Posts by Jane Wells

  • Want to make the most money? Don't go to Harvard

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 4 days ago

    College costs are still rising faster than inflation. The College Board reports that while the Consumer Price Index rose about two percent between July 2013 and July 2014, college tuition and fees rose around three percent for public schools, almost four percent at private universities.

    If you're going to spend six figures for a degree, will you earn six figures after graduation? Depends on where you go and what you study.

    PayScale.com researches salaries and has determined which colleges give you the best bang for your student loan buck. Spoiler - Harvard, Yale, and Princeton are not in the top five for undergraduates.

    Here are the top schools for the best pay after graduation.

    #5 - Stanford University

    #4 - Colgate University

    This is the only New York school in the top 5, and the only school known more for liberal arts than higher-paying engineering and science jobs. Colgate grads can expect a starting median income of $54,000 which grows to $126,600 by mid-career.

  • Growing old sucks...but not everywhere

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 13 days ago

    We're not getting any younger, and no matter how much Botox you inject, you can't freeze time.

    That said, you can live longer in some countries more than others. More importantly, you can also live well.

    Global AgeWatch looked at data from around the world for the over 60 crowd--things like life expectancy, pensions, access to affordable healthcare and public transport, employment and education for older people, and social connections. As much as everyone on Madison Avenue is always chasing the young man's dollar, we are a graying planet. There will be soon be as many oldsters as youngsters.

    Currently, 12 percent of the world's population is over the age of 60. By 2050, it will be 21 percent. There will be as many people over 60 as under the age of 15, more than two billion aging Millennials! That's a lot of pierced, tatted senior citizens with dreadlocks still working at Starbucks!

    So, where are the top, best, and worst places to grow old? Here are the results from Global AgeWatch:

    Best place to grow old--pack a coat

    #3 - Switzerland

    #2 - Sweden

    #1 - Norway

  • Worst states for women

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 20 days ago

    It's a man's world. Well, in some places more than others.

    On average, American women make only 79 cents for every dollar American men earn. Yet when it comes to unequal pay, not all states are equal.

    Numbers crunched by 24/7 Wall Street determined which states women may want to avoid. For example, your average working woman in New York makes 86 cents for every dollar a working man makes. But in Louisiana, the pay gap widens to 66 cents for every male dollar. Clearly women are either not getting equal pay for equal work, or not getting equal work in the first place. Louisiana's oil and natural gas businesses often require heavy lifting, literally, and the riskier the job, the higher the pay.

    What about leadership opportunities for women across America? Healthcare? Education? 24/7 Wall Street looked at all of those stats to determine which states are worst for women. Before you say West Virginia or Alaska, wait. Don't burn your bra in Charleston or Anchorage just yet.

    #5-North Dakota

    #4-Mississippi

    #3-Idaho

    #2-Wyoming

    #1-Utah

  • Want to find a mate? Location, location, location!

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 29 days ago

    Americans either don't want to get married or are having trouble finding a mate. Whatever the reason, the percentage of Americans who have never been married is at a record high, 20 percent, according to the Pew Research Center.  

    That’s 1 in 5 Americans and doesn't even count those who are divorced or widowed. That 20 percent is made up of adults who have NEVER been married.

    There have been studies on whether people even want to get married.  For one thing, the average wedding in the U.S. now reportedly tops $25,000.

    But for those who do, if you’re looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right, you may want to pack your bags. 

    Here are the best places to head with your U-Haul if you want to find an eligible mate. The best cities for women are the worst for men, and vice versa.

    FOR WOMEN:

    FOR MEN:

    BUT WHAT ABOUT JOBS?

  • Airline fees are nickel and diming you--you wish

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 1 mth ago

    Airline fees are the industry's first class ticket to profits. I'm sure some retired airline CEO is thinking, "Why didn't we do that back in the day? Who knew people would be willing to pay extra for checked luggage, egg frittatas, and wafer thin blankets? GENIUS!"

    Actually, the airlines claim fees are the only thing standing between them and bankruptcy. It's the cash cow which keeps them flying. A study by IdeaWorks found that so-called "ancillary fees" totaled $42 billion.  In the U.S., the government said baggage fees alone have topped $3 billion a year. 

    They seem to nickel and dime you every chance they get, though I bet you wish it was only nickels and dimes.

    Which airline has the top fees?

    United is tops overall with $5.7 billion just in fees, according to The Motley Fool.  That's nearly 15 percent of the airline's total revenues, or $41 a passenger.

    Here are a few.

  • Think you pay high taxes? Facebook pays high taxes

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 1 mth ago

    A lot of people believe big companies get away with murder when it comes to taxes. There seems to be a lot of fuzzy math, some Americans reason. And it turns out, they’re right. There is a lot of fuzzy math—some companies do get breaks the average Joe never sees (especially when Joe gets "lucky" enough to qualify for the Alternative Minimum Tax). However, it appears corporate America is not ripping off Uncle Sam as often as a lot of people think. And the 35 percent federal tax rate imposed on companies has become a big enough worry for corporations that some businesses are merging with overseas firms to relocate where rates are lower. Financial advice site WalletHub went through the regulatory filings of the largest 100 companies on the stock market by market capitalization in order to look at what they pay in taxes both in the U.S. and overseas. The results are all over the map. Some companies paid more in taxes last year than they made. Others paid nothing. One even got a refund, despite billions of dollars in sales. Overall, the companies in the S&P 100 saw their tax rates rise 5 percent year-over-year, mostly due to jumps in state taxes. The average company in that  group has a 15 percent higher tax rate than the top 3 percent of consumers.

  • Who wants to be a billionaire?

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 1 mth ago

    You wanna know a growth industry?

     Money. Lots and lots of money.

    There is a billionaire boom on Planet Earth. Nerdwallet calls this "The Age of Billionaires," and says there are currently 2,325 of them--up 350 percent since the turn of the century.

     Of that group, only 285 are women, or 12 percent.

     Together the world's billionaires are worth a combined $7.3 trillion, reports Nerdwallet, equal to nearly half the U.S. GDP. A study on billionaires by Wealth-X and UBS says growth in the B-club spiked more than seven percent last year.  This shouldn't surprise you, apparently, if you think the economy isn't bouncing back quite as quickly, "because a significant portion of billionaires' wealth is not necessarily correlated to global wealth conditions."

     Here are the top 10 countries for billionaires, and how much the number has grown or fallen in one year:

    1. United States -- 571 (up 11%)

  • U.S. customer satisfaction is far from the world's best

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 2 mths ago

    Americans shop like nobody else. We have the world's largest economy, and 75 percent of that is due to consumer spending. When three quarters of GDP is based on convincing people to buy things, you think we'd be really good at customer service.

    We are not.

    Not by a long shot.

    Finances Online, a personal finance website, points out that American customer satisfaction is falling, while rising in other countries.

    It cites a global survey by Zendesk which breaks down the best and worst satisfaction levels country by country.

    Here's where the happy campers really live:

    #4 - Italy

    #2-#3 - Virtual tie between Norway and Canada

    #1 - New Zealand

    Still, it could be worse. These countries are at the bottom of Zendesk’s list, followed by their customer satisfaction rating:

    Colombia, 71 percent.

    Turkey, 68 percent.

    Last, and least, is India, at 58 percent. Ironic, since the era of call centers and help desks has relied heavily on India.

  • The most popular apps--guess who's playing games?

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 2 mths ago

     

    Apple introduced consumers to the idea that there’s an app for almost anything. Weather? There's an app for that. Finding a good restaurant? One for that, too. CPR? Check. Dating? Obvs.

    The shorter list these days might be services which don't have an app.

    ComScore research indicates that this year for the first time, Americans are getting more than half of their digital media via apps, overtaking desktop computers and mobile browsers. One out of three of us download at least one app a month.

    While total time spent on digital media in the U.S. grew 24 percent in the last year, accessing that media through apps jumped 52 percent. "Apps drive the vast majority of media consumption activity on mobile devices, accounting for approximately 7 out of every 8 minutes," comScore writes.

    Most popular

    Here are the most popular apps based on unique monthly visitors.

    Facebook: 115 million YouTube: 83 million Google Play: 72 million (an app for finding apps!) Google Search: 70 million Pandora: 69 million Google Maps: 64 million Gmail: 60 million Instagram: 47 million Apple Maps: 42 million Yahoo Stocks Widget: 42 million

    (Source: comScore)

    Most profitable

  • The world’s most (and least) generous people

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 2 mths ago

    Love thy neighbor as thyself, says the Golden Rule.

    How much do you love your neighbor?

    The Charities Aid Foundation has ranked the most and least charitable countries in the world, focusing on three areas: willingness to help a stranger, donating to a charitable organization and volunteering time.

    The results in some cases are surprising.

    Overall, Indonesia is more charitable than Germany, Mexico is more charitable than Russia, and Libya is more charitable than France (some of that Libyan charity may be due to the needs created by a devastating civil war).

    Here are the most charitable countries on Earth:

    #3 - Ireland

    The luck of the Irish is a gift the Emerald Isle likes to share. According to Charities Aid Foundation, Ireland got an overall score of 57 percent. Two out of 3 surveyed said they had lent a helping hand in the previous month, while 70 percent had donated to an organization and 37 percent had volunteered time.

    #2 – Canada, New Zealand … and Myanmar

    #1 - USA

    Which countries are least generous?

    #2 – China and Croatia

    #1 - Greece