Posts by Mandi Woodruff

  • Walmart denies claims it targeted wage protestors with store closings

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 11 hrs ago

    Less than a week after Walmart (WMT) said it would close a handful of locations and lay off more than 2,000 employees, the retailer is now fending off accusations from disgruntled workers who say they were being unfairly punished for protesting the company’s employee practices.

    Citing prolonged plumbing issues at five stores in California, Texas, Oklahoma and Florida, Walmart told employees it had no choice but to close. Repairs could take up to six months or longer, according to Walmart .

    “We understand this decision has been difficult on our associates and our customers and we aim to reopen these stores as soon as these issues are resolved and improvements are made,” Walmart said in a statement provided to Yahoo Finance.

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

    With the Pico Rivera store’s closing, more than 500 employees were laid off, including Venanzia Luna, a 36-year-old deli manager who has worked at the location for eight years.

     “This has nothing to do with plumbing,” Luna told Yahoo Finance. “They wanted to get rid of us one way or the other.”

  • Mika Brzezinski and celebrity pals teach women how to negotiate

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 14 hrs ago

    Hoda Kotb, Brooke Shields and Andre Leon Talley may seem like unlikely career advisers — they do have day jobs, after all — but they had plenty to give to more than 600 women who attended the launch of Mika Brzezinski's "Know Your Value" tour in Philadelphia earlier this month.

    The five-city conference tour was the brainchild of Brzezinski , who co-hosts MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and wrote the New York Times bestselling book, “Knowing Your Value.”  Attendees shelled out $225 a pop to see Brzezinski, her famous pals and a roster of career experts offer strategies on how to overcome common workplace roadblocks.

    Brzezinski is not the first celebrity author to take her message on the road — Winfrey, Arianna Huffington and Sheryl Sandberg have all launched lucrative conference tours aimed at helping women manage their careers, personal life and health. Brzezinski’s tour is more narrow in its focus: h elping women learn how to ask for more pay and better benefits at work.

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

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  • YAHOO FINANCE EXCLUSIVE: Google Wallet funds are now FDIC-insured

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 15 hrs ago

    Google (GOOGL) is making a big change to its mobile payment service, Google Wallet, Yahoo Finance has learned. Funds that are left in Google Wallet will now be FDIC-insured, which means Google users’ money is now a whole lot safer — and they probably never even knew it.

    Here’s why this matters: when you stash your cash in mobile payment apps like Venmo, PayPal and Google Wallet, that money is not FDIC-insured. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation protects funds held by banking institutions up to $250,000. This is a good thing because, as history has proven time and again , banks can fail and when they do, the little guys need someone looking out for them.

    These hot new money transfer services fall under the category of “non-banking institutions,” which includes the likes of payday lenders and prepaid debit cards. As a nonbank, they aren’t legally required to be federally insured.

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  • Money Minute: 5 signs you're too cheap

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 3 days ago

    Everyone loves to save but some people take penny-pinching way too far. Here are 5 signs you’re too cheap.

    Skimping on your health. If you’d rather “self medicate” or you’ve ever cut your pills in half to save money on medicine, then here’s a wake-up call: you’re cheap! Health care is ridiculously expensive, we get that, but you shouldn’t sacrifice your health to save a buck. Not taking the right dose of medication now or skipping the doctor's office when you're ill could lead to bigger -- and more expensive -- health issues later.

    Wasting time saving money. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your time and sanity just to save money. When you spend money on a housekeeper, a laundry service, or a REAL plumber to fix that leaky faucet, you’re buying yourself something valuable in return — time.

    Not investing in activities that make you happy. What good is saving money if you’re completely miserable all the time? You should spend money on activities and things that you actually value. You may not find double coupons for a relaxing day at the spa, but there is value in investing in activities that make you HAPPY. You can’t put a price tag on a relaxation.

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  • Vouch: A new lender that judges borrowers by their 'social network'

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 4 days ago

    A new lending startup called Vouch has been getting a lot of buzz for the unique way it vets potential borrowers. Rather than focusing solely on traditional criteria like FICO scores, debt levels, and income, Vouch lets borrowers prove their creditworthiness by getting friends and coworkers to “vouch” for them.

    The folks who vouch for you (called 'sponsors') become a part of our Vouch 'social network' and have a big impact on how much you are allowed to borrow and how low your interest rate will be.

    Becoming a sponsor does not come without risks, however. When you agree to vouch for someone, you decide how much money you are willing to front if they fall behind on their payments. The average loan sponsor commits $110, according to the company. From that point, the vouch system is a lot like cosigning a loan — the sponsor signs a contract and agrees to pay whatever amount they have vouched for if the borrower falls behind. The advantage of this model versus traditional cosigner rules is that if the borrower misses payments, the cosigner won't be on the hook for the entire loan, only what he originally vouched for



  • Richard Branson, Peter Thiel take aim at Western Union

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 5 days ago

    Look out, Western Union. A new startup is making it easier – and a lot cheaper — for Americans to send and receive money overseas and it's attracted funding from big name investors like venture capitalist Peter Thiel and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson.

    Typically, U.S. banks impose fees as high as 12% per international transfer, while money transfer juggernauts like Western Union and MoneyGram’s average fees of 9% of assets sent.

    TransferWise, a UK-based startup that opened its first U.S. office earlier this year, uses a clever loophole to make it possible to send money to other countries.

    “There’s just no need to charge as much as many of these companies do,” says Joe Cross, general manager of TransferWise’s US operation.

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

    Jordan McKee, a mobile payments analyst, says TransferWise is “nimble and opportunistic” enough to pose a serious threat to traditional wire services.  


  • Carl Richards: How to create a one-page financial plan

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 12 days ago

    You may know certified financial planner Carl Richards simply as the “napkin guy,” thanks to the popular New York Times column that features his no-nonsense financial tips illustrated on cocktail napkins. 

    Richards, who lives in Park City, Utah and is also the director of investor education at the BAM Alliance , has a distinctive modus operandi: radically simplifying the laborious financial questions that often stump the average person. His latest effort to demystify the mysteries of personal finance is new book, released March 31, called the “ The One-Page Financial Plan: A Simple Way To Be Smart About Your Money .”

    For a book about a one-page plan, it’s pretty hefty, clocking in at 208 pages. After reading it, what becomes immediately clear is that putting together a basic financial plan is not the hard part. Richards dedicates most of the book to coaching readers on how, once the ink on our new plan has dried, we can stop ourselves from screwing it up.

    We recently spoke with Richards to discuss his book. Here are some highlights from our chat:

  • How a mother and son got locked in $115,000 student debt trap

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 13 days ago

    When Deborah Circle’s son, Stephan, came to her in 2003 to ask her to cosign his student loans, she did not hesitate. He was the youngest of her four children, whom she had raised as a single mother, and a promising student, studying business and sports marketing at a private university near their home in New Brighton, Pa.

    He was also the first of her kids to ask her to cosign a student loan, although Circle was no stranger to student debt herself. While bringing up her kids and working full time, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in 1999, taking on $25,000 in student loans in the process. Her investment paid off, leading her to a higher-paying job as an office manager at an accounting firm.

    She wanted to give her son the same opportunity.

    “College was very expensive and by then I was making too much money for him to get much in the way of grants,” says Circle. “He seemed well on his way to success and I didn't believe he would have any problem finding a good job in the field he wanted and would be able to pay on his loans.”

    "Many people who really deserve bankruptcy relief on student loans will never get it.”

    The bigger picture

  • Reddit CEO Ellen Pao's bold move to end gender discrimination — banning salary negotiations

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 14 days ago

    Ellen Pao is swiftly emerging as the new face of feminism in the U.S., despite losing a closely watched gender discrimination lawsuit against one of Silicon Valley’s biggest venture capital firms last month. Pao, who has been interim CEO of Reddit since November , is now speaking out about how her experience has changed the way she manages her own employees.

    In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Monday, Pao says she decided to rewrite the rules of hiring at Reddit. In addition to hiring workplace diversity consultant Freada Kapor Klein, the company no longer allows new hires to negotiate their salaries. Pao defended her move based on studies that have shown that when women negotiate, they don’t fare as well as their male counterparts.

    We reached out to Reddit for comment but have not heard back yet.

    This might sound like a good idea, in theory at least. It’s hard to argue with any move that might make the hiring process and salary decisions as democratic and equitable as possible.

    More from Mandi:


  • Money Minute: Do I really need renters insurance?

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 14 days ago

    The tragic gas explosion that left two dead and dozens of New Yorkers homeless last month was a wake-up call for many renters: If you haven’t gotten renters insurance yet, it’s time to get busy.

    As it stands, only 37% of renters in the U.S. are insured, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

    “Many people who rent don’t think they need renters insurance because they either think that their landlord’s insurance takes care of their personal possessions, or they think they don’t have a lot of “stuff” so they don’t purchase coverage,” says Loretta Worters, vice president of the I.I.I.

    These people are wrong. It may seem complicated, but getting a renters insurance policy can be done in a matter of minutes.

    Why every renter needs insurance: Because you have stuff and if that stuff were to be destroyed, wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to blow your savings to replace it all?

    It also covers you for the kind of disasters you may never think of, like personal liability. Liability insurance covers you if a guest in your home hurts himself (for example, they trip on your rug, crack their head and need stitches) and they try to hit you up for medical expenses.