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on dining and any travel, and 1 point per dollar on everything else, the Sapphire Reserve earns points quickly through your everyday spending, and it comes with a slew of perks.

Points are worth 1.5¢ each toward travel booked through Chase, but can also be transferred to a number of frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs — typically, this gets you the most value for your points. Benefits include access to airport lounges through the Priority Pass network, trip delay coverage, purchase protection, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, and car rental primary coverage.

However, while the airport lounge access can be great, most Priority Pass lounges are in international terminals, which isn't helpful when you're flying domestically.

The annual fee is a hefty $450, but that's offset by a $300 travel credit each year, good for things like taxis, subway fare, parking, tolls, and flights.

There aren't many downsides to this card — besides the upfront annual fee. Chase has invested heavily in making the Ultimate Rewards program competitive. Booking flights by transferring points to frequent flyer partners is generally more lucrative — that's usually how people use points to fly in first and business class — but it can be complicated because you have to decipher award charts, find availability, and work around complicated airline rules.

However, because the Sapphire Reserve allows you to get 1.5¢ for each point, if you use them to book travel through Chase's online or phone travel agent, there's a simpler and still-valuable option.

Pros: Solid sign-up bonus, easy to earn points, points work with frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs, good airport benefits

Cons: High annual fee, Priority Pass lounges are typically in international terminals

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve.



The best Chase card with a lower annual fee

Why you'll love it: Chase Sapphire Preferred has a lower annual fee than the Sapphire Reserve and it's easy to rack up points.

Sign-up bonus: 60,000 points (after spending $4,000 in the first three months)

The Reserve's older sibling, the Sapphire Preferred offers a number of similar features, and an even higher sign-up bonus, for a lower annual fee. The card earns 2x Ultimate Rewards points instead of the Reserve's 3x points on dining and travel, and 1x points on everything else.

Points are worth a lower 1.25¢ on travel booked through Chase, but can still be transferred to frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs. There's no annual travel credit, but there's still car rental primary coverage, as well as slightly less-generous trip delay coverage and purchase protection. The annual fee is a more manageable $95.

While the Sapphire Preferred was the all-around best card for a long time, the Sapphire Reserve has made it a harder choice. While the Preferred earns fewer points on bonus spending categories than the Reserve, and the value of the points on travel booked through Chase is less.

The no-hassle travel credit on the Sapphire Reserve makes the annual fee on that card effectively $150 (accounting for the $300 you get back through the credit), so — depending on your spending habits — it can be worth paying more up front for the Sapphire Reserve.

Pros: Good sign-up bonus, transferable points, travel perks, lower annual fee than the Sapphire Reserve card (and it's waived the first year)

Cons: Lower point value when purchasing travel through Chase, no annual travel credit, earns points more slowly than the Sapphire Reserve

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred.



The best Chase card for everyday spending

Why you'll love it: Chase Freedom Unlimited helps you earn points for normal purchases and get cash back with no annual fee.

Sign-up bonus: Double rewards for your first year: 3% cash back (or 3 points per dollar spent) for your first year with the card on up to $20,000 of spend

If you already have the Sapphire Reserve or the Preferred and are saving your points for something, the Freedom Unlimited can give your balance a nice boost. While Chase markets the card as "cash back," it actually earns Ultimate Rewards points that you can redeem for cash (1 point = 1¢).

If you have a premium card like the Sapphire Reserve, you can pool your points from the two cards. The Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5 points per dollar spent, so paired with a Sapphire Reserve, it's a great card to use for purchases that aren't made on travel expenses or dining.

The card used to offer a 15,000-point (or $150) sign-up bonus, but recently replaced that with something new. Now, for your first year, you'll earn 3% back (3x points) on up to $20,000 of spend.

Best of all, the card has no annual fee and often has 0% APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, there's a 17.24%–25.99% variable APR. If you have a major purchase ahead of you, that introductory offer can be useful.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a fantastic all-around card. However, to get the most value when it's time to spend your points, you need the Sapphire Reserve or Preferred card, too, so you can pool your points. Otherwise, points are only worth 1¢ each no matter how you use them and they can't be transferred to airline or hotel partners.

Pros: Decent sign-up bonus, earn points on regular purchases, no annual fee, 0% APR for first 15 months (and a 17.24%–25.99% variable APR after that)

Cons: One point only equals one cent for cash back; to get a better value you'll need to pair it with a premium Sapphire card

Click here to learn more about the Chase Freedom Unlimited.



The best Chase card for small businesses, freelancers, and side-gigs

Why you'll love it: The Chase Ink Business Preferred helps small business owners rack up points quickly, and combine them with points earned on their personal cards.

Sign-up bonus: 80,000 points (after spending $5,000 in the first three months)

The Ink Preferred is an excellent rewards credit card — the bad news is that it's only available for small business owners. The good news is that a lot of things you might not expect actually count as small businesses, including freelancing, side gigs, and even selling things on eBay.

The card, which has a $95 annual fee, earns 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 you spend each cardmember year in a few categories, including travel, shipping, internet/cable/phone, and advertising on social media sites or with search engines, such as Google Ads. Purchases after you reach $150,000, or in any other category, earn 1 point per dollar. Unless you operate a small business that's on the larger side, chances are you won't hit that cap.

Like with the Sapphire Preferred, you'll get a 25% bonus when using points earned with the Ink Preferred to book travel directly with Chase. Of course, if you pool them on your Sapphire Reserve card, that bonus will be 50% instead.

The card comes with a handful of other perks, many of which overlap with the Sapphire Preferred and Reserve, such as trip cancellation/interruption insurance, primary car rental loss/damage coverage, and various purchase protections. It also comes with cell phone insurance when you use the card to pay your phone bill, offering up to $600 for each covered claim.

Pros: Useful bonus categories, cell phone insurance, ability to transfer points

Cons: Caps on bonus earning which larger small businesses may reach quickly

Click here to learn more about the Ink Business Preferred.



The best Chase card for bonuses

Why you'll love it: The Chase Freedom offers 5% cash back or 5x points on up to $1,500 of spending in a different spending category each quarter, helping you boost your point stash.

Sign-up bonus: $150 bonus (15,000 points) after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months

Just like the Freedom Unlimited, the regular Chase Freedom card is marketed as cash back, but actually earns Ultimate Rewards points that you can exchange for cash (1 point = 1¢). You can combine them with Ultimate Rewards earned from a different card, which gives you the option to get a bonus when redeeming them for travel or transfer them to travel partners.

The regular Freedom's key feature is that it earns 1% cash back (or 1 point per dollar spent) across the board, except for a rotating quarterly bonus category that earns 5% (or 5x points). In the past, the quarterly category has included things like Amazon, pharmacies, Lyft, restaurants, "entertainment" like movie theaters and concert tickets, and purchases made through Apple or Android Pay. This quarter, the categories are gas stations and select streaming services

Otherwise, the Freedom is pretty similar to the Freedom Unlimited. It doesn't have an annual fee, and there's an introductory 0% APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (with a 16.74%–25.49% variable APR).

Pros: Decent sign-up bonus, for a no-annual-fee card, great earning rate on quarterly bonus categories, 0% APR for first 15 months (and a 16.74%–25.49% variable APR after that)

Cons: One point only equals one cent for cash back, to get a better value you'll need to pair it with a Sapphire card

Click here to learn more about the Chase Freedom.



The US Army wants mixed reality headsets that detect enemy fire, translate languages and see in the dark. Anduril, the startup founded by Oculus' Palmer Luckey, is on it.

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 4:55pm

  • Palmer Luckey's defense tech startup Anduril says it would like to someday outfit American soldiers with augmented-reality headsets that can weave together critical bits of information on the battlefield.
  • The company wouldn't be the first to work on this kind of tech. Microsoft has a multimillion dollar contract with the Army to crack it.
  • But Anduril has a secret weapon: Luckey, a pioneer of virtual-reality headsets. He brought several engineers and product designers from his previous company Oculus VR to Anduril.
  • "The real moonshot for us is this idea of — you want to have every soldier, every operator, be able to have total awareness of what's going on," Anduril CEO Brian Schimpf told Business Insider.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Before they knew what kind of product they would build, the founders of Anduril had a vision to create a real-world Stark Industries, the fictional defense company of Iron Man fame.

One product in Anduril's pipeline brings the defense tech startup closer to Tony Stark's enterprise than anything it has tackled before.

The team is working on software for headsets that combine virtual reality and augmented reality to help soldiers be safer and more effective in the battlefield, according to Brian Schimpf, cofounder and chief executive of Anduril. These goggles might provide diagnostics or detect threats, not unlike the "heads-up display" in Iron Man's suit.

Anduril would not be the first to try to bring this science-fiction technology into the real world, but it has an advantage in founder Palmer Luckey, who is best known as the designer of the Oculus virtual-reality headset. Luckey sold Oculus to Facebook in 2014, and after his controversial split with the social network, Luckey brought a throng of engineers and product designers from Oculus VR with him to Anduril. Another cofounder, Joseph Chen, was an early employee and product lead at the firm.

"The real moonshot for us is this idea of — you want to have every soldier, every operator, be able to have total awareness of what's going on," Schimpf tells Business Insider. "They know everything they need to know to do their job, and all of this is available to them in a millisecond, and just the most critical information they need."

The goggles might tell the wearer that there's gunfire a certain distance away, and they should seek cover in a specified area, Shimpf gave as an example.

Anduril told Business Insider after the interview that the company has no plans to make the hardware for military-grade headsets. Instead, it wants to create software that gathers intelligence from the battlefield and feeds it to a mixed-reality headset worn by soldiers.

Last year, Microsoft beat out traditional defense contractors and its main competitor, Magic Leap, for a $480 million contract to provide augmented-reality headsets to the Army. Its HoloLens is considered the most sophisticated consumer-grade headset on the market, though at a $3,500 price point, it has yet to achieve mass adoption.

A small group of employees at Microsoft have pressured it to cancel the contract, saying that they didn't sign up to develop weapons at Microsoft. They wrote to the company's leadership in an open letter, "We do not want to become war profiteers." A company spokesperson told Business Insider at the time that it welcomed the feedback but would continue to fill the contract with the Army.

The Army contract calls for an AI-based augmented-reality headset that can locate hostile fire, plan routes, and even translate foreign languages in real time.

An Anduril spokeswoman said that what it's trying to do is not the same as Microsoft's endeavor. A closer comparison would be Apple's approach in the race to put a fully self-driving car on the road. The iPhone maker is reportedly working on autonomous driving software, but it has abandoned plans to build a car from scratch.

Anduril's broader mission is to equip the United States military with the most evolved tech on the planet, helping it maintain its superpower status over states like China and Russia. The Irvine, California, startup makes hardware and software for the defense industry — and puts some of tech's brightest minds to work on applications that employees at Google and Amazon won't touch. Anduril has contracts with half a dozen agencies of the Department of Defense to provide surveillance systems and drone-killing robots, and it has received funding that values the company at $1 billion.

Schimpf did not give specifics on the company's timeline for a headset, but said it already has "a couple of very cool things on virtual reality." He described the headset as a "far future" project.

"There's a lot of technology that needs to mature to get there, and that's a key thing we want to be able to solve," Schimpf said.

The company's first product was technology for a "virtual" border wall. Its sensor-laden watchtowers use radar, cameras, and artificial intelligence to stitch together a complete picture of what's happening in a defined area. Today, the software can detect a person entering the area, but it can't tell if they are unauthorized or armed.

In October, Anduril revealed a drone that's capable of locking onto other drones and ramming them out of the air. The goal is to help the military remove the "constant threat" of enemy drones dropping explosive devices, Schimpf said. It has hundreds in production.

It's not hard to imagine the company using some combination of its custom software and hardware to scan an area, analyze what it sees, and communicate that intel to a group of soldiers wearing headsets. Overhead drones or sentry towers could potentially pipe video to a headset, allowing a solider to see what's around the corner.

One of the biggest challenges with headsets is figuring out "how do we make all that information available, how do we make it intelligible, and how do we present the right information so they can make the right decision?" Schimpf said. "That to me is the crux of what we're trying to do with a lot of technology we're working on."

SEE ALSO: A major Trump supporter has a $1 billion startup building drone destroyers and a virtual border wall. Here's why a 'lifelong Democrat' took the job of running it.

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There are 3 main types of early retirement, and the only difference is how much you spend

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 4:48pm

  • Financial independence, retire early (FIRE) is often broken down into three categories: FIRE, leanFIRE, and fatFIRE.
  • LeanFIRE is when someone has saved up 25 times their annual expenses and lives on a "lean" budget, spending less than the average American. 
  • By contrast, someone who achieves FatFIRE spends more than the average person.
  • Regular FIRE is someone whose spending is in line with the average US household, around $60,000 a year.
  • Pursuing a fatFIRE number — regardless of how much you actually plan to spend — can afford greater flexibility, freedom, and protection in early retirement
  • Read more personal finance coverage.

The FIRE (financial independence, retire early) movement is largely a numbers game.

The formula is simple: A person needs to save up and invest 25 times their annual spending in order to become financially independent, assuming they plan to withdraw 4% of their nest egg each year thereafter.

At that point, they no longer need to rely on a paycheck coming in to afford their lifestyle and they have the freedom to retire early. There are a few variables at play, but the largest one in this formula is spending.

How much you spend can vary drastically depending on the size of your family, where you live, what you do in your free time, and so much more. One woman may want to be able to retire early on $100,000 a year in New York City, while a couple in the rural Midwest is happy living on $40,000 a year. As such, their target numbers will be wildly different.

To explain these variations, the online FIRE community categorizes early retirement in three ways: FIRE, leanFIRE, and fatFIRE.

What is leanFIRE vs. fatFIRE?

The average US household spends about $61,000 a year, according to Census data. LeanFIRE is when someone has saved up 25 times their annual expenses — the traditional benchmark for financial independence — and spends less each year than the average American.

FatFIRE, by contrast, is when someone who has reached financial independence spends more than average.

Using the example above, the New Yorker would be pursuing fatFIRE, since she's living on $100,000 a year. Ultimately she'd need $2.5 million invested before leaving work to maintain the same standard of living in early retirement ($100,000 x 25 years).

Meanwhile, the Midwestern couple lives on far less than the typical household, so they'd be considered leanFIRE and would only need $1 million ($40,000 x 25 years) to retire early. In other words, they're frugal.

"FatFIRE is early retirement for the entrepreneurs and high-income professionals that choose not to fully embrace frugality or give up certain creature comforts that have become customary. It's financial independence for the well-heeled," explains Leif Dahleen, a former anesthesiologist who retired at age 43, in a post on his blog, PhysicianOnFIRE.

"Whereas plain vanilla FIRE and leanFIRE may require certain choices — I would never call them sacrifices — fatFIRE allows those who have undergone some lifestyle inflation and have spent some time on life's hedonic treadmill to maintain that particular standard of living," Dahleen writes.

FatFIRE may offer more flexibility in early retirement

There are benefits and drawbacks to both leanFIRE and fatFIRE. Some, including Dahleen, argue that pursuing a fatFIRE number — regardless of how much you spend in the present — can afford greater flexibility, freedom, and even protection from unexpected events in early retirement.

"With a fatFIRE portfolio, you can do things others can't afford to do, at least not as often," Dahleen writes. "You can travel regularly during the high season, even flying first class if it suits you. You can pick up a Tesla or an Acura NSX because you want one and you know it won't derail your FIRE plan."

He continued: "You also have a better ability to trim the fat when times are tough. If our economy hits a stormy patch and stock values plummet, who's got more discretionary spending in the budget to cut? That's right, the fatFIRE family."

Ultimately, it's up to you to decide how you want your lifestyle to look in early retirement and how much it will cost. If you want some wiggle room, you may choose to aim for fatFIRE figures. If you're ready to leave work as soon as possible and are prepared to live frugally, or you have passive income streams set up, the quickest route to early retirement is probably leanFIRE.

More savings and retirement coverage

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Under Armour short-sellers made $130 million in a single day on the company's new accounting probe — and it erased their losses for the year (UAA)

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 4:37pm

  • Traders betting against Under Armour Class A shares wiped out their losses for the year on Monday after the company's stock plunged following the announcement of a two-year accounting probe. 
  • According to data from financial analytics provider S3 Partners, Under Armour short-sellers made $130 million in mark-to-market paper gains on Monday after shares fell more than 17%. 
  • With close to $820 million in short interest, Under Armour is the second most shorted stock in the Apparel, Accessories, and Luxury sub-industry, according to S3 data. 
  • Watch Under Amour trade live on Markets Insider.

Under Armour short-sellers notched a huge win on Monday after the company's shares plummeted more than 17% following the announcement of a two-year accounting probe. 

According to data from financial analytics provider S3 Partners, traders betting against Under Armour Class A shares made $130 million in mark-to-market paper gains on Monday, erasing their losses for the year. 

Here's a chart comparing the change in short interest to Under Armour's share price: 

Under Amour Class A shares have almost $820 million in short interest, making the stock the second-most shorted in the Apparel, Accessories, and Luxury sub-industry, according to S3 data. 

The sports apparel company's shares wiped out their gains for the year and are currently sitting down about 3% following Monday's announcement.

The company said it began cooperating with federal authorities in 2017 to provide documents and information for a criminal inquiry into its accounting and disclosure practices. 

Aside from the probe, Under Armour also lowered its full-year sales outlook citing traffic and conversion challenges, lower than expected excess inventory for its off-price segment, and negative impacts from foreign currency. 

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Uber losses keep growing as the ride-hailing giant scrambles to get its finances in order (UBER)

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 4:19pm

Uber on Monday reported mixed third-quarter financials that sent the stock sinking after hours.

Here are the important numbers:

  • Earnings: -$0.68 per share versus an expected -$0.63 per share
  • Revenue: $3.8 billion versus an expected $3.4 billion
  • Net income: -$1.1 billion, in line with expectations
  • Total rides: 1.7 billion
  • Active riders: 103 million

Shares of Uber, which have struggled since the company's initial public offering in May, sank as much as 6% to $29.21 in after-hours trading following the report.

Gross bookings, an important industry measure of total rider receipts before certain expenses, like paying drivers, grew by 29% over the same period last year to $3.7 billion. Total net loss, however, grew to $1.1 billion, or 18% more than the same period of 2018. 

"Our results this quarter decisively demonstrate the growing profitability of our Rides segment," CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a press release

"We're pleased to see the impact that continued category leadership, greater financial discipline, and an industry-wide shift towards healthier growth are already having on our financial performance," he added.

Revenue from Uber Eats, one of the company's fastest-growing segments, rose to $392 million in the quarter, a 105% increase over the same period last year. Uber Freight, which is rapidly scaling in both the US and Canada, now includes more than 50,000 carriers, the company said. It's the first time Uber has broken out Freight.

Here's the revenue breakdown by segment: 

Uber's third-quarter report follows Lyft's last week, in which the smaller competitor topped Wall Street estimates, only to receive a lukewarm response from investors.

SEE ALSO: New data shows Lyft is continuing to gain on Uber

Join the conversation about this story »

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Fashion prodigy Zac Posen shuttered his fashion label on Friday. Here's how he went from enrolling in a top design school at 16 to becoming a household name with celeb clients like Oprah and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 4:07pm

On Friday, designer Zac Posen announced the immediate closing of his eponymous fashion label, which launched in 2001.

In a press statement, the former "Project Runway" judge said he was "deeply saddened that the journey of nearly 20 years has come to an end" but that he was "grateful to the team who lent their incomparable talent and commitment along the way."

"The management team … worked extremely hard to navigate the increasingly challenging fashion and retail landscape," he said in the statement. "We are disappointed that these efforts have not been successful."

Over the years, Posen became known for his glamourous ball gowns and curve-hugging designs.

Some of his most famous looks include the pink satin dress he designed for Rihanna at the singer's 2014 Diamond Ball, the light-up Cinderella gown he created for Claire Danes at the 2016 Met Gala, and the dress Princess Eugenie of York wore to her wedding reception. But those are far from the only iconic moments the designer has had.

A spokesperson for Zac Posen didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Keep reading to take a look back at Posen's rise to fame and his nearly two decades-long career in the fashion industry.

SEE ALSO: Barneys officially sells to Authentic Brands Group in a deal that is expected to close most of the luxury chain's remaining stores, leaving 2,000 jobs in uncertainty

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Zac Posen was born and raised in New York City.

He was raised in SoHo and has previously said that his love of fashion began when he used to steal the yarmulkes at his grandparents' synagogue to make dresses for dolls. At 16, he enrolled in Parsons School of Design's precollege program, and he was given the opportunity to intern with fashion designer Nicole Miller.

Source: New York Magazine, Chicago Tribune, The Hollywood Reporter



He went on to study womenswear at London's Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design at the University of Arts London.

In 2000, he designed a gown made entirely from thin leather strips that was later put on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum — named after the UK's Queen Victoria and Prince Albert — in their "Curvaceous" exhibit. 

Source: Britannica, Victoria and Albert Museum



In 2001, after graduating, Posen returned to New York City and immediately began attracting media attention for his talent at such a young age. He had his first independent runway show, for a Fall 2002 ready-to-wear collection, in February 2002, Vogue reports.

Posen set up shop in his parents' living room and quickly started designing clothes. His parents gave him an allowance of $15 a day. This allowed Posen, then only 21 and fresh out of fashion school, to design nearly three collections' worth of clothing only a few months after graduating.  

His style was noted for its Old Hollywood glamour, and he knew many soon-to-be-famous people from his childhood who were more than willing to be photographed in his gowns, boosting his media presence around the world. 

Source: Time, Vogue



In September 2002, after Posen's Spring 2003 Collection was presented at New York Fashion Week, Time magazine reported that industry experts were referring to him as the "Next Big Thing in Frocks."

He was courted by heavy-hitters in the business, such as LVMH's president Sidney Toledano.

"All fashion indices point to [Posen] as the Next Big Thing in Frocks," Time magazine noted in 2002. "Magazines have written worshipfully about him. Manolo Blahnik collaborates with him on shoes. Posen's shows feature A-list models like Naomi Campbell, whom he pays in clothes. And during last week's Fashion Week, when all the most influential sheiks of chic were in Manhattan, Bloomingdale's devoted a row of windows to his work."

Source: Time, New York Times



That same year, actress Natalie Portman wore a midi-dress from Posen's first collection to the "Star Wars" premiere. This was the moment credited with turning Posen into a star designer.

Posen's quick rise to the top and his youth earned him the title of a "wunderkind."

In 2003, Vogue wrote that Posen was just "22 years old and Designer of the Year five minutes out of fashion college."

Source: Vogue



In 2004, rapper Sean Combs held a 50% ownership stake in Posen's namesake brand. By that time, the designer was regularly dressing celebrities like Naomi Campbell and Katie Holmes.

"I see Zac as someone who shares the same drive and vision that I have," Combs said in 2004, according to Vogue UK. "I also saw an opportunity for Sean John [Combs' fashion label] to make an impact with Zac Posen by giving him the tools and resources that he needed for his business to grow and mature. He has been able to establish a real profile as an American contemporary and evening designer. He dresses amazing women, the stores love him and clearly he is a force to be contended with in the designer ready-to-wear scene." 

Source: Vogue Business, Vogue UK



Posen won the prestigious Swarovski's Perry Ellis Award for Womenswear at the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2004.

Source: The Core Club, CFDA, New York Post



He quickly became a red carpet favorite, with the mermaid gown he created for Gwyneth Paltrow for the 2007 Academy Awards noted as one of Posen's most memorable looks ever.

Vogue's Nicole Phelps wrote that though Posen's career was not without its ups and downs, he was able to fare better than his industry peers because "he was early to discover and capitalize on fashion's growing importance in the entertainment sphere."

Source: Vogue Business, The Guardian, Oscars



In 2008, Posen released a capsule collection with Target that launched in Australia. In 2010, Posen was selected by the retailer to create a GO International collection — "an innovative program designed to provide affordable fashion created by world-renowned designers."

In a press statement released by Target in 2010, the retailer's senior vice president, Trish Adams, said that "Zac Posen brings larger-than-life style to his Target collection, creating a covetable line with a modern edge. We are excited to share his extraordinary talent with our guests, providing accessible off-the-runway fashion at great prices."

Source: People, Target



In 2012, Posen was named a judge on Project Runway, where he remained for six seasons. He departed after the 2017 season, at the same time Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn left.

Source: People, Business Insider



As of 2013, Posen was living in Soho with his partner, fashion editor Christopher Niquet.

In a 2013 interview with the New York Times, Posen said he and Niquet lived in SoHo, with their three dogs: a poodle named Tina Turner, two miniature dachshunds named Betty Blue and Candy Darling.

"Having grown up in Soho, the nostalgic search for the late '80s-'90s look — which doesn't exist on the youth in Soho anymore — is something that I grew up with, so it's not intriguing to me," he said in the interview. "I find the old women uptown very inspiring.

Source: New York Times



Posen also launched an affordable bridal collection with David's Bridal called "Truly Zac Posen."

The first collection had ivory dresses ranging from $850 to $1,350, and social dresses ranging from $195 to $225. 

"I have such a wide fan base and audience base and [a] diverse base," Posen told USA Today in 2013, ahead of the line's 2014 official launch. "I wanted to find a place where I could actually address them and dress them."

Source: USA Today



He designed two gowns for Rihanna to wear at her inaugural Diamond Ball in 2014, one of which was a gorgeous pink, curve-fitting satin gown.

The look is considered to also be one of his most famous, The Guardian reports. At the time, InStyle wrote that the gown might be "Rihanna's most spectacular look — ever."

Source: The Guardian, InStyle



Posen was named the creative director of Brooks Brothers Women's Collection in 2014.

He remains the creative director of the Brooks Brothers' womenswear collection. 

Source: The Guardian, Brooks Brothers, Associated Press



In 2015, Posen and Naomi Campbell introduced that year's upcoming fall collection.

Campbell wore a stunning glitter maroon ball gown, which has also become one of his most memorable looks. That year, he was also named Designer of the Year by Women's Wear Daily and Variety.

Source: Insider, CFDA



In 2016, Posen created a runway collection inspired by African Princess Elizabeth of Toro (now part of Uganda), who, in the 1960s, became the first East African to be admitted to England's Bar Association — and later that decade, the first black woman to appear in a Vogue magazine spread.

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For the showing of his Fall 2016 collection, Posen chose mostly black models to present the collection at New York Fashion Week. 

"Since the inspiration was Elizabeth of Toro, it made sense to have a casting reflecting this," Posen he said of the collection's debut. "Their presence and the diversity of the casting complemented the collection and made it more striking. Within this global environment — diversity is very important and it is something that has always been equally important to me as well as a key component of my collections, whether it is shapes, sizes, or skin color."

Source: CNN, Popsugar, Quartz



Posen made headlines once again with his light-up Cinderella-inspired gown for Claire Danes at the 2016 Met Gala. The dress is considered not just one of his most notable designs, but also one of his best creations.

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The following year, he released a cookbook called "Cooking with Zac: Recipes From Rustic to Refined," which featured a collection of his favorite recipes. 

Source: Entertainment Tonight, Barnes and Noble



In 2017, he released the Netflix documentary "House of Z," which chronicled the highs and lows of his career.

"Fashion has a dark side," Posen said in the documentary. "Not all runways and lipstick and fishtail gowns." 

The documentary also touched upon Posen's quick rise to the top and how failure had humbled him over the years. 

Source: Variety



In 2018, he designed Princess Eugenie of York's wedding reception gown, which, as noted by Yahoo, was "inspired by the blush hue of the English rose."

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Source: Business Insider, Insider



He designed Delta Air Lines' new employee uniform that same year. It was the first time the company's "above-wing" and "below-the-wing" uniforms had been updated since 2006 and 2000 respectively.

("Above-wing" employees refer to those such as pilots and flight attendants, while "below-the-wing" refers to those such as baggage handlers and maintenance crew.)

In order to create the collection, Posen told Travel + Leisure that he shadowed multiple Delta employees so he could create an outfit which would accommodate all their needs. He also created a special color for the uniform: Passport Plum, which is a mixture of Delta's former dark blue and red colors. 

"This project and collaboration was something that evolved over three years and I really think it was handled in an incredible way for a corporation," Posen told Travel + Leisure in 2018. "I believe deeply in the power of glamour and the power of an experience. And the excitement of flying and definitely the nostalgia of the golden age. But it's really about taking that essence and creating a new future."

Source: Travel + Leisure



In 2019, Posen partnered with GE to create 3D print-inspired dresses for the Met Gala.

He also designed two gowns for model Winnie Harlow at the Harper's BAZAAR Icons Party and a bright pink ball gown for Sarah Jessica Parker to wear at the New York City Ballet Fall Fashion Gala. 

He has been a longtime favorite of many noteworthy celebrities, from Sarah Jessica Parker to Oprah Winfrey — and his namesake label is sure to be missed by them. 

Source: People, CNBC



Today, he has a reported net worth of $30 million.

Source: The Richest



On November 1, Posen announced he was closing his iconic namesake label.

He told Women's Wear Daily that the experience was "horrible, pretty intense, and surreal." He also shared that the brand had been in the middle of a sale process, and they'd tried for months to "prevent this from happening" before he and his board unfortunately ran out of time. 

The company ceased operations immediately, and it was announced that the Spring 2020 collection Posen had shown earlier in the year would not be shipped. Speaking to WWD, he said that this was a "tough time in retail and in the industry." 

"My partners and I tried everything possible within our means to find solutions to keep it going," he told the outlet. "[But] the clock ran out."

Source: WWD



But Posen was sure to let all of his fans know that his label's abrupt shutdown was not the end for him. If anything, this was the start of a new beginning.

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"Hopefully, I'll have a long career ahead," he told WWD. "I need to take a little time to think about my options ... I've been focused on my brand for a long time. Now, this is a new stage. I will always have me. I will always have my creativity."

Source: WWD



McDonald's new US boss says in leaked memo to employees that he's immediately kicking off a massive cross-country restaurant tour

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 4:04pm

McDonald's new head of the US business is immediately embarking on a tour of America.

On Sunday, McDonald's announced CEO Steve Easterbrook had been fired due to his relationship with another employee. Chris Kempczinski, who was serving as president of the company's US business, has replaced Easterbrook as CEO. And, Joe Erlinger becomes the president of McDonald's US business.

This week, Kempczinski was supposed to attend three field office summits, where franchisees meet to discuss upcoming strategies. Instead, franchisees say Kempczinski sent along a video discussing his strategy as CEO, while Erlinger is set to attend the summits. 

On Sunday, Erlinger sent an internal email — obtained by Business Insider — discussing his new role.

"As part of my transition into the role, I will be traveling around the country visiting restaurants and learning from all of you and your accomplishments," Erlinger said. "You can expect that I will be observing, listening and asking lots of questions – regrounding myself in our U.S. Business."

Two franchisees told Business Insider that early response to the transition is optimistic. 

"I think this is a lot of change really fast. And the variable is people stepping into roles maybe earlier than it's expected," franchisee Travis Heriaud said. "But the positive is, I think Chris will be a better CEO than president and Joe is the relational guy for the US." 

Read the full email here:

I am excited to be appointed President, McDonald's USA now that Chris has stepped into his new role as President and CEO of McDonald's. Having spent the last six-and-a-half years abroad, this is a welcome homecoming for me – I am looking forward to reconnecting with many of you and getting to know others. It is great to be back.

In the U.S. or abroad, a constant has always been the power of what can be accomplished when we work together – franchisees, suppliers and company employees – to best serve our customers. And, I look forward to doing just that – working to build on the transformational progress that's happening here in our largest market.

We have tremendous momentum. Together, we'll remain relentlessly focused on serving our customers every day, whether they're dining in one of our newly modernized restaurants, ordering from our drive-thru or enjoying McDelivery.

As part of my transition into the role, I will be traveling around the country visiting restaurants and learning from all of you and your accomplishments. You can expect that I will be observing, listening and asking lots of questions – regrounding myself in our U.S. Business. That starts immediately. This week, I am excited to attend our Field Office Summits for Bethesda, Atlanta and Dallas.

The U.S. System is the heartbeat of McDonald's, and I'm looking forward to all we will achieve together. Thanks for all that you do.

SEE ALSO: McDonald's new CEO has a tumultuous relationship with franchisees, but some are cheering for his promotion after the sudden firing of his predecessor

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NOW WATCH: Rare Italian white truffles cost over $4,000 per kilo — here's why real truffles are so expensive

The Death of Cash

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 4:00pm

Both globally and in the US, the payments ecosystem is evolving.

Two related trends: the slow death of cash and the fast rise of digital payments, are transforming how consumers, businesses, governments, and even criminals move money.

Annual global non-cash transactions are expected to pass the 1 trillion milestone by 2024. This major transformation is being propelled by several factors, including increased usage of digital wallets, more small vendors adapting to accept credit cards, and the explosive growth of mobile commerce.

In The Death of Cash slide deck, Business Insider Intelligence projects what the payments ecosystem will look like through 2024 by examining the driving forces powering digital payment proliferation.

This exclusive report can be yours for FREE today.

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Financial Services: 6 Key Attributes to Attract Gen Z

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 1:01am

Now the largest generation worldwide, Gen Z accounts for nearly 68 million people in the US alone. As Gen Zers age, financial services providers will be increasingly pressed to shift focus to the burgeoning demographic.

As digital natives, Gen Zers are more receptive to influence from friends and family than traditional advertising. For marketers, strategists, and developers, understanding Gen Z's unique needs — and creating and marketing products accordingly — will be critical to reaping their value.

In Financial Services: 6 Key Attributes to Attract Gen Z, Business Insider Intelligence provides a six-point framework that highlights core traits of the demographic, which banks and payments firms can use to attract, engage, and retain Gen Zers.

This exclusive report can be yours for FREE today.

As an added bonus, you'll receive a free preview of our Banking Pro Briefing.

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Under Armour says it's under federal investigation over its accounting practices

Sun, 11/03/2019 - 8:38pm

  • Sportswear brand Under Armour has announced that the company has been under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) since July 2017. 
  • In a statement, the company said it was "cooperating" with the probes and stressed that it "firmly believes that its accounting practices and disclosures were appropriate."
  • Sources told The Wall Street Journal that federal authorities are looking into whether the sportswear brand "shifted sales from quarter to quarter to appear healthier." 
  • The company has experienced trouble in recent years including a recent revenue drop and a surplus of unsold merchandise totalling $1.3 billion.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Under Armour on Sunday said that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) have been investigating its accounting practices since July 2017. 

An Under Armour spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider that it was "cooperating" with the probes and stood behind its accounting disclosures: 

"Under Armour is cooperating with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Department of Justice investigations. The company began responding in July 2017 to requests for documents and information relating primarily to its accounting practices and related disclosures, and the company firmly believes that its accounting practices and disclosures were appropriate."

The spokesperson did not expand on what specifically investigators are looking into in regards to the company's accounting practices. 

People familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that federal authorities are looking into whether the sportswear brand "shifted sales from quarter to quarter to appear healthier." 

One source told The Journal that investigators questioned people at the company's headquarters in Baltimore last week. Another source said that the DOJ is conducting a criminal inquiry in conjunction with the civil investigators at the SEC. 

The company is set to report on its third-quarter results on Monday. 

Business Insider has previously reported on the company's ups and downs over its 20-year history. 

In its July earnings result, the company missed revenue forecasts and said it expected a revenue decline in North America throughout 2019.

The company has also experienced a surplus of leftover merchandise totalling $1.3 billion in 2018 and became embroiled in a scandal involving executives going to strip clubs and expensing the outings on the company dime. 

The company announced a long-term growth plan in December 2018, which focused on growing its direct-to-consumer business along with footwear and women's products.

Kevin Plank, the company's CEO and founder, resigned last month and will be replaced by Patrik Frisk, the company's former chief operating officer effective January 1.

 

SEE ALSO: As Under Armour's longtime CEO steps down, here's how the company went from a new hotshot sportswear brand taking on Nike to having a wholly uncertain future

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FREE SLIDE DECK: The Future of Fintech

Sun, 11/03/2019 - 1:10pm

Digital disruption is affecting every aspect of the fintech industry. Over the past five years, fintech has established itself as a fundamental part of the global financial services ecosystem.

Fintech startups have raised, and continue to raise, billions of dollars annually. At the same time, incumbent financial institutions are getting in on the act, and using fintech to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving financial services landscape. So what's next?

Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has the answer in our brand new exclusive slide deck The Future of Fintech. In this deck, we explore what's next for fintech, how it will reach new heights, and the developments that will help it get there.

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Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway reported a record $128 billion in cash in the third quarter

Sun, 11/03/2019 - 12:44pm

  • Berkshire Hathaway, run by Warren Buffett, reported third-quarter 2019 earnings on Saturday. 
  • Berkshire ended the quarter with a record $128 billion in cash, even though it repurchased $700 million of its own stock. 
  • The cash pile highlights difficulty Buffett has had finding companies to purchase. 
  • Read more on Business Insider. 

Berkshire Hathaway, run by "Oracle of Omaha" Warren Buffett, reported Saturday that it's cash pile grew to a record in the third quarter. 

The company reported in its quarterly earnings release that it ended the quarter with $128 billion in cash, even though it repurchased $700 million of its own shares.

It highlights the difficulty that Buffett has had deploying his large amounts of cash into acquisitions. Buffett's last major deal was in January 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

In a 2018 letter to shareholders, Buffett wrote that it's become increasingly difficult to find large companies to purchase. "In the years ahead, we hope to move much of our excess liquidity into businesses that Berkshire will permanently own," Buffett wrote. 

He continued, "The immediate prospects for that, however, are not good: Prices are sky-high for businesses possessing decent long-term prospects."

The release showed that operating income rose more than Wall Street expected, to $7.86 billion from $6.88 billion a year earlier. That's roughly $4,816 per Class A share, up from $4189 per share a year earlier, and higher than the $4,405.16 per share that analysts were anticipating. 

Net income during the quarter fell 11% to $16.52 billion. That's about $10,119 per Class A share, down from $18.54 billion and $11,280 per Class A share last year. Berkshire said that a change in accounting rules that require companies to report unrealized gains contributed to last year's boosted net income. 

Berkshire's cash pile has ballooned over the last decade, growing from roughly $23 billion in 2009 to $128 billion today, even as the company's shares have underperformed the broader market. This year, Berkshire's shares have gained 5.7% as of Friday's close, lagging the S&P 500 which has returned roughly 22%. 

Some investors have been unhappy that the company hasn't spent more of its cash on share buybacks, according to the Journal. Last year, the company changed its policy for how it will repurchase its own stock. 

Berkshire's outstanding amount of cash on hand has also drawn attention to the company lately. Recently, California Governor Gavin Newsom called on Warren Buffett to consider purchasing Pacific Gas & Electric, according to Utility Dive and Bloomberg. The company is in the midst of a takeover attempt from bondholders, ongoing wildfires in California, power outages, and bankruptcy proceedings.

But Buffett has denied any interest in buying PG&E, according to CNBC.

Berkshire Hathaway makes most of its money in the insurance business. It holds companies such as Geico, Kraft Heinz, Apple, and Wells Fargo in its portfolio.

Join the conversation about this story »

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Who has the best cheap car insurance in Ohio?

Sun, 11/03/2019 - 12:15pm

  • Car insurance in Ohio is very affordable, with the average driver paying $726 per year for coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
  • Just because it's affordable doesn't mean that there isn't still room to save. Ohio drivers could still save lots by shopping around for coverage. 
  • Progressive tends to offer the best affordable coverage for all credit types, according to Consumer Reports data. 
  • Read more personal finance coverage. 
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In Ohio, car insurance is pretty affordable. The average driver pays $726 per year in the Buckeye state, much lower than the national average of $935 per year. 

There are many factors that go into the price you'll pay for auto insurance coverage, including your age, gender, driving record and more. But, each company prices its premiums, or the amount you'll pay for coverage, differently based on these factors.

Shopping around is by far the best way to save on car insurance. Here are the companies that offer the best affordable coverage in Ohio to get you started with your search. 

Who has the best cheap car insurance in Ohio? 

Consumer Reports compiled auto insurance pricing information from every company in each state, and used the data to find out which companies offered the best cheap car insurance in each state based on an average single adult driver. 

Here are the three companies it found had the best deals for the average single Ohio driver, and the estimated average yearly premium for each company. 

Drivers with good credit (or FICO scores between 670 to 739) should try these three companies for their car insurance coverage:

  • Progressive car insurance: $516 per year
  • USAA car insurance: $636 per year
  • Grange Mutual car insurance: $683 per year

Drivers with excellent credit (scores above 800 according to FICO) will see some of the best prices for car insurance at these companies, on average: 

  • Progressive car insurance: $424 per year
  • USAA car insurance: $481 per year
  • Grange Mutual car insurance: $589 per year

Drivers with poor credit (or credit scores between 300 and 579) often pay much more than drivers with better credit for car insurance coverage: 

  • Progressive car insurance: $868 per year
  • Grange Mutual car insurance: $1,094 per year
  • Nationwide car insurance: $1,488 per year
Who gets the best cheap car insurance in Ohio? 

As the numbers show above, the drivers who will get the most affordable car insurance rates are those with the best credit scores. 

But, there are a lot of factors other than credit scores that go into your premium. Things like where in Ohio you live, and the type of car you drive will also contribute to the price.

When you start looking for car insurance, you'll want to make sure that you're shopping around. Check with several different insurance companies for quotes, and make sure you compare them to find the best coverage. Look for the highest limits, the most coverage types, and the lowest deductible to find the best insurance policy for your money. 

Join the conversation about this story »

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