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The worst thing you can do with your credit card rewards points is nothing at all.

Nearly one-fifth of consumers have let credit card rewards expire, according to a new study from TD Bank, which surveyed more than 1,000 consumers in the U.S. The worst offenders? Millennials. Some 30% of millennials have let rewards expire, compared to 19% of those in Generation X and 8% of Baby Boomers, TD Bank found.

It could be even higher than this among all age groups: About one third of credit-card holders have never redeemed their credit card rewards, a survey in April of 1,000 people by personal-finance site Bankrate. “Credit card rewards don’t gain value over time, Continue reading

American drivers will haggle over the price of a car, which might make it all the more puzzling why they don’t always shop for the best rates on loans.

That’s according to a new study this month from researchers at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Business, who analyzed more than 4 million auto loans from 326 different financial institutions in the U.S.

They analyzed consumers’ decisions by comparing borrowers who fit similar profiles, in terms of credit score and geographic location, and looking at which rates each borrower found. They found that a majority of consumers they analyzed did not shop around for loans. And about 80% of all borrowers in the sample for whom a Continue reading

Predictions of a snap recession were wrong, but the problems are gradually stacking up

Sat, Oct 21, 2017, 06:00

Chancellor Philip Hammond: likely to be restricted from setting aside money to smooth Britain’s exit from the EU. Photograph: Matt Dunham/AFP/Getty Images




Predictions that last year’s Brexit vote would trigger a snap recession in the UK, fuelled by a conspicuous schadenfreude, proved wide of the mark.

In reality the economics of Brexit have been more of a slow burn, centred on a 16-month long slump in sterling.

This has increased the price of imported goods for British consumers, lifting inflation to 3 per cent, its highest level in five years. It was an anaemic 0.3 per cent just a month before the referendum.

Combined with sluggish wage growth, this has led to an erosion of purchasing power, which has now begun to put the squeeze on retail sales, which slumped in September.

Normally a level of inflation above 2 per cent would prompt swift action by the Bank of England in the form of an interest rate increase. While this is still on the cards, the bank is understandably fearful an increase in rates may accelerate the slowdown in consumer spending.

Separately, the UK’s Office for Budget Responsibility has announced it overestimated UK productivity, the upshot of which means Chancellor Philip Hammond’s November budget will have to be based on more pessimistic growth forecasts, potentially restricting him from setting aside money to smooth Britain’s exit from the EU.

Hammond last year promised to amass a £27 billion war chest to help boost growth during Brexit but if growth is slower, there will be less money to set aside from tax receipts. Ironically one way of plugging the productivity gap is by opening the gates to cheaper migrant labour.

As these issues ebb and flow, Britain inches closer to the exit chute with nothing agreed on its likely departure bill and not a scintilla of work done on its future trading relationship with the EU.

The OECD lobbed a grenade into the mix this week by calling for a second referendum, suggesting a reversal of the original decision would benefit the economy, a call that is unlikely to do anything but harden the resolve of Brexiteers.

When Coco Layne, a Brooklyn-based producer, meets someone new these days, the first question that comes up in conversation isn’t “Where do you live?” or “What do you do?” but “What’s your sign?”

“So many millennials read their horoscopes every day and believe them,” Layne, who is involved in a number of nonreligious spiritual practices, said. “It is a good reference point to identify and place people in the world.”

Interest in spirituality has been booming in recent years while interest in religion plummets, especially among millennials. The majority of Americans now believe it is not necessary to believe in God to have good morals, a study from Pew Research Center released Wednesday found. The percentage of Continue reading

Cutting back your spending isn’t the only way to save more. Finding ways to up your income can help you build wealth and hit your goals faster—and it doesn’t have to require a lot of time or effort. You can ask for a raise, pick up a side gig (as nearly a third of U.S. workers are doing now) or consider a third powerful income-boosting strategy.

Say hello to passive income—a low-effort cash flow that’s steady, predictable and relatively easy to maintain. Here’s how four people have done it successfully.

“My dividend portfolio pays me over $1,200 a month.”

— Bob Lai, 35, tech product manager and blogger in Vancouver, Canada

“High-dividend stocks are my secret weapon, netting me more than Continue reading

Experts say that workplace bullying is disturbingly common. A big part of the problem is that there are very few places bullied and harassed employees can turn to for help.

Bullying bosses and toxic workplaces have dominated the headlines recently. Along with allegations of sexual assault and harassment perpetrated by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, members of the entertainment industry have described how his brother Bob Weinstein would bully and verbally abuse staff.

In a written statement to The Wall Street Journal, Weinstein said: “At times I have a temper, but I would not describe it as volatile, and I’m definitely not a bully.” The Weinstein company did not immediately return a request for comment from MarketWatch. Continue reading

Fidelity Investments is moving to address a yearslong problem stemming from a range of workplace conduct, amid allegations of sexual harassment at the mutual fund giant.

The latest known fallout: Fidelity pushed longtime employee C. Robert Chow, 56 years old, to resign earlier this month, following allegations that he made inappropriate sexual comments to colleagues, according to people familiar with the matter.

A lawyer for Chow declined to comment.

The abrupt exit of the former portfolio manager, who worked most recently in an advisory unit at Fidelity, follows a report in The Wall Street Journal that Fidelity fired a star tech fund manager accused of sexual harassment.

Fidelity spokesman Vincent Loporchio said company Continue reading