Question of the Day

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Chart: How Have World Stock Markets Changed Over The Past 100 Years?

Interesting graphic from a Credit Suisse report comparing the relative size of stock markets in 1899 vs. 2016 (great for a history course):

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Questions to ask:

Question: Who Has The Best Cell Phone Plan?

We know your students love their smartphones. How about putting that obsession to use by having them read this article from the NY Times “Picking a New Phone Plan? Here Are Your Best Bets?” As the article notes, every few months the carriers update their pricing models (check out our earlier posts on the topic here and here):

Shopping for a phone plan can be as daunting as picking a health insurance package. The rates and options constantly change, and it feels impossible to make simple comparisons between carriers. Case in point: The best phone plans we recommended a year and a half ago are now obsolete because the wireless carriers have completely changed their offerings.

The article goes on to highlight the “best plans” for different types of users: Single User, Single Power User, Average Couple, Power Couple, Family of Four, Occasional Traveler. Here are some ideas on how you can structure this as an activity for students to discuss with their parents or guardians (copied from an earlier post):

How Is The New FAFSA Timetable Impacting College Offers?

I was wondering about this question. so was happy to see this article in the WSJ last week (subscription). Our post last September described two of the major changes to the FAFSA. First, families could now complete the FAFSA starting October 1st (previous deadline was January 1st). Secondly, the financial information provided on the FAFSA now will come from prior prior (not a typo) year’s tax return. Let me explain. Those families completing the FAFSA in October 2016 for the 2017-18 school year, data from their 2015 tax year would be used.

The most dramatic impact is that students should expect to receive offer letters from colleges SOONER with about 50% of colleges expecting to send their need-based offers sooner. Here’s the data:

Snapchat Is Going Public. Would You Buy Their IPO?

First an admission. I have never used Snapchat. Despite that, I thought their upcoming IPO would be a good hook to get students interested in how the stock market works. Before diving into the specifics of Snapchat (actually it is their parent company, SNAP, who is going public), here’s a good video from Wall Street Survivor that explains what an IPO is:

Questions:

Question: In What Year Was The First A.T.M. Installed (And Other Fun Facts About Banking)?

Answer: 1969.

Good opener to this 1,000 word article (about 5 minutes reading time) on the history of banking from NerdWallet. Here are a few interesting points (some of which I even remember!):

By |February 13th, 2017|Article, Checking Accounts, Current Events, Question of the Day|

Interactive: How Much Have Incomes Changed for Specific Jobs Over the Past 50 Years?

Interesting interactive from Flowing Data demonstrating how income in various occupational categories has changed since 1960. Here’s what income distribution looked like in 1960 for several occupations (more occupations included on the website):

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Student can click on the SELECT YEAR button and see how these income distributions change over time.

Questions for your students (be sure they go to the interactive to answer the questions):

By |February 8th, 2017|Career, Chart of the Week, Interactive, Question of the Day, Research|

Chart: How Do Credit Card Companies Make Money?

Students need to understand the business models behind credit card companies as well as other financial service companies. Why? It provides a roadmap for consumers as to how they should use the financial product to AVOID becoming a profitable part of that business model. NerdWallet has a report out about credit card trends, which included this chart showing how credit card companies make money:

Question: How Much Should You Save For Retirement?

I heard this on Marketplace.org last night and thought it was worth sharing. It seems the old “rule of thumb” of  saving 10% for retirement needs to be updated:

By |February 7th, 2017|Current Events, Index Funds, Investing, Question of the Day, Research, Stocks|