For many years, an integral part of the American dream has involved making it to the middle class. We associate the phrase with steady, secure work, home ownership and providing for a comfortable — if not lavish — lifestyle for our family. But has middle class America fundamentally changed since the Great Recession hit? Do people that once saw themselves as solidly middle class see themselves differently now?
Gone are the days of credit card recruiters on campus giving away stuffed animals to any first-year students willing to sign up for easy credit: New regulations on card issuers require any cardholder under 21 years old to have an adult co-signer on the card.
Economists are paying attention to two main factors as the unemployment numbers come out: the number of layoffs, and the creation of jobs in the private sector. Takeaway listener, James Slower called The Takeaway with this this comment, "As more people go unemployed, my business is getting slower and slower." His statement encapsulates the problem; unemployment is linked to consumer confidence and the growth of the economy. Takeaway finance contributor, Beth Kobliner looks closely at the high rate of unemployment and considers whether it's possible to fully recover once you've lost your job.
During the past two years, we’ve heard over and over again that there’s a silver lining to our housing crisis: Now that home prices have dropped, buying property has suddenly become much more affordable.
Prices are low, negotiation opportunities are high, and interest rates are their lowest since the 1950s. But is buying really the right thing for you? Or is renting financially wiser?
What information are you looking for for as you make decisions about your house or apartment? And if you're renting, what would it take you to buy? Tell us what you're waiting for to decide and we'll make it part of the discussion.
The news is filled with horror stories about the housing market: foreclosures, underwater mortgages, and low home values, oh my! But the fact is, for many people – especially first-time buyers who don’t have a house to sell – this is a great time to be house shopping. On the other hand, there are plenty of advantages to renting these days, too. What’s best for you?
President Obama made it official yesterday: the financial overhaul bill has been signed into law. So who are the winners as this new law takes effect? Takeaway contributor Beth Kobliner believes the consumer is the real winner in financial reform, with new rules about mortgages, credit cards and student loans. However, she reminds us that car dealers are not included in the law, so it's important to stay vigilant.
A rabbi, a priest and a pastor are all looking for a job … It sounds like the set-up to a joke we’ve all heard before. But due to shifts in our culture and economy, it turns out that this set-up has no punchline. The unemployment rate among clergy has doubled from ten years ago. And institutions ranging from churches to College chaplains have enacted hiring freezes and clergy lay-offs.
We’re living in an era in which many Americans aren’t able to keep up with mortgage payments— let alone give money to their house of worship. When nearly a third of Americans have reduced the amount of money they give to their congregations, no amount of prayer can prevent the inevitable: layoffs of religious leaders. Members of the clergy have unique difficulties to deal with when they find themselves unemployed. Many are ineligible to collect unemployment benefits, thanks to the tax status of their religious organizations, and it can be particularly difficult for clergy to conceive of working anywhere other than behind the pulpit. Beth Kobliner, bestselling author of "Get a Financial Life," offers the vitals that America’s clergy need to know.
With the unemployment rate for people in their twenties hovering around 15 percent, it’s tempting for recent college grads to just skip the terrible job market and stay in school. And many of them are doing just that. Last year, there was a 6 percent increase in graduate school enrollment, and this year, 27 percent of college grads will go to grad school instead of entering the job market. But Takeaway work contributor Beth Kobliner says it might not be the best choice for everyone.
The unemployment rate remains sky-high at almost 10 percent, and for 20 to 24-year-olds it’s 15 percent — which makes graduate school attractive to recent college grads. Pretty tempting to just skip the terrible job market and stay in school! But before you head to grad school, it’s vital to consider the debt you’ll incur — and whether you’ll even get a better job out of it. Is grad school really worth the money?
It may not seem like it to a typical office worker, but the American workforce is surprisingly still segregated by gender. Two-thirds of working women are concentrated in only 5 percent of occupational categories, many of which do not pay well. Why don’t more women consider higher paying “masculine” trade work as a career — and what can they do to make that move?
The American workforce is still surprisingly segregated by gender, and this separation does not seem to benefit women. Two-thirds of working women are concentrated in only five percent of occupational categories. And in the few fields where more than 90 percent of workers are women – like childcare and food preparation – the pay tends to be low. Compare this low pay to male-dominated industries (there are a lot of them). Almost one in four job categories, such as construction work and trucking consist of workforces that are almost exclusively male. And those same jobs pay up to 30 percent more than traditionally female jobs like secretarial work.
It's our final installment of our Do It Yourself Bailout series. Takeaway contributor Beth Kobliner has taken us on a financial journey; she's helped us learn how to invest the right way, trick ourselves into saving, and understand the art of negotiating. Today, we talk about a big piece of your financial and personal life: your spouse or partner.
What happens when you want to save money for a home, or your kids’ college or for retirement, but your spouse wants to blow it on a trip to Bali or, even worse, waste it away, one dinner out at a time? While our nation has picked over just about every other topic—sex, love, politics—the one we seem to successfully avoid discussing is money. And yet a classic study by Paul R. Amato and Stacey J. Rogers found that feeling that one’s spouse wastes money is the third most common reason why people get divorced, after affairs and drug abuse.
Twenty years ago this week, the World Health Organization ceased to categorize homosexuality as a pathology, but is it still considered one socially in the workplace?
For this week's work segment, we look at the issue of being openly gay at work. Takeaway contributor Beth Kobliner explains the current laws and trends. And Jeff Barnes, a gay manager at an IT outsourcing company in Colorado, tells us why he keeps his orientation a secret from most of his colleagues.
We want to know from you, Is it acceptable to be gay in YOUR workplace? Text TAKE to 69866 and send your response. (Message and data rates may apply.) You can also just leave a comment below.
If you’re like a lot of people, the idea of investing seems overwhelming, mysterious and downright frightening. The wild ride, you reason, just isn’t for you. That argument may make sense for money you know you’ll need to get your hands on within the next ten years. But for money you don’t plan to touch for longer, it can be riskier to keep your cash in a savings account that does not keep up with inflation.
After you pay off high-rate credit card debt, put money into tax-favored retirement plans (particularly those with company matches) and save six months’ worth of living expenses in a bank savings account (to bail you out if you lose your job or have a major emergency), you should consider investing at least a portion of your money. Some steps to consider:
We are closer than ever to getting our financial life in order here on The Takeaway. This is week nine of our series, Do It Yourself Bailout. Since the beginning of the series Takeaway contributor Beth Kobliner, author of "Get a Financial Life" has tackled our trickiest money issues in order to help us all get on sound financial footing. We have talked about how to trick yourself into saving more money and whether you should prioritise your retirement savings over saving for your kid's college, among many other money questions.
It's week eight of The Takeaway's Do It Yourself Bailout with our friend Beth Kobliner, author of "Get a Financial Life", and we're taking a good long look in the mirror at our spending habits: where we're saving, if we're saving enough and whether we can do more to bail ourselves out of the financial mess that many of us are in. This week's question to ask yourself: are you spending too much on insurance? Or not enough?
If you’re looking to tighten your belt, you may be eying your various insurance policies and wondering if you’re just throwing money down the drain. The answer is: You might be! There’s insurance you may have too much of, and insurance you don’t have enough of. Here’s how to sort it out:
For this week's work segment, we're asking, How do we know if we're getting paid what we're worth? Is it ever okay to ask our peers about their salaries for comparison's sake? And what can we do if our salary seems to fall below our worth?
Beth Kobliner, Takeaway work contributor and author of “Get a Financial Life,” guides us through the murky waters of determining our worth — and offers advice on what to do if we believe our value exceeds our paycheck.