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The air space around Area 51 is being closed by the FAA ahead of the planned 'Storm Area 51' event

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 6:39pm

  • The FAA temporarily closed airspace near Area 51 in advance of the viral "Storm Area 51" event on September 20.
  • The airspace will be closed to everything including news helicopters, drones, private planes, and even police and emergency medical flights.
  • The US Air Force has warned people to stay away from the facility, and an outdoor music festival planned near the site will take place in Las Vegas instead.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Airspace around the fabled Area 51 facility in Nevada will be closed to all air traffic this week in advance of the upcoming "Storm Area 51" event.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) posted two temporary flight restrictions (TFR) on Monday, closing airspace to news helicopters, drones, private pilots, and anyone else above two areas near the facility from Wednesday, September 18 at 7 a.m. Pacific time, to Sunday, September 22 at 8 p.m. Pacific time.

The Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) outlining the restrictions specify that only aircraft "working in support of the Department of Energy (DOE) Mission are allowed to enter the TFR." The DOE controls Area 51 along with the Department of Defense.

Notably, even emergency service aircraft are prohibited from flying within the TFR. From the NOTAM:

ALL EMERGENCY/LIFE SAVING FLIGHT (MEDICAL/LAW ENFORCEMENT/FIREFIGHTING) OPERATIONS MUST COORDINATE WITH DOE PRIOR TO THEIR ENTRY INTO THE TFR AT 702-295-0311 TO AVOID POTENTIAL DELAYS.

The first TFR covers the northwest edge of restricted airspace above the actual Area 51 facilities, creating an additional buffer surrounding some of the "most restricted airspace in the world." The second TFR is along the southern edge of the Nevada Test and Training Range, according to The Drive.

The FAA did not immediately return a request for comment.

"They can't stop all of us"

The Facebook event, "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us," was created as a joke by Matty Roberts. The event posting went viral, leading to a visit from the FBI, a statement from the Air Force warning people to stay away, and became a meme, with rapper Lil Nas X referencing the raid in a music video for an "Old Town Road" remix.

The event eventually morphed into a more conventional — and legal — event called Alienstock, an outdoor concert and festival. However, the event was cancelled last week, anticipating a Fyre Festival-esque issue with thousands of people venturing to a relatively remote area that did not have the necessary infrastructure. Roberts described pulling out of the event as "a fantastic relief" in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Alienstock is now planned as a music festival in Las Vegas. However, there are concerns that some people may show up to Area 51 anyway, despite the warnings. The Air Force told the Washington Post this summer that Area 51 "is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces. The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets."

Area 51 is a small part of the larger Nevada Test and Training Range. The area has been the subject of conspiracy theories for generations that suggested that the US government was holding proof of extraterrestrial life at the facility, although evidence suggests the site is instead connected with nuclear weapons.

SEE ALSO: A man was charged with fraudulently earning more than 42 million frequent-flyer miles worth $1.75 million

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NOW WATCH: Will Boeing recover from the 737 Max crisis?

WeWork is reportedly leaning toward delaying its IPO

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 6:19pm

  • WeWork is leaning toward delaying its initial public offering, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The company won't start its roadshow — its series of meetings with potential investors — this week as planned, The Journal reported.
  • It will likely postpone the offering until at least October, according to the report.
  • The company has been getting pushback from potential investors over its $47 billion private valuation, its business model, and its corporate governance.
  • Read all of Business Insider's WeWork coverage here.

WeWork will likely delay its planned public offering until at least October, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing unnamed sources.

The We Company, which owns WeWork, said in a statement to Reuters that the company looks "forward to our upcoming IPO, which we expect to be completed by the end of the year."

The company will not begin its planned roadshow this week, according to The Journal. A roadshow is the name for the series of meetings that startups have with potential investors immediately before a public offering.

WeWork made its IPO paperwork public last month and, according to Bloomberg, had been trying to debut on the markets by the end of this month.

But the company saw significant pushback from investors, who were reportedly concerned about its valuation, business model, governance, and potential resilience in a recession. Last week, the company was considering going public with a market capitalization of as little as $10 billion, less than a quarter the $47 billion valuation SoftBank conferred on it as part of an investment in January.

Read more: Why WeWork's $47 billion private valuation could be a key stumbling block for its IPO — and might even derail it completely

WeWork's struggles to go public have reverberated back on SoftBank. Two of the biggest backers of the Japanese conglomerate's $100 billion Vision Fund are considering taking much smaller stakes in its planned follow-on fund, Bloomberg reported.

WeWork representatives did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Representatives for SoftBank, which is the biggest investor in the commercial-real-estate company, also did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Got a tip about SoftBank or WeWork? Contact this reporter via email at twolverton@businessinsider.com, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: 2 big numbers — $4 billion and $47 billion — sum up WeWork's business model and the risky reason it could collapse in a recession

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How Area 51 became the center of alien conspiracy theories

5 signs you should be using a credit card, even if you've been using debit for years

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 6:00pm

  • If you're using a debit card for everything you buy, you could be missing out on valuable perks and rewards. At the very least, you're putting yourself at greater risk when it comes to fraud.
  • If you like to travel, check out travel rewards credit cards that come with benefits like airport lounge access, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credits, or airline fee credits.
  • Credit cards work best for consumers who are debt-free and able to stay that way. If you are prone to racking up debt, sticking to debit may be a good idea after all.

Using a debit card may be what you're used to, but it's possible that a credit card could be a better deal.

How can you tell? At the end of the day, it really depends on the type of spender you are, how much self-discipline you have, and whether you could benefit from consumer protections and the travel perks some cards offer.

If you're thinking of making the switch from debit to credit, it's important to recognize the signs this could actually be a good idea. Here are five of them.

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 can far outweigh the value of any rewards.

When you're working to earn credit card rewards, it's important to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more than you can afford to pay back. Basically, treat your credit card like a debit card.

You're debt-free with plans to stay that way

Credit cards may be convenient to use, but the high interest rates they charge make them a poor option if you need to borrow money for the long-term. Where personal loans often come with rates as low as 5.99% APR for consumers with good credit, the average credit card interest rate is well over 17%. Some of the best travel credit cards even come with rates much higher than that.

Read more: The best balance-transfer credit cards of 2019

Because of the high rates, credit cards are best for people who are debt-free with enough discipline to pay their balances in full each month. If you've struggled with debt in the past or know that credit entices you to overspend, you may want to stick with your debit card.

Read more: How to pay off debt fast, so you can start saving and investing for the future even sooner



You travel all the time

If you travel all the time and don't have a credit card, you're definitely missing out on important benefits. Top travel credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card come with travel perks like trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay coverage, primary auto rental coverage, and travel accident insurance. Believe it or not, you get these benefits and more for free as a cardholder.

Read more: Travel insurance makes the Chase Sapphire Reserve my favorite credit card

Some of the best rewards credit cards like the Platinum Card® from American Express, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and Citi Prestige® Card also offer annual travel credits, application fee credits for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck, and free entry into airport lounges across the globe. These perks do require you to pay a credit card's annual fee, but they can pay off in a big way if you travel all the time.

Finally, don't forget about all the points you could be earning for free travel. With the right travel credit card, you could be earning travel rewards good for flights, hotels, car rentals, and more.

Read: The best rewards credit cards



You are worried about credit card fraud

Another big benefit of credit cards is the fact that they almost all come with 0% fraud liability. This means that, if someone makes a fraudulent purchase with your credit card or card number, you won't be on the hook.

The absolute most you may be liable for under the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) is $50 for credit card fraud, and even that's rare since most cards extend zero liability coverage.

Read more: A security expert says credit cards are still the safest way to pay, but you should "lie like a superhero" when you set up the account

But liability on debit cards doesn't work that way. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), your liability with a debit card is limited to $50 if you report a loss within 2 days of finding out about it but up to $500 if you report the loss within 2 to 60 days of your statement being sent to you.

If you don't report the fraud within 60 days after your statement being sent to you, on the other hand, you could lose "all the money taken from your ATM/debit card account, and possibly more; for example, money in accounts linked to your debit account," notes the FTC.

Read more: How to set up fraud alerts and freeze your credit



You wish you had more consumer protections

Some credit cards offer even more consumer protections in addition to better security from fraud. For example, the Chase Freedom offers purchase protection and extended warranties as cardholder perks.

Some rewards credit cards also offer benefits like guaranteed returns, price protection, free insurance for your cell phone, and more. And remember, these benefits are yours for free provided you use your credit card to make purchases you want protected.

Read more: Why purchase protection on a credit card is so valuable



You like getting free stuff

The final reason to use credit instead of debit is probably the best one. When you use rewards credit cards for purchases, you can score free stuff.

Some credit cards let you earn cash back that you can use however you want, while others dole out airline miles, hotel points, or flexible travel points. The best flexible credit cards even let you redeem points for several options including cash back, travel rewards, gift cards, merchandise, and more.

Read more: How to get a first-class flight on ANA using credit card points

While various rewards cards offer different amounts of points for each purchase, you'll typically get 1 to 3 points per dollar spent or 1% to 3% back. Some cards with the best rewards programs can charge an annual fee, but there are plenty of rewards cards that don't charge any annual fees.

More credit card coverage



Mini-retirements can help prevent burnout, but returning to the workforce afterward can be tough. Here's how to pull it off, from 4 people who have actually done it.

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 5:18pm

The daily grind can be exhausting.

For some, a mini-retirement — a meaningful respite in which you take a break from your career — can be the right move to overcome burnout and refocus your purpose.

Once you have enough money saved, leaving work for a mini-retirement can feel like an easy decision. But re-entering the rat race after it's over may be a harder battle to face. However, if you play your cards right, getting back into the workforce is more manageable than it sounds.

Here's what four people who've actually been through the process have to say about it.

Talk to your boss before your mini-retirement.

Before your mini-retirement, first see what kind of advantages you can set up with your employer.

"Always try to negotiate taking the time off unpaid from your current employer if you think you might want to return there," Jillian Johnsrud, who has taken five mini-retirements, told Business Insider. "Even if it's without pay or healthcare, it can give you peace of mind while you're gone. I've seen people be granted anywhere from a month to a year off with a promise of a job when they return."

You could even negotiate temporarily reducing your work hours and working remotely instead of fully stopping work. Mark Tew, who moved to Nicaragua with his wife and four children for a year, told Business Insider that with more flexible work arrangements than ever before, it's not uncommon for employers to allow employees to work remotely part-time. Doing this, he said, "will help you keep your foot in the door."

"I know several people who have successfully made arrangements with their employers to allow them to work remotely through a mini-retirement," he said, adding that such a scenario would be a mini-semi-retirement.

Read more: An American family who moved to Nicaragua for a year to live cheaply ended up blowing their $30,000 budget thanks to unexpected costs — but still spent less than life at home in the US

Be good at your job and know your value.

"Be very good at your job before you leave to take a mini-retirement," Kyle Stimpson, who took a six-month mini-retirement at age 27, told Business Insider. "If you work hard and have talent, companies will always be looking to find great people, so you will have a leg up on the competition. If you don't put in any effort at your old job and then burn bridges as you leave, that will get around and come back to bite you."

Chris Durheim, who took a year-long mini-retirement, is of a similar mindset.

"In order to get to the point where you financially could take a mini-retirement, you had to have been pretty successful in your earlier career," he told Business Insider. He said he struggled with self-confidence during the job hunting process because he feared he was no longer hireable. He ultimately ended up making a successful transition to a new industry, switching from medical device development to web development.

"Whether you're feeling the self-confidence or not, know that you're capable of getting back in and that your skills are highly valuable," Durheim said. "Don't be afraid to push for the things that are really important to you in a new career; with your time in mini-retirement, you may find that you value some things differently than you did before. This is a great opportunity to reinforce those new values."

Maintain your network before, during, and after.

Johnsrud suggests emailing your close contacts to let them know you're leaving; mention how much you loved the field and that you're looking forward to returning to it after your mini-retirement. She recommends keeping it brief, such as: "I'm excited to be traveling these next six months, but if you happen to hear about an interesting opportunity in this field, I'd love for you to connect me."

"You might get a few great job offers while you're gone," she said. "I've seen people leverage their mini-retirement into much more interesting, better-fitting and well-paid jobs."

Read more: Forget early retirement — people who saved enough money to travel for weeks or years say a 'mini-retirement' is just as rewarding

Johnsrud said staying connected to your network while you're gone is just as important — you should touch base every few months to stay on the radar.

Stimpson also seconds leveraging your contacts and recruiters to make connections. He returned to work as a sales engineer, which he was able to do by reaching out to recruiters and contacts in his industry. However, he said it helped that he worked in a niche market.

"One just needs to be consistent and patient," he said. "Keep working new angles and expect for the process to take two to three months at least, which is why it's important to still have sufficient savings left even when you are ready to go back to work."

Consider self-employment.

Mini-retirement can serve as a good transition to self-employment, Tew said. During his mini-retirement, Tew did tax and accounting work on the side. Once it was over, he pursued his lifelong desire of becoming a CFP and is now self-employed.

"I remember watching a TED talk called 'The Power of Time Off,' and I believe I experienced some of the things the speaker talked about," he said. "The creative juices flow so much more freely when you get away from it all. You can use that year or that six months to lay the foundation for a new life."

He added: "With so many US workers already participating in the 'gig economy' by having side freelance work, it's just a matter of taking those side gigs and scaling them up into full-fledged businesses. Either route is doable!"

SEE ALSO: How to tell you're on track for a mini-retirement, according to 2 people who have taken a break from their careers to travel

DON'T MISS: A 24-year-old who's traveling the world says her 'mini-retirement' is more productive than a corporate job

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 7 lesser-known benefits of Amazon Prime

The world's biggest video game retailer, GameStop, has a major problem: It has way too many stores (GME)

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 5:01pm

  • GameStop, the world's largest video game retailer, has a major problem: It has way, way too many stores.
  • With over 5,700 GameStop locations around the world as of September 2019, and a stock price in the gutter, GameStop is tightening the ship.
  • As many as 200 stores are being closed by early 2019. GameStop CFO James Bell said he expects a "much larger" group of stores will be closed in the next one to two years.
  • It's easy to see why: If you're standing in a GameStop, you're statistically likely to be within five miles of another GameStop, according to a new report from Thinknum.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The world's largest video game retailer, GameStop, has a staggering number of stores around the world: Over 5,700 as of September 2019.

While that massive number of retail locations might've made sense in a previous decade, it's become a liability for the game retail giant as consumers increasingly buy digital games: Each of those over 5,700 stores has a quarterly operating expense of approximately $100,000.

That's why, among many other reasons, GameStop is shutting down some of its many retail locations.

"We are on track to close between 180 and 200 underperforming stores globally by the end of this fiscal year," GameStop CFO Jim Bell said on the company's Q2 earnings call last Tuesday.

It might sound like bad news, but it's actually an important part of GameStop's effort to reboot — the company is shoring up operating expenses and other needless expenditures as it attempts to stay afloat.

"If they close 200 stores this year, operating expenses should drop by $20 million next year," Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter told Business Insider in an email last week. But that's not all: The company is expecting to close a "much larger" group of stores in the next one to two years, according to Bell.

Read more: GameStop's new CEO and CFO reveal their plan to repair the company's decimated stock price after a brutal year in which hundreds of millions of dollars in value were wiped out

The initial wave of closures, he said, are "opportunistic," whereas the next wave of closures will come from a deeper look at each store and its region.

"We are applying a more definitive, analytic approach, including profit levels and sales transferability, that we expect will yield a much larger tranche of closures over the coming 12 to 24 months," Bell said on last Tuesday's investor call.

A first look at where some of those stores closures are likely to happen comes from Thinknum, which did a proximity analysis of the retailer's worldwide footprint. It found some pretty stark metrics:

  • On average, there are two other GameStop locations within five miles of any given store.
  • That average grows to six locations within 10 miles of any given store.
  • At one Manhattan store, there are a whopping 35 other stores within just five miles.

That density problem applies to GameStop's locations all over the US, from Florida to California, according to the Thinknum analysis.

As we learned on a tour of New York City-area GameStop stores this summer, there are a staggering number of locations in the five boroughs. There's a good reason for that: GameStop grew largely by mergers and acquisitions, primarily of other video game retailers. As GameStop grew it store count, it increased its redundancies.

The closures are the latest cost-saving measure from GameStop's new leadership team — the company has already had two waves of layoffs.

Under its new leadership team, GameStop launched an initiative known as "GameStop Reboot" that's intended to breathe new life into the retail chain. The first step of the reboot involves addressing issues with so-called SG & A, a financial term that stands for Selling, General and Administrative Expenses. In simpler terms: It means lowering the cost of salaries, taxes, advertising, and other nonproduction costs.

Unfortunately, it also means layoffs and store closures.

SEE ALSO: We went on a tour of New York City's GameStop stores to see if the company is doomed to become the next Blockbuster Video — here's what we found

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NOW WATCH: All the ways Amazon is taking over your house

The 20 best countries around the world to invest in now

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 4:08pm

  • U.S. News & World Report released its rankings for the best countries to invest in this year.
  • Those rankings were determined by 7,000 worldwide business decision makers who scored each country on eight attributes, including entrepreneurship, economic stability, and favorable tax environment.
  • The list differs greatly from last year's; three of this year's top five countries were not even ranked last year. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

To qualify as a country worthy of investment, certain standards must be met.

A World Bank Group report in 2011 highlighted four factors — the country's people, environment, relationships, and framework — that propel both individuals and corporations to invest in a given country's natural resources, markets, technologies, or brands.

Guided by this report, U.S. News & World Report identified the best countries to invest in for 2019

To determine the overall list, U.S. News & World Report surveyed over 21,000 people worldwide about 80 different countries, measuring them on 65 different attributes, including cultural influence, entrepreneurship, and quality of life.

Read more: The 20 best countries around the world to live as an expat, ranked

U.S. News focused on just eight of the 65 attributes: entrepreneurship, economic stability, favorable tax environment, innovation, skilled labor, technological expertise, dynamism, and corruption. Responses from over 7,000 survey participants — who act as decision makers in business around the globe — were then used to determine the ranking.

The most recent survey produced a completely different ranking last year; in 2018, the top five countries for investment were the Philippines, Indonesia, Poland, Malaysia, and Singapore. See below for this year's rankings, with the country's population and GDP (from U.S. News & World Report) and the GDP growth percentage in 2018 (from The World Bank).

SEE ALSO: The 25 best countries for tourists in 2019, ranked

DON'T MISS: The 50 most high-tech cities in the world

20. Brazil

Population: 209.3 million

Total GDP: $2.1 trillion

GDP growth: 1.1%



19. Italy

Population: 60.6 million

Total GDP: $1.9 trillion

GDP growth: 0.9%



18. Indonesia

Population: 264.0 million

Total GDP: $1.0 trillion

GDP growth: 5.2%



17. Lithuania

Population: 2.8 million

Total GDP: $47.2 billion

GDP growth: 3.5%



16. Russia

Population: 144.5 million

Total GDP: $1.6 trillion

GDP growth: 2.3%



15. Denmark

Population: 5.8 million

Total GDP: $324.9 billion

GDP growth: 1.4%



14. Singapore

Population: 5.6 million

Total GDP: $323.9 billion

GDP growth: 3.1%



13. Malaysia

Population: 31.6 million

Total GDP: $314.5 billion

GDP growth: 4.7%



12. Latvia

Population: 1.9 million

Total GDP: $30.3 billion

GDP growth: 4.8%



11. New Zealand

Population: 4.8 million

Total GDP: $205.9 billion

GDP growth: 2.8%



10. Chile

Population: 18.1 million

Total GDP: $277.1 billion

GDP growth: 4.0%



9. Slovenia

Population: 2.1 million

Total GDP: $48.8 billion

GDP growth: 4.5%



8. Vietnam

Population: 95.5 million

Total GDP: $223.9 billion

GDP growth: 7.1%



7. Qatar

Population: 2.6 million

Total GDP: $167.6 billion

GDP growth: 1.4%



6. Poland

Population: 38.0 million

Total GDP: $524.5 billion

GDP growth: 5.1%



5. India

Population: 1.3 billion

Total GDP: $2.6 trillion

GDP growth: 7.0%



4. Luxembourg

Population: 599,400

Total GDP: $62.4 billion

GDP growth: 2.6%



3. Costa Rica

Population: 4.9 million

Total GDP: $57.1 billion

GDP growth: 2.7%



2. Saudi Arabia

Population: 32.9 million

Total GDP: $683.8 billion

GDP growth: 2.2%



1. Uruguay

Population: 3.5 million

Total GDP: $56.2  billion

GDP growth: 1.6%



WeWork's top communications executives are jumping ship as the company struggles to go public

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 3:49pm

  • Two senior WeWork communications executives have left the company, an unusual move just before an initial public offering.
  • The company's current head of communications joined in April. He took over for Jennifer Skyler, who was working for founders Adam and Rebekah Neumann until she left WeWork this month to join American Express. 
  • For more WeWork stories, click here.

Overseeing public relations for WeWork is no easy task right now, with its S-1 filing panned as cultish and valuations that change week by week. 

The office responsible for telling that story has also seen its share of tumult, with two senior executives leaving recently. A company spokesman declined to comment, citing the firm's quiet period ahead of the initial public offering.

Read more: Now WeWork wants to be a manufacturer. The coworking company is opening a 200,000-square-foot New Jersey plant to make its signature aluminum and glass walls.

Last week, the firm's first communications hire, Jennifer Skyler, announced her departure. She'll join American Express next month as chief corporate affairs officer. 

Skyler ran WeWork's communications until April, when Jimmy Asci took over. Asci came from the advisory firm Teneo, where he was part of a team that worked with Uber's former chief executive Travis Kalanick. After Asci joined WeWork, Skyler transitioned to running CEO Adam Neumann's office, including his public-relations efforts. Skyler declined to comment on her departure from WeWork. 

In July, Dom McMullan, the firm's head of corporate communications, who reported to Asci, said he was leaving after three and a half years with the company. McMullan declined to comment and has not announced his next move. 

"He decided that it was time to go. He had been here for a long time," a source with knowledge of McMullan's departure said.  

Skyler and McMullan both left as WeWork was gearing up for an IPO that's seen a number of public missteps, including governance issues that the company worked to correct through a new filing last week and revised valuations. WeWork is now considering going public at a $10 billion to $12 billion valuation, well under the $47 billion valuation in its last round of fundraising.  

Have a WeWork tip? Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (646) 768-1627 using a non-work phone, email atmmorris@businessinsider.com, or Twitter DM at @MeghanEMorris. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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NOW WATCH: How Area 51 became the center of alien conspiracy theories

CREDIT SUISSE: Here are the 11 stocks poised to get the biggest boost from spiking oil prices

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 3:41pm

  • The weekend attack on two of Saudi Arabia's main oil facilities sparked a rally in global prices for the commodity. 
  • Oil stocks are surging as investors are looking to capitalize on the expected tightening supply in the coming weeks.
  • Credit Suisse published a list of companies who stand to benefit from a rise in prices, in order of whose cash flow per share would rise the most in the event oil prices jumped $5 per barrel. 
  • Listed below are 11 oil stocks that could get the biggest boost from swelling crude prices. 
  • Visit the Markets Insider homepage for more stories.

Oil stocks are soaring as drone strikes on key facilities in Saudi Arabia threaten to upend the global market for the treasured commodity. 

Crude future prices spiked as much 20% following the attack. Saudi Arabia is responsible for close to 6% of the world's total oil production, and the damaged facility could potentially disrupt output for several weeks. But the timeline for repairs is still unknown. 

"If production can be restored quickly, we'd expect oil prices to rally several dollars as the market prices-in increased geopolitical risk," analysts from Credit Suisse said in a note to clients. 

They continued: "If Saudi Arabia requires an extended period of time to restore production, we would expect prices to spike in order to thwart demand, as spare capacity is insufficient to offset the sustained loss." 

The firm also ranked companies who stand to gain from a rise in prices in order of whose cash flow per share would rise the most in the event oil prices jumped $5 per barrel. 

Here are 11 companies whose stocks could get the biggest boost from a rise in oil prices, listed in increasing order of Credit Suisse's ranking:

11. EOG Resources

Ticker: EOG

YTD Return: (-2.62%)

Ranking: 11

Source: Credit Suisse, Markets Insider



10. Continental Resources

Ticker: CLR

YTD Return: (-11%)

Ranking: 10

Source: Credit Suisse, Markets Insider



9. Parsley Energy

Ticker: PE

YTD Return: 25.25% 

Ranking: 9

Source: Credit Suisse, Markets Insider



8. Synergy Resources

Ticker: SRCI

YTD Return: 15.44%

Ranking: 8

Source: Credit Suisse, Markets Insider



7. Range Resources

Ticker: RRC

YTD Return: (-48.67%)

Ranking: 7

Source: Credit Suisse, Markets Insider



6. Antero Resources

Ticker: AR

YTD Return: (-57.61%)

Ranking: 6

Source: Credit Suisse, Markets Insider



5. Cimarex Energy

Ticker: XEC

YTD Return: (-18.55%)

Ranking: 5

Source: Credit Suisse, Markets Insider



4. Oasis Petroleum

Ticker: OAS

YTD Return: (-18.73%)

Ranking: 

Source: Credit Suisse, Markets Insider



3. Silver Run Acquisition

Ticker: CDEV

YTD Return: (-48.32%)

Ranking: 3

Source: Credit Suisse, Markets Insider



2. Devon Energy

Ticker: DVN

YTD Return: (-19.29%)

Ranking: 2

Source: Credit Suisse, Markets Insider



1. Whiting Petroleum

Ticker: WLL

YTD Return: (-52.42%)

Ranking: 1

Source: Credit Suisse, Markets Insider



Apple's iPhone 11 starts at $699 — and there's a smarter way to buy it (APPL)

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 3:20pm

  • Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program allows you to pay for your phone over two years or upgrade to a new one after at least 12 payments.
  • Monthly payments for the iPhone 11 begin at $35.33 through the iPhone Upgrad Program.
  • If you wouldn't buy a laptop from your internet provider, you might not want to buy a phone from your wireless carrier.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

With a starting price of $699, the iPhone 11 may be cheaper than past new iPhones, but it'll still put a dent in your wallet.

For those planning to upgrade, it's worth considering an underutilized way to buy it: Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program.

In 2015, I bought the iPhone 6S Plus this way after trading in an iPhone 5 I had held onto — or, more accurately, dropped a bunch of times — for over two years. In 2016, I upgraded to the iPhone 7 Plus through the program.

It's not because I'm a tech enthusiast who has to have the latest and greatest gadget — although I admit it's nice to get a new iPhone every year, and switching is seamless thanks to Google Photos and contact syncing. My reasons for converting to Apple's upgrade program are primarily financial.

Read more: Apple is releasing a $39 clear case to show off the gorgeous colors of the new iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro

For the uninitiated, the program is essentially an interest-free loan: The full cost of your iPhone and AppleCare Plus is spread out over two years with 24 installments. The monthly cost of the iPhone 11 through the upgrade program begins at $35.33.

Once you've paid the full amount, the phone is yours. Or, after making at least 12 payments, you have the option to upgrade and start the payment cycle again with a new phone. When you go to the Apple Store or pre-order your iPhone 11, you have to ask for the upgrade program specifically, since you can also pay up front for the iPhone.

SEE ALSO: Everything you need to know about buying the iPhone X through Apple's iPhone upgrade program

DON'T MISS: I swore I was going to wait for Apple's iPhone X — here's why I changed my mind and am going to buy the iPhone 8 Plus instead

1. Unless your carrier offers a rebate or discount, you're not paying less to buy your iPhone through your carrier.

As of 2017, most iPhone users — 92% — had no plans to ditch Apple's decade-old device for a different brand. But only 12% buy their iPhone directly from Apple, according to data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. Three out of four people still head to their wireless carrier to buy a new iPhone, even though the days of subsidies and incentives in exchange for wireless contracts are behind us.

"With all the publicity that Apple garners for its own stores, it's kind of an overlooked fact that the carriers by far sell the most phones in the US, " said Michael Levin, a partner and cofounder of CIRP.

Many wireless carriers offer similar installment programs, and some even appear to be less expensive. But it's important to understand that the price you pay for the phone — retail price — is the same. If the monthly amount is less, it's probably because you will make payments over a longer period or because it doesn't include AppleCare Plus.



2. Waiting to upgrade doesn't save that much, and it puts you at risk of damaging or losing your phone.

Many people hold onto their iPhones for 30 months before upgrading, according to Jim Suva, a senior analyst at Citigroup. While that may seem financially wise, it's not exactly something to be smug about, if you do the math.

Let's say you buy a new iPhone 11 for $699 and add AppleCare Plus for $149, for a total of $848, not including tax. If you keep it for 22 months before upgrading — the current average — your monthly cost breaks down to about $38.54.

You pay $3.21 less per month if you purchase the phone through the upgrade program instead. And, you'd only have to hold onto the phone for one year before getting a new one.

Even if you decide to buy a new iPhone without AppleCare Plus, use it for 30 months, and then resell it, the amount you ending up saving may not be astronomical — trade-in prices for iPhones can dip significantly depending on what condition your phone is in. By holding onto your phone for so long, you take on the risk that your screen cracks or you drop it in a pool before you're ready to trade it in.

I've bought an iPhone using both approaches, and for me the decision is clear. I would prefer to buy using the Upgrade Program knowing my phone is covered and that I can get a new one every September, as opposed to worrying about keeping it in good shape for years.

While it may be less expensive to forgo the Apple Upgrade Program, saving on an item you touch 2,617 times a day may not be worth it in the end. You'd save more by reducing your rent or negotiating your cable bill. 



3. AppleCare Plus is the best tech support for your iPhone, hands down.

I once made the mistake of typing an email on my iPhone while walking on an elevated subway platform after a rainstorm (a terrible idea no matter the weather, I know). I didn't get very far before I tripped, sending my iPhone flying. There was a collective gasp as it slid along the platform and tipped over the edge, dropping to its death 30 feet below.

Once I picked up the busted phone from the street, I got back on the subway and headed directly to an Apple Store. Even without an appointment, it took less than an hour to walk away with a shiny, new replacement iPhone.

My out-of-pocket cost was $99 instead of the $869 it would have cost to purchase a new phone. Considering the original was only a few weeks old, I was elated to have AppleCare Plus.

If I had cellphone insurance through my carrier instead, getting it fixed would have required more time and effort on my part. 

The Apple Upgrade Plans gives you the option of selecting Apple Care Plus (which includes technical support and coverage for hardware repair and accidental damage) or Apple Care Plus with Theft and Loss (all of the above plus theft and loss coverage, for an additional $4.17 per month). 



4. Having an unlocked phone gives you options if you want to resell it or switch carriers.

Your monthly cellphone plan may cost more than your monthly iPhone payment, so having the ability to switch providers if you find a better deal is important. Carrier discounts on an iPhone may be nice, but the offers come with strings attached.

If you buy your phone directly from a wireless provider, you may not be signing up for a contract, but that doesn't mean you aren't locked into that carrier. To switch carriers, you'd have to pay your remaining balance in full, immediately. And your iPhone may not work as well — or at all — on a different network.

When you buy your iPhone at the Apple Store, you have the option of getting an unlocked version. That means it will work with any wireless carrier, and you can switch providers at will.



5. Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program won't work for everyone. There are a few downsides to consider:

  • To qualify, you'll have to have good credit, because you're essentially taking out a loan. This applies whether you make installment payments to Apple or your wireless carrier.
  • You'll have to fork over the full sales-tax amount up front, which means your first payment is likely to be over $100. Again, this holds true whether you buy your phone from Apple or your wireless carrier.

Still, for my money, there's no better way to buy an iPhone.



3 VC investors in flex-space startups slam WeWork's governance and leadership as its valuation crumbles

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 3:19pm

  • Earlier this year, WeWork was the most valuable private US startup. Its valuation at its initial public offering could shrink from $47 billion to as low as $10 billion, according to media reports.
  • WeWork's IPO would be the first time that this new type of flexible-office provider — brand-forward and amenity-focused — has gone to public market.
  • The public market has yet to test WeWork and its newest competitors, and private funders in the space are watching closely.
  • Business Insider spoke with three people connected to venture funds that invest in startups that blend tech and real estate. They credited WeWork with making office space a "commodity" and tried to paint its problems as company-specific.
  • Read all of Business Insider's WeWork coverage here.

Earlier this year, WeWork was the most valuable private startup in America.

But now, a month after revealing detailed financials, WeWork is weighing the drastic move of slicing its initial-public-offering valuation to as low as $10 billion, down from $47 billion in its most recent SoftBank-rolled funding round. 

The blow to the high-flying WeWork comes at a time when other flex-office startups have been raising money. And there's been a broader flow of funding into the so-called proptech industry, which hopes to put a tech twist on old-school real-estate businesses.

Critics have blasted WeWork for its wide losses and corporate-governance practices. WeWork's parent company, The We Company, has made last-minute changes, including cutting CEO Adam Neumann's voting rights, and still plans to push ahead with an IPO, with help from SoftBank, according to The Wall Street Journal.

WeWork's IPO would mark the first time a brand-forward and amenity-focused office provider has gone to public markets. IWG made its public debut nearly 20 years ago — it has roughly the same number of workstations as WeWork and a market cap of around $4.3 billion. 

Some competitors are working to paint themselves as hospitality companies and have stressed that they are looking to do management deals with landlords instead of traditional leases.

We talked to three investors in flex space and coworking. They were quick to criticize WeWork-specific factors while arguing that the broader shift in what customers want and expect from workplaces still offers an opportunity. 

Read more: The CEO of coworking startup Convene is worried bad press around WeWork's model could taint the entire flex-office industry

Elie Finegold, venture adviser and entrepreneur in residence, MetaProp

"I think that what we're seeing is the public at large getting a view of what those of us in the real-estate industry and the proptech industry have had for a long time, which is that WeWork has serious governance issues," Finegold told Business Insider on Thursday, a day before the company revealed changes directed at improving its corporate governance. 

Finegold has had a long career in startups and incumbent real-estate businesses — he led global innovation at CBRE until 2016. MetaProp has invested in the coworking operator Spacious, which WeWork bought last month. 

Finegold highlighted WeWork CEO and avid surfer Adam Neumann's 2016 purchase of a wave-pool company as a particularly egregious example of WeWork's governance leading the company astray. He thinks the governance practices are indicative of "something about the core values of the company."

"When a company is acting this way, I don't really care what they print on their T-shirts," Finegold said. 

One day before the changes in governance were announced, Finegold said he would need to see a "total and fundamental" change to feel confident. 

Finegold was also concerned by WeWork's switch toward enterprise businesses, which now make up 40% of its members, according to the company.

Conventional wisdom in the space holds that demand from enterprise customers is more stable than that from startups and small businesses. Still, Finegold doesn't think that means big businesses are necessarily more stable customers. 

According to Finegold, enterprise businesses are often using flexible office space for special products and to expand without making a long-term lease commitment. This makes their use of WeWork, which is more expensive per head for a large business than a traditional lease, temporary by nature. 

"A recession could obviously cull this … even in a continued expansion. At some point, they're going to start saying that they've stabilized," Finegold said. WeWork's flexible lease lengths could quickly become a disadvantage.

Finegold also noticed that WeWork's S-1 allocated very little for depreciation, which could be a big risk for a company that fits five times as many people into a space as a typical office. The company's focus on current design trends may be an asset in attracting customers now but could also mean high costs a decade from now if they want to keep up with the trends. 

"They provide a product that is super hip, of the moment, highly utilized, and to people who, if it were a car, would say it's just a rental and would hit the curb," Finegold said.



Brad Greiwe, cofounder and managing partner, Fifth Wall

"The media attention is 100% warranted," Brad Greiwe, the cofounder and managing partner at Fifth Wall, told Business Insider. 

"If you have a company who has ridden as high as WeWork has, with a CEO like Adam who is larger-than-life to a certain extent, that attracts a lot of media attention." he said. 

While Greiwe and his firm have invested in the WeWork competitors Convene and Industrious, he thinks the discipline of the public markets has already been an important check on WeWork and private funding in the space.

"A lot of time, private investors get a little ahead of themselves," Greiwe said.

Greiwe sees detractors and supporters in the real-estate industry dividing into two camps.

The detractors, like the billionaire Sam Zell, are saying that they've "seen this rodeo before," according to Greiwe, with other companies that have large lease obligations and uncertain long-term revenue.

Supporters point to other variables, like technology and consumer demand, as proof that there is a "difference this go around."

Greiwe says he is confident that flexible office space is here to stay.

"This isn't just a fad, this is the evolution of the office sector," Greiwe said. WeWork has initiated an explosion in branded, flexible, and customer-centric office space.

"What WeWork did, and did really well, was to show that office space is not a commodity," he said. Instead, WeWork offers a branded product that is differentiated from other products by its amenities, design, and flexibility.

Greiwe points to the large office owners around the world who are pouring resources into flexible-office strategies, such as Hines, which has partnered with Industrious. Compared to these giants, WeWork is just a "drop in the bucket," he said.

Greiwe thinks consolidation, already occurring across the industry, is an inevitability, as flexible-office firms scale up their operations to partner with the largest office owners.

While WeWork has grown quickly using a lease-arbitrage model — an asset-heavy, high-revenue approach — Greiwe sees landlords turning toward management partnerships. These asset-light, lower-revenue agreements, he said, are more likely to survive during an economic downturn. 

Management partnerships are a trade-off for providers: They don't have to pay to lease spaces, which frees up their cash flow, but they do have to share the upside with the landlord. As uncertainty mounts at this point in the economic cycle, a more conservative approach could help flex-office providers ride out a downturn. 

"Real estate is a cyclical business, and having a model that's flexible enough to sustain itself through tumultuous ups and downs will prove to be a much more attractive business model," Greiwe said.  



Clelia Warburg Peters, Warburg Realty CEO and cofounder of MetaProp (left this January)

"WeWork represents a type of company that is unique to proptech, where there are both risks and opportunities related to real-asset ownership and the risks and opportunities of a venture-backed company," Clelia Warburg Peters told Business Insider last week. 

Peters said that was both the "opportunity" and "what is scary" about proptech. She left proptech-focused venture firm MetaProp earlier this year, but she has continued to watch the space like an investor and plans to invest again someday. Peters sees WeWork's struggles as separate from proptech's larger challenge.

"The risk with WeWork is that they're leaning so far out over their skis," Peters said, adding that Neumann has "drunk too much of his own Kool-Aid." 

"This has nothing to do with proptech or the type of the company, it's a story about leadership and the boundaries of what behavior people will accept in the private markets versus the public markets," Peters said.

She believes the concept of space as a service, which WeWork has painted its business as, is more innovative than Uber's ride-hailing offering. She said that approach has dramatically changed what customers demand from commercial office space, while Uber used "tech to facilitate a service that already existed."

"I think that's what's lost in some of these discussions about WeWork: This is a phenomenon that's not going to go away," Peters said.

Peters said there were similarities between Neumann and Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, both in their inventiveness and in the ways their eccentricities could make investors bristle. According to Peters, Neumann still has a lot to learn from Jobs. 

"Apple is a great example of a company that understood the value of creating mystique and buzz and had an extremely charismatic, mad-genius leader that still played by the book when it came to key interactions with institutions," Peters said.

"Instead of holding their hands, and educating them in a way that increased confidence, they sort of treated the markets like they were irrelevant," Peters said, talking about WeWork's moves toward public markets. "You're with us or you're not."



Crypto whiz kid Justin Sun is giving away $1.2 million to 100 people next year — and wants Andrew Yang to help him

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 3:16pm

Crypto whiz kid Justin Sun, who paid $4.6 million to have lunch with Warren Buffett, has pledged to give away a total of $1.2 million to 100 people in 2020. He plans to gift $1,000 a month to each of the "lucky 100" and also invite one of them to his charity meal with the billionaire investor.

The Tron and BitTorrent boss tweeted that he wants Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang to help him select the recipients. Yang vowed last week to give $1,000 a month to 10 people for the next year — a preview of his plan to introduce a universal basic income for every American adult if he's elected.

Yang wants to introduce a UBI to offer Americans some protection from automation, which threatens to reshape numerous industries and cause sweeping job losses.

However, he plans to use campaign donations to finance the $120,000 pilot program — a potential violation of campaign finance laws that bar campaigns from giving people anything of value as an incentive to vote, according to the New York Times.

It's also illegal to use campaign funds to cover personal expenses, and recipients of Yang's "freedom dividends" are likely to use them for exactly that purpose, the Times said.

A controversial lunch

Buffett's annual lunch auction raises money for Glide, a San Francisco charity that helps the homeless. Sun won the meal with a record bid of $4.57 million, and vowed to explain the benefits of cryptocurrencies to the Berkshire Hathaway CEO — a notorious crypto skeptic who has called bitcoin "rat poison squared."

Sun, a protégé of Alibaba founder Jack Ma, has invited crypto bosses such as Litecoin creator Charlie Lee and Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire to attend the lunch. He also invited Donald Trump after the president tweeted he was "not a fan" of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

However, Sun postponed the lunch at the last minute, citing a bout of kidney stones. The delay sparked conspiracies he was in trouble with the Chinese government, especially after Bloomberg reported Chinese authorities briefly detained Tron employees, and Sun published a groveling apology on Chinese social media for overhyping the lunch.

The Buffett lunch is being rescheduled, Tron's communications director recently told Blocktv

SEE ALSO: 6 things to know about Justin Sun, the crypto whiz kid who postponed a $4.6 million lunch with Warren Buffett

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 7 lesser-known benefits of Amazon Prime

The biggest backers of SoftBank's $100 billion Vision Fund are reportedly reconsidering their investments in the second one after Uber and WeWork disappointed

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 2:41pm

  • Two of the biggest investors in SoftBank's original Vision Fund are debating whether to significantly cut back on their commitments to a planned second one, Bloomberg reported.
  • Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund put $45 billion into SoftBank's original Vision Fund, but only plans to commit its profits from that investment into the second fund, according to the report.
  • Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Investment is considering reducing its stake in the second Vision Fund to less than $10 billion, from the $15 billion it put into the first one, Bloomberg reported.
  • The investors' debates over their commitments to the second Vision Fund come as the original fund is reportedly down $600 million on its stake in Uber and as it prepares for a big drop in the value of its WeWork investment as public investors have soured on that company's planned public offering.
  • Read all of Business Insider's WeWork coverage here.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son may have trouble raising a second Vision Fund after all.

With Japanese conglomerate's original $100 billion fund struggling with two of its highest profile investments, two of its biggest investors — Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund and Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Investment — are re-evaluating how much money they'll put into a planned follow-on fund, Bloomberg reported Monday. Both are considering significantly reducing their investment from the amounts they committed to the first fund, according to Bloomberg. 

The Saudi investment vehicle committed $45 billion to the original Vision Fund, making it the fund's biggest backer. It now plans to invest only its profits from the first Vision Fund into the second one, Bloomberg reported.

Mubadala was the second largest outside backer of the Vision Fund, committing $15 billion to it. The Abu Dhabi company is considering limiting its investment in the new fund to less than $10 billion, according to Bloomberg.

A Mubadala representative told Bloomberg the company is still discussing its potential stake in the new fund and denied that it had yet made a decision on the when or how much to commit. A representative for the Public Investment Fund declined comment to Bloomberg.

SoftBank representatives did not immediately respond to an email from Business Insider seeking comment.

Read this: Venture investors still aren't sure what to make of SoftBank's $100 billion Vision Fund. Depending on who you ask, they're either rooting for it, or gleeful that it's struggling with WeWork and Uber.

Uber and WeWork have given the first Vision Fund a black eye

The investors' apparent trepidation over the new Vision Fund comes amid some high-profile setbacks for the original. SoftBank's giant fund has reportedly lost some $600 million on its investment in Uber, thanks to that company's disappointing public offering and the subsequent decline in Uber's stock price.

Meanwhile, WeWork, in which SoftBank has invested $10.65 billion, is struggling to attract investors for its own public offering. Last week, the company was reportedly considering going public with a market capitalization of as little as $10 billion — less that a quarter of the $47 billion valuation SoftBank conferred on it with a January investment.

Earlier this month, many venture capital experts told Business Insider they had faith SoftBank would still be able to find investors for its second Vision Fund, despite its troubles with Uber and WeWork.

SoftBank has already received commitments from Apple and Microsoft, among other investors, for the new fund.

Got a tip about SoftBank or WeWork? Contact this reporter via email at twolverton@businessinsider.com, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: Why WeWork's $47 billion private valuation could be a key stumbling block for its IPO — and might even derail it completely

Join the conversation about this story »

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If you're laughing at the death of MoviePass, you probably aren't paying close enough attention

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 2:26pm

  • MoviePass, the embattled movie-ticket-subscription service, shut down over the weekend after burning through hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • The service had become a joke in the industry for its unsustainable business model.
  • Contrary to a popular media narrative, however, venture capitalists were not the ones who lost money on the startup's downfall.
  • MoviePass' parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics, flooded the public markets with millions of new shares to cover the service's massive losses.
  • Many of the losers were unsophisticated retail investors, some of whom previously spoke with Business Insider about believing in the MoviePass product.
  • One retiree investor named Ken said he had lost around $190,000 on the stock.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

MoviePass finally died over the weekend, but the movie-ticket-subscription service had become a punch line long before that.

Recode's Peter Kafka summed up the general sentiment best in a tweet on Friday: "Sometimes the 'lose money on every transaction, try to make it up with volume' model doesn't pan out."

It's easy to understand why charging $10 per month and letting a subscriber see up to 30 movies in theaters per month didn't work — especially when MoviePass was paying those theaters full price for the tickets.

But what's less widely understood is who the real losers are in the MoviePass story.

There has been a tendency in coverage of MoviePass to treat its demise as having no sympathetic victims. That attitude is represented well by a tweet that went viral last year from The Atlantic's Derek Thompson: "MoviePass isn't a business so much as a late-capitalist welfare program that redistributes hundreds of millions of dollars from venture capital to subsidize American leisure."

The joke here hinges on the fact that venture capitalists — who can certainly afford to light a few hundred million dollars on fire — are the losers. But that's not actually what happened with MoviePass.

The venture capitalists who invested early in MoviePass were paid out when the startup was bought by Helios and Matheson Analytics in a deal that valued it at more than $50 million. After Helios and Matheson took a controlling stake in MoviePass in 2017, the service dropped its price to $10 per month, and the gargantuan losses, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, began in earnest.

At the time, Helios and Matheson, which was run by the penny-stock guru Ted Farnsworth and had ties to an Indian company accused of massive fraud, was listed on the Nasdaq with the ticker HMNY. To cover MoviePass' losses, Helios and Matheson flooded the market with millions of new shares.

Many retail investors who believed in the MoviePass product snatched up the new shares, only to see the value of their stakes crater as the stock fell more than 99.99%. Helios and Matheson was eventually kicked off the Nasdaq.

Last summer, I spoke with Helios and Matheson investors who felt betrayed, both by management and by the Wall Street analysts who kept "buy" ratings on the stock for months while it plunged, as their firms made millions helping Helios and Matheson sell new shares. One retiree investor, Ken, talked to me about losing around $190,000 from investing in MoviePass.

As some of my readers pointed out, those investors should have known better. Of course they should have. But it's a lot harder to laugh at an unsophisticated investor who lost a big chunk of his retirement savings — like Ken did — than it is to laugh at a venture capitalist who made a bad bet.

SEE ALSO: The definitive story of how a controversial Florida businessman blew up MoviePass and burned hundreds of millions

Join the conversation about this story »

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Take a look inside Walmart's newest health clinic that's just the start of its push into healthcare

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 3:29pm

Walmart on Friday opened up its first Walmart Health center in Dallas, Georgia, in its latest attempt to break into the massive healthcare industry.

The new centers come equipped with primary care, counseling, home care, eye and hearing exams, and dentistry.

The goal is to do for healthcare what Walmart's supercenter stores did for retail: offer a breadth of services conveniently and at a much cheaper price point than rivals. For instance, a primary care visit costs $40, while a dental visit costs $25.

Read more: Companies like Walmart, CVS, and Amazon are beefing up their healthcare strategies. Here are their plans to upend the $3.5 trillion industry.

This isn't the first time Walmart's built out health clinics. While past attempts haven't panned out, Sean Slovenski, Walmart's president of health and wellness, told Business Insider that the current push was a top priority for the company's senior leadership.

"We finally got to the point this past year with the right strategy, the right team, and the right timing," Slovenski said. 

Take a look inside the new clinic. 

Located at 3615 Marietta Hwy. in Dallas, Georgia, the Walmart Health center sits next to a Walmart Supercenter. Outside the door, a big sign lists off all the services the health center offers, including primary care, vision, dental, pharmacy, lab testing, counseling, and hearing.

The center will be staffed in partnership with local healthcare professionals so that patients can get everything from health insurance help to an X-Ray within the clinic, Walmart said Friday.

Source: Walmart 



The Supercenter also has a revamped vision center where customers can browse for new frames or get an eye exam.

Here's a look inside of the exam rooms, equipped with tools for vision screenings.

There's a big main area where patients can wait. On the other side of the glass partition, you can see the rest of the Walmart Supercenter.

"We see these as being a crown jewel of what we want to accomplish in the physical world, in the home, and in the virtual world as well,"  Sean Slovenski, Walmart's president of health and wellness, told Business Insider.

You can read more about Walmart's health strategy here. 



The US auto workers union just decided to walk out on GM — here's why they're striking (GM)

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 12:03pm

  • The UAW ordered its membership to strike General Motors on Sunday night after contract negotiations broke down.
  • GM's 49,000 UAW-represented workers could take to the picket lines.
  • The UAW has been bristling for a strike since early 2019, when GM "unallocated" several US factories, including its Lordstown facility in Ohio.
  • President Donald Trump, who won Ohio in 2016, has been agitating for GM to sell or reopen that plant.
  • The 2007 strike against GM lasted just a few days; it's uncertain how long this new action will hold up.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


General Motors' 49,000 employees represented by the United Auto Workers will strike Sunday night, the first major labor action in over a decade against a US carmaker and the largest walkout since 1982.

The current GM contract with the UAW, under negotiation all summer long, lapsed with no extension at midnight on Saturday; pro forma extensions were agreed to with Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, both of whom were awaiting the outcome of the GM deal, which would form a template for a new four-year agreement between the union and the Detroit Big Three.

"We stood up for General Motors when they needed us most. Now we are standing together in unity and solidarity for our Members, their families and the communities where we work and live," UAW Vice-President Terry Dittes said in a statement, alluding to the UAW's role in GM 2009 bailout and bankruptcy during the financial crisis.

GM countered with its own statement, taking the unusual step of disclosing the details of its position. "We presented a strong offer that improves wages, benefits and grows US jobs in substantive ways and it is disappointing that the UAW leadership has chosen to strike at midnight tonight," the company said. "We have negotiated in good faith and with a sense of urgency. Our goal remains to build a strong future for our employees and our business."

Read more: 5 reasons why Elon Musk should rescue a GM factory in Ohio

Health care costs, temporary workers, and closed factories

The situation was intense, as UAW negotiators meet with GM representatives in Detroit Sunday morning to hammer out a bargain. But a strike has been in the air since 2018, after GM "unallocated" its Lordstown factory in Ohio, where the carmaker had been building its slow-selling Chevy Cruze sedan on a single shift. GM also announced plans to unallocate three other plants, citing concerns about the cost of under-utilized manufacturing capacity. 

The UAW was enraged — and President Donal Trump, who captured the Ohio district where Lordstown is located in the 2016 election, jumped in, pressuring GM and CEO Mary Barra to keep the plant open, possibly by committing a new vehicle to the facility (GM provided relocation and reemployment opportunities to Lordstown's approximately 1,500 workers).

Combined with other legacy issues — mainly health-care costs and policies around hiring temporary workers at a lower wage than UAW members — the Lordstown decision set the stage for a lot of serious saber-rattling by the union. The UAW has been signaling that it's ready for a walkoff since before the contract negotiations began.

A focused GM versus a UAW rocked by scandal — and a booming US auto market

A new contract would actually be straightforward to achieve. GM's UAW membership pays just 3% of its healthcare cost; they don't have the Cadillac of insurance plans — they have a Rolls-Royce, as even GM's white-collar workforce pays for a third of its coverage. From its statement, GM looks to be supporting the existing plan; its statement stressed that the company offered "nationally leading" health care. So ongoing negotiations could center on the UAW accepting a higher level of temporary hiring to better align GM's cost with the so-called foreign transplant automakers such as Toyota and BMW, who operate plants in the non-union US South.

GM indicated that it would sweeten the pot by improving its profit-sharing formula, improving a system that put almost $11,000 in workers' pockets this year, after GM posted another hefty annual surplus in 2018. The company also said it had proposed to invest $7 billion and add 5,400 jobs in the US, including "solutions" for idled plants in Ohio and Michigan. Part of that would entail the "opportunity to become the first union-represented battery cell manufacturing site in the US," GM said.

The automaker perhaps missed a golden opportunity to deflect the UAW's ire over Lordstown when it decided to fire-up production of its new Chevy Blazer at a factory in Mexico, where hourly labor costs are a fraction of what they are in the US. But GM likely expects Mexico to be an important market going forward, and the hangover of the carmaker's 2009 bailout and bankruptcy have shaped its strategies; Barra is determined to make sure GM doesn't face another crisis and has been making a series of tough calls, such as selling its faltering European division while simultaneously ramping up investment in autonomous mobility and electric vehicles.

The strike is no shock

In this context, a strike isn't surprising. After nearly a decade of expansion, the US auto industry is riding high despite concerns about a downturn, so if the UAW doesn't flex its muscle now, it might not get a chance in four years.

The union, however, is in a weak position, with its leadership rocked by scandals. Most recently, UAW President Gary Jones' home was reportedly raided by the FBI in connection with an investigation into embezzlement by union officials. The Detroit News reported that Jones last week dodged efforts to remove him from his role.

The big question now is whether the UAW is putting all its cards on the table against a determined GM, in the hope that a full strike convinces the company that it needs to give more ground than it's been willing to. A short action, similar to 2007, isn't likely to alter GM's position, and that could be why the union has been preparing its membership for a more extended strike for much of 2019.

The UAW might also be counting on President Trump to leap into the fray, taking up the membership's cause and bucking traditional Republican anti-unionism so that he can fire up his Midwestern base.

Unless a strike drags on, consumers outside the Midwest aren't likely to notice, given that it's late in the year. But GM, like all automakers, likes to finish a year with strong sales and doesn't want to see its long run of annual profits snapped, so an extended strike could cause the largest US carmaker to endure some pain, testing Barra's now-legendary discipline.

This story has been updated.

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If you shop at Amazon, make sure you're using a credit card that earns you bonus points or cash back. Here are 4 of the best options.

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 12:02pm

  • Amazon sells just about everything. If you frequently make purchases with the retailer, you should use a credit card that earns you bonus rewards or cash back on your spending.
  • One top option is the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, which offers 5% back at Amazon and Whole Foods.
  • Other picks to consider are the Chase Freedom, Discover it® Cash Back, and the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Card from American Express. 
  • If you're purchasing an expensive item through Amazon, you might also consider a card that offers purchase protection, such as the Platinum Card® from American Express.
  • Finally, if you know you'll be spending a lot on Amazon purchases throughout the year, you could put your spending on a card that earns you extra benefits for meeting spending thresholds, such as the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.

Most of us do at least some of our online shopping on Amazon. It sells virtually everything, and thanks to Prime Shipping, items are often delivered in two days or less.

If you find yourself shopping at Amazon frequently, you'll want to give some thought to the credit card you're using on these purchases. After all, it's important to maximize rewards on every dollar you spend. With that in mind, here are some of the best credit cards for Amazon purchases.

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 can far outweigh the value of any rewards.

When you're working to earn credit card rewards, it's important to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more than you can afford to pay back. Basically, treat your credit card like a debit card.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature offers 5% cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases. Cardholders also get an extra 5 - 15% cash back on certain promotional items, which is one of the highest rewards rates around. This makes the card a great option for your Amazon purchases.

The Amazon Prime Rewards card also earns 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores. Considering those are pretty common spending categories for most people, this isn't a bad card to have in your wallet, especially since it has no annual fee.

Read more: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card review

Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom offers 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent on rotating bonus categories every quarter, once you activate the bonus each quarter via your card account. Sometimes those categories include Amazon purchases, in which case the Chase Freedom is a great option for shopping on that site.

Amazon isn't included in the Freedom's bonus categories for October to December, however it is a Q4 bonus category merchant list for the Discover it® Cash back (see below).

Read more: How to earn 5% back or 5x points with the Chase Freedom

Click here to learn more about the Chase Freedom from our partner The Points Guy. Discover it® Cash Back

Like the Chase Freedom, the Discover it Cash Back card offers 5% cash back on the first $1,5000 spent in select categories every quarter once you activate the bonus. Discover has a cash-back calendar, which shows both previous and upcoming bonus category merchants. Amazon is included on the merchant list for October to December 2019.

The timing of that bonus is especially great considering it falls within the holiday shopping season. So if you'd rather not get trampled over a discounted flat-screen TV at Walmart, you've got plenty of incentive to do you shopping with Amazon instead.

Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card

The Amex Everyday Preferred is a solid choice for Amazon purchases. The card only earns 1 point per dollar spent on non-bonus category spending, which includes Amazon. So why use it if you're just earning 1 point? One reason is that Amex Offers often runs double point promotions for Amazon purchases. All you have to do is check the currently available Amex Offers via a tab under your account. If you're eligible, just register and make purchases with your eligible card to earn those extra points.

Additionally, Amex Everyday Preferred cardholders earn 50% bonus points every billing period when they charge 30 or more purchases to the card. So if you charge at least one purchase per day on the Amex Everyday Preferred Card, you'll essentially earn at least 1.5 points per dollar spent. 

For purchase protection: the Amex Platinum

It doesn't earn bonus points at Amazon (unless your account is eligible for an Amex Offer for bonus points at Amazon), but the Platinum Card from American Express is also worth considering, especially for more expensive Amazon purchases. That's because it offers purchase protection for up to 120 days from your date of purchase, with a maximum of $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account per year.

The card has a $550 annual fee, so it's not worth getting for this benefit alone, but if you travel frequently and can take advantage of benefits like annual statement credits for Uber, annual incidental fees, and Saks purchases, not to mention airport lounge access, it can be a great option.

Click here to learn more about the Amex Platinum from our partner The Points Guy. Any card that offers an annual spending bonus

If you're more concerned with long-term gain, consider charging your Amazon purchases to a credit card that offers an annual incentive for meeting certain spending thresholds.

For example, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card offers an annual free weekend night after you spend $60,000 in a calendar year. Don't think that's worth much? I'm writing this article from the Waldorf Astoria Maldives, where I redeemed one of these free weekend nights in exchange for a villa that normally goes for $2,000 per night.

Read more: I pay $450 a year for a Hilton credit card, and I just earned half that fee back in a single night

Another option is to put your Amazon spending on a Southwest credit card in order to earn the Southwest Companion Pass. If you're unfamiliar with this benefit, it essentially allows you to book free airfare for a designated companion if you earn 110,000 qualifying Southwest points in a year. Points earned via credit card sign-up bonuses and spending count towards this requirement, making the Companion Pass much more attainable.

You can earn sign-up bonuses on the following Southwest credit cards. Note that you can only have one personal Southwest co-branded card at a time.

If you earned the sign-up bonus from one of these cards and channeled your everyday spending, including Amazon purchases, on to it, you could find the Southwest Companion Pass to be within reach. You could also earn a sign-up bonus from one personal Southwest card and one business Southwest card, which would make qualifying even easier.

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Companies like Walmart, CVS, and Amazon are beefing up their healthcare strategies. Here are their plans to upend the $3.5 trillion industry.

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 11:45am

  • Some of the biggest retailers in America are looking to get a bigger piece of the $3.5 trillion healthcare market.
  • As healthcare costs keep rising for Americans, retailers see an opportunity to win patients over with convenience and lower prices. 
  • Here's how retailers like CVS Health, Walgreens, Walmart, and Kroger are bulking up their healthcare strategies. 
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

The $3.5 trillion healthcare industry is in flux.

As healthcare costs keep rising — leaving Americans on the hook for higher bills — retailers see an opportunity to win patients over with more convenient places to get care and/or lower prices. 

It's led to the lines around what constitutes a healthcare company being redrawn, with retail pharmacies like CVS Health acquiring insurers, and tech companies like Amazon getting into the pharmacy business, and major grocer Kroger investing more in keeping its shoppers healthy with the help of food. 

It's also happening at a time when those same retailers are competing to get customers to still come through their doors as more and more shopping moves online. One way to do that is to have customers come to the centers for check-ups, lab testing, or other health services. 

 Here's how retailers like CVS Health, Walgreens, Walmart, and Kroger are bulking up their healthcare strategies. 

Walmart is building new health clinics — and that's just the beginning.

Walmart is preparing to launch a massive push into healthcare, as the giant US retailer vies for a bigger slice of the $3.5 trillion US healthcare industry.

The retail giant plans to offer services such as primary care, counseling, home care, and dentistry, Sean Slovenski, Walmart's president of health and wellness, told Business Insider. Walmart is starting by opening "prototype" health centers in northern Georgia that could quickly make Walmart into the largest provider of basic healthcare in the region.

The goal, he said, is to do for healthcare what Walmart's supercenter stores did for retail: offer a breadth of services conveniently and at a much cheaper price point than rivals. For instance, a primary care visit costs $40, while a dental visit costs $25. 

Slovenski said the clinics are a big piece of the company's health strategy. 

"We see these as being a crown jewel of what we want to accomplish in the physical world, in the home, and in the virtual world as well," Slovenski said.

This isn't the first time Walmart's built out its retail clinics. Walmart, which has more than 5,000 retail locations in the US, has been eyeing healthcare for more than a decade and previously announced ambitious health plans. While the company had planned in the past to have as many as 2,000 clinics open, it currently has about 20 clinics over three states. 

Slovenski acknowledged Walmart's past missteps and said the current push was a top priority for the company's senior leadership, including US CEO Greg Foran and CEO Doug McMillon.

"Like a lot of the retailers, everyone's eyes were bigger than their stomach when they bellied up to the buffet," he said. "We finally got to the point this past year with the right strategy, the right team, and the right timing."

Read more: Walmart is opening health clinics, but that's just the start. We got the full story from the exec leading its push into the $3.5 trillion US healthcare industry.



CVS Health bought health insurer Aetna as part of its plan to make itself the place Americans go when they get sick.

In 2018, CVS acquired the health insurer Aetna, combining nearly 10,000 pharmacies, a drug-benefits business, and one of the biggest US health insurers. The result is an entirely new healthcare company that can wield a tremendous amount of power over how healthcare gets paid for and provided to people.

The $70 billion acquisition accelerated a reckoning for CVS over the purpose of its drug stores. As consumers increasingly shop online, they're coming into CVS stores less for things like milk, bread, and toilet paper. Instead, CVS wants consumers to think of the stores as a place for healthcare, where they can get their dry skin examined, or check-in about their diabetes.

It's now turning about 1,500 of its stores into HealthHubs, which can provide a broad array of health services. Through the HealthHubs, the plan is to help people manage more chronic diseases like diabetes, keeping them healthier and out of the hospital.

Read more: CVS wants to change where millions of Americans go when they get sick. Here's how it plans to get them in the door in the first place.

 



Kroger is betting it can keep you healthy by tracking your groceries and prescriptions.

In the past few years, Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the US, has restructured itself to bring its 2,200 pharmacies, 215 health clinics, and nutrition services all under the purview of Kroger Health President Colleen Lindholz.

Kroger's goal is to decrease the number of prescriptions dispensed in favor of promoting healthier lifestyles and food choices to grocery and pharmacy customers.

To do that, it's invested in technology that can track prescription and grocery-buying information. That way, it could nudge consumers toward healthier choices as well as give pharmacists a better look into patients' eating habits. 

Kroger is also looking to get paid by insurers. Health insurers already pay for dietician services, such as coaching, but Kroger wants them to cover a "food benefit," in the same way they cover a procedure or a pill. The hope is to have insurers pay for a box of healthy food to be shipped to a member's house.

Read more: America's largest supermarket chain is betting it can keep you healthy by tracking your groceries and prescriptions



Amazon's purchase of online pharmacy PillPack put the rest of the healthcare industry on notice.

Amazon in 2018 sent shockwaves through the healthcare industry when it said it was acquiring online pharmacy PillPack. PillPack mails prescriptions to people who take multiple medications, packaging them together based on dose. The company has pharmacies around the country that send out medications by mail.

Since then, Amazon hasn't let on much about how the pharmacy will fit into its overall health strategy.

That hasn't stopped others from going on the offensive. In June, healthcare giant CVS Health filed a lawsuit against a former employee hired by PillPack, in which CVS alleged that PillPack is competing with its services and coming after its clients.

Over the past year, PillPack has started to give hints of where it's business is heading with the support of Amazon. CNBC reported in May that a group of health insurers approached PillPack about providing its services to their customers, though no agreement has yet been reached.

And in August, PillPack waged a battle with health-data company Surescripts over access to the prescription history data that Surescripts collects, pressing the issue of how pharmacy data should be shared.

Read more: We just got the first look at how Amazon's $750 million acquisition of PillPack could upend the US healthcare system

 



Walgreens is leaning on partnerships and building out its health services in some locations.

In a bid to get more customers coming through its doors, Walgreens has been experimenting with putting different health services into its locations. Those include hearing screenings, eye exams, and lab tests in addition to the 9,560 pharmacies the company operates in the US. 

Walgreens has also been striking up partnerships with grocery stores, health plans, beauty subscription boxes, and tech giants Microsoft and Alphabet's life sciences arm Verily, with the hope of finding new ways to make use of the drugstore's footprint. For instance, in its partnership with Microsoft,  the two plan to test out health offerings, including 12 pilot "digital health corners" in stores.

The partnerships strategy has drawn skepticism from investors, however, because they fall short of the big transactions pursued by the company's rivals and are slow to add profits to the company's bottom line.

Read more: Take a look inside Walgreens' futuristic store where it's plotting new ways to take on Amazon and CVS



Best Buy + GreatCall

Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy raised eyebrows in 2018 when it bought emergency device healthcare company GreatCall for $800 million. Since then, it's gone on to acquire Critical Signal Technologies, a health services company, for $125 million. 

"Our focus is to enable seniors to live longer in their homes and help reduce their health care costs," Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly said on a May quarterly earnings call. "We believe that the combination of technology and our human touch provided through the ability to access and engage people in their homes is a highly relevant and differentiated proposition."

It remains to be seen just how far the company's health ambitions go, but for now it seems centered on helping seniors age in their homes with the help of remote monitoring technology. 

Read more: Best Buy is acquiring health services company GreatCall for $800 million



'Hustlers' gave Jennifer Lopez the biggest live-action box office opening of her career with $33.2 million

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 11:07am

  • STXfilms' "Hustlers" had a huge opening at the domestic box office with a $33.2 million opening.
  • That's the best opening weekend ever for STXfilms and for a Jennifer Lopez live-action movie.
  • Meanwhile, Warner Bros./Amazon Studios' "The Goldfinch" only took in $2.6 million on its opening weekend. 
  • "The Goldfinch" had one of the worst openings by a major studio this year, made worse by the fact the movie was made for $45 million.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Jennifer Lopez is having a remarkable career resurgence, and the box office performance by "Hustlers" is the proof.

STXfilms' gritty true-life gangster movie about a group of former strippers who ripped off Wall Street businessmen by drugging them and then maxing out their credit cards had a big opening at the domestic box office this weekend with an estimated $33.2 million. (Warner Bros.' "It: Chapter 2" came in first place for a second-consecutive week with a $40.7 million weekend.)

The opening set multiple records, including:

But "Hustlers" didn't just have the support of J. Lo's fan base. The cast also included Constance Wu, Cardi B, Lizzo, and Lili Reinhart, who made it a can't-miss movie for their majority female fans as 67% of the opening weekend audience was female.

Read more: Jennifer Lopez is getting major Oscar buzz for her performance in "Hustlers" and it's fully deserved

The movie as a whole also earned its fair share of buzz. The movie has an 88% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes (71% audience score), and the Oscar buzz for Lopez' performance as the ring leader of the group has grown since it had its world premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last weekend.

For the five-year-old STXfilms it's a huge win. Since releasing the surprise box office hit "The Upside" in January, starring Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston, the studio had forgettable releases like "Poms" and "Uglydolls." The studio nabbed "Hustlers" when the movie's original distributor, Annapurna Pictures, dropped the title in 2018.

Read more: The director of "Hustlers" describes the 3-year struggle to make her gritty gangster movie, and not let it turn into "'Ocean's 8' with strippers"

However, things weren't all cheery at the multiplex this weekend. Warner Bros./Amazon Studios' adaptation of Donna Tartt's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Goldfinch" starring Ansel Elgort and Nicole Kidman was a complete dud its opening weekend. The $45 million-budgeted movie only brought in $870,000 on Friday and has an estimated $2.6 million for the weekend (it played on 2,542 screens).

That's one of the worst openings by a film from a major studio this year.

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6 people who use high-yield savings accounts to earn 200 times more on their money explain why they'd recommend it to anybody

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 10:45am

If your savings are sitting in an account earning less than 1% in interest, you're missing out. 

Dozens of banks, financial institutions, and even robo-advisers offer high-yield savings accounts with no fees, low minimum balances, and great earning potential. Storing your savings there can help them grow, while keeping them completely safe from investment risk.

Everyday people use high-yield savings accounts to keep track of separate savings goals, curb impulse spending, and grow their money safely.

Here's why six people say moving their money into a high-yield savings account was the right decision for them: 

Eric Rosenberg has three online savings accounts at different banks

Eric Rosenberg, a freelance writer and former bank manager, has three separate high-yield savings accounts to keep track of different savings goals, including one that specifically keeps money he needs for his property taxes and homeowners insurance

Notably, each of his online savings accounts — held at Charles Schwab, Ally, and Capital One — has low fees and high interest rates. They're also institutions he deems trustworthy.

"Your money is too important to ignore. And while moving funds to a new account at a new bank may seem like a hassle, opening an account with an online bank is painless in most cases," Rosenberg says.

 



Elizabeth Aldrich earned over $250 in interest on her balance in just eight months

For years, traveling writer Elizabeth Aldrich kept her emergency fund at a local credit union earning just 0.05% in interest annually, which translated to about $0.54 a month.

To earn more on her savings, Aldrich decided to transfer her $13,000 balance to Ally when it was offering an APY of 2.20%. Over the next several months, she put an additional $16,250 in the account. Eight months later, she earned what amounted to an extra $268.83 in interest.

Aldrich now says six of her 10 bank accounts are high-yield savings accounts.

"My high-yield savings accounts have helped me curb overspending and funnel that additional money toward the things that really matter in life," she writes.



Sarah Li Cain says a high-yield savings account allows her to access money she needs at a moment's notice

When Sarah Li Cain, a freelance writer and podcast host, and her husband were deciding where to save for a down payment, they ultimately chose a high-yield savings account over a certificate of deposit (CD). 

After some research, they went with Ally's online savings account, which allowed them to contribute extra money at any time, offered a high interest rate, and ensured their money was accessible at a moment's notice. 

"I'm happy we went with a high-interest savings account because it meant I could earn a bit of interest while keeping our money close," she writes. "I also felt great knowing we could pounce on a deal once our dream home came on the market — and when it did, we pounced as planned."

 

 



Brynne Conroy opened a high-yield savings account to earn more on her money without risking it in investments

Brynne Conroy, a personal-finance blogger, utilized a high-yield savings account when she was working toward the goal of buying a house.

She wanted to grow her money quickly, and most importantly safely. The money in her savings account at Barclays wasn't exposed to risk from the markets, nor was it too easily accessible to be tapped for her own impulse spending.

While Conroy acknowledged the potential downsides of her high-yield savings account — interest is taxed and money takes a few days to transfer to her primary bank — she ultimately found them to be minimal compared to the benefits.

"I don't mind an extra 1099, and being rewarded with a higher APY in exchange for the accessibility of funds in moments of temptation is just too sweet a deal to pass by," she writes.

 

 

 



Melanie Lockert is self-employed and found peace of mind in keeping her savings accounts separate

Melanie Lockert, a self-employed writer and entrepreneur, says online savings accounts are the best way for her to keep track of the money she sets aside for taxes, vacations, sick days, and emergencies.

To take it a step further, Lockert set up automatic transfers so the accounts fund themselves.

"Being clear and specific with my savings goals has transformed my financial life for the better," she writes. "I am more clear, focused, confident, and know exactly how each dollar is used. Not only that, but it has given me peace of mind to know that I have money in the bank and that I'm prepared for a variety of situations."



Anna Baluch and her husband combined their savings in a high-yield account, potentially earning hundreds of dollars a year

Freelance writer Anna Baluch ditched her bank when she got married and combined her savings with her husband in a high-yield account. 

"If we had stayed with either our premarriage savings accounts, $20,000 in savings would have made only $2 to $6 in interest," she wrote. "Now we can enjoy an estimated interest earnings of $440 with our Ally Bank online savings account. Just like most people, we work hard for our money, so there's no reason to have it sit in a savings account that essentially does nothing for us."

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THE RISE OF BANKING-AS-A-SERVICE: The most innovative banks are taking advantage of disruption by inventing a new revenue stream — here's how incumbents can follow suit

Sun, 09/15/2019 - 10:02am

Fintechs are encroaching on incumbents' share in the banking game, forcing them to explore new business models — but tech-savvy legacy banks can treat this as an opportunity rather than a threat by moving into the Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) space.

BaaS platforms enable fintechs and other third parties to connect with banks' systems via APIs to build banking offerings on top of the providers' regulated infrastructure. This means banks that launch BaaS platforms can actually benefit from fintechs entering the finance space, as it turns fintechs into customers rather than just competitors. Other benefits from launching a BaaS platform include being able to monetize such platforms, establishing strong relationships with fintechs, getting ahead of the curve in terms of open banking, and accumulating additional data from third parties.

In The Rise of Banking-as-a-Service, Business Insider Intelligence looks at the benefits banks stand to gain by offering BaaS platforms, discusses key players in the industry that have already successfully launched BaaS platforms, and recommends strategies for FIs looking to move into BaaS.

The companies mentioned in this report are: BBVA, Clearbank, 11:FS Foundry, Starling.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Offering BaaS also allows banks to unlock the opportunity presented by open banking, which is becoming a vital part of the financial services industry.
  • There are two key types of players — BaaS-focused fintechs and BaaS providers with a retail banking arm — that banks will need to learn from and compete against in the BaaS space.
  • Banks that have embraced digital will have an easier time ensuring that their infrastructure and systems are suitable for third parties.
  • It's vital for incumbents to accurately assess third-party needs to create an in-demand portfolio of white-label BaaS products.

 In full, the report:

  • Outlines what BaaS is and how it relates to open banking. 
  • Highlights the benefits of launching a BaaS platform, including two different monetization strategies.
  • Explains what BaaS players are currently doing in the space, and outlines the services they offer.
  • Discusses what incumbent players can do in order to launch their own successful BaaS platform.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are three ways to access it:

  1. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now
  2. Subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
  3. Current subscribers can read the report here.

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