Posts by Mandi Woodruff

  • What you need to know about social media credit scores

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 2 hrs ago

    Ever since last month’s news that Facebook had secured a patent that would allow lenders to assess a borrower’s creditworthiness by checking their friends’ credit scores, there’s been buzz around the possibility of a new social network credit score. Facebook has been mum on its plans to enter the credit lending space (a spokesperson did not return multiple requests for comment and it’s possible it won’t ever use the patent), but it wouldn’t be the first company to use social networks to evaluate someone’s creditworthiness . Startups have been looking for ways to shake up the credit lending industry and make loans more accessible (and affordable) for borrowers who find themselves shut out of traditional lending institutions.

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    “Consumers who may have been otherwise denied loans for various reasons might actually start to qualify for loans,” says Yildirim. “That’s the upside of this practice.”


  • New Orleans is missing a key ingredient for its big business renaissance -

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 4 days ago

    New Orleans is playing catch-up. A decade after Hurricane Katrina decimated the city, causing more than $135 billion in damage and leaving 80% of the area under water, New Orleans leaders are fighting to reinvent the “The Big Easy” as a destination for something other than Mardi Gras, beignets and big bands — big business.

    To say their mission is ambitious would be an understatement. Unlike other major U.S. cities that rebounded in the wake of devastating disasters, such as San Francisco and Chicago, New Orleans was a city in decline long before Katrina struck. After the oil bust of the 1980s, the city lost nearly 55,000 jobs in key industries like manufacturing, mining and warehousing, according to a report by Loyola University. By the mid-1980s, one in eight workers were unemployed. In 1999, the annual median income was $27,000 while the poverty rate, at 28%, was twice the national average. “When we think about New Orleans today as it continues to recover, it’s important to keep that historical context in mind,” says Stephen Barnes, an economist at Louisiana State University. “The metro area in general had seen lackluster growth for many years before the storms.”

    Signs of progress

  • Young people, startups fuel New Orleans’ recovery — will it be enough?

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 6 days ago

    A decade after Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans, the city has unexpectedly emerged as one of the fastest growing hubs for entrepreneurship in the country. New businesses are launching at twice the rate they were before the storm. Between 2011 and 2013, the rate of new business growth was 64% higher than the national average. Venture capital funding, virtually nonexistent pre-Katrina, rose to $15.51 per capita by 2010 and has doubled since then, according to the Data Center , an independent research firm covering Southeast Louisiana.

    “We all realize we need to have a vibrant small business environment for all of New Orleans,” says Quentin Messer, president of New Orleans’ Business Alliance. “I think we should not pat ourselves on the back yet. But you now have people in the room engaged in solving this collaboratively in a way that hasn’t happened before.”

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    “I’m not saying we’re going to wake up and be Silicon Valley tomorrow,” says Messer. “But we're going to get there.”

  • In post-Katrina New Orleans, Black men lift each other up

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 8 days ago

    On a Tuesday morning inside a dank, carpeted room at the New Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, Patrick Carter is waiting patiently. At a quarter past 10 a.m., a handful of men and women trickle in, sliding back plastic chairs and taking seats at oblong tables that wouldn’t look out of place in a school cafeteria. These aren’t traditional students but, then again, this isn’t a traditional class. Carter, 35, is the group facilitator for NOLA Dads , a program offered by the Family Services of Greater New Orleans to reduce recidivism for ex-offenders on probation and parole. This is one of seven to eight classes Carter teaches weekly, each focused on topics like anger management, parenting, and education. For the lifelong New Orleanian, today’s topic hits especially close to home: finding a job.

    ‘We have to show that black men can be very powerful contributors’

    "We do have stories of men like Patrick who have seemed to overcome overwhelming circumstances, so that gives me hope," he says. "A s long as I have breath in my lungs I’ll be working to help people help themselves."



  • Here's how smart investors will react to this week's market drama

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 9 days ago

    This post has been updated from an earlier version published Monday, Aug. 24.

    It's been a bumpy ride for investors this week. As if last Friday’s 500-point plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average weren’t distressing enough, we woke up Monday to yet another market drubbing as global indexes, led by China, plunged, and a wrenching 1,000-point drop at the open Tuesday.

    However, the U.S. market looked poised for something of a comeback by Wednesday morning. By late morning, the Dow (^DJI) was up around nearly 200 points, or 1.2%, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) was 24 points -- or 1% -- higher, and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) was up around 60 points, or about 1.3%. Indexes looked like they were in recovery mode, but investor anxiety no doubt remains.

    Read more:

    5 ways to stay calm as markets plunge

  • Money Minute: 3 ways to get financially ready for a baby

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 11 days ago

    By the time your little bundle of joy is 18, you’ll have spent a quarter of a million dollars keeping them happy and healthy. That’s why it’s so important to start getting your finances in order as early as possible. Here are three things you can do to financially prepare for a new baby.

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    If you can afford it, try living off one income . Some financial planners tell new parents to practice living off of one income for at least a year before they start a family. It's an exercise that forces you to start cutting unnecessary expenses and frees up cash for savings. You’re going to need that money later -- child care alone can cost a thousand bucks a month.

    Check your family leave policy. Only 11% of workers have access to paid family leave. Look over your policy carefully before you start planning your time off.

  • Urgent care centers: What you should know before you go

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 16 days ago

    If you’ve paid attention to your neighborhood strip mall over the last few years, chances are at least one new urgent care clinic has moved in. The clinics, which are run by doctors and typically open 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, offer quick and convenient care for a range of non-emergency conditions. Think along the lines of treating a bad flu, a twisted ankle, or a nasty cut that needs stitches — the kind of stuff that may seem too minor for a trip to the emergency room but too serious to wait for an appointment at your doctor’s office.

    There are an estimated 7,000 urgent care centers in the U.S. today, according to the Urgent Care Association of America, and the industry is growing at a rapid clip. Since 2011, 600 new urgent care clinics have opened per year, double the rate from 2008 to 2010. And that overall number could be much higher, as there is no federal agency assigned to track openings. The current count is based on a manual tally by the UCAOA, the industry’s main trade group.

    Regulators playing catch-up

    “We are very transparent,” he says. “We’re pretty clear on how much they would be charged.”

    Read more:

  • Money Minute: 3 things you may not know about parental leave in America

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 18 days ago

    In this week’s Money Minute, I explain some lesser-known facts about maternity and paternity leave.

    By law , working parents in the U.S. can take up to 12 weeks of leave after the birth of a child. But there are three big catches:

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    What does your company’s parental leave policy look like? Drop me a note on Facebook or Twitter .

  • Money and dating: Men dish on their biggest deal breakers

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 21 days ago

    Last week, in a decidedly unscientific fashion, Yahoo Finance asked a handful of women in their 20s and 30s to tell us their biggest dating deal breakers — specifically, the money habits that turned them off the most. This week, we gave the guys a chance to weigh in. Here's what they had to say:

    Paying on the first date: Nearly all of the men agreed they would cover the bill on a first date, which is a good thing, considering almost all the women we interviewed said going Dutch on a first date is a no-no. The exception: One of our guys said he didn't pay on a blind date. "I didn't ask her out, so I didn't feel obligated to pay for the date," he said.

    Asking about their finances too early in the relationship. Apparently bringing up questions like "What's your credit score?" or "How much do you earn?" aren't welcome early on in the dating process (no surprise there). The guys said finances shouldn't come up until at least the three-month mark. 

    What about you? We'd love to hear your dating deal breakers:

  • Changes to a crucial financial aid formula may hurt middle-income families

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 22 days ago

    One of the formulas the government uses to determine how much financial aid families can get for college has changed drastically over the last few years, cutting middle-income families’ eligibility for financial aid.

    The changes impact the Asset Protection Allowance (APA), the part of the federal financial aid formula that is meant to shield certain assets, like savings and investments not held in a retirement fund. The higher the APA, the more money families can subtract from their total net worth. The lower their net worth is, the less families are expected to contribute to college costs, and the greater their chances of qualifying for need-based federal financial aid.

    The APA depends on a parent or parents’ age and whether they’re applying for aid jointly or as an individual. Since the 2009-10 school year, the APA — again, the amount of money protected from the financial aid formula — for 50-year-old married parents has fallen 63%, from $55,300 to $20,200 for 2016-17, and 46% since the 2014-15 academic year.  

    How does the APA impact aid eligibility? 

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