CNN MONEY – Those long lines at Apple Stores around the world translated into record iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sales over the weekend.
Ten million to be exact. That beat last year’s iPhone 5S opening weekend by 1 million sales.
The achievement is remarkable, considering that China wasn’t a part of this year’s opening weekend.Apple (Tech30) sold 9 million iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S smartphones during the first three days of sales a year ago — a weekend that included Chinese sales.,
Demand for the new, larger iPhone 6 has been insatiable. See the full article here.
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CNN Money-Apple sold a record 4 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones on Friday, the first day that the new iGadgets were available for pre-order, the company said Monday.
Demand for the new iPhones was so high that the iPhone 6 Plus sold out within hours. While many people who pre-ordered the iPhone 6 will get them this Friday, many others won’t get their iPhones delivered until next month.
“Demand for the new iPhones exceeds the initial pre-order supply,” Apple said in a statement. The company noted that an additional supply of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones will be made available to walk-in customers on Friday Sept. 19, beginning at 8:00 a.m. local time at Apple stores. People have already begun camping outside Apple Stores around the world to be among the first to get their hands on one of the new iPhones.This is the first year that Apple announced how many iPhones it sold in the first day — rather than in the first weekend. A year ago, Apple said it sold 9 million iPhone 5S and 5C smartphones in the first weekend.
But the numbers aren’t exactly “apples to apples,” pardon the pun. The iPhone 5S was not available for pre-order. Also, the iPhone 5S went on sale in China at the same time as as it hit store shelves in the United States.
This year, the iPhone 6 will not be available in China until at earliest October. China was not listed among the 30 countries that will get the iPhone this month.
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INSURANCENEWSNET- Although she didn’t know it 20 years ago, time was a luxury 57-year-old Rosemary Anderson couldn’t afford.
Anderson, an employee of the University of California-Santa Cruz, has more than $126,000 in debt, much of it from student loans incurred more than 20 years ago when she decided to return to school to obtain bachelor’s and master’s degrees, she said.
The interest rate on her consolidated student loans is 8.25 percent, but living expenses and caring for children have delayed repaying interest and principal, she said. She has not been able to pay anything toward her loans for nearly eight years.
“Every year I go through an elaborate exercise of which program will keep me in ‘good standing’ without making a payment and thereby avoiding default,” Anderson said in testimony before a U.S. Senate panel examining the burden of student debt by older Americans. See Full Article
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CNN MONEY – The super rich got super richer as the gap between them and the rest of Americans continued to widen over the last few years, according to a new Federal Reserve report.
In its Study of Consumer Finances, released every three years, the Fed found that the wealthiest 3% of American households controlled 54.4% of the nation’s wealth in 2013, a slight increase from its last survey in 2010. It’s also substantially higher from the 44.8% they held in 1989, showing how quickly the income divide has been growing over the past decade or so.
At the same time, the share of wealth held by the bottom 90% fell to 24.7% in 2013. That’s compared to 33.2% in 1989.
“Data confirm that the shares of income and wealth held by affluent families are at modern historically high levels,” the report said. “The gains in income and wealth shares have been concentrated among the top few percentiles.”
The report also looked at Americans’ earnings. While the median income of all Americans fell by 5% between 2010 and 2013, the mean income increased by 4%. That means gains by the wealthiest segment of the population pulled up the average.All of the income gains came from the wealthy, with the top 3% accounting for 30.5% of all income. The bottom of the scale continued to see their incomes shrink.
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(Reuters) – An American International Group Inc unit sued a company headed by Philadelphia philanthropist Alan Buerger, accusing it of a $150 million fraud involving life insurancepolicies sold by elderly individuals in exchange for a quick payment.
The lawsuit, filed on Friday in Manhattan federal court, said AIG’s Lavastone Capital had paid Coventry First of Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, more than $1 billion since 2006 to help it acquire the policies, known as “life settlements.”
Coventry is the “leader and creator” of the life settlement industry, according to its website. Investors who acquire a policy cover the premiums until the individual’s death and then collect the payout.
Rather than identifying appropriate policies and selling them to Lavastone at the elderly individuals’ asking price, the lawsuit claimed, Coventry used a network of shell companies to artificially inflate the prices to Lavastone.
“Thus, defendants’ behavior is no different than an auction house that knows a bidder’s maximum price ceiling and then uses ‘shill bidders’ associated with the auction house to fraudulently inflate the price to that bidder’s maximum bid,” the lawsuit said. It called Coventry and Chief Executive Officer Buerger “scam artists.”
Buerger said he could not comment on the lawsuit because he had not yet read it.
Lavastone lost more than $150 million as a result of the arrangement, according to the lawsuit, which said that figure was “likely just the tip of the iceberg.” Lavastone accused Coventry of engaging in racketeering, fraud, conspiracy, breach of contract and other violations.
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Bloomberg – Inflation may be lurking in the aisles of supermarkets.
Even with price pressures tame to non-existent in the industrial world, economist Pippa Malmgren says they’re there if you look.
A former adviser to President George W. Bush, Malmgren is zeroing in on what’s come to be known as “shrinkflation” — where companies charge consumers the same, or more, for less. That may foreshadow an overall jump in prices, an alarm she’s been sounding for a while.
“Shrinking the size of goods is exactly what happened in the 1970s just before inflation proper set in,” she writes in her new book, “Signals: The Breakdown of the Social Contract and the Rise of Geopolitics.”
It also explains why people are so agitated by a higher cost of living, writes Malmgren, who founded London-based DRPM Group, a consulting firm.
Take the Dairy Milk bar produced by Kraft Foods (KRFT) Group Inc.’s Cadbury unit. In 2011, the company lopped two squares of chocolate from the snack, holding the price unchanged. At the time, the company cited rising costs. Last year, it made the corners of the bar more rounded, reducing the weight.
The U.K. consumer group Which? turned up other examples in a study it conducted last year. It found boxes of Nestle SA (NESN)’s Shredded Wheat cereal had shrunk to 470 grams from 525 grams yet still cost 2.68 pounds ($4.45).
Just last month, Carlsberg A/S, the world’s fourth-largest brewer, said it’s putting less beer in some bottles in its Russian market and making others smaller there in what it called a bid to avoid raising prices.
Companies typically blame the moves on the rising cost of commodities and other ingredients.
“We always aim to offer our consumers great value for money for the brands they love,” Nestle spokesman Len Bennett said in an e-mail. “Occasionally we make changes to the size of our products, driven by a number of factors, including anything from a product reformulation, a change in packaging, or changes to ingredients costs. Resale price is at the sole discretion of the retailer.”
Malmgren is more worried. “There are signals that prices are starting to rise, or that inflation pressures are building,” she writes.
CNN Money – Despite a fair amount of ups and downs over the past few months, the popular index of large companies is up 8% this year. And that follows a nearly 30% surge in 2013.
If you’ve had your money in the market since 2009, you’re likely very happy — and a lot richer. The S&P 500 is now up more than 200% since this bull market began in March 2009. Many people invest in retirement funds that mimic the S&P 500.
Why stocks are up: You can thank Europe for this latest surge. Comments from the head of the European Central Bank on Friday are driving today’s action. Mario Draghi, speaking at conference hosted by the Federal Reserve in Wyoming, hinted that the ECB may do more to stimulate the struggling European economy if deflation gets worse. In other words, the Band-aid is ready.
The hope is that the ECB may eventually launch a bond buying plan similar to the quantitative easing (QE) program that the Fed has been conducting since the financial crisis in late 2008.
Many market experts have stated that the Fed’s actions are the key driver of the bull run on Wall Street. The so-called QE program has helped keep long-term bond rates low — which make stocks more attractive and also enable more companies and consumers to take out cheap loans
But the Fed is currently in the process of unwinding its so-called QE plan. So investors seem excited by the fact that the ECB may be finally ready to step up to the plate and pump more money into the global financial markets.
Why have stocks have done well all year? One market strategist noted that companies have been reporting decent earnings growth and that stocks are still reasonably valued. Add in some fading concerns (for now at least) about geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East and you have a recipe for a market rally.
“All in all, the news has been good lately. So it’s understandable that stocks are trading higher,” said William Lynch, director of investments for Hinsdale Associates, a money management firm.
Why you should care: While the S&P 500 may not get as much attention from casual investors as the Dow Jones Industrial Average — which many people still view as “The Market” — the S&P 500 is a far more important indicator of how Wall Street is doing. TheDow has only 30 stocks in it and does not include all the big companies that many consumers are more likely to recognize and invest in.
And many mutual funds that you own in your 401(k), other retirement plans or a 529 for your kid’s college savings are likely to be set up to try and beat the performance of the S&P 500.
Still, is it really all that important when a market index hits a round number? Yes and no.
On the one hand, 2,000 is a new all-time high. So that’s significant.
But in the same way that turning 40-years-old is not really all that different from 39, the S&P 500 passing 2K merely suggests that investors still believe stocks are worth buying even as prices climb higher.
It’s also important to remember the simple rules of math. As stocks continue to go up, it’s easier to hit new milestones. The S&P 500 went up 5.3% on its way from 1,900 to 2,000. But the index will only have to go up 5% from here to reach 2,100 and another 4.8% to go from 2,100 to 2,200.
Lynch noted that it’s not always wise to make much out of market moves in the sleepy days of late summer.
“You have to take this with a grain of salt. So many people are on vacation this week and volume is incredibly light,” he said.
Who the biggest winners are: A vast majority of the stocks in the S&P 500 are up this year. But what’s most impressive is that the biggest gainers come from a wide range of sectors. K-Cup coffee maker Keurig Green Mountain () is the top dog in the S&P 500 in 2014. Shares are up 75%.
But there are also airlines Southwest (Tech30), sporting apparel maker Under Armour ( ) and aluminum giant Alcoa ( ). Energy firmsNewfield Exploration Company ( ), Williams Companies ( ) and Nabors Industries ( ).\) and Delta ( ) among the top 15 gainers. So are well-known brand name firms like video game developer Electronic Arts ( ,
Tech stocks have also done extremely well. In fact, the Nasdaq is up more than 9% this year –but it is still 11% below its all-time high from March 2000.
In other words, investors have not had to bet on one market trend to do well this year. See Full Article Here
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Bloomberg - The Missouri grand jury that began considering evidence today in the police killing of an unarmed man won’t decide whether to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson until October “at the earliest,” a spokesman for the local prosecutor said. Story
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Wall Street Journal – What’s the best financial advice for young people just starting to make money? The Wall Street Journal put this question to The Experts, an exclusive group of industry and thought leaders who engage in in-depth online discussions of topics from the print Report. This question relates to a recent article that discussed advising young people financially and formed the basis of a discussion in The Experts stream on Wednesday, April 24.
The Experts will discuss topics raised in this month’s Wealth Management Report and other Wall Street Journal Reports. Find the finance Experts online atWSJ.com/WealthReport.
Also be sure to watch three wealth-management thought leaders— Meir Statman of Santa Clara University and author of “What Investors Really Want,” Terrance Odean of the University of California, Berkeley, and consultant, writer and investment adviser Tom Brakke —speak about controlling your feelings when investing and explaining behavioral finance in a video chat that aired on April 23 at 3 p.m. EDT.
Manisha Thakor : Three Lessons That Can Change Your Life
There are three financial lessons that I believe can literally change a young person’s life forever. They are:
(1) Know what healthy spending looks like. Most of us were never taught what healthy spending looks like. My favorite rule of thumb comes from (Sen.) Elizabeth Warren’s book written with her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, called “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan.” The rule of thumb: 50/30/20. The idea is 50% of your take-home pay goes to needs, 30% to wants, 20% to savings. Keep that rule of thumb in mind and a young person can avoid so many classic financial mistakes.
(2) Start saving now. Those are the three most powerful words in personal finance. Who wants to be a millionaire? A lot of young people. How do you get there? By saving $5,000 a year starting at age 25, doing so every single year until you are 70 and earning 6% compound average returns. But wait until age 45 to start that savings and you’d need to sock away over $18,000 a year. Ouch! (And thanks to the ravages of inflation, if you want that to be $1 million in inflation-adjusted dollars you’d need to essentially double those savings targets.)
(3) Don’t expect to live like mom and dad right out of the gate. Thanks to the proliferation of 24/7/365 media images portraying “average” lifestyles for young people that are anything but…I’ve noticed an increasing number of young people expecting to have lifestyles like their parents within a few years out of school. To the extent you can remind yourself of the price your parents had to pay to get where they are and base your expectations on your income and not what you see in the media, you will find yourself on much more solid financial ground. Go to the Wall Street Journal for this and other great articles.
Seminars For Less brings you excellent information that retirees can use to improve their retirement years. Seminar mailers from Seminars For Less bring great audiences for financial advisors.
Seminars For Less is posting articles from websites that bring you excellent information that retirees can use to improve their retirement years.
CNBC – Marie Langworthy, 68, and her husband, Bob, 75, of Columbia, Conn., love to dine out and usually do so at least twice a week, often for dinner or a late lunch.
Marie hates to cook and tries to avoid it at all costs. “My husband prefers anything to my cooking,” she says. “The surest way to get your husband to take you out to eat is to be a lousy cook.”
“We always spend more than we’d like to or anticipate, because Bob enjoys wine or hard liquor with his meal, and I always opt for dessert,” says Marie, a retired school administrator and co-author of Shifting Gears to Your Life and Work After Retirement.
She says they could probably “save a bundle” if they ate more meals at home, but they have no plans to cut back on dining out anytime soon. “First of all, eating out has become a great American social pastime. Secondly, it allows each of us to pick and choose what we want without our needing to plan and prepare meals in advance.”
Retirees over the age of 65 bought an average of 193 meals each at restaurants last year up from 171 in 2009, according to the latest data from the NPD Group, a market research firm that tracks eating trends. That’s slightly less than adults over age 18 who bought an average of 203 meals at restaurants last year, down from 222 meals in 2009.
“In an industry that is suffering, retirees are a bright spot,” says Harry Balzer, NPD chief industry analyst. The average restaurant check for a retiree is $8.05, vs. $7.33 for other adults.
Retirees frequent fast-food places 63% of the time; 37% of the time they go to places with waiters and waitresses, he says.
When it comes to spending money on dining out, retirees have to prioritize what matters to them and budget accordingly, says Gary Schatsky, a New York City financial planner and president of ObjectiveAdvice.com. For many people, dining out feels like a mini-vacation, and they really enjoy it, he says.
Some people think having alcohol at their meal is an important part of the experience, but if you don’t buy alcohol, you can afford more dinners out,
he says. Even not drinking sodas at several meals can save a lot of money over time, he says.
Carol Miller, 74, a retired schoolteacher in Terrell, N.C., likes to order takeout from a cafe in town and bring it home “to sit in my recliner and eat.”
She spends about $12 or so on a takeout dinner, which lasts her two or three meals. It’s very economical and tastes great, she says. “I could never replicate their food.”
She also goes out to dinner regularly with several different groups of women, including some from her church, retired teachers and old friends. “For women my age, going out to eat is a sort of tribal thing that women do, and generally it’s with people you love, so you can talk to them and complain to them.
“Sometimes I think, ‘I just ate out yesterday,’ but I go ahead and go again. I don’t like to cook. It doesn’t interest me.”
Mark Fried, president of TFG Wealth Management in Newtown, Pa., says when he reviews budgets with retirees, they often make dining out a line item. “How much money they have determines where they are going to eat out.”
Some want to dine out occasionally, but others say they are “done with cooking forever and want to eat out every night.”
Many retirees are price conscious, and they want the option to order half portions, says Reimund Pitz, chef and owner of Le Coq au Vin restaurant in Orlando. “These folks can’t eat like they used to.” So Pitz offers half portions at a reduced price.
Her husband did the cooking for their family, but he passed away three years ago. Eating out is a good “way for retired people to reconnect,” Miller says. “You could very easily stay in your house and cook a grilled cheese or a TV dinner. You could become a hermit if you don’t watch out.”
Marie Langworthy says sometimes she and her husband go out for the early bird specials to save money, but they often pay the full freight. She loves eating outdoors in the summer at casual “shack-like” restaurants with high-quality food. “I also love to try different high-end restaurants, and would travel anywhere, any distance for a good meal and a new ambient experience.”
There are creative ways to eat out frequently without busting the budget. Nelson Cooney 76, of Bethesda, Md., and his wife, Joan, 78, have dinner out two to three times a week, so he searches for discounts on LivingSocial and Groupon, and they sometimes go to happy hours at restaurants where the wine is less expensive and the bar food can serve as their dinner.
“I don’t like to overspend when I don’t have to. We only use them (discount coupons) to go to places we want to go to. We don’t go places we don’t care about. We’re very selective,” says Cooney, a retired trade association executive.