Posts by Mandi Woodruff

  • 8-minute mortgage? Quicken CEO defends Super Bowl ad controversy

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 3 days ago

    “Push a button...get a mortgage!”

    That’s the promise made by mortgage lending service Rocket Mortgage in a controversial Super Bowl ad that gave some viewers flashbacks to the 2008 housing crisis. Bill Emerson, CEO of Rocket Mortgage’s parent company Quicken Loans, defended the ad Monday, telling Yahoo Finance the company stands by its product.

    “There’s going to be controversy anytime you’re doing something new and different that many people may not understand,” Emerson said. “What we’re doing is taking an intimidating process and making it more efficient and more easy for people to understand.”

    The ad features people purchasing mortgages on their smartphones while doing random tasks, like watching a magic show, working in a hair salon, working out, and, for some reason, whittling furniture legs. (Rocket Mortgage, which launched last November, isn’t actually an app at all, but a website built to be accessible on mobile devices).  

    Rocket Mortgage quickly responded.

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  • 5 black business leaders who are changing the face of Silicon Valley

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 6 days ago

    Growing up in Detroit, Brown-Philpot, 40, says every day she encountered hard working people with tangible skills who couldn’t find jobs. It’s not hard to see why she took on the role of COO at job outsourcing site TaskRabbit in 2013. “TaskRabbit is revolutionizing everyday work, and for me, that means helping the company create work opportunities for people who might not otherwise have them,” she told Yahoo Finance.

    Career highlights: Recently named to Forbes 40 under 40 list ; spent 9 years at Google leading global operations for flagship products like search and Chrome (she counts Sheryl Sandberg among her mentors); holds a seat on the board of HP (HPQ).; founded the Black Google Network to encourage diversity; earned her M.B.A from Stanford University.

    Favorite quote:

    “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Her advice for young minorities who feel unwelcome in the tech industry:

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  • Money Minute: These people are the worst dinner dates

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 7 days ago

    Sometimes even the best of friends can make for the worst dinner dates. I'll tell you who to avoid in this week's Money Minute.

    Have a topic you'd like me to cover? Email us at yfmoneymailbag@yahoo.com.

    The cheapskate. You know this person. They’re the one who leaves a $1 tip on a $20 meal. The one who conveniently “has to go to the bathroom” when the check arrives. If you can’t afford a decent tip or your part of the bill, here’s an idea: eat at home.

    The friend with Champagne tastes and a Budweiser budget. Why are you taking me to this five star restaurant just so you can order a glass of water and an appetizer? We can get more bang for our buck at plenty of other places.

    The surprise group dinner organizer. This is the friend who casually asks you to dinner … without bothering to mention she’s invited 10 other people, too. Splitting the check is a nightmare and someone always gets stuck paying more than their fair share. Usually you. No thanks.

    The “sometimes” celiac . One week they refuse to eat anywhere that’s not gluten free. The next week, they have one glass of wine and suddenly they’re elbows deep in a pepperoni pizza. MAKE UP YOUR MIND.

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  • How to find the perfect virtual assistant and grow your business

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 10 days ago

    Look behind any successful online business today and chances are you’ll find at least one, if not a small army, of virtual assistants. These versatile multitaskers do everything from trudging through email backlogs and responding to customer queries to managing social media profiles and booking their busy boss’s root canal.

    Finding a virtual assistant of your own can be as simple as finding a new pair of shoes online. Job postings for virtual assistant have skyrocketed on Upwork.com (the combination of former freelance sites oDesk and e-lance.com). There were 38,000 VA postings in 2015, up from 25,000 in 2012 and only 2,500 in 2008. The reason behind the trend is obvious: Technology has allowed employers to outsource tasks to freelancers without having to hire a full-time worker.

    Ryan Johnson, categories director for Upwork, says what’s more important is that the rate of clients actually hiring VAs grew 41% in 2015 (the company does not give out specific hiring figures).

    How did you find your virtual assistant?

    What sort of work do your VA do?

    How much do you pay?

    What are the pros and cons to using a VA outside of the U.S.?

  • My 401(k) is tanking. What do I do?

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 14 days ago

    The markets have taken some pretty wild swings lately. But is now the right time to revisit your 401(k) investments? I’ll tell you in this week’s Money Minute:

    Younger workers probably have less to worry about. If you’re decades away from retirement, don't be surprised if your advisor tells you to hang tight. Younger workers are advised to take on more risk early because they have a longer time to recover from any market setbacks—and more time to reap the rewards when markets bounce back. Given the way most young workers are investing these days, they may have even less to worry about. According to Fidelity, nearly two-thirds of millennial 401(k) investors are 100% invested in target-date funds, a type of fund that picks your holdings based on your age. Target-date funds are meant to be left alone. They automatically shift away from stock-heavy investments to the safety of bonds as you age.

    The bottom line: You can’t time the market. What you can do is work with a financial advisor to come up with a retirement plan you don’t have to worry about every time the market gets shaky.

  • Here's where rent will get cheaper (and more expensive) in 2016

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 20 days ago

    Renters finally have a little something to celebrate.

    In a new report, real estate website Zillow predicts the median rent in the U.S. will stay relatively flat in 2016. At a time when n early half of U.S. renters are spending more than 30% of their income on housing, this should make for a nice reprieve. M edian rent at the end of 2015 was $1,381, and is expected to increase by only 1% to $1,396 over the next 12 months, Zillow says.

    Where are rents falling the most?

    A few cities will see  rent decreases including Indianapolis (predicted to fall 3.6% in 2016), Oklahoma City (-1.8%) and Las Vegas (-1.8%), Chicago (-1.4%), St. Louis, Mo. (-0.7%), Baltimore (-0.7%),  Cleveland (-0.6%), Philadelphia (-0.5%), Detroit (-0.4), and Pittsburgh (-1%).

    Even markets that have seen double-digit rent increases over the last few years will see a slowdown. San Francisco rents shot up 12.5% in 2015 and will climb just 5.9% in 2016, one of the most dramatic slowdowns among major metro areas. Even so, San Francisco is still among the housing markets with the highest rent hikes.

     

  • 5 simple things you can do today that will make you richer

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 20 days ago

    Building wealth isn’t only about saving and investing. I’ll explain in this week’s Money Minute.

    It seems counterintuitive, but sometimes you have to shell out money to build wealth. The faster you pay off those student loans, mortgage or credit card bill, the slower interest will accrue. So, really, spending money is helping you save money. Get creative and see if you can squeeze in an extra payment today. No extra cash lying around? Sometimes there are hundreds of dollars hiding in your own home. That cash is usually hidden in the form of gently worn clothing, shoes, children's toys, uneeded furniture and appliances you can  sell for cash on sites like eBay, ThredUP, Craigslist, or swap.com.

    Mandi Woodruff is a reporter for Yahoo Finance and host of Brown Ambition, a new podcast about career and finance.

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    9 little-known Amazon Prime perks 

  • How this Chicago family paid off $120,000 of debt

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 21 days ago

    I first spoke with Aja McClanahan about her family’s remarkable journey out of debt on my podcast Brown Ambition . Nine years ago, Aja and her husband were $120,000 in the hole. Read on to find out how they clawed their way out and what life is like after debt.

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    When Aja McClanahan , 36, married her junior high sweetheart after college, the Chicago native knew exactly how her life would unfold. They would move to a cozy suburb, where they would have a couple of kids. She would launch a successful business as a translator and work from home, scheduling her hours around her children’s homeschooling lessons.

    So did letters from debt collectors — a lot of them.

    One evening, with bills, notices from debt collectors and a court subpoena for an unpaid private student loan laid out on their kitchen table, the couple came to grips with their new reality. “We just said ‘Oh my goodness,’” Aja recalls. “It was terrible.”

    ‘You can’t wish yourself debt free.’

    On the other side

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  • I thought buying a house with friends might be fun. I was wrong.

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 28 days ago

    Like many working adults in our late 20s and early 30s, my friends and I are serial renters. Only 35% of Americans under the age of 35 own homes today, down from 39% at the end of 2009, according to the U.S. Census . We all talk about buying a home one day. But as the cost of renting just about everywhere soars, the road to homeownership can start to feel like a treadmill — moving fast, getting nowhere.

    On a recent group trip, a friend had an idea: What if we pool our cash and buy a house together? The concept was simple enough. We’d each chip in enough for a down payment on a house somewhere we like. When we weren’t using it for the occasional group vacay, we could rent it out, creating a passive income stream evenly split among us.

    It’s not uncommon for more than one person to buy a house. Couples and family members do it all the time. But we’re a group of eight individuals living in three different states who are still getting used to the whole “adulting” thing and have a hard enough time trying to organize our annual camping trip. Could our friendship — and our finances — survive it?

    No title? No ownership.

  • Money Minute: The first 3 things you should do after you get engaged

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 28 days ago

    A whopping 33% of engagements happen during the holiday season. But what comes after the proposal? I’ll tell you in this week’s Money Minute.

    Get that ring insured. After you’ve sent a million Snapchats of your new bling, do the smart thing -- get it insured! This is an easy step if you’ve already got a renters or homeowners insurance policy. Call your insurer and ask to add your ring to your policy. Expect to pay $1 to $2 per year for every $100 your ring costs. For a $5,000 ring (slightly lower than the average of $5,600 ) you could pay as little as 50 bucks per year for peace of mind.

    The best policies cover theft, loss and damage. When you’re ready to talk to your insurer, have your receipt and an appraisal handy. If your ring didn’t come with an appraisal, find an accredited gemologist in your area to do the appraisal for you.

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