Posts by Nicole Goodkind

  • Lumber Liquidators: Cutting corners on the American Dream

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 8 hrs ago

    It’s the American Dream: a nice home with a yard, white picket fence and beautifully finished hardwood floors. But if those floors come with high levels of cancer-causing formaldehyde it might be time to reconsider those priorities.

    Lumber Liquidators ( LL ) has allegedly been cutting costs on its hardwood floors by manufacturing in Chinese factories that use exorbitant amounts of formaldehyde in wood, according to a report by CBS's '60 Minutes." The CBS report claims that Lumber Liquidators was using glue in some of its wood products that contained six to twenty times the legal California limit of the known carcinogen. Despite independent testing by CBS that affirms these claims, Lumber Liquidators chairman and founder Tom Sullivan denies these accusations and claims his wood is up to code.

    Cutting corners on the American Dream

    The short sell

    More from Yahoo Finance

    A surprising way to make money in gold

  • Rent affordability will deteriorate over next two years: Zillow CEO

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 6 days ago

    A new report from Zillow shows that rents across the U.S. are increasing, and not just in the expected regions of New York City, San Francisco and Boston. Overall, rents increased 3.3% year-over-year as of January. But many cities outpaced that, including Kansas City, which saw rent grow more than double the national average, jumping 8.5% year-over-year. St. Louis saw rent increase by 4.5% over the same period. Rents in Detroit grew by 5.0% and rents in Cleveland grew by 4.2%.

    Nationwide, rental appreciation is still below its peak - 6.3% hit in September 2012 after the housing bust. According to Zillow, monthly rents have grown at roughly twice the pace of wages in the U.S. since 2000. That means Americans are having to spend a greater share of their income on rent - about 30%, versus 25% in the past. And this problem isn't likely to go away anytime soon.  Zillow surveyed a number of economists and real estate experts who all said they expected rental affordability to continue to "deteriorate for the next two years."

  • Zillow CEO says housing market doesn't look so bad

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 8 days ago

    Existing home sales fell sharply to their lowest level in nine months in January, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.  Tight inventory is hurting sales and driving up prices which may further keep first-time buyers from getting into the market.  And that's a trend that has hurt the recovery so far.

    “There is a notable speed bump that the housing market hit in January,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, labeling the start to the year as disappointing.  Sales of existing homes account for nearly 90% of all purchases in the U.S.  Sales are still 3.2% higher than a year ago, the NAR reports.

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

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  • Robert Shiller: Buying a home isn't necessarily a good investment

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 10 days ago

    We're currently in the worst housing slump America has ever recorded.

    It’s been nearly nine years since the peak of the housing market in 2006 making this the most dramatic slump in housing that America has ever had according to Robert Shiller, the Noble Prize winning Yale economist and author of Irrational Exuberance.

    The housing recovery seems to be weakening as U.S. home builder confidence fell in February. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is calling for new home sales to rise to 572,000 this year but that's not even half of the historical average. Housing starts for single-family homes are usually about 1.2 million.

    “The government has taken over the risk management through Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae—it’s not even much of a private market,” says Shiller.

    “There is an argument for helping low-income people get a house,” says Shiller. “I think it makes them feel better about their attachment to this country and themselves.” But he doesn’t believe there’s any reason to advise people towards owning a house instead of starting a business or paying for an education.

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  • Are the Girl Scouts making a mistake by selling cookies online?

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 11 days ago

    Hold on to your thin mints, it’s Girl Scout cookie season—the time of year when young woman dressed in their brownie uniforms take your Samoa and Tagalongs order and deliver them a few weeks later. This year, however, The Girl Scouts are going digital. For the first time since the inception of Girl Scout Cookies in 1917, troops will be selling their goods online—the scouts will still have to initiate the sale but the hopes are that they learn something about e-commerce and online marketing through the program.

    Some Girl Scouts will also be equipped with a mobile app that will make in person sales easier as well-- for the first time, customers will be able to pay for cookies via credit card.

    “This is a full on business operation,” says Yahoo Finance’s Akiko Fujita. “There’s color graphs, trending cookies…I guess it is giving the Girl Scouts a taste of the modern economy.”

    “I’m concerned as the father of a daughter about the security of the Girl Scouts themselves,” says Task. “There are a lot of creepy people out there and you’ve got to wonder if some people are searching for Girl Scout cookies to try to find some people are trying to be a predator against.”

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  • Can you tell the difference between $25 and $100 Bourbon?

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 11 days ago

    Whiskey is the new king of booze. In the past two years, the sales of total spirits in the U.S. have declined with vodka sales dropping sharply. Meanwhile, whiskey sales are increasing.

    If you're not a whiskey connosiour, it comprises bourbon, scotch and plain whiskey. Whisky without the 'E' tends to refer to the Scottish stuff, like Glenfiddich. But sales of American whiskey are increasing globally. According to the Distilled Spirits Council, Kentucky bourbon and Tennessee whiskey exports topped $1 billion in 2014 for the second year running.

    As the taste for whiskey grows, it also becomes more expensive. Irish whiskey and single malt scotch sales grew 9.1% and 6.4%, respectively. High end bourbon sales have also increased within the U.S. “In America we’re seeing a lot more higher end marks,” says Tommy Tardie, owner of The Flatiron Room , a whiskey bar and school. “Typically the higher end whiskeys were reserved just for Scotland and some of the single malts but now we’re seeing a lot of American whiskeys that are in the category of luxury whiskeys.”

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  • How millennials will save the economy

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 12 days ago

    By 2030, 75% of the American workforce will be comprised of Millennials, or those who reached young adulthood around 2000. That means big changes, particularly in terms of leadership.

    A 2014 study found that 78% of Millennials considered themselves leaders amongst their friends and family and 73% aspired to lead the workplace in the next five years. Something has got to give, either corporations are about to become incredibly top-heavy or Millennials are going to have to settle into non-leadership positions.

    Amy Wilkinson, author of “ The Creator's Code” and former White House Fellow, thinks the problem is that Millennials aren’t starting their own companies: analysis from The Wall Street Journal found the share of those under the age of 30 who own a private business is at a 24-year low.

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  • How to become the next Zuckerberg

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 13 days ago

    Successful entrepreneurs are by definition unique. As Apple put it in the 1990s, they think different. Still—there are some rules that even the most original thinkers follow when starting businesses.

    In her new book, The Creator’s Code, former White House Fellow and current Stanford Business School lecturer Amy Wilkinson breaks down what it takes to be the next Elon Musk. Wilkinson knows what it takes because she spent the last five years interviewing and following Musk along with other entrepreneurs like Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, Kevin Plank, Elizabeth Holmes and more.

    Wilkinson joined Yahoo Finance’s Rick Newman to break down the rules for successful entrepreneurship that she found over the course of 200 interviews.

    Find the Gap

    Fail Wisely

    Avoid nostalgia

    More from Yahoo Finance: Greece will blink first, here's why

  • Doing this will make you richer and happier

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 17 days ago

    Just when you thought proposal season was over, it’s Valentine’s Day. This year there will be about 220,000 proposals on Feb. 14. That means about 10% of all annual engagements in the U.S. will take place during this 24-hour period.

    In spite of these numbers, the marriage rate in America is falling and has been for some time. Marriage rates are at their lowest in history. According to Pew Research, fewer adults over the age of 25 are married than ever before. Those who do intend to marry are delaying the act; the average age of marriage in the U.S. is now 27 for women and 29 for men, up from 20 and 23 respectively in 1960.

    “Part of the story here, of course, is economic. It’s precisely among lower-income and working-class people and Millennials where job prospects are worse, where unemployment is higher and where underemployment is higher,” says Brad Wilcox, director of The National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. When people – particularly men – don’t have a job or a decent salary, they are statistically less likely to get and stay married.

    The marriage advantage

  • President Obama's community college program won't work: College official

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 18 days ago

    Earlier this year, President Barack Obama unveiled an ambitious $60 billion program that would offer two free years of community college to any student in good academic standing and who's family made less than $200,000 each year. The program aims to increase the education and job prospects of young Americans while decreasing the ever-growing $1 trillion-plus student debt problem. Around 75% of the program's funding will be Federal; the remaining quarter would be funded on the state level.

    Ben Nelson, the founder of the Minerva School, a new hybrid online school that partners with Silicon Valley companies to provide students with tech skills and jobs, believes that this plan is flawed. “We live in a very different world than we did when the community college system was set up,” he says. “Community colleges are now primarily providing remedial education because high schools are not doing their job.”

    Nelson believes that going to community college for a basic education makes more sense than paying up to five times as much to pay for a private education, but he doesn’t believe that community college provides specialized, tech-centric education that young people need.