News Feeds

Protecting Bananas through #Biotechnology in #Africa - @wandieville

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 9:33am  |  Timbuktu Chronicles
From Wandieville:
Dr. Priver Namanya, Senior Research Officer, National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO). A research institution contributing to food security in Uganda using conventional breeding methods and genetic engineering to develop disease-resistant crop varieties with enhanced nutritional value. Speaking in a session during the Science Stories Africa event, Dr. Priver speaks on the implication of Banana diseases. She shares her personal struggles and challenges during the National Banana Research Program. She encourages young scientists and researchers to remain resilient during projects.

THE PAYMENTS FORECAST BOOK 2019: 22 forecasts of the global payments industry’s most impactful trends — and what's driving them

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 11:02pm  |  Clusterstock

As cash usage declines slowly worldwide, the digital payments ecosystem is swelling around the globe: Noncash transactions are poised to exceed 1 trillion for the first time in 2023, driven by increased card penetration, wider access to mobile phones, and more access to payments infrastructure.

In emerging markets, these changes will be driven by Asia, which remains at the helm of digital transformation in payments as customers in major markets like China, India, and Southeast Asia flock to wallets like Alipay and Paytm and super-apps like WeChat and Grab in lieu of cash and cards for their payments, both online and in-store.

Change looks different in mature markets like the US, where the overall expansion of the digital payments market will remain more tempered, but mobile's impact will surge as customers move from PCs to mobile and other emerging connected devices for their online shopping, and replace small-dollar cash P2P transactions with mobile apps like Venmo and Zelle. For providers looking to make inroads in the space, understanding the dynamics of these changes will be key to growth.

In the 2019 edition of the Payments Forecast Book, Business Insider Intelligence will forecast growth in the major sectors of the payments ecosystem worldwide, with a particular look at the US market.

The forecast book, presented as a slide deck, highlights change by region in areas like noncash transactions, e-commerce, card adoption, and terminal penetration, and examines key areas of change, including contactless transactions, fraud, and mobile payments. Within each category, it provides insight into what the market will look like in 2024 and identifies key factors that will accelerate and inhibit growth.

The companies mentioned in this report are: Affirm, Alibaba, Amazon, Clover, Discover, Google, Grab, iZettle, NACHA, Klarna, Mastercard, PayPal, Square, Starbucks, The Clearing House, Venmo, Visa, Verifone, Zelle,

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Globally, noncash transactions will exceed 1 trillion in 2024, driven by growth in APAC, which will comprise 40% of transactions by 2024.
  • Card adoption will grow rapidly in markets like Latin America and the Middle East to 2024, but stagnate in sub-Saharan Africa, where customers largely transact through nonbank methods.
  • US retail spending will grow modestly, but e-commerce will nearly double its share of total retail sales by 2024 as customers do more everyday shopping online.
  • Card payments will tick up as US customers continue to abandon cash, but mobile will remain the brightest growth driver, coming to comprise 44% of the $1.9 trillion in e-commerce and 68% of the $760 billion in P2P payments in 2024.

In full, the report:

  • Identifies big-picture trends moving the needle in the payments ecosystem both globally and in the US.
  • Forecasts growth in key sectors, including noncash transactions, card and terminal penetration, fraud, e-commerce, and mobile payments, through 2024.
  • Discusses what the global payments market will look like in 2024, and how that differs from the present.
  • Highlights key growth engines and inhibitors that will drive change between now and 2024.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two 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

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you've given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of the fast-moving world of digital payments.

Join the conversation about this story »

International money transfers hit $613 billion this year — here's what young, tech savvy users value most about them

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 9:03pm  |  Clusterstock

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here. Current subscribers can read the report here.

Remittances, or cross-border peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfers, hit a record high of $613 billion globally in 2017, following a two-year decline.  And the remittance industry will continue to grow, driven largely by digital services.

Several factors will fuel digital growth globally, such as increased smartphone penetration, greater demand for digital transactions, and an overall need for faster cross-border transfers. And with the shift to digital comes an audience of younger, digital-savvy customers using remittances — a segment that companies are looking to target.

As a result, the global remittance industry is becoming increasingly competitive for firms to navigate, with incumbents like Western Union and MoneyGram competing for the same pool of customers as digital upstarts like WorldRemit and Remitly. And in order to win, companies across the board will need to prioritize the four areas consumers value most in remittances: cost, convenience, speed, and safety.  

In The Digital Remittances Report, Business Insider Intelligence will identify what young, digitally savvy users value in remittances. We will also detail the concrete steps that legacy and digital providers can take to effectively capture this opportunity and monetize digital offerings — the primary growth driver — to emerge at or maintain their presence at the forefront of the space. 

The companies mentioned in the report are: MoneyGram, Remitly, Ria, Western Union, WorldRemit, TransferWise, and Xoom, among others.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • The global remittance industry recovered from a two-year decline in 2017 to reach a record $613 billion in transfer volume. That growth will continue and will be fueled by digital remittances, which Business Insider Intelligence expects to grow at a 23% CAGR from $225 billion in 2018 to $387 billion in 2023.
  • There’s a new segment of customers that both legacy and digital firms are competing to grab share of. Young, digital-savvy consumers are the customer segment that all firms are vying to reach, which is creating a highly competitive dynamic. The needs of those consumers will precipitate transformational change in the industry.
  • We’ve identified several tangible steps firms can take to improve in four key areas — cost, convenience, speed, and security — to not only attract but also maintain this customer segment to align with their preferences and ultimately win in the space.

 In full, the report:

  • Outlines the global remittance landscape and sizes the opportunity that the industry presents. 
  • Identifies the new audience for remittances and future drivers of the remittance space going forward. 
  • Discusses four key areas that providers can focus on — cost, convenience, speed, and security — to improve offerings and ultimately capture that shifting audience. 
To get this report, subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to: This report and more than 275 other expertly researched reports Access to all future reports and daily newsletters Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry And more! Learn More

Or, purchase & download The Digital Remittances Report directly from our research store

SEE ALSO: These were the biggest developments in the global fintech ecosystem over the last 12 months

Join the conversation about this story »

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.

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 6:02pm  |  Clusterstock

  • WeWork is hiring at least 50 people in Edison, New Jersey, to work at a new 200,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, according to job postings.
  • The jobs appear aimed at creating a manufacturing operation from the ground up, including roles in technical operations, supply chain management, quality assurance, human resources, and finance. 
  • In a departure from its focus on technology, the company will make modular glass and aluminum systems.
  • WeWork has been preparing to go public, which turned into a rocky process as the company's lofty valuation and corporate governance comes under fire. 
  • For more WeWork stories, click here. 

WeWork has already expanded its business lines from managing trendy workspaces for entrepreneurs to overseeing co-living facilities, a school, gyms, and more.

Now, the company is gearing up to be a manufacturer of the actual glass and aluminum parts used in its signature interiors, with a 200,000-square-foot facility located 35 miles from its New York City headquarters.

The company is seeking to hire at least 50 people to work in roles ranging from furnace operator to manufacturing director in Edison, New Jersey, per recent job postings on LinkedIn. The new hires will work in a new facility with "state-of-the-art" equipment, per the job postings. The company's design aesthetic relies heavily on glass and aluminum to partition rooms.

Moving into manufacturing represents a big pivot from WeWork's positioning as a tech company that does real estate. The manufacturing plant build-out comes as WeWork parent The We Company prepares to go public, a rocky process that's seen questions about the company's leadership, conflicts of interest, and basic business model.

The company has been trying to pivot to partnerships with landlords over signing traditional long-term leases, and has also flagged helping other companies design office spaces as a potential way to help narrow wide losses. 

See more: WeWork lays out its path to profitability – and most of its options involve slowing its breakneck growth

WeWork's spokeswoman declined to comment, citing the company's quiet period ahead of its initial public offering.

The company's pre-IPO filing last month flagged its drive to reduce costs by "vertical integration" – doing more in house: 

"Over the past several years, we have been able to achieve efficiencies in our capital expenditures through a combination of greater economies of scale resulting from the increasing size of our global network, vertical integration of our design and construction process and increased use of technology."

A handful of major real estate developers have tried to better control their supply chain and cut costs through owning manufacturing plants. Related Companies, which is developing the New York neighborhood Hudson Yards, built a wall manufacturer in Linwood, Pennsylvania.

The practice is rare for flexible office providers like WeWork, which has taken a more asset-intensive approach to its business than its peers. Seeking to own buildings rather than lease them, the company started raising a private equity real estate fund in 2017, eventually wrapping the fund into an investment platform called ARK this spring. 

The CEO of Knotel, a flexible office provider that raised $400 million last month at a $1.3 billion valuation, said WeWork's move into manufacturing was unusual. Amol Sarva told Business Insider that "if you're in traditional real estate, it makes sense." A developer like Related, for example, can make its supply chain more efficient by owning a plant and overseeing production instead of buying materials. 

See more: Mutual funds like Fidelity's famed Contrafund have slashed valuations on their WeWork stakes

Sarva said he's focused on innovating in other parts of the design and construction business, which he said is ripe for a shakeup overall.

"Every part of the office business has been untouched by time," he said.

But instead of changing the manufacturing process like WeWork's trying to do, Sarva said he's focused on reducing the amount of waste generated by office build-outs. 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Nxivm leader Keith Raniere has been convicted. Here's what happened inside his sex-slave ring that recruited actresses and two billionaire heiresses.

This is how insurance is changing for gig workers and freelancers

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 6:01pm  |  Clusterstock

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

The gig economy is becoming a core element of the labor market, pushed to the fore by platforms like Uber and Airbnb. Gig economy workers are freelancers, such as journalists who don’t work for one publication directly, freelance developers, drivers on platforms like Uber and Grab, and consumers who rent out their apartments via Airbnb or other home-sharing sites.

Gig economy workers are not employed by these platforms, and therefore typically don't receive conventional employee perks, such as insurance or retirement options. This has created a lucrative opportunity to provide tailored insurance policies for the gig economy. 

A number of insurtech startups — including UK-based Dinghy, which focuses on liability insurance, and US-based Slice, which provides on-demand insurance for a range of areas — have moved to capitalize on this new segment of the labor market. These companies have been busy finding new ways to personalize insurance products by incorporating emerging technologies, including AI and chatbots, to target the gig economy.

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence examines how insurtechs have begun addressing the gig economy, the kinds of policies they are offering, and how incumbents can tap the market themselves. We have opted to focus on three areas of insurance particularly relevant to the gig economy: vehicle insurance, home insurance, and equipment and liability insurance.

While every consumer needs health insurance, there are already a number of insurtechs and incumbent insurers that offer policies for individuals. However, when it comes to insuring work equipment or other utilities for freelancers, it's much more difficult to find suitable coverage. As such, this is the gap in the market where we see the most opportunity to deploy new products.

The companies mentioned in this report are: Airbnb, Deliveroo, Dinghy, Grab, Progressive, Slice, Uber, Urban Jungle, and Zego.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • By 2027, the majority of the US workforce will work as freelancers, per Upwork and Freelancer Union, though not all of these workers will take part in the gig economy full time.
  • By personalizing policies for gig economy workers, insurtechs have been able to tap this opportunity early. 
  • A number of other insurtechs, including Slice and UK-based Zego, offer temporary vehicle insurance, which users can switch on and off, depending on when they are working.
  • Slice has also developed a new insurance model that combines traditional home insurance with business coverage for temporary use.
  • Other freelancers like photojournalists need insurance for their camera, for example, a coverage area that Dinghy has tackled.
  • Incumbent insurers have a huge opportunity to leverage their reach and well-known brands to pull in the gig economy and secure a share of this growing segment — and partnering with startups might be the best approach.

 In full, the report:

  • Details what the gig economy landscape looks like in different markets.
  • Explains how different insurtechs are tackling the gig economy with new personalized policies.
  • Highlights possible pain points for incumbents when trying to enter this market.
  • Discusses how incumbents can get a piece of the pie by partnering with startups.
Get the insurtech and the gig economy

 

SEE ALSO: These were the biggest developments in the global fintech ecosystem over the last 12 months

Join the conversation about this story »

Take a look inside the 100-square-mile Texas ranch that T. Boone Pickens, the oil magnate who just died at 91, listed for $250 million in 2017

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 5:44pm  |  Clusterstock

T. Boone Pickens, a famous oil prospector, hedge fund founder, and philanthropist, passed away on September 11 at age 91.

Pickens had a long, successful career in business. He founded the oil and gas company Mesa Petroleum and the hedge fund BP Capital Management.

Read more: T. Boone Pickens, the 'Oracle of Oil,' Republican donor, and billionaire philanthropist, dies at 91

In 2017, he made headlines for listing his 100-square-mile ranch in the Texas Panhandle, northeast of Amarillo, for a whopping $250 million. 

Keep reading for a look inside.

SEE ALSO: A private island 60 miles outside of Manhattan just hit the market for less than $1 million, and it comes with a 4-bedroom home — take a look inside the property.

DON'T MISS: Bruce Willis' Turks and Caicos compound just sold at a 20% price cut — and even with the price cut, it's still the second-most expensive home sale in the country's history

When Pickens first bought about 2,900 acres of land here in 1971, the only structure was a corrugated metal house that he used to stay warm during days of hunting quail.

Source: Hall & Hall, Mesa Vista Ranch



Since then, the ranch has increased by 22 times its original size and now covers some 64,800 acres.

Source: Hall & Hall



Additionally, there are now a number of different structures: the 12,000-square-foot lake house; the 33,000-square-foot lodge; the 6,000-square-foot family house; the 1,700-square-foot gatehouse; the 1,600-square-foot pub; and the 11,000-square-foot kennel.

Source: Hall & Hall



Pickens' childhood home even sits on the property. It was moved there from Oklahoma in 2008.

Source: Wall Street Journal



There are roughly 12 miles of water in the form of man-made waterfalls, creeks, and lakes.

Source: Hall & Hall



In 2014, Pickens married his fifth wife — the couple later divorced — in a chapel on the premises.

Source: The Wall Street Journal



The front door of the lake house used to be situated on Bing Crosby's house. It's a metal door with stained glass.

Source: Hall & Hall



The Lake House has 3,800 square feet of patios and 11,500 square feet of living space.

Source: Hall & Hall



The ranch has its own FAA-approved airport. The hangar has a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment upstairs, which is meant to be for pilots.

Source: Hall & Hall



There is even a home theater that seats 30 people.

Source: Hall & Hall



All of the furnishings, farming equipment, pick-up trucks, and hunting gear are included in the purchase price.

Source: Hall & Hall



However, Pickens' personal art collection, according to the listing website, as well as other personal effects, are not included in the purchase.

Pickens reportedly owned pieces from artists N.C. Wyeth and Charles M. Russell, as well as an oil painting of his late dog, Papillon, that hangs in the master bedroom of the Lake House. 



The buyer will also get 40 bird dogs. Pickens was a seasoned quail hunter, but according to the Wall Street Journal, he planned to leave the dogs behind because he didn't have the space for them.

Source: The Wall Street Journal



The dogs can be housed in the 11,000-square-foot kennel on the property, which boasts a veterinary lab, an office, a meat-processing center, and an exercise area.

Source: The Wall Street Journal



There's also a single-story structure where ammunition, hunting gear, rifles, and shotguns are stored.

Source: The Wall Street Journal



Mesa Vista Ranch is one of the most expensive properties available on the US market.

Source: CNBC



Amex Platinum vs Amex Gold: Which rewards credit card is better for you?

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 5:38pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Both the Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card offer valuable rewards on purchases, along with large welcome bonuses and useful benefits.
  • Both cards also have a few annual statement credits that can offset their annual fees.
  • Given the similarities, we've laid out the differences to help you pick the best card for you.

American Express refreshed and relaunched its Gold Card in late 2018, giving it new benefits and rewards — many of which are dining-focused — in an effort to make it a stronger competitor in an increasingly crowded credit card market.

That relaunch followed a refresh of the Amex Platinum Card, which also brought improvements and new benefits like 5x point earnings on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex.

What's the difference between the Amex Gold and the Amex Platinum?

Both cards have tangible benefits like annual statement credits that make up for the annual fee, but there are some pretty significant differences between them. The Amex Platinum is the more premium of the two cards — it has a $550 annual fee compared to a $250 annual fee for the Amex Gold. The Platinum Card offers more luxury travel benefits, like airport lounge access and monthly statement credits for Uber, while the Amex Gold's perks and bonus categories are more geared toward dining.

Read on to learn more about the Amex Gold and Amex Platinum and to see which is better for you.

Click here to learn more about the American Express Platinum Card from Business Insider's partner The Points Guy. Click here to learn more about the American Express Gold Card from Business Insider's partner The Points Guy.

More credit card coverage

DON'T MISS: The best American Express cards

Amex Platinum vs Amex Gold: Bonus categories

The Platinum Card

The Amex Platinum Card earns a massive 5 points per dollar spent on airfare, as long as you book directly with the airline or through Amex Travel, and on prepaid hotel stays booked through Amex Travel. It earns 1 point per dollar on everything else.

Travel website (and Business Insider e-commerce partner) The Points Guy subjectively values Amex Membership Rewards points at 2¢ each, so that means a whopping 10% of value back on the bonus categories.

While other credit cards offer a wider array of bonus categories, 5x points is a fantastic earning rate, and if you book your own travel frequently, the points will add up quickly.

The Gold Card

The Amex Gold Card offers 4 points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide, 4x points back at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year — 1 point per dollar for anything beyond that), and 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex travel. It earns 1x point on everything else.

The Amex Gold Card's restaurant category is broad — I've gotten the category bonus at restaurants, bars, pubs, and cafes. The supermarket category excludes big-box stores where you might buy groceries, like Target or Walmart, but includes most dedicated US supermarkets.

Using The Points Guy's valuations, you get a huge 8% of value back on those two top bonus categories from the Gold Card. This makes it one of the best available cards for dining



Both cards have annual fees, but thanks to a few statement credit benefits, the effective fees are lower than you might think.

The Platinum Card

The Platinum Card has one of the highest annual fees you'll find in a mainstream charge or credit card — $550. However, the various annual statement credits the card offers bring the effective fee down to just $50.

The first is up to a $200 airline fee credit each calendar year. Every January, you pick one airline for that credit to apply toward. While the credit doesn't cover tickets, it covers incidental fees like checked bags, seat assignments on basic economy tickets, change fees, and more. 

Second, you can get up to $200 in Uber credits each cardmember year, which is broken down into monthly chunks. Each month, cardholders receive $15 of credits to use on Uber rides or for Uber Eats. In December, that's boosted to $35.

Finally, you can get up to $100 in shopping credits each year at Saks stores, broken into two chunks: You'll get up to $50 during the first six months of the year, and another $50 during the second.

Since the airline fee credit is given each calendar year, you can actually collect it twice if you open your card mid-year and maximize the credit before and after January of that first cardmember year.

That would mean you're not just making up for the annual fee, you're actually getting more value than the fee in the first place. That's without even considering the other benefits and rewards.

The Gold Card

The Amex Gold Card's $250 annual fee puts it squarely in the mid-tier category, although one could make an argument that it's really a premium card with a lower-than-premium fee.

Thanks to two annual statement credits, the effective fee is just $30 — as long as you maximize them.

The first is up to $120 each year in dining credits, broken into monthly $10 portions. These credits only apply to a few participating chain restaurants — specifically Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, and some Shake Shack locations — but they also apply to popular food ordering services GrubHub and Seamless. The credits apply automatically to any qualifying purchase.

The Amex Gold also offers up to $100 in airline fee credits each calendar year. This works just like the Platinum Card's credit, meaning it's possible to earn it more than once each cardmember year.



Both cards have a new member bonus, although the Platinum Card's is higher.

Since both cards are part of the Amex Membership Rewards program, it's easy to compare the welcome bonuses directly.

Platinum Card

The Platinum Card has a welcome offer of 60,000 Amex Membership Rewards points when you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months. Using The Points Guy's subjective valuations, that's worth about $1,200.

The Gold Card

The Gold Card's welcome bonus is 35,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months. That's worth about $700, based on The Points Guy's valuations.

Click here to learn more about, or apply for, the American Express Platinum Card from Business Insider's partner The Points Guy. Click here to learn more about, or apply for, the American Express Gold Card from Business Insider's partner The Points Guy.



Both cards earn Membership Rewards points, which you can pool between your Amex cards.

Amex offers a few ways to use Membership Rewards points.

However, redeeming for anything aside from travel offers a poor value, usually 0.5-0.8¢ each, and is generally a poor use of points.

You can get a slightly better value by booking flights through Amex Travel, either online or by phone. Points are worth 1¢ each toward flights, but if you book a hotel or anything else, you'll only get 0.7¢ per point.

Another option is to use points to bid for upgrades on a flight. You'll only get 1¢ per point, but it can be a decent redemption if you want to try for an upgrade but don't want to pay cash.

The best use and value — potentially — is to transfer points to airline frequent flyer partners and book flights that way. You might be able to get a dramatically higher value for points this way.

That's because booking frequent flyer "award tickets" is different than buying reservations outright — you can read more about how it works here. In most cases, the cash price and the miles price of a ticket aren't linked, so it's possible to get exponentially increased value from your points by transferring them and booking an award ticket instead.

That means potentially being able to fly long-haul in first or business class with points, among other things.

For example, my wife and I recently flew first class to Japan and back by transferring credit card points to Virgin Atlantic, then booking flights on Virgin's partner airline All Nippon Airways. You can read about exactly how we booked the flights here.

The only catch is that you may need to search for saver availability — which are lower-priced award tickets. This can be tricky, but there are a ton of helpful guides online. Once you have a flight in mind, if you're having trouble figuring out how best to use your points, just do a Google search for that specific trip.

Amex's partners include: Aer Lingus, AeroMexico, Air Canada, Air France/KLM, Alitalia, ANA, Cathay Pacific, Avianca, British Airways, Delta, El Al, Emirates, Etihad, Iberia, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic, as well as Choice Hotels, Hilton, and Marriott.

Click here to learn more about, or apply for, the American Express Platinum Card from Business Insider's partner The Points Guy. Click here to learn more about, or apply for, the American Express Gold Card from Business Insider's partner The Points Guy.



The cards come with a few other benefits and perks, too, although the Platinum Card's are more substantial

The Platinum Card

Added benefits is where the Platinum Card really shines.

One of the flagship perks is access to more than 1,200 airport lounges around the world.

The Platinum Card's lounge access is more extensive than anything offered by any other card. When you have the card, you can use Delta Sky Clubs whenever you fly the airline, Amex's own proprietary Centurion Lounges, and any airport lounge that participates in the Priority Pass network. You can also use any of 11 international Amex-branded lounges, and a handful of other random lounges, including ones that fall under the Plaza Premium, Air Space, and Escapes brands — these number more than 50.

The Gold Card

While the Gold Card doesn't have nearly as many flashy perks as the Platinum Card, it still has a few benefits worth keeping in mind.

  • Secondary rental car insurance
  • Roadside assistance
  • Various purchase and shopping protections
  • Baggage loss and damage coverage
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership (it works like Amazon Prime in a lot of ways, at other retailers).



Bottom line

No matter which card you choose, both the American Express Platinum Card and the American Express Gold Card offer valuable rewards. Plus, both cards have benefits and rewards that significantly offset their annual fees, as long as you make the most of them.

However, if you're interested in a larger welcome bonus, or benefits on top of the rewards, the Platinum Card might be the best choice.

Click here to learn more about, or apply for, the American Express Platinum Card from Business Insider's partner The Points Guy. Click here to learn more about, or apply for, the American Express Gold Card from Business Insider's partner The Points Guy.



21 of the most expensive watches worn by the world's top athletes, including Rafael Nadal's virtually indestructible $725,000 timepiece

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 5:26pm  |  Clusterstock

Expensive Swiss mechanical watches don't have much practical use on the field, court, or track, though it's not uncommon to see the world's biggest athletes wearing high-end, luxury timepieces during their events.

Rafael Nadal won his 19th Grand Slam title at the US Open on September 8, putting him right behind Roger Federer's record 20 Grand Slam titles. That kind of athletic prowess is a marketing tool. Watch brands are eager to sponsor elite athletes, from tennis champions like Nadal and Federer to fighters like Floyd Mayweather, not for their horological expertise but for their aura — which sells.

Read more: Rafael Nadal and Odell Beckham Jr. may play in their stupidly expensive watches, but that doesn't mean you should too

When Nadal won his latest Grand Slam title, he was wearing his famed Richard Mille timepiece, which retails for roughly $725,000.

We got a helping hand from the experts at Crown & Caliber to determine the makes and models of 21 timepieces worn by the world's top athletes. They are listed here in ascending order of price.

SEE ALSO: How Rafael Nadal spends his fortune

DON'T MISS: There are 3 key questions you should ask before buying a vintage watch, according to a Christie's luxury watch specialist

Neymar — Gaga Milano, $2,100.

Instagram Embed:
http://instagram.com/p/BRD4K9dDSyD/embed/
Width: 658px

Neymar's love of watches is well documented, with a 2017 trip to a Gaga Milano store ending in a $180,000 purchase and an endorsement deal.

Despite his own line of timepieces being on the lower end of the luxury watch bracket, it looks as though he has some special editions worth much more in his collection. 

Price according to Gaga Milano.



Andy Murray — Rado Hyperchrome XXL, $3,475.

When Andy Murray won his first Wimbledon Championship in 2013, he was a Rado brand ambassador, and as soon as he won, he reportedly hurried to slap on his Rado Hyperchrome.

He put it on so quickly he didn't notice that it was seven hours out. He has since dropped Rado as a sponsor and instead works with brands such as Jaguar and Under Armour.

Price according to the Daily Mirror.



David Beckham— Tudor Black Bay Chrono, $5,100.

Instagram Embed:
http://instagram.com/p/Bbmd60tgyMW/embed/
Width: 658px

David Beckham is one of the major sponsors for Tudor's Born to Dare campaign and is often seen wearing one of the brand's highly popular watches.

Beckham sits alongside other high-profile ambassadors of Tudor such as Lady Gaga and the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team.

Price according to Tudor.



Tom Brady — TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 01, $5,450.

Six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady partnered with Tag Heuer in 2015.

"His jaw is famous. His hair is famous. His right arm is famous. Now his left wrist is, too," Alex Williams wrote for The New York Times that year.

In 2017, Tag Heuer released a special edition Tom Brady chronograph, which retailed at $5,600.

Price according to Tag Heuer.



Rory McIlroy — Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch, $6,350.

Instagram Embed:
http://instagram.com/p/BTrfeV8jXsO/embed/
Width: 658px

Rory McIlroy seems to be very happy with his partnership with Omega, according to his Instagram. He must have a pretty big collection of them by now, as not only will Omega gift him certain watches (see clip above), but he is also given a new timepiece when he wins certain golf tournaments.

Price according to Omega.



Tiger Woods — Rolex Sea Dweller, $11,350.

Tiger Woods made a ridiculous comeback to the zenith of golf and Rolex is breathing a sigh of relief, as they bet big on the golf star's return to the top when many brands were dropping him from their rosters

"Tiger Woods still has a long career ahead of him, and […] has all the qualities required to continue to mark the history of golf," the company said in 2011 when they announced the sponsorship deal.

It looks like their investment is finally paying dividends.

Price according to Rolex.



Roger Federer — Rolex Sky-Dweller in stainless steel, $14,400.

Roger Federer is one of Rolex's best-known ambassadors, and you won't see him lifting a trophy without one of the luxury watches on his wrist, each of them hand-picked to match the tournament.

At the Australian Open in January 2017, Federer lifted an impossible-to-find Rolex Sky-Dweller in stainless steel along with the trophy.

The Sky-Dweller is the most complicated watch that Rolex makes, according to Hodinkee

While this watch was probably provided for him by Rolex, Federer wouldn't have much of an issue buying it, as he was the highest-paid tennis player of 2019, according to Forbes.

Price according to Rolex.



Cristiano Ronaldo — Tag Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T, $24,500.

Instagram Embed:
http://instagram.com/p/BYdDyOCla7E/embed/
Width: 658px

Cristano Ronaldo is the second highest-paid athlete in the world according to Forbes, and a lot of that money comes from his numerous endorsements, one of which is Tag Heuer.

While it's a mystery exactly which and how many watches he owns, above he's wearing the Tag Heuer CARRERA Heuer-02T. The price of his exact model is unknown as it is listed as "unique," but the most closely related timepiece retails for $24,500.

Price according to Tag Heuer.



Phil Mickelson — Rolex Yachtmaster 40, $26,200.

Instagram Embed:
http://instagram.com/p/-bS4kDmA43/embed/
Width: 658px

To go along with his three green jackets, golfer Phil Mickelson has a sponsorship deal with Rolex and has been seen wearing various models. Here, he is proudly showing off a Yachtmaster 40, which comes with Rolex's patented Oysterflex bracelet and is made from rose gold.

Price according to Rolex.



Lewis Hamilton — IWC Big Pilot Special Edition, $33,300.

Lewis Hamilton and the entire Mercedes F1 team is sponsored by IWC. Therefore, Hamilton gets to wear a lot of rare and limited edition IWC watches.

The one pictured above is believed to be an IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar in yellow gold, but no price for this watch can be found publicly.

The 2019 version of the limited edition watch is valued at 33,000 Swiss Francs (or about $33,300).

Price according to Monochrome Watches.



Michael Jordan — IWC Big Pilot Platinum Limited Edition, $35,500.

In 2016, NBA legend Michael Jordan received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama — you may remember the memes.

What you may not remember, though, was Jordan's wristwear, which happened to be an IWC Big Pilot Platinum Limited Edition, ref. 5002-02, according to Hodinkee.

The limited edition timepiece was made in only 500 pieces, according to Watchfinder&Co., and was on sale from roughly 2003 to 2006.

Watchdetails projects that the retail price for this limited edition watch, if you can find it, falls around $35,500.



Elina Svitolina — Ulysse Nardin Marine Lady Chronometer, $35,800.

Elina Svitolina is one of the Ukraine's top tennis stars and is currently ranked number three in the world by the WTA. Since she has partnered up with Swiss brand Ulysse Nardin, she has been spotted wearing multiple models by them.

Here she is wearing the rose gold and diamond covered Marine Chronometer.

Price according to Ulysse Nardin.



Conor McGregor — Rolex Sky Dweller, $39,550.

Instagram Embed:
http://instagram.com/p/BWBBXiSg57U/embed/
Width: 658px

Conor McGregor is known for his massive displays of wealth and love of all things expensive. Here you can see him wearing a yellow gold Rolex Sky Dweller on a brown alligator strap.

While this is perfect for a man who is constantly in different time zones, McGregor is also known for having a varied collection.

Price according to Rolex.

Read more: Conor McGregor just claimed he's a billionaire in an Instagram post — but the numbers likely don't check out. Here's how the UFC fighter makes and spends his fortune, from Lamborghinis and yachts to outrageous designer suits



Usain Bolt — Hublot Big Bang UNICO, $39,900.

Instagram Embed:
http://instagram.com/p/BcFLYlxl1CL/embed/
Width: 658px

These were produced by Hublot at the start of the 2016 athletics season to commemorate Bolt's career and his final season on the track.

With a depiction of his silhouette doing his signature lightning pose in one of the subdials, the watch is truly one of a kind, just like Bolt himself.

Price according to Hublot.



LeBron James — Customized Audemars Royal Oak Offshore, $49,500.

James' Audemars Piguet is customized in 18k gold, but you can buy a similar regular version on Crown & Caliber for $49,500.



Stephen Curry — Santos de Cartier Skeleton, $63,500.

Cartier's new take on its classic caused quite a stir in the horological community when it was relaunched in April 2018, and it was largely agreed to be a stunning piece of design.

The price tag is unlikely to make much of a dent in the wallet of the Warriors star, though — his $40 million salary makes him the highest-earning player in the NBA.

Curry's elegant Santos is a refreshing break from the louder timepieces worn by his NBA colleagues, who tend to opt for Hublot Big Bangs, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshores, and garish Richard Milles.

Price according to Cartier.



Paul Pogba — Richard Mille RM 30 White Rush, $166,500.

Manchester United's Paul Pogba has a basic salary of £290,000 (roughly $357,512) a week, according to Goal.com, which goes some way to explaining how the French midfielder is able to afford a $166,500 timepiece.

It's even less surprising when you consider that Pogba signed a 10-year sponsorship deal with Adidas in 2016 worth about $44 million. 

Price according to Chrono24.



Anthony Joshua — Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Off-Shore, $431,375.

Tweet Embed:
https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/860601178970836992?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
Working Round The Clock ⏱ #AJBoxing pic.twitter.com/Yw1mnzUTrE

Joshua is quickly becoming one of the biggest names in UK and international sports.

Away from fighting, Joshua's company AJ Boxing and Commercial makes money through 12 sponsors, gym ownership, and an athlete management business.

One such sponsor is Audemars Piguet, who likely gifted him this watch, valued at about £350,000 (or $431,375) in 2017.

Price according to Business Insider.



Rafael Nadal — Richard Mille RM27-02, $725,000.

Nadal is a big ambassador for Richard Mille and one of the very few athletes on this list who wears their watch while competing.

His specially designed Richard Mille RM27-02 was made with top-of-the-line shock absorption technology for a mechanical watch with a design inspired by racing car chassis, making it virtually indestructible. There is also orange in the design to reflect the clay courts of Roland Garros, where Nadal has dominated for so many years.

Price according to Forbes.



Serena Williams — Audemars Piguet Diamond Outrage, $1.25 million.

Williams topped her male counterparts when she wore this ludicrously opulent Audemars Piguet Diamond Outrage to the Met Gala in 2017.

The truly absurd looking spiked bracelet watch is made of white gold and encrusted with 65 carats' worth of precious stones. The watch face itself is hidden beneath one of the spikes and is powered by a caliber 2701 quartz movement.

Williams has been sponsored by Audemars Piguet since 2014.

Price according to Forbes.



Floyd Mayweather — Jacob & Co. 'Billionaire Watch', $18 million.

Instagram Embed:
//instagram.com/p/BkiDdW-g0oi/embed
Width: 800px

The most expensive addition to Floyd "Money" Mayweather's vast watch collection is the $18 million Billionaire diamond tourbillon watch.

The Billionaire is set with 260 carats of emerald-cut diamonds, and even the bracelet is diamond-set.

Mayweather used the watch to insult rapper 50 Cent in a feud, saying in an Instagram post, "You're Not Supposed To Be Beefing With Me. You're Supposed To Be Beefing With My WATCH. Me And You Are Not On The Same Level!!!"

Price according to Forbes.

Russell Sheldrake contributed to an earlier version of this article.



The Sacklers tentatively agreed to pay $3 billion out of their pockets and dissolve Purdue Pharma to settle thousands of opioid lawsuits

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 5:17pm  |  Clusterstock

The Sacklers — one of America's most controversial families — have tentatively agreed to pay out of pocket to resolve thousands of lawsuits against the family business, OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma, according to The New York Times.

The tentative settlement requires the Sacklers to pay $3 billion of their own fortune in cash over the next seven years, The Times reported.

Purdue Pharma will likely file for bankruptcy and be split into separate companies, two people involved in the negotiations told The Times. A new company will continue to sell OxyContin, with all proceeds benefiting the plaintiffs. 

"Purdue Pharma continues to work with all plaintiffs on reaching a comprehensive resolution to its opioid litigation that will deliver billions of dollars and vital opioid overdose rescue medicines to communities across the country impacted by the opioid crisis," the company said in a statement emailed to Business Insider.

Read more: Non-profits, museums, and hedge funds: Here are the groups that have cut ties with the Sackler family over the opioid crisis

Purdue's accusers claim the company's misleading advertising helped ignite America's opioid crisis, Business Insider previously reported. Sales of OxyContin helped the family build a $13 billion fortune.

In the process leading up to the Sacklers' tentative $3 billion settlement, state attorneys general first asked the Sacklers to pay $4.5 billion, according to NPR. The family declined, and counter-offered a $3 billion payment, Purdue Pharma's head of corporate affairs and communications, Josephine Martin, told NPR September 9. The plaintiffs, however, "needed more security on the part of the Sacklers that the money they were pledging, they would in fact pay," North Carolina state attorney general Josh Stein said on NPR's "Morning Edition."

"Purdue Pharma believes a settlement that benefits the American public now is a far better path than years of wasteful litigation and appeals," Purdue Pharma said in a statement to The New York Times in August. "Those negotiations continue and we remain dedicated to a resolution that genuinely advances the public interest."

In addition to being 100% owners of Purdue Pharma, members of the Sackler family are also major philanthropists. As Business Insider's Katie Warren previously reported, there is a Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC; a Sackler Center at the Guggenheim in New York City; a Sackler Educational Lab at the American Museum of Natural History; and a Sackler Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. All of these institutions have come under fire due to their relationships with the Sacklers; several have pledged to stop accepting donations from the family.

SEE ALSO: The makers of OxyContin just settled 2,000 lawsuits on their role in the opioid crisis. Meet the Sacklers, who built their $13 billion fortune off the controversial prescription drug.

DON'T MISS: Meet Bernard and Lisa Selz, the wealthy New York City couple who has donated millions to the anti-vax movement

Join the conversation about this story »

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

5 reasons why signing up for a rewards credit card ahead of the holidays can help you save money and travel better

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 5:17pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Signing up for a new credit card probably isn't on your holiday to-do list, but it should be.
  • If you sign up for a credit card now, you can earn a sign-up bonus of points or miles in time for the holidays, and those rewards can help offset holiday travel expenses.
  • Credit cards like the Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve also offer statement credits that can cover some of your travel purchases. 
  • Benefits like TSA PreCheck and Global Entry can make your holiday travels more convenient.

When you think about preparing for the holidays, applying for a credit card probably isn't at the top of your to do list — but it should be. Here are a few reasons why signing up for a new credit card now could be a great step in your holiday planning.

Earn points and miles to offset holiday travel

According to travel website The Points Guy, the best time to book travel for Thanksgiving and Christmas is three to four weeks in advance — which means if you want to use credit card rewards to offset your holiday travel, now's the time to get started.

Credit card rewards can make a major dent in your holiday travel spending. For example, the 50,000-point sign-up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Reserve (which you can earn after spending $4,000 in the first three months) is worth up to $750 in travel booked through the Chase website – and if you use that on airfare, you'll also earn miles on your tickets.

Or you can transfer those points to an airline or hotel partner – for example, 50,000 points could get you two round-trip tickets within the United States on United Airlines, or if you already have Southwest Airlines points it could make sense to transfer points to Southwest's Rapid Rewards program to get enough for an award ticket with no blackout dates.

Some credit cards also offer companion certificates, which allow you to bring a second person along for just the cost of taxes and fees – an incredible deal, especially when airfares are high. The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card offers this benefit, as do the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express.

Read more: The best credit card sign-up offers available now

Use holiday purchases to meet minimum spend requirements

Nearly all credit cards that offer a welcome bonus or signup offer require that you spend a certain amount of money on purchases within the first three months of opening the card — typically between $3,000 and $5,000.

Between holiday travel, gifts, and parties, many people find that the holiday season comes with higher-than-usual expenses – so combined with your usual spending, that minimum spend requirement may be less daunting during the holidays.

Read more: You should apply for a new credit card before booking your vacation — but not for the reason you think

Take advantage of annual credits

Some credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige® Card, the Platinum Card® from American Express, and American Express® Gold Card come with annual credits to offset travel fees or other travel expenses. While the Chase Sapphire Reserve's credit is tied to your account anniversary, the other cards on this list offer the credit once per calendar year. That means if you sign up for the card now, you can receive the credit before the end of 2019, and then use it again starting in January. It's a great way to offset the high initial cost of these cards' annual fees.

This philosophy isn't restricted to travel, either: it also works for other time-restricted credits, like the Saks Fifth Avenue credit offered by the American Express Platinum and the Dell credit offered on the Business Platinum® Card from American Express.

Beat long lines at the airport or immigration by taking advantage of Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credits

Many credit cards will reimburse you for enrolling in the Global Entry and TSA PreCheck trusted traveler programs. TSA PreCheck allows you to skip long security lines at US airports, and go through an expedited lane where you don't have to take your shoes off or take anything out of your bags. This makes a huge difference in your travel experience, especially if you're traveling with family members.

If you ever travel internationally – and especially if you plan to go abroad during the holidays — Global Entry could be your new best friend. In addition to TSA PreCheck benefits, you also get access to expedited immigration and customs lines at US airports and land borders, as well as pre-clearance facilities in Canada, the Caribbean, Ireland, and Abu Dhabi. During the busy holiday travel season, you could easily spend over an hour in line at immigration — or you could sign up for Global Entry and be through in minutes.

Note that while children 12 years and younger can go through the TSA PreCheck lane as long as their parents have PreCheck, to use the Global Entry kiosks every person must be enrolled in Global Entry (including infants!). Fortunately, you can also use these credit card reimbursements to get your family members signed up for Global Entry.

Read more: 8 credit cards that will reimburse your Global Entry fee

Strategically time credit card applications to maximize benefits like the Southwest Companion Pass

The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the most amazing deals in travel: It allows you to designate one person who can travel with you on any Southwest ticket (whether you book it with cash or points) for just the cost of taxes and fees. To earn it, you have to accumulate 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year; one received, it's valid for the remainder of that calendar year and all of the following year.

What does this have to do with credit cards? Well, points earned from Southwest credit card sign-up bonuses count toward the 110,000 Rapid Rewards points required for the Companion Pass.

Chase offers three personal Southwest credit cards, and two business Southwest credit cards. If you were to open one personal card and one business card in November or December and make sure not to finish the minimum spending requirements until after January 1, you could receive enough points in January to receive a Companion Pass valid for two years!

Read more: We compared Southwest's 5 credit cards to help you decide which is best for you

More credit card coverage

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What El Chapo is really like, according to the wife of one his closest henchman

Here are the 10 most important things you need to know about motor oil

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 5:14pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Engine oil can seem complicated, with all the different brands an grades, but it's actually pretty straightforward.
  • You do need some basic knowledge, however.
  • You also need to know your vehicle and stay on top of its oil-change schedule.
  • For the most part, auto manufacturers have made all your oil-related decision for you — it's usually best to follow their lead.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Motor oil performs three critical functions for your car.

It lubricates the internal-combustion engine, which generations a lot of friction. It also cools down an internal combustion engine, which creates a lot of heat. And it cleans engine parts, which can get dirty.

Obviously, then, you want to make sure that you engine oil is in top condition.

But oil can be daunting, from oil-change schedules to choosing between brands and deciding whether its worth it to pay extra for synthetic oil.

Here's a short guide that seeks to answer the basic questions:

FOLLOW US: On Facebook for more car and transportation content!

1. How often should you change your oil?

The 3,000-mile rule doesn't apply — modern motor oils can last much longer. And if you do stick by the old recommendation, you're obviously going to produce more environmentally damaging waste oil. 

But you don't want to expect too much of your oil, especially if you live in a very hot or very cold region, or put a lot of hard miles on your vehicle. Over time, the ability of oil to lubricate, clean, and cool your engine degrades. 

If you're a typical driver, putting 10-15,000 miles annually on the odometer of a car that isn't terribly old, I recommend a seasonal change twice a year. I like spring and fall: in spring you're coming off the demands of winter; and in fall you coming off the demands of summer. 

But if you drive more than 15-20,000 miles per year, I suggest throwing in a third oil change. 



2. Should you do it yourself or take your car to a mechanic to change the oil?

Your choice. And oil change is easy, but you do need to buy: oil, a new oil filter, and filter wrench, and something to drain the old oil into. 

You also need to properly dispose of the used oil.

A mechanic or oil-change operation can handle all this for you, so you don't get your hands dirty. I personally don't think you learn all that much about working on your car from an oil change, and it is a hassle to get rid of the old oil, so I tend to bring my car to a mechanic.



3. If you change the oil yourself, how do you dispose of the waste oil?

You have to take it a place that's approved to dispose of oil or recycle it.

Earth911.com can assist in a search.

Also, the same auto-supply shops where you buy oil-change stuff often provide disposal services.

All you have to do is put the used oil in tightly sealed containers ‚ such as the plastic containers the new oil came in!



4. What grade of motor oil is recommended for your car?

There are quite a few grades of oil, formulated to run in different conditions and different temperatures.

Advance Auto Parts provides a useful explainer

But the kicker is that while you can explore "W" ratings and viscosity specs, the correct grade of oil for your car is the one that the manufacturer recommends. Just go with that and you'll be fine.



5. Dinosaur oil — or synthetic? Or a combination?

I favor synthetics, but they're expensive. They also last longer and have better performance characteristics than nonsynthetics.

You can split the difference by using a hybrid of petroleum-based oil and synthetic and save some money.

However, for many new vehicles, a cheaper old-school oil is fine.



6. How often do you need to check your oil?

I was taught to check my oil levels every time I filled my car up with gas — about once a week. I'd open the hood, pull the dipstick, wipe if off, reinsert it into the engine, pull it out and make sure the oil level was good and also evaluate the color of the oil. 

But those were the good old days — or bad old days, if you ever pulled the dipstick out and discovered you were low, which could indicate a leak or some oil being burned off by your car.

These days, engines are much more efficient and car makers, in some cases, have done away with the dipstick, sealing off the engine from owners and using sensors to monitor oil levels and oil life. 

The new systems are accurate and trustworthy, but I still like to check my oil every few months. You'll definitely want to do this if you drive and older vehicle, or if you notice any telltale oil leaks, or if your car starts to burn a bit of oil. 



7. What are some bad signals that motor oil could send you about your car?

An oil leak — look for brown or black stains on your driveway to garage floor. It isn't a death sentence, but it is something you should have a mechanic check out.

Gray smoke coming from the tailpipe is an indication that your car is burning oil. That's something a mechanic should investigate right away.



8. Where are the best places to stock up on oil?

You can keep an eye out for deals at auto parts stores, but the cheapest, buy-in-bulk options are Walmart and Costco. 

Auto parts stores, however, are best for advice and for specialty oils, if your car requires them.



9. Which cars are the worst on oil?

Old cars are the worst, but modern, small-displacement engines with turbochargers can also stress their lubricants. 

If you use your vehicle to tow a trailer to haul loads, you might also want to consider using a premium synthetic oil to alleviate engine stress.

 



10. What if you don't want to deal with oil ever again?

The answer is to go electric.

Electric cars don't have engines, they have motors, and those motors don't require oil for lubrication (other parts of the EV do, however, have to be lubricated, such as door hinges). 

So if you never want to deal with an oil change again, buy a Tesla, a Chevy Bolt, or a Nissan Leaf.



Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens has died. Here are the lessons he used to guide his career.

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 5:01pm  |  Clusterstock

  • T. Boone Pickens was an energy magnate, hedge fund investor, and philanthropist. He died at age 91 on Wednesday.
  • Pickens based his career on a set of ethics and lessons he often shared with the public, often accompanied by off-beat aphorisms.
  • He believed that planning is crucial to success, while at the same time valuing the willingness to make decisions, and that the level of quality communication determined a team's effectiveness.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories

T. Boone Pickens, "The Oracle of Oil," died at age 91 on Wednesday.

Pickens founded the oil and gas company that he'd later rename Mesa Petroleum in 1956, and became a shareholder rights activist in the 1980s as the founding leader of the United Shareholders Association. Then, in 1996 at the age of 68, Pickens sold Mesa and started a hedge fund called BP Capital Management. His role as an investor led to his becoming a billionaire in his 70s, and he spent much of his latter years in philanthropy, giving away nearly $2 billion, including half a billion to his alma mater, Oklahoma State University.

Through it all, he followed a code of ethics that were often accompanied by aphorisms his colleagues coined "Booneisms." We've collected some of the lessons he passed on most frequently.

Following a plan is necessary for success.

In 2017, Pickens wrote an open letter to graduating college seniors, in which he passed on the best lesson his father ever gave him.

At Pickens' induction ceremony to the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon, his dad told him, "A fool with a plan can beat a genius without one." His parents felt that he was not taking his studies or future career seriously, and said they were afraid he was being "a fool with no plan." Pickens took the advice to heart and made a plan to graduate with a geology degree, which was his entry into the oil and gas business.

But don't overplan.

Pickens believed that the most important quality in a leader is the willingness to make decisions. "Don't fall victim to what I call the ready-aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome," he'd often say. "You must be willing to fire."

Read more: T. Boone Pickens, the 'Oracle of Oil,' Republican donor, and billionaire philanthropist, dies at 91

And don't get tripped up by distractions.

One of Pickens' Booneisms was,"When you are hunting elephants, don't get distracted chasing rabbits."

Work ethic determines success.

In 2015, Pickens told reporter Julia La Roche, when she worked for Business Insider, that that was no secret to success. "It's very simple—good work ethic. If you want to be a lawyer, geologist, or a nurse, work ethic comes first. Everything else falls into place."

Management is nothing without leadership.

Pickens wrote in his 2000 book, "The Luckiest Guy in the World," that, "A management style is an amalgamation of the best of other people you have known and respected, and eventually you develop your own style." He noted, however, that he personally didn't focus on crafting that style so much as he did the way he led his team. "I never consciously manage anybody. I try to lead people," he wrote.

The root of all problems is poor communication.

"I've always believed you can trace every problem to a lack of communication or lack of clarity in communication," Pickens wrote in a LinkedIn post in 2017. He considered a knack for clarity to be his "core asset."

It's never too late to start over.

As mentioned, Pickens began a new chapter in his life when he was 68 years old. He's said that he was motivated at the time by an imagined headline, "The Old Man Makes a Comeback." The new level of success he enjoyed later in life taught him that age wasn't as important as it typically was made to be, and that applied to people just starting out, as well. 

Let optimism drive you.

Boone contemplated his own mortality in a 2017 blog post, after suffering a fall while recovering from a series of strokes. He wrote that during his contemplation of life, he refused to be morbid.

"Truth is, when you're in the oil business like I've been all my life, you drill your fair share of dry holes, but you never lose your optimism," he wrote. "There's a story I tell about the geologist who fell off a 10-story building. When he blew past the fifth floor he thought to himself, 'So far so good.'"

SEE ALSO: T. Boone Pickens, the 'Oracle of Oil,' Republican donor, and billionaire philanthropist, dies at 91

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This Is T. Boone Pickens' Definition Of Success

Apple is set to launch 3 new health studies using data from the iPhone and Apple Watch. Here's what they plan to investigate.

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 4:49pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Apple announced three new health studies during its annual event: a Women's Health Study, Heart and Movement Study, and a Hearing Study, in partnership with academic and medical institutions. 
  • The data will be collected from individual's who choose to opt in to the data collection with their Apple Watch health data. 
  • The new Apple Watch Series 5 was announced yesterday. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Apple announced three new health studies during its annual product-launch event, as the tech giant emphasizes that its watch and phone can be healthcare tools.

Apple is launching a women's health study, a heart and movement study, and a hearing study in partnership with academic and medical institutions. Data from Apple's devices, ranging from how a person moves to how loud it is around them, will be used in the new studies.

Individuals can choose to opt into the studies and allow Apple to collect their data, using the Research app, which the company said will be available later this year. More details on the studies will be available when the studies launch later in the year, partners from the studies told Business Insider. 

Read more: Here are the biggest differences between Apple's new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max

The studies are a way to develop new medical insights from the millions of people who use Apple's products. US consumer use of wearables such as Apple's Watch jumped from 9% in 2014 to 33% in 2018, according to Accenture. And according to research from Business Insider Intelligence, more than 80% of consumers are willing to wear fitness technology. 

The women's health study will track menstrual cycles and gynecological conditions

The women's health study will be conducted with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The goal is to create a longterm study focused on menstrual cycles and gynecological conditions. The focus of the study is help with screenings and assessments for conditions like infertility, osteoperosis and pregnancy. 

"Women's health in general, from basic physiology to the specificity of menstrual cycle characteristics, is understudied," said Shruthi Mahalingaiah, an assistant professor at Harvard University for environmental reproductive and women's health. "I'm excited to participate in a study of this scale and scope to fill the existing gap with the data and to look at areas of need, preventive measures, advancing health and moving forward possibly even with therapeutics." 

Mahalingaiah also noted the importance of the study's potential reach, as anyone can participate, allowing for a larger and more diverse set of participants.

The hearing study will focus on noise exposure over time

In the hearing study Apple with work with researchers at the University of Michigan to evaluate individuals' exposure to sound over time to see if it will affect their hearing. The study will be shared with the World Health Organization as a contribution towards the Make Listening Safe Initiative, Apple said.

"The information gleaned from this partnership will be critical for us to address the public health impact of various noise exposures on hearing loss in the United States," DuBois Bowman, dean of the University of Michigan School of Public Health said. 

A comprehensive study on heart health and mobility

The heart and movement study will partner with Brigham and Women's Hospital and the American Heart Association (AHA) on a comprehensive study that measures how heart rate and mobility, like walking pace and flights of stairs climbed, relate to hospitalizations, falls and heart health in order to promote improved cardiovascular health and movement. 

The AHA will serve as the strategic lead partner for the project and scientists at Brigham and Women's will conduct the research, Susan Grant, a spokesperson for AHA, told Business Insider. 

Apple has been focused on developing new technology related to health for some time.

In January 2019, Cook said in an interview with CNBC: "If you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, 'What was Apple's greatest contribution to mankind,' it will be about health." 

In 2018, the Apple Watch Series 4 was cleared by the FDA to provide a single lead electrocardiogram (ECG), which measures a person's heart rhythm. It can also tell if a person has fallen.

The Apple Heart Study

Earlier this year, Apple and Stanford University School of Medicine came out with the Apple Heart Study. The goal was to see if the Apple Watch and its heart-rate sensor could accurately detect irregularities in people's heartbeat. Around 400,000 people participated in the study. 

The watch appeared capable of picking up on abnormalities linked with a common but serious condition called atrial fibrillation or afib. Afib is an irregular heart beat, and people with the condition can experience shortness of breath and poor blood flow. The condition can also increase the risk of more serious problems like stroke and heart failure. 

Concerns were also raised about whether the Apple Watch would flag people as having heart rate irregularities when those people had nothing wrong with their health, Business Insider reported

Apple has been involved in medical research for the last four years.  In 2015, the company launched ResearchKit, a tool allowing medical researchers to conduct studies using the iPhone. Apple used the ResearchKit to create the Apple Heart Study. 

The company launched CareKit the following year. The tool allows people and companies to develop apps to monitor patients in real-time using sensors in the phone. The iPhone has also allowed users to log information about their physical activity, nutrition and sleep in the health app. 

Read more: 

Here's everything Apple announced at its big iPhone 11 event 

Apple is releasing new healthcare features for older consumers

Stanford scientists just gave us an unprecedented look at how well Apple Watch detects heart problems 

Forget Amazon and Google. Apple could bring in $300 billion a year in healthcare, Morgan Stanley says

Now tell us what you think!

 

 

 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This summer may be hotter than you expect. Here's how hot it will get in every state.

Need money for a home renovation? You have 2 loan options to choose from.

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 4:46pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Home equity loans and HELOCs — both of which are commonly called a second mortgage — allow you to borrow against the value of your home.
  • Many people use home equity products to pay for remodeling projects or to consolidate high-interest debts.
  • Home equity loans come with a fixed interest rate, fixed monthly payment, and fixed repayment timeline. This makes them a predictable option for borrowers who don't like surprises.
  • HELOCs, on the other hand, come with variable rates and let you borrow as you need — they're a form of revolving credit. In fact, they function a lot like a credit card, the main difference being that you're using your home as collateral.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Even if you have no desire to prolong your mortgage payments or add to the debts you have, there are plenty of good reasons to borrow against the equity in your home — commonly called a second mortgage.

Interest rates are typically much lower than other borrowing options, for example, which means you could be a lot better off if your alternatives are a personal loan or a credit card. Since the loans behind a second mortgage, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and home equity loans, use your home as collateral, they may also be easier to qualify for.

Another benefit of home equity loans and HELOCs is the fact that you can use the money however you want. Sure, you can use your loan proceeds to remodel your kitchen or add on a new family room, but you can also repair a leaky roof or consolidate high-interest credit card debt. Heck, you could use your home equity proceeds to book a luxury vacation to the Maldives if you want (although you definitely shouldn't).

Home equity loans vs. HELOCs

But should you get a home equity loan or a HELOC instead? This is a question many homeowners ask as they try to figure out the difference — and which option might work best.

While both home equity products let you borrow against the equity you have in your home, they don't work in the same way. The key to knowing which one is best for your needs is deciphering the details and understanding the pros and cons of each.

All about home equity loans

Home equity loans let you borrow against the equity in your home and receive your funds in a single lump sum. Loan amounts are typically limited by your loan-to-value ratio, a calculation that takes into account your home value minus your existing mortgage and limits your loan to about 80% to 90% of that balance — if you qualify.

Like personal loans, home equity loans come with a fixed interest rate and fixed repayment term. Because of this, you'll also get a fixed monthly payment that doesn't change during the life of the loan. In that sense, home equity loans are extremely predictable; you know how much you're borrowing, how long you'll pay it back, and exactly how much you'll owe each month.

You'll want to find out upfront whether your lender charges a prepayment penalty, in case you want to pay back the loan ahead of schedule, and how much you'll be expected to pay in fees and closing costs. Different lenders have different fee structures — some have very low fees — so you'll want to compare your options.

Pros of home equity loans:

  • Fixed monthly payment, loan term, and interest rate

Cons of home equity loans:

  • You're using your home as collateral, so you risk foreclosure if you don't repay
  • Some home equity loans have fees, including an origination fee and closing fees
  • You are required to figure out how much you want to borrow up front

Looking for a loan? Consider these offers from our partners:

 

All about HELOCs

Where home equity loans work a lot like a personal loan, home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs, work similarly to a credit card. Instead of giving you a lump sum, a HELOC is a line of credit you can borrow against when you need the money. As such, you will only repay amounts of money you borrow in the end.

Read more: A new online checking account can help you avoid fees and get better rates — here's how to find the right one for you

Like home equity loans, HELOCs usually limit your borrowing ability to up to 85% of your home's value, and may or may not include fees depending on the lender. They typically come with a variable interest rate that is based on an index, although some lenders allow customers to convert these to fixed rates. They also tend to have a borrowing period (usually 10 years) and a repayment period (usually 20 years), and you can only take money out during the initial borrowing period.

Since your payment is based on how much you borrow and your interest rate is variable, however, your monthly payment amount may be hard to predict — and it could even fluctuate over time.

Pros of HELOCs:

  • Only borrow amounts you need instead of a lump sum
  • Your variable rate could remain low since it's based on an index
  • Many HELOCs come with no fees or low fees

Cons of HELOCs:

  • You're using your home as collateral, so you risk foreclosure if you don't repay
  • Some HELOCs require a large balloon payment or lump sum at the end
  • Some HELOCs have fees, including an origination fee and closing fees
  • Your monthly payment can vary — and even rise — based on your interest rate and how much you borrow

Read more: How automated saving and investing really works — and why more of us should be doing it

Home equity loan or HELOC? Only you can decide

While the new tax law passed in 2017 cast some doubt over whether consumers could deduct interest paid on home equity products on their taxes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) cleared that up last year. In a press release, it noted that home equity interest is still deductible provided the funds are "used to buy, build, or substantially improve the taxpayer's home that secures the loan." In other words, you can deduct the interest from a HELOC or home equity loan if you're using the funds to improve your property in some way, but not if you're using them for a Caribbean cruise.  

You must be in a position to deduct home equity interest for this to matter. Remember that the mortgage interest deduction is only applicable if you itemize on your taxes, and fewer people will do that this year since the standard deduction has been raised to $24,000 for married couples filing jointly and $12,000 for individuals.

With that detail out of the way, it shouldn't be too hard to decide between a HELOC or a home equity loan. If you want a fixed monthly interest rate and a fixed payment and don't mind borrowing a lump sum, get a home equity loan. If you don't mind a variable interest rate and want to borrow as you go, on the other hand, get a HELOC. Just remember that your monthly payment might fluctuate as rates rise or you borrow more.

Both options tend to be inexpensive and they both come with lower interest rates than you'll find elsewhere. Most importantly, they will both help you access your home equity and achieve your goals — whatever they are.

Related coverage from How to Do Everything: Money

SEE ALSO: Here's exactly how much you'll pay your mortgage company over 10, 15, or 30 years

Join the conversation about this story »

The world's biggest video game retailer, GameStop, is closing hundreds of stores as it attempts to stay afloat — and that's just the first wave of closures (GME)

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 4:40pm  |  Clusterstock

  • GameStop, the world's largest game retailer, is closing 180 to 200 stores — and that's just the beginning.
  • "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 Tuesday afternoon. The chain has over 5,700 locations around the world.
  • This is just the beginning of a major culling of GameStop retail locations.
  • Bell said he expects a "much larger" group of stores will be closed in the next one to two years.
  • 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.

That's why, among many other reasons, GameStop is beginning to shut 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 Tuesday.

And that's not all: The company is expecting to close a "much larger" group of stores in the next one to two years.

The initial wave of closures, Bell 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 Tuesday's investor call.

It's unclear how many stores will be closed in the long run, but it is clear that GameStop execs are taking a more deliberate approach to the next wave of stores the company closes.

Read more: Inside GameStop's ambitious 3-point plan to save itself from destruction

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: 'Big Short' legend Michael Burry recently unveiled a bullish bet on GameStop — but the retailer's shares are plummeting after a dismal earnings report

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 7 lesser-known benefits of Amazon Prime

Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash are gearing up for a $90 million fight in California — here’s why they oppose the state’s new gig-worker bill and what they're proposing instead (UBER, LYFT)

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 4:39pm  |  Clusterstock

California senators on Tuesday passed Assembly Bill 5, a proposed law that's now likely to be signed by the Governor and one that Uber and Lyft have fought heavily against.

The law, which would take effect January 1 if signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, could force many gig-economy companies to reclassify their workers as employees thanks to the codification of a three-part test.

Read more: Uber and Lyft just took a major blow in California, and now they're gearing up for war

That would mean major expenses thanks to higher wages and other benefits like overtime and health care that could potentially bankrupt the companies. Instead, Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash have pledged $90 million to take the issue to voters.

"Making all drivers full-time employees, whether or not they want it (and to be sure, most don't), would fundamentally change what Uber and ridesharing is," Uber said in an August blog post. "It would also effectively require us to do something that is both unrealistic and never been done before: on-demand employment. As experts have noted, converting drivers to employees will inherently come with tradeoffs, for them and for us."

Uber's proposal hopes to give workers many of their demands, while preserving the independence many love about the ride-hailing apps. This suggestion includes a guaranteed hourly earnings rate of $21 while on the way to a fare or actively shuttling passengers (about 60% of drivers' time), access to portable benefits that could follow someone between gigs, and sectoral bargaining on an industry wide basis (as opposed to company-specific negotiations).

See also: Apply here to attend IGNITION: Transportation, an event focused on the future of transportation, in San Francisco on October 22.

"Achieving a legislative solution is our top priority, but should the legislature fail to act, we will be left with no choice but to pursue a ballot initiative," Max Rettig, DoorDash's head of public policy, said in an emailed statement. "We're confident that California voters support a solution that pairs worker flexibility with economic security."

Beyond the trio of companies that have pledged money to the ballot proposal, other gig-economy companies stand to be greatly impacted by the new rules should they become law.

Instacart, Postmates, and two industry organizations joined Uber and Lyft in their opposition, saying in a letter to lawmakers that they were unfairly targeted. The proposal is vital for these companies, as labor groups in other states like New York look to establish similar protections for workers. 

"We remain committed to working with the Governor, legislature, labor leaders, and workers supported by our technology platforms to establish progressive policies that better reflect the unique nature of this work, while also improving the quality and security of the work enabled by relevant labor laws," they said in the letter dated September 9.

"Unfortunately, the bill now goes beyond the effort to exempt various industries and instead alters the venues and path through which these standards would be interpreted and applied."

Read more: 

SEE ALSO: Uber and Lyft just took a major blow in California, and now they're gearing up for war

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Stocks climb as Apple-led tech rally snaps 3-day losing streak

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 4:34pm  |  Clusterstock

Stocks climbed on Wednesday as tech shares led by Apple snapped a three-day losing streak.

Shares of Apple rose as much as 3.2% to an 11-month high after unveiling a trio of new iPhones and other hardware products at its annual September launch event.  The company also said its upcoming streaming platform will cost $4.99, undercutting many of its soon-to-be competitors. 

President Trump resumed pressure on the US Federal Reserve to lower rates on Wednesday, calling the central bank's officials "Boneheads." 

"The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less, and we should then start to refinance our debt," the president wrote in a tweet on Wednesday. "INTEREST COST COULD BE BROUGHT WAY DOWN, while at the same time substantially lengthening the term. We have the great currency, power, and balance sheet."

Investors are anxiously awaiting the next move from the Fed and the European Central Bank. Both are expected to cut interest rates later this month to support wavering global growth. 

Here's a look at the major indexes as of the 4 p.m. close on Monday:

China announced a small number of US products including some animal feed ingredients, chemicals, and cancer medication will be temporarily exempt from an upcoming round of tariffs. The short-term exemption comes just days before the two sides are set to resume trade negotiations.

Markets Insider is looking for a panel of millennial investors. If you're active in the markets, CLICK HERE to sign up.

Shares of GameStop tanked as much as 22% on Wednesday after the video-game retailer cut its annual sales forecast and said nearly all of its business segments decline in revenue during the second quarter. "Big Short" investor Michael Burry recently backed the company, disclosing his hedge fund holds 3% stake in the retailer. 

Within the S&P 500, these were the largest gainers:

And the largest decliners:

The S&P 500 saw broad gains on Wednesday, with real estate stocks posting the only losses. Materials, technology, utilities, and healthcare gained roughly 0.9%.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This is the shortest route for a road trip across the US to see 50 national landmarks

Andreessen Horowitz is reportedly backing Oculus founder Palmer Luckey’s new border technology startup with $1 billion valuation

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 4:28pm  |  Clusterstock

Palmer Luckey is back with another billion-dollar business.

The controversial Oculus founder has reportedly received funding that valued his new defense technology startup, Anduril, above $1 billion, according to a CNBC report Wednesday.

The company, which makes technology to deploy and monitor a "virtual border wall," reportedly received backing from Andreessen Horowitz, one of the most noteworthy venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. This comes following reports that Peter Thiel, founder of data mining startup Palantir, also invested an undisclosed amount in Anduril through his venture firm Founders Fund.

Representatives for Andreessen Horowitz and Anduril did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

Read More: Competition to win deals among Silicon Valley VCs is so intense that one investor made a personalized comic book of Oculus founder Palmer Luckey to woo him

Andreessen Horowitz also invested in Luckey's last startup, VR gaming company Oculus, before it was purchased by Facebook for $2 billion in 2014. Luckey ran Oculus within Facebook after the acquisition, but left the company in 2017 amid reports of his involvement with far-right political groups. 

Anduril is targeting the lucrative but controversial market for government defense contracts, similar to Thiel's Palantir. In the past months, tech giants like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google have all shied away from pursuing deals with the government after employee pressure against the tactics employed by the Trump Administration.

SEE ALSO: This former early employee of Twitter and Stripe is joining Accel to hunt for the next generation of first-time founders

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 5 things wrong with Apple's lightning cable



About Value News Network

Value is the only commonality in an increasingly complex, challenging and interdependent world.
Laurance Allen: Editor + Publisher

Connect with Us