Posts by Lauren Lyster

  • How 1980s toys make modern day billions

    Lauren Lyster at Yahoo Finance 10 days ago

    For one, "nostalgic value always wins at retail," Steph Wissink, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, tells us in the video above. "Anytime you can create an emotional connection with a consumer, it draws them in and likely draws them to purchase." 

    And the emotional connection of course, is because these are the brands parents grew up with and are now buying for their kids.

    Take My Little Pony. First popular in the 80s, Hasbro says it re-launched the brand in 2003, but it was the 2010 reboot with a new look and an animated series now in its fifth season that helped catapult My Little Pony to a billion dollars in sales last year -- it's best year ever. A My Little Pony movie is in the works, due out in 2017. 

    “Brands like Care Bears and Cabbage Patch Kids that have resurfaced and then gone away again -- those didn’t have that stickiness or that value proposition economically or for the consumer,” Wissink tells us.

  • Why one man defaulted on his student loans and suggests you should too

    Lauren Lyster at Yahoo Finance 25 days ago

    In the debate over the high cost of college and the burden of student loan debt, you don't often see loan default presented as a viable solution to the problem. 

    But in a Sunday New York Times op-ed -- Why I Defaulted on my Student Loans-- writer Lee Siegel explains why he did just that, and seems to encourage others to do the same.  

    "As difficult as it has been, I’ve never looked back," he writes. "The millions of young people today, who collectively owe over $1 trillion in loans, may want to consider my example." 

    He explains in the piece that, years after taking out his student loans to pay for college: 

    In the video above, he calls it a "suggestion, not an exhortation," because the "situation has to change." 

    Siegel asserts student loans are the only debt that's not dischargeable in bankruptcy. According the office of the Department of Education, that's not the case:  

  • Why prescription drugs cost so much

    Lauren Lyster at Yahoo Finance 25 days ago

    The high cost of cancer drugs recently prompted top oncologist Dr. Leonard Saltz to publicly call for limits. "These drugs cost too much," he told thousands of his colleagues at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting. Many cancer drugs debut with a price tag of $10,000 a month according to an analysis from staff at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

    The country’s largest pharmacy benefits manager, Express Scripts,estimates 576,000 Americans had prescription drug costs above $50,000 last year, up 63% from the year before. The number of patients with costs of $100,000 or more nearly tripled.

    Express Scripts put the impact of these costs on payers in the U.S. at $52 billion a year, a number they call unsustainable. They find insurers foot most of the bill but say the costs pressure health insurance premiums and taxpayer-funded government healthcare programs like Medicaid.

  • Disrupting psychology: Text a shrink for $25/week. Does it work?

    Lauren Lyster at Yahoo Finance 1 mth ago

    Therapy is known as the talking cure. But if the New York-based tech startup Talkspacehas its way, therapy will also become known as the texting cure. The company scored a round of $9.5 million in funding earlier this month from investors who have backed companies like Twitter (TWTR) and Tumblr (YHOO).

    “Our mission is to make therapy affordable and accessible for all,” co-founder and head of clinical services Roni Frank tells us in the video above.

    Frank describes Talkspace as a platform that connects people with licensed therapists, giving them unlimited access for $25 a week (with the most popular pricing plan).

    That’s the pitch. This isn’t traditional therapy though. Sessions are conducted entirely through online messaging-- a technique other psychologists we spoke to had some concerns about.

    Does the research back it up?

  • Gen. McChrystal: What companies face today is like war

    Lauren Lyster at Yahoo Finance 1 mth ago

    Retired four-star general Stanley McChrystal led U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan and is known for developing and implementing the counter-insurgency strategy there. It’s just the set of knowledge and skills you might imagine are sought these days by...corporate executives? Well, that’s the theory behind McChrystal’s new book, Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World , which is aimed at applying the challenges of war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan to business.

    “I think companies need [help from] anyone who has experienced working in a fast-moving, complex environment, which most of them are experiencing right now,” McChrystal tells Yahoo Finance in the accompanying video interview. “I have found that the environment we faced in Iraq and Afghanistan is actually startlingly similar to what companies face -- it’s very much appropriate.”

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  • Gen. McChrystal: Americans should be very concerned about ISIS

    Lauren Lyster at Yahoo Finance 1 mth ago

    From the fighting in Yemen to the threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, battlefields across the globe make daily headlines in the U.S. But how concerned should average Americans be about these global flashpoints? Very concerned, says retired four-star general Stanley McChrystal, who was commander of U.S. and the international security forces in Afghanistan, in a video interview with Yahoo Finance.

    “Even if those near-term problems went away tomorrow, the region would still be in absolute disarray,” he tells us, citing Syria’s ongoing civil war and Yemen as a country “essentially without governance,” to back his view. And in McChrystal’s opinion, the issues don’t have a near-term fix that can be solved in a year or with a single military operation, but will take long-term engagement by countries around the world, including the U.S.

    Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App

    McChrystal's new book Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World hits shelves Tuesday.

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  • $100 million worth of U.S. energy revolution going up in smoke

    Lauren Lyster at Yahoo Finance 9 mths ago

    In North Dakota, technology has unlocked the oil and gas of the U.S. shale revolution, but it’s not without growing pains. In the Bakken region near Williston, North Dakota, we found farmers who can’t get their product to market while more than one quarter of the natural gas being produced is going, not to gas plants, but to waste. Also, oil shipped out to refineries on trains has been involved in a string of fiery accidents.

    Why is so much oil traveling this way?

    Kathleen Neset of Neset Consulting advises the oil and gas industry. She says the problem is a lack of pipeline infrastructure: “The safest most secure way is to get the pipelines in place. That takes time. In the meantime the rail facility is here - the rails are already here.”

    She says more oil rail cars, though, mean more chances for accidents. “We still have to up our game when it comes to safety,” she adds.

    Also needing to travel by rail? The state’s other big commodities: The ones cultivated on farms.

    ‘‘Because the oil has to move, and there aren’t enough engines between all the different facilities to get all the rail cars moved that they want,” Eckert believes.

  • Financial crisis delays 'adulthood' for millennials

    Lauren Lyster at Yahoo Finance 9 mths ago

    Consider it one one of the latest indications that conventional notions of adulthood (i.e. getting married, buying a house and having children) are on the decline: Singles now make up more than half of the adult population for the first time since the government began tracking these stats more than 35 years ago.

    That's 124.6 million single Americans, or 50.2% of the population age 16 and older. That compares to 37.4% in 1976. The data, as reported by Bloomberg,comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics via the August jobs report, and were flagged by economist Edward Yardeni.

    Heidi Moore, The Guardian's U.S. finance and economics editor, says the financial benchmarks of adulthood have changed for millennials as a result of the economic times they're living through.

    Related: The Chew’s Carla Hall: It’s never too late to change careers

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  • The future of the mall looks more like Minority Report

    Lauren Lyster at Yahoo Finance 10 mths ago

     

    Plenty of lip-service has been paid to the "death" of the American mallsince the financial crisis. While some data shows the mall is still very alive, what are the country's shopping destinations doing to keep it that way when online shopping is so convenient?

    Related: Back from the dead: why the shopping mall is stronger than ever

    Well, the future of the mall is either very convenient or very intrusive, depending on your point-of-view.

    Related: The future of the shopping mall is...the shopping mall

    He says malls and shopping centers have been using near-field technology so that when visitors walk in, they're sent a message on their cell phones welcoming them and telling them where the sales are.

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  • Crude oil for all? U.S. Under pressure to lift export ban

    Lauren Lyster at Yahoo Finance 10 mths ago

    The U.S. is producing 8.5 million barrels of oil a day -- amounting to the highest production in July since April of 1987 -- and other countries are eager to get in on the fruits of the domestic energy evolution.

    Related:Here's why the U.S. energy revolution has proven skeptics wrong

    According to a Reuters exclusive, pressure is mounting on Washington from countries including South Korea and Mexico and the European Union to relax the U.S. ban on crude oil exports. Reuters reports drillers, too, are "stepping up their campaign[s] to loosen - or better yet eliminate -- a ban imposed after the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s, which they argue is now obsolete." (Exports of refined petroleum products are permitted.)

    Advocates argue that easing or lifting the ban would boost the U.S. economy (e.g. boosting exports, investment and jobs) and stabilize oil prices globally.

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