history http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3122/all en-US How the Pilgrims Did Personal Finance http://www.wisebread.com/how-the-pilgrims-did-personal-finance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-the-pilgrims-did-personal-finance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pilgrims_harvest_pumpkins_80628247.jpg" alt="How the pilgrims did personal finance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's the time of year when we celebrate the Pilgrims crossing over to the New World and settling the land we now call America. The stories of the Pilgrims' courage in traveling on the Mayflower and surviving those early years are legendary. But they did not survive and eventually thrive without some financial savvy.</p> <p>Are there money lessons to be learned from the Pilgrims, even though they had little money to begin with? Yes. Here's a look at what we know about the Pilgrims and their financial habits.</p> <h2>1. They Were Deeply in Debt for Many Years</h2> <p>The Pilgrims' journey to the New World was financed by people who might have sympathized with their desire for religious freedom, but these businessmen believed the colony would actually generate a big financial return. In reality, the Pilgrims asked their investors repeatedly for more money just to survive. An initial debt of as little as 1,200 British pounds grew to as much as 7,000 pounds, and the Pilgrims weren't out of debt for almost 30 years, according to the Pilgrim Hall Museum. That would be hundreds of thousands of pounds today.</p> <h2>2. They Had Little Currency, So They Used Beads</h2> <p>When the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts, they didn't have much in the way of real money &mdash; and it's not like they had any ATMs to go to. So, they instead relied on something called <em>wampum</em>, or strings of beads made of shells. According to <em>The Mayflower and the Pilgrims New World, </em>wampum was a remarkable innovative currency, with purple beads worth twice as much as white beads, and rules governing the quality, shape, and size. It quickly became the defacto currency for trading with the Native Americans.</p> <h2>3. They Were Thrifty</h2> <p>No question, the Pilgrims were forced to make do with the bare necessities. They grew and hunted their own food. They made wood slab homes from wood they chopped themselves. In fact, they were probably even more thrifty than popular images suggest. Those buckles you often see depicted on Pilgrims' shoes and hats? Those were unlikely to have been there, as Pilgrims more likely used simple leather and laces. The myth of the buckles arose from artists during the Victorian era.</p> <h2>4. They Were Communists &mdash; Then They Were Capitalists</h2> <p>When the Pilgrims first arrived, they experimented with something called &quot;Common Course,&quot; in which all of the settlers owned property together. But it didn't last: &quot;Because they could not reap the fruits of their labors, no one had any incentive to work, and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/weekinreview/21zernike.html">the system failed</a> &mdash; confusion, thievery and famine ensued.&quot;</p> <p>By 1623, the Pilgrims divided the land equally, and an early form of capitalism began.</p> <p>Conservative organizations and politicians have hailed the Pilgrims as an example of America rejecting communism for capitalism, even back then. Things are probably a little more complicated than that, but there's ample evidence that the colony began to thrive over time when each settler had land of his or her own.</p> <h2>5. They &quot;Pivoted&quot;</h2> <p>These days, you often hear about young startup companies shifting their focus or even their entire business concept due to market conditions. This is called a &quot;pivot.&quot; And the Pilgrims were pretty good at pivoting. Early on, they tried to make money off the fur trade. But by 1650, the beavers they relied on became scarce, and they faced competition that made it hard to expand their operation. So, they switched to fish and lumber, and those became main revenue sources.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-the-pilgrims-did-personal-finance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/so-you-caught-a-world-series-home-run-whats-it-worth">So You Caught a World Series Home Run — What&#039;s It Worth?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-a-thanksgiving-turkey-teaches-us-about-money-0">7 Things a Thanksgiving Turkey Teaches Us About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/throwback-thursday-58-best-thanksgiving-hacks-ever">Throwback Thursday: 58 Best Thanksgiving Hacks Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-friendsgiving-hacks-thatll-make-everyone-feel-at-home">8 Friendsgiving Hacks That&#039;ll Make Everyone Feel at Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-living-lessons-from-the-first-thanksgiving">Frugal Living Lessons From The First Thanksgiving</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living capitalism currency history markets mayflower Pilgrims pivot Thanksgiving trading wampum Fri, 04 Nov 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1826532 at http://www.wisebread.com So You Caught a World Series Home Run — What's It Worth? http://www.wisebread.com/so-you-caught-a-world-series-home-run-whats-it-worth <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/so-you-caught-a-world-series-home-run-whats-it-worth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_3934024_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="what&#039;s a home run ball worth?" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With two teams who haven't seen this apex of baseball for many decades, the World Series of 2016 will be a historic one no matter if the Chicago Cubs or the Cleveland Indians triumph. Every home run sent sailing into the Progressive Field stands or onto Waveland Avenue outside Wrigley Field will be a valuable piece of sports history, especially the first home run hit by a Cub, says sports memorabilia expert Robbie Davis Jr.</p> <p>If you were lucky enough to be there, what would happen if you caught the home run ball? Would you get to keep it? Should you?</p> <p>The ownership of home run balls &mdash; and other significant balls like <a href="http://staugustine.com/stories/012305/spo_2843201.shtml#.WA_HPuArI2w">World Series final out balls</a> &mdash; is legally murky, but according to tradition, fans who catch a ball are allowed to take them home. Actually getting a World Series ball home may take perseverance, and deciding what to do with it will be a serious matter.</p> <h2>You'll Be Approached by Team Representatives</h2> <p>It's common for staff to ask fans to return balls that are considered historically important or would be meaningful to the player. &quot;That will certainly happen with any home run ball hit in this series,&quot; says Davis, one of the owners of Robbie's First Base, the Maryland memorabilia shop featured in the reality show <a href="http://www.robbiesfirstbase.com/">Ball Boys</a>. Usually, the fans are offered something in exchange.</p> <p>For example, a pair of Cubs fans caught Willson Contreras' home run ball in the deciding game of the National League Championship this year, and were immediately offered a pair of World Series tickets and a meeting with the Cubs catcher in exchange for it. <a href="http://www.12up.com/posts/4000375-cubs-fans-trade-hr-ball-for-world-series-tickets?a_aid=40734">They happily accepted</a>.</p> <p>Other fans haven't been as thrilled with their offers. The memorabilia collector who caught Alex Rodriguez's 660th home run ball scoffed at the team's offer of a <a href="http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/yankees/fan-who-caught-a-rod-s-660th-hr-ball-will-keep-it-for-now-1.10369383">signed bat</a>. And the Philadelphia Phillies caught major flack &mdash; and a lawsuit &mdash; when they talked a 12-year-old girl into trading <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113586589">Ryan Howard's 200th career home</a> run for an ordinary signed ball. Once the lawsuit hit the press, the team gave the ball back to the girl.</p> <h2>Don't Make a Split Second Decision</h2> <p>Ballplayers on the field need to follow their instincts when deciding what to do with a ball they catch &mdash; throw to first base or home? But you have the liberty of thinking it over. For example, when a fan caught A-Rod's 3,000th hit, he turned down the Yankees' offered merchandise trade. Later, he negotiated for the <a href="http://www.law360.com/articles/691103/there-s-a-catch-the-tax-on-catching-a-rod-s-home-run-ball">team to donate $150,000</a> to a charity of his choice, and he also received some signed memorabilia &mdash; clearly a much better deal than officials had initially offered.</p> <p>&quot;I would leave with it that night and then start fielding offers,&quot; Davis says. The team and Major League Baseball will certainly try hard to stop a home run ball from leaving the stadium, but teams usually only offer merchandise or the chance to meet players, while collectors offer cash. With a ball this potentially valuable, he says, &quot;I would want to get paid.&quot;</p> <p>Even for a home run during an ordinary game, the staff's first offer may not be their last.</p> <p>&quot;At Progressive Field, the Indians first offer tickets to an upcoming game and an autographed ball. In rare cases, the club has granted an opportunity to meet the player or watch batting practice on the field,&quot; an <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/news/print.jsp?ymd=20120627&amp;content_id=34014004&amp;vkey=news_mlb&amp;c_id=mlb">MLB.com article explained</a>.</p> <p>Don't feel bad about holding out for a better offer &mdash; after all, even <a href="http://www.wbur.org/onlyagame/2015/06/11/home-run-balls-brandon-moss-indians-bullpen">Cleveland Indian Brandon Moss'</a> <em>teammates </em>asked for iPhones and Macbooks in exchange for his 100th home run ball, which landed in the bullpen.</p> <h2>Get the Ball Authenticated</h2> <p>The modern sports market depends on authentication. <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/authentication/faq.jsp">MLB authenticators</a> are at every World Series game, attaching unique hologram stickers to just about everything used, from bases to buckets of dirt to balls. While the MLB website asserts that they don't authenticate balls for fans, Davis says that in practice, the on-site authenticators will hologram the ball for you even if you don't relinquish it. Without a hologram, it would be difficult to sell the ball for anything near its potential value.</p> <h2>Let Security Escort You Out of Your Seat</h2> <p>One thing you may not have considered when you stuck your glove out to snag that ball is that catching the ball will probably be the end of the game for you.</p> <p>&quot;You're going to have to leave the stadium,&quot; Davis says. &quot;Because everybody knows now these balls are worth something. You need the police to protect you and that ball.&quot;</p> <h2>Consider Your Options &mdash; and the Financial Implications</h2> <p>If you take the ball home, your options are: returning the ball to the team, keeping it as a souvenir, or trying to sell it. Keep in mind that, according to the IRS, if you keep the ball, <a href="http://www.law360.com/articles/691103/there-s-a-catch-the-tax-on-catching-a-rod-s-home-run-ball">you will have to pay taxes</a> on it's market value, <em>even if you don't sell it</em>.</p> <p>What kind of market value are we talking about? Mark McGuire's 70th home run ball still holds the price record after being sold for $3 million in 1999. But non-milestone home run balls that happen to be hit during the World Series are not in that league. Even a certified ball with Joe Dimaggio's autograph from the 1941 World Series is listed for only around <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/Brooklyn-Dodgers-Joe-Dimaggio-Signed-1941-World-Series-Game-Used-Baseball-PSA-/111839826979?hash=item1a0a2c5423">$3,000 on eBay</a>, and a less famous signed World Series ball, from 1999, is <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/Jim-Leyritz-Signed-Autographed-1999-World-Series-Baseball-Last-Home-Run-PSA-DNA-/121919881554?hash=item1c62fdc152:g:LY8AAOSwv9hW4Zvu">priced at $79.99</a>.</p> <p>However, Davis figures a home run hit in this historic fall classic is more in the McGuire league than the typical World Series ball &mdash; especially the first home run hit by a Chicago Cub in the series.</p> <p>&quot;To put a definitive number on it is going to be hard. But if the first home run a Cub hits in the World Series is at Wrigley, it could be through the roof,&quot; Davis says. His best guess is that the first Cub World Series home run in more than 70 years will sell for a million dollars, or end up on display in the Hall of Fame &mdash; or both.</p> <p>Davis has one piece of advice for those who want to sell: &quot;Strike while the iron is hot.&quot; While waiting a day or a week won't diminish a historic ball's value, letting years go by could. He saw one customer pass up an offer of $250,000 for a historic home run ball he'd caught &mdash; only to end up settling for $45,000 later.</p> <h2>Consider the Value to the Team or Player</h2> <p>When a home run ball is caught by a true fan, often the thought of being able to give something back to the player who has brought them so much joy trumps any possible compensation. When Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta hit a three-run homer in San Francisco during this year's National League Division Series, the <a href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2016/10/11/arrietas-hr-flies-into-hands-of-evanston-native-in-san-francisco/">fan who caught it</a> happily traded in the ball, saying, &quot;The experience was catching the ball. Of course the ball should be back with Jake.&quot;</p> <p>Davis says that when teams say they will give the ball back to the player, they're as good as their word. Even if the player agrees to display their historic ball in Cooperstown, it will still belong to him. But why take the team's word for it? If you're going to be nice enough to give a historic home run back to one of your heroes, why not insist on placing it in his hands yourself? Meeting a player you idolize one on one, and hearing him express his appreciation, is an experience that no amount of money could buy.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/so-you-caught-a-world-series-home-run-whats-it-worth">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-watch-sports-without-cable-tv">How to Watch Sports Without Cable TV</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-complete-guide-to-saving-at-americas-baseball-stadiums">A Complete Guide to Saving at America&#039;s Baseball Stadiums</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-modern-love">The High Cost of Modern Love</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-save-money-when-getting-your-drink-on">15 Ways to Save Money When Getting Your Drink On</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Entertainment baseball fandom history home run memorabilia sports Thu, 27 Oct 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1821539 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Fun, Affordable Train Trips http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-affordable-train-trips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-fun-affordable-train-trips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_train_ride_000055717024.jpg" alt="Mother and child taking fun and affordable train trip" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Trains are not only a huge part of our history and economy, but they make for scenic, relaxing, and enjoyable travel. Next time a three-day weekend rolls around, try going on one of these five fun, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-train-hacks-from-an-amtrak-veteran">affordable train trips</a>.</p> <h2>1. California: Pacific Surfliner</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.amtrak.com/pacific-surfliner-train">beachy train</a> runs daily from the heart of the Central Coast all the way down to San Diego, past many of California&rsquo;s most beautiful beaches. Expect to see lots of everyday train commuters, college kids headed home for the weekend, and vacationing families on their way to Legoland. Two great times for people-watching are on the week of <a href="http://www.comic-con.org/">San Diego Comic-Con International</a>, where you can meet tons of comics, movie, and TV celebrities on their way to the convention; and on opening day of the <a href="https://www.dmtc.com/">Del Mar race track</a>, when men in suits and women in their most colorful fineries and elaborate hats turn the whole train into a party.</p> <p><strong>Price</strong>: As low as $61 per adult ($30.50 child) one way, for the full route.</p> <h2>2. Colorado: Durango-Silverado Mining Trail</h2> <p>Any frontier history buff should have this <a href="https://rezeast.net/durango/default.aspx">mining trail train</a> on their bucket list. The Denver-Rio Grande Railway Company founded the railway to haul tons of ore through the Colorado Rockies back in 1880, but the route was (and still is) so scenic that it was immediately in use for passenger trains as well. The Durango-Silverado trains are vintage models indigenous to the route, and there are plenty of <a href="http://www.durangotrain.com/packages/adventure-packages#.VYslX1WJOuY">literature, tours, and adventures</a> to accompany the trip. Great for the adventuring prospector in all of us and great for kids, too.</p> <p><strong>Price</strong>: As low as $85 adult ($51 child) per roundtrip.</p> <h2>3. New York: Ethan Allen Express</h2> <p>Live near NYC and want an unforgettable Walden-esque scenic experience? The Ethan Allen railway is one of the <a href="http://www.amtrak.com/ethan-allen-express-train">prettiest railroad routes</a> in America, stretching over 271 miles of verdant Northeastern mountain ranges such as New York&rsquo;s Adirondacks and Vermont&rsquo;s Green Mountains. Try going during early autumn, when the leaves turn into that famous red and gold foliage and apples are ready for picking. Rutland, Vermont, the end of the line, is also well-known for its <a href="http://www.rutlandrec.com/events/2014/10/25/55th-annual-halloween-parade">Halloween celebrations</a>. Bring the kids!</p> <p><strong>Price</strong>: As low as $72 per adult ($36 child) one way.</p> <h2>4. West Virginia: Cass Scenic Railroad</h2> <p>Let this route take you <a href="http://mountainrailwv.com/choose-a-train/cass-scenic-railroad">into the Appalachian mountains</a> and back in time, when the Cass company railway opened in 1902. It was used to transport lumber to the Cass sawmill. Now you can gaze upon the old mill surrounded by lush, overgrown wilderness from the open air passenger train. There is also a <a href="http://www.cassrailroad.com/new.html">museum and a tour</a> through the old company shop that built and maintained the lumber trains. A must-see for Americana and railroad fans alike, with lots of activities for the kids.</p> <p><strong>Price</strong>: As low as $35 per adult ($24 child) roundtrip.</p> <h2>5. Arizona: Grand Canyon Railway</h2> <p>Ready to savor the Grand Canyon, but not necessarily the hiking type? The <a href="http://www.thetrain.com/the-train/train-rates/">Grand Canyon Railway</a> is a wonderful way to travel the South Rim comfortably and in style, as did many U.S. presidents such as Roosevelt, Taft, and Eisenhower. Another historical gem, there are stories of all the train&rsquo;s most notable passengers since its opening in 1901 throughout the tour. The train will provide a four-hour stopover, where you can stretch your legs, walk around the rim, or <a href="http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/">sleepover in a nearby lodge</a>. A great trip for a family with older children ready experience the Old West.</p> <p><strong>Price</strong>: As low as $65 per adult ($29 child) per trip.</p> <p><em>Have you taken a family vacation by rail? How was it?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-fun-affordable-train-trips&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%20Fun%2C%20Affordable%20Train%20Trips.jpg&amp;description=5%20Fun%2C%20Affordable%20Train%20Trips" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Fun%2C%20Affordable%20Train%20Trips.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-affordable-train-trips">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-more-fun-affordable-train-trips">5 More Fun, Affordable Train Trips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-vacation-deal-websites">The 6 Best Vacation Deal Websites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-spring-break-budget-busters-to-avoid">11 Spring Break Budget Busters to Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-affordable-places-to-ski">6 Affordable Places to Ski</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-simple-rules-of-excellent-houseguest-etiquette">11 Simple Rules of Excellent Houseguest Etiquette</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel family history trains trips vacation Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:00:22 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1502093 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Things You Can Do in Philadelphia That You Can't Do Anywhere Else http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-you-can-do-in-philadelphia-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-things-you-can-do-in-philadelphia-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/independence-hall-4822654577_de365c1009_z.jpg" alt="independence hall" title="independence hall" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="146" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Philadelphia is nestled snugly between the nation's capital and New York City, the largest city in the U.S. Like a middle sibling that's often overshadowed by its other siblings, it's no wonder the city of brotherly love is often overlooked or &mdash; even worse &mdash; gets a bad rap.</p> <p>Despite the fame and illustriousness of its east coast neighbors, this surprisingly large city (it's the fifth largest in the nation) has plenty to boast about. If you're looking to spend a day (or five) in town, check out these 11 things you can only do in Philadelphia. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>1. Recreate Rocky Balboa's Run Up the Steps</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/rocky-steps-6308164330_c0321870ab_z.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Join the tens of thousands of visitors who trek up the 72 steps to the entrance of the world class <a href="http://www.philamuseum.org">Philadelphia Museum of Art</a>. From the top step, you can enjoy one of the most breathtaking views of the Philadelphia skyline. It's no wonder this gorgeous landmark that has been named the <a href="http://www.uwishunu.com/2011/01/the-philadelphia-museum-of-arts-rocky-steps-named-the-second-most-famous-movie-location-in-the-entire-world/%20">second most famous movie location in the entire world</a>. Once inside, enjoy more than 300,000 works of art, including those from the Renaissance, American, Impressionist, and Modern eras. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-fun-and-affordable-vacation-ideas?ref=seealso">9 Fun and Affordable Vacation Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>2. Hang Where the Country's Forefathers Once Dined</h2> <p>Tour a hidden piece of Philadelphia history at <a href="http://woodlandsphila.org/hamilton-mansion/">Hamilton's Mansion</a>, a forgotten treasure tucked away inside the Woodlands Cemetery in University City.</p> <p>Constructed in 1770, the house boasts what may have been one of the finest neoclassical interior spaces of its time, along with sophisticated servant's quarters that were among the first of their kind. &quot;When touring the home,&quot; says Marla McDermott, Chief Experience Officer and Lifestyle Concierge for <a href="http://www.iheartphl.com/">Iheartphl.com</a>, &quot;it's surreal to think that you're standing on the same original wood plank floors where guests like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin once dined. You just can't do that anywhere else.&quot;</p> <h2>3. See the Strangest Medical Oddities Ever</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/mutter-musuem-177439530_6b64c34d46_z.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If you've ever wanted to see what a jar of pickled human skin looks like, well, now you can. At the <a href="http://muttermuseum.org/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions/">Mütter Museum of Medical Oddities</a> at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia you can see this and more, including a display of 139 skulls that were collected by a Viennese anatomist in the 1800s; 1300 jars of bottled body parts, cysts, and tumors; and even small slices of Albert Einstein's brain, carefully preserved in glass slides.</p> <h2>4. Visit One of the World's Finest Collections of Impressionist Art</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.barnesfoundation.org">Barnes Foundation</a> houses the vast private art collection of self-made millionaire Albert Barnes. From 1912 until his death in 1951, Barnes collected 19th and 20th century French masterpieces from the most daring artists of the time, including Cézanne, Renoir, Monet, Picasso, and van Gogh. &quot;If you're going to check out only one museum in Philadelphia,&quot; says McDermott, &quot;the Barnes Foundation is a can't miss.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Walk Through the Inside of a Giant Beating Heart</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/franklin-institute-6307641429_f275553e68_z.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Inside the Franklin Institute Science Museum you can walk through a <a href="https://www.fi.edu/exhibit/giant-heart">beating model heart</a> that's large enough for a person the height of the Statue of Liberty. Also explore a host of permanent and rotating exhibits, including Circus! Science Under the Big Top, 101 Inventions that Changed the World, and a rooftop observatory.</p> <h2>6. Get Spooked at the World's First True Penitentiary</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/eastern-penintentary-9001558044_648f346b20_z.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>(And yes, it's haunted.)</p> <p>The now vacant <a href="http://www.easternstate.org">Eastern State Penitentiary</a> revolutionized the penal system in 1829 with this imposing prison built to house criminals in solitary confinement. &quot;It's design was so innovative for it's time that it was the inspiration for Alcatraz,&quot; says McDermott. &quot;The prison also once housed famous criminals like Al Capone and Willie Sutton.&quot; Closed since 1971, the prison is now open to tour, year-round. If you really want to get scared, visit in October for <a href="http://www.easternstate.org/halloween">Terror Behind the Walls</a>, one of the most terrifying annual haunted houses you'll ever visit.</p> <h2>7. Take a Stroll Down America's Oldest Residential Street</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Elfreths-Alley-4353709000_3f0162e460_z.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>People have been living on <a href="http://www.elfrethsalley.org">Elfreth's Alley</a> in Old City since 1728, making it the oldest continually inhabited residential street in the nation. The National Historic Landmark consists of one cobblestone-lined alley that is flanked by Georgian and Federal-style homes and provides a glimpse at how the 18th Century working class smiths, glassblowers, and furniture builders once lived.</p> <h2>8. Eat the World's Best Cheesesteak</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/cheesesteak-3587342833_356fc5907c_z.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Philly is famous for loading up a freshly baked hoagie roll (See? Where else will you get a hoagie roll but in this fine city?) with thinly sliced rib eye steak and then smothering it with heaps of fried onions and, depending on where you dine, either cheese whiz or melted provolone. Like all fine things, you'll find variations on the original, but this is the gist. <a href="http://dalessandros.com">Dalessandro's</a> in Roxborough is a favorite but explore for yourself with this list of <a href="http://www.visitphilly.com/articles/philadelphia/top-10-spots-for-authentic-philly-cheesesteaks/">top cheesesteak shops</a> in the city. Resistance is futile so come prepared with an elastic waistband. You've been warned.</p> <h2>9. Visit the Nation's First Zoo</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/philadelphia-zoo-3330522255_7345b0565d_z.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The <a href="http://www.philadelphiazoo.org/">Philadelphia Zoo</a>, opened in 1874, sits on 42 acres in the middle of the city and is home to 1,300 animals, including many that are rare or endangered. The zoo features a 2.5 acre primate preserve; Big Cat Falls, where visitors can stand eye-to-eye with 12 endangered big cats, separated only by a pane of glass; and a miniature African plain featuring white rhinos, reticulated giraffes, zebras, hippos, and gazelles. Throughout the zoo are statues of endangered animals, constructed completely out of legos. Peacocks and Peahens also roam the zoo freely.</p> <h2>10. See the Birthplace of Our Nation</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/independence-hall-4855689546_9c7a6ce8d8_z.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Philadelphia served as the backdrop for much of our country's battle for independence, and we have the <a href="http://www.visitphilly.com/historic-philadelphia/attractions-in-historic-philadelphia/">landmarks</a> to prove it. Visit Independence Hall, where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were created. The first continental congress met at Carpenter's Hall and the American flag was sewn at the Betsy Ross House.</p> <h2>11. Get In Touch With Nature</h2> <p>It's a little known secret to city outsiders but Philadelphia is home to the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairmount_Park">largest landscaped urban park</a> in the world. There are 9,200 acres of nature across 63 parks, making it easy to access from almost anywhere in the city. You can go for a stroll, pack a family picnic, or grab your fishing rod for a day in the stocked creek. &quot;Few things beat spending a beautiful afternoon riding along the scenic Schuylkill River Trail, then looping around to Martin Luther King Drive,&quot; says McDermott, &quot;Especially on weekends from April through October, when the road is closed to auto traffic.&quot; <a href="http://www.wheelfunrentals.com/locations/philadelphia">Rent a bike or segway</a> and start exploring.</p> <p><em>Do you know and love Philadelphia? We want to know your favorite spots! Share the love in the comments below.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this Post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F11-things-you-can-do-in-philadelphia-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F11%20Things%20You%20Can%20Do%20in%20Philadelphia%20That%20You%20Can%26%23x27%3Bt%20Do%20Anywhere%20Else.jpg&amp;description=11%20Things%20You%20Can%20Do%20in%20Philadelphia%20That%20You%20Can%26%23x27%3Bt%20Do%20Anywhere%20Else" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/11%20Things%20You%20Can%20Do%20in%20Philadelphia%20That%20You%20Can%27t%20Do%20Anywhere%20Else.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alaina-tweddale">Alaina Tweddale</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-you-can-do-in-philadelphia-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-can-do-in-denver-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else">8 Things You Can Do in Denver That You Can&#039;t Do Anywhere Else</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-affordable-train-trips">5 Fun, Affordable Train Trips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-and-cheap-things-to-do-in-champaign-urbana">Free and cheap things to do in Champaign-Urbana</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-rules-of-budget-travel">The 7 Rules of Budget Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-free-and-4-cheap-things-to-do-in-auckland-with-a-toddler">8 Free (and 4 cheap) Things to Do in Auckland with a Toddler</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel Art and Leisure cheap fun history museums parks philadelphia Mon, 14 Jul 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1157690 at http://www.wisebread.com Understanding the Gold Standard http://www.wisebread.com/understanding-the-gold-standard <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/understanding-the-gold-standard" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gold_men.jpg" alt="Gold men" title="Gold men" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I first starting thinking seriously about the gold standard back in 1980, when inflation spiked up over 10% (completely destroying my very first budget) and the value of the dollar seemed to be collapsing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surviving-a-financial-panic-lessons-from-the-past">Surviving a Financial Panic &mdash; Lessons from the Past</a>)</p> <p>During the early 1980s, I read quite a few &quot;hard money&quot; books. Each of them included refutations of the arguments against a gold standard &mdash; refutations of arguments I hadn't yet been exposed to, so my experience was a little backwards &mdash; but I learned why a gold standard was good and got the gold bug chapter and verse on why the arguments against the gold standard were all bogus.</p> <p>(The term &quot;gold bug&quot; was originally a pejorative term for those who thought that only gold was &quot;real money,&quot;&nbsp;and was quickly expanded to include anyone who thought gold was a great investment. Over time, though, the hard money advocates embraced the term and started calling themselves gold bugs.)</p> <p>You will not be surprised to learn that it turns out to be more complicated than either the gold bugs or their detractors would have you believe.</p> <h2>Historical Gold Standards</h2> <p>Since ancient times, gold coins have circulated as money. That was always problematic, and gold was only rarely the main sort of money. Actual gold coins would be used by rich people and for certain kinds of transactions &mdash; in particular, to pay taxes and to trade internationally.</p> <p>For ordinary transactions, though, gold tended to be too valuable. The monthly pay for a Roman legionnaire was one gold aureus (a coin about the size of a nickel, weighing a bit less than a quarter of a troy ounce). It was a lot of money &mdash; a similar size coin right now would cost you about $400. (Back in those days it was similarly valuable, although relative prices have changed so much it's pretty hard to compare. The historical record shows <a href="http://info.goldavenue.com/info_site/in_arts/in_civ/in_civ_romans.html">8 aurei buying 23 acres of woodland in Kent</a>.) That's a lot of wealth to carry around in a short stack of small coins.</p> <p>Paper money was invented (gradually, with various intermediate forms) to solve some of the problems with gold coins.</p> <p>In the heyday of the gold standard, banknotes were issued by banks against gold held in their vaults and circulated in parallel with gold coins. If you had a banknote, you could go to the bank that issued it, present the note, and receive gold coin in exchange. Contrariwise, you could deposit your coins at the bank and receive banknotes in exchange.</p> <p>There were lots of reasons to go with banknotes. For one thing, you could have a $1 (or smaller) note &mdash; smaller than any practical gold coin. You could also pack very large sums into a reasonably small case &mdash; a bundle worth $50,000 could fit in your coat pocket. That amount in gold coin would weigh a couple hundred pounds.</p> <p>That sort of gold standard worked pretty well over a fairly long period. It doesn't prevent inflation (you'd have inflation any time the gold supply was growing faster than the economy), but it limited inflation. Importantly, it kept inflation from being a political tool.</p> <h2>An Inconsistent Standard</h2> <p>The downside of banknotes was that you were relying on the bank to be sound. Sometimes banks are, but the temptation to issue more banknotes than they have gold on hand is irresistible.</p> <p>Still, the real problem with a gold standard isn't unsound banks. That would be easy enough fix &mdash; a regulator could track the issue of banknotes and audit the gold supplies in the vault. The real problem is that there isn't one, true gold price.</p> <p>The price of gold is set by the market &mdash; and the market is strongly influenced by psychology. During good times, the price of gold is modest. (For example, during the 1990s &mdash; after the previous decade's inflation had been squelched and before the dotcom boom popped &mdash; the gold price hovered around $300 a troy ounce.) During bad times, the price of gold spikes up toward infinity.</p> <p>Since we're not on the gold standard, those price changes show up as changes in the price of gold. If you're on a gold standard, they don't show up that way. But that doesn't mean that they don't happen. It just means that the price change shows up as change in the value of the currency.</p> <p>Over the last decade, the price of gold has spiked up more than 460% (an annual rate well above 19%). That's a lot higher than the inflation rate over the same period. (The CPI is only up 27% over the same period, an annual rate of less than 2.5%.)</p> <p>Imagine that the value of your money had spiked up by that much! Of course, it'd be great if you had a lot of money. (I expect this is why gold bugs don't tend to worry about this scenario &mdash; in fact, with a bunch of gold in their portfolios, they're positively yearning for it.) But what if you didn't? What if you were a businessman who had to sign long-term contracts with customers and vendors? When the value of the money jumps around like that, you're totally screwed. Worse yet, what if you're in debt? If the value of the money spikes up, the cost of making your loan payments spikes up as well. Could you pay your mortgage if it took you a week to earn what you'd earned in a hour a few years ago?</p> <p>The gold bugs counter that we wouldn't see scenarios like that. The spike in the price of gold is due to a collapse in confidence in paper money. If the money were as good as gold, confidence wouldn't collapse and values would be relatively stable.</p> <p>There's some truth to that, but we know it's not completely true. During the gold standard in the 1800s and early 1900s, prices were pretty stable &mdash; but only on average, only over the long term. But short-term price swings produced just the sort of effect I'm describing.</p> <p>It could happen due to ordinary market forces. The supply of gold would fluctuate as new mines opened and old mines closed. The demand for gold would fluctuate as well &mdash; in particular, as exciting new overseas markets heated up, gold would flow to those countries to invest in the hot new thing. The result was a flow of gold out of established markets, producing just the sort of jump in the value of gold that I'm describing. Of course, it didn't show up as a price spike, but rather as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/all-about-deflation">deflation</a>.</p> <p>So, it wasn't just a theoretical problem. It actually happened, over and over again.</p> <p>All these things &mdash; wars, financial disruptions of all kinds, inflation or deflation due to changes in the gold supply or changes in the demand for gold various places around the world &mdash; made the gold standard problematic. The worst was a particular kind of financial crisis called a panic.</p> <h2>The Problem of Panics</h2> <p>Panics happened when people began to doubt the soundness of their banks or their money and decided that they'd better turn in their paper and get actual gold coins instead. Because there was rarely as much gold in the vaults as there was paper in circulation, the result was a crisis.</p> <p>During the days of the gold standard, panics were perfectly ordinary &mdash; there'd be one every ten years or so. (We had something pretty close to a panic in 2007&ndash;2008, our first in something like 70 years. I wrote about it at the time in a post called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-squeeze-formerly-know-as-a-panic">Credit Squeeze (Formerly Known as a Panic)</a>.)</p> <p>Having sound banks that don't issue paper beyond the gold in their vault would reduce the severity of a panic, but that turns out to be a poor solution. There are reasons why banks issue more paper than they have gold, and it's not just because it's like printing money. Rather, it's because during good times, the amount of money that the economy can put to good use is larger than the value of the gold stock. The only way to have that much money in the economy would be to set the value of gold to be much higher &mdash; rather like setting the price of gold to levels that are only typical during a panic. That sounds great to a gold bug (who probably has a bunch of gold), but it doesn't work, because <em>that's not the price of gold</em>. The price of gold &mdash; the real, market price &mdash; is almost always much less than that.</p> <p>You <em>can</em> set a different price. You could, for example, set the price of a new gold dollar by dividing the US government's gold reserves (about 261 million troy ounces) into the total supply of currency in circulation (about 10,000 billion dollars) and suggest that a new gold dollar should be valued at $4,000 a troy ounce. Except that's not what gold is worth.</p> <p>You could set the current market price (about $1,600 a troy ounce), but even that is the price level based on the current near-panic conditions about the value of the dollar.</p> <p>If people weren't worried about the future of the dollar, the global economy, the deficit, the debt ceiling, the European debt crisis, etc., I suspect the price of gold would be pretty close to the $300 a troy ounce that we saw through most of the 1990s.</p> <p>(You'd think that gold bugs of the libertarian sort would understand that prices are set by the market, rather than by government fiat. But for all they rag on fiat currency &mdash; that is, money that only has value because the government says it does &mdash; they seem utterly oblivious to the notion that denominating gold in dollars is another fiat decision.)</p> <p>And that's the problem with a gold standard. There isn't one true price for gold. The right price &mdash; the market price &mdash; surges and collapses with the psychology of the market. You can let your whole economy get dragged around by that &mdash; most of the world did for centuries &mdash; but don't imagine that they did so without difficulty. They had panics, they had inflation, they had deflation, and they had all manner of crises when gold flows caused by booms in far off parts of the world threatened to crush local economies.</p> <h2>The End of the Gold Standard</h2> <p>When things got particularly bad &mdash; usually either a war or some sort of financial crisis &mdash; banks or governments would suspend convertibility into gold. If both the country and the currency survived, convertibility would eventually be restored. If just the country survived, a new convertible currency would be introduced (the old currency by then being nothing but waste paper).</p> <p>In the depths of the Great Depression, the U.S. took a slightly different path. In 1933, instead of suspending convertibility, the government banned the private ownership of gold, requiring citizens to turn in their gold in exchange for banknotes at the then current gold price of $20.67 per troy ounce. Shortly thereafter the value of the dollar was changed to a new parity of $35 per troy ounce. Convertibility was preserved (although only for foreigners), but at the new parity gold flowed into (rather than out of) the United States.</p> <p>Gold ownership by U.S. citizens wasn't legalized until 1974.</p> <p>In the run-up to World War II, the last few countries that had tried to stay on the gold standard had to suspend convertibility. Since then, essentially no currency has been convertible into gold &mdash; they're all fiat currencies. (For a few decades after the war, the U.S. dollar was technically convertible &mdash; but only for foreign central banks).</p> <p>It turns out a good fiat currency can avoid most of the problems of a gold standard. Our fiat currency hasn't always been good, but it's been doing sorta okay for a long while now.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/understanding-the-gold-standard">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-invest-in-the-stock-market">Why invest in the stock market?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have">7 Investment Accounts All 30-Somethings Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-prepare-for-a-stock-market-dive">8 Ways to Prepare for a Stock Market Dive</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation">4 Foolproof Ways to Protect Your Money From Inflation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-game-over">Book review: Game Over</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Investment financial crisis gold history Tue, 26 Jul 2011 10:00:05 +0000 Philip Brewer 631641 at http://www.wisebread.com Metal Detecting for Beginners: Patience and Profit http://www.wisebread.com/metal-detecting-for-beginners-patience-and-profit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/metal-detecting-for-beginners-patience-and-profit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wisebreadmetaldetecting.jpg" alt="Man Metal Detecting" title="Man Metal Detecting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a kid, the majority of my tenth and eleventh years were spent poring over treasure hunting magazines. I was a budding archeologist, coin collector, historian, and ghost-town adventurer wrapped into one junior-sized Indiana Jones. When I realized there was a device available that could turn any backyard into a potential dig site, I had to have one. I honed in on my parents&rsquo; own proclivities toward antiquing, collecting, and exploring to make my case. I petitioned them for a metal detector like most other kids my age begged for a new bike or skateboard. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reselling-antiques-the-five-principles-of-power-picking">Reselling Antiques: The Five Principles of Power Picking</a>)</p> <p>Since my record of past requests was fairly modest and I tended to take very good care of my things, the folks indulged me. I was the proud owner of a brand new Garrett Groundhog detector by the time I was 12. Fast forward 30 years and I&rsquo;m still detecting &mdash; still finding small treasures and great joy in this curious pastime.</p> <p>Metal detecting is often misunderstood by the general public. It&rsquo;s typically a solitary activity that most people look upon with a mix of curiosity and comedy. We&rsquo;re a varied bunch, but we generally fall into four broad groups: the mineral hunter, the relic hunter, the beachcomber, and the coin shooter. Mineral hunters use their detectors to &ldquo;mine&rdquo; gold or locate other valuable minerals based on local geography. Relic hunters look for artifacts, not necessarily coins or jewelry (think Civil War enthusiasts looking for Confederate belt buckles or musket balls). Beachcombers are looking for anything of value &mdash; modern coins, jewelry, etc. Coin shooters focus on older, more valuable U.S. coinage. Dimes and quarters produced before 1965 contain silver, while the same coins produced after 1964 are &ldquo;clad&rdquo; (comprised of baser metals like zinc and copper). But whatever category a detectorist falls within, he&rsquo;s a treasure hunter through-and-through. As hobbies go, there are few others that can combine sunshine, fresh air, and moderate exercise with a dash of adventure and the potential for profit.</p> <p>Yes, metal detecting can be profitable, but that profit is driven by research, networking, common sense, dedication, and &mdash; of course &mdash; a little luck. For most detectorists, every hour working a site is the result of 3-4 hours of research and scouting.</p> <p>As a coin shooter, I look for clues all around me to determine where people once gathered because &mdash; much like today &mdash; where people go, coins get lost. I know that the biggest tree in the old city park was probably where most folks gathered on a hot summer day. I know the open field next to the pre-war schoolhouse was most likely the baseball field or playground. Like all old coin hunters, I read the remnants of stone foundations like fortune tellers read tea leaves.</p> <p>And then I wait. Metal detecting is an exercise in patience and persistence. Like most things in life, the rewards are hard won. Sites get hit by other hunters and become tapped out, remote areas get overgrown, and I&rsquo;m always fighting the weather. But even on perfect days with the freshest location, successful detecting takes a zen-like calmness and steely determination. Hours might go by with no finds, junk finds, or just a few average finds (Wheat Pennies, post-1964 clad coins, etc). On particularly rough hunts, it seems like I&rsquo;m in the business of professionally recovering rusty bottle caps and old nails.</p> <p>But then there are those rare moments &mdash; unmatched by few things in modern life &mdash; when I pull something of real value out of the dirt. That gleam of a silver Mercury Dime (1916-1945) or better yet, a Barber Quarter (1892-1916) snaps me out of my stupor and reminds me why I devoted two hours finding the exact location of this old schoolyard and spent 45 minutes in the car to get here. I&rsquo;m immediately time-warped to the day that coin was lost, and I unearth it with something close to reverence. On particularly good days, I might pull two or three of these &quot;silvers&quot; from their hiding places. Once, last summer, after hearing my detector&rsquo;s familiar beep, I found a perfect 1865 silver dime just lying in the grass &mdash; no digging required. Those are the moments that keep all detectorists going.</p> <p>For beginners, information is everything. A great online resource is <a href="http://gometaldetecting.com/">GoMetalDetecting.com</a>. This site is filled with useful tips, tutorials, and motivational stories from other treasure hunters. I&rsquo;ve found that the most successful detecting is driven by three primary considerations: your knowledge/research, your equipment, and your understanding of detecting &ldquo;etiquette.&rdquo; Solid research can compensate for a lower-grade detector, but even the best detector won&rsquo;t find treasure where there is none. For a mid-range machine, expect to pay $800 new, but used detectors can be scored on Craiglist or in the classifieds for $400-$600. Focus on machines that have good &ldquo;discrimination&rdquo; options (settings that allow the machine to reject lower-grade junk metals) and depth readings (letting you know how far down your target is). Physically try out any machine before you buy; it&rsquo;s important to understand how it fits your body and if the weight is appropriate for your frame and size.</p> <p>Detecting etiquette deserves special mention because it affects not only your safety, but the image of the entire hobby. Be sure to get permission before detecting on private property. Property owners will typically be more motivated if you take a collaborative approach and offer to share what you find. If you&rsquo;re interested in detecting at historic sites or protected public sites, permission will also be necessary &mdash; start by checking around at City Hall. Once you have permission, take a very controlled approach when digging. Any lawns that end up looking like a scene from <em>Caddyshack</em> will guarantee that no detectorist is granted permission again. A common dig method is to first pinpoint your target, then dig a plug 7-8 inches in diameter around it, leaving a small portion of the sod attached on one side. This creates a sort of &ldquo;hinge&rdquo; that you can pull up and replace easily once you&rsquo;ve retrieved the find. This approach also allows the grass to recover and leaves the area more aesthetically intact.</p> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve got the hang of it and established a rapport with your machine, the finds will come. Depending on your research and the time you can devote to hunting, the profits will come too. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-silver-naturally">Silver</a> is currently selling for just over $39 per ounce and a pre-1964 Washington quarter is worth about $7 today. I&rsquo;m sure by strict accounting, there are much more profitable ventures. Sure, the hours of research, the travel, the machine itself can eventually pay off, but these must all be fueled by something more than a profit motive. Without a love of history, without a true desire to jump off the modern-day treadmill for awhile, without that essential curiosity, detecting can often seem more tedious than profitable. But if you can see the larger picture and use detecting as a catalyst to become an armchair historian, amateur archeologist, numismatist, or explorer, the profits are limitless. Happy hunting!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/metal-detecting-for-beginners-patience-and-profit">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hobbies-you-can-start-for-under-10">25 Hobbies You Can Start for Under $10</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reselling-antiques-the-five-principles-of-power-picking">Reselling Antiques: The Five Principles of Power Picking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-143-fun-and-frugal-ways-to-spend-your-weekend">Flashback Friday: 143 Fun and Frugal Ways to Spend Your Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-hobby-pay-its-way">Make Your Hobby Pay Its Way</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle antiques history hobbies Fri, 22 Jul 2011 09:48:09 +0000 Kentin Waits 626954 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Frugal Lessons from Great-Grandmother http://www.wisebread.com/7-frugal-lessons-from-great-grandmother <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-frugal-lessons-from-great-grandmother" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000006434862XSmall.jpg" alt="Great-Grandmother" title="Great-Grandmother" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If there is anything good that came out of the financial disaster we just experienced, it's the general public's attention to frugal living and the realization that money does not, in fact, appear out of thin air. During the boom years of the 90s and the easy credit of the last decade, the whole country seemed to forget how to live below its means. Luckily, we don't have to venture far to find the appropriate way to live. If we just look at our great-grandmother's way of life, we can get insights into how to save money. Here are eight ways that she lived with less.</p> <h3>She did things herself.</h3> <p>She almost always cooked for the whole family (and probably cooked while they were on vacation too), and it doesn't end there. She had no maids, nannies, or even a handyman to call on. She fixed small problems like leaky faucets and non-working toilets while leaving the bigger jobs to her husband.</p> <h3>She saved every condiment, napkin, and anything else unused.</h3> <p>It didn't matter if it was from the occasional takeout or from a dinner out on Mother's Day. She saved everything, taking it out when she needed it next time.</p> <h3>Actually, she would rather not use paper napkins at all.</h3> <p>Anything that's one-time use is a waste. Convenience is great, but saving money and reusability is much more important to her.</p> <h3>She had a clothesline.</h3> <p>Why use a dryer when all it does is ruin the fabric and waste energy? There's really no need to look at the instructions tag if you are drying clothes via fresh air.</p> <h3>She brought drinks from home.</h3> <p>Whenever there would be a family trip, she always brought everyone's favorite drink from the fridge. &quot;Can I buy a can of Coke mom?&quot; &quot;Are you nuts? That costs 5 cents!&quot;</p> <h3>She wasn't addicted to technology.</h3> <p>Not that there were nearly as many gadgets back in the day, but she lived just fine. She had no smart phones, no iPods, no laptops to replace every three years.</p> <h3>She used public services.</h3> <p>She encouraged the kids to use the libraries, didn't have a pool in her backyard when there was a community pool just outside, and certainly would have taken the bus (or walked) instead of buying that fancy car.</p> <p>Few great-grandmothers lived with more resources than we have today, but they managed, on avarage, and with bigger families, too. You may hate the idea of living frugally, but perhaps a more relaxed life will change your mind. Great-grandmothers show us that frugal living is really not a sacrifice.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/david-ning">David Ning</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-frugal-lessons-from-great-grandmother">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/metal-detecting-for-beginners-patience-and-profit">Metal Detecting for Beginners: Patience and Profit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-refillable-things-that-will-save-you-cash">10 Refillable Things That Will Save You Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-this-isnt-your-grandparents-economy">Why This Isn&#039;t Your Grandparents&#039; Economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-freelancers-and-telecommuters-can-make-friends-and-network">11 Ways Freelancers and Telecommuters Can Make Friends and Network</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-conversations-every-couple-should-have">5 Money Conversations Every Couple Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle budget tips grandparents history reusable Fri, 12 Nov 2010 13:00:08 +0000 David Ning 276213 at http://www.wisebread.com Why This Isn't Your Grandparents' Economy http://www.wisebread.com/why-this-isnt-your-grandparents-economy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-this-isnt-your-grandparents-economy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4107373910_319256c468_z.jpg" alt="American Gothic" title="American Gothic" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Why can&rsquo;t we save the way our parents and grandparents saved? Is it just us, or have other factors changed our economic realities to such a degree that saving has been marginalized, or in some cases precluded altogether? It&rsquo;s no revelation that over the past 50 years, the American economic landscape has shifted drastically &mdash; rewriting our personal histories and resetting our goals. But what can we label with relative certainty as the true &quot;game changers?&quot; Looking back at the lives of my own parents and grandparents, I&rsquo;ve identified five categories of economic influencers that are significantly different today than in the 1950s and 60s. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-recession-glossary-1" title="The Recession Glossary">The Recession Glossary</a>)</p> <h2>The Prevalence of Marketing</h2> <p>Marketing has always been a part of American life. In the early and middle parts of the last century, it danced on the margins of our realities, gently suggesting products and services that might make our lives easier or better. Today, the gentle dancer has traded ballet slippers for steel-toed work boots and tromps through nearly every visual and auditory landscape we once called our own. Marketing and advertising have morphed from an art into a science. In the process, it&rsquo;s conflated a product&rsquo;s value with our own personal worth. We no longer buy a car solely because of its safety features or fuel economy. Now we give just as much credence to what the car &quot;says&quot; about us. We buy into a family, a cohort, an identity. This is the genius and the madness of marketing &mdash; and it swirls around us in ways our grandparents could have never imagined.</p> <p>Walk into any given grocery store and the process begins immediately: The shopping cart has an advertising placard, and the handle of the cart is an ad as well. The floors lay advertising at our feet, the freezer doors carry ads, the aisles have coupon-spitting machines, the plastic order divider in the checkout lane has a strip of advertising, &quot;cause marketing&quot; asks for our spare change as we pay for our items, and even the back of our receipts have become one last attempt to market to us. It&rsquo;s amazing we can even find our car after such a staggering commercial onslaught.</p> <p>All of this marketing effort must pay off to some degree; otherwise, budgets would shift to more lucrative avenues. How does this approach and the resulting pay-off affect a person&rsquo;s ability to separate the valuable message from the garbage, be rational with money,&nbsp;and save?</p> <h2>Employment Instability</h2> <p>I&rsquo;m nearly 41. My mother and father worked for the same employer for 28 and 32 years, respectively. So far in my own work life, I&rsquo;m at job number nine. Granted, calculated inconsistency in the pursuit of larger goals is not a bad thing, and some of that inconsistency is born from a better education and more choices. But another piece of that inconsistency comes from the new reality of employment: Companies are sold, off-shored, closed down, and consolidated at an alarming rate. Employer flux creates employee flux. According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median employee tenure as of January, 2010 was a mere 4.4 years. It seems as if the only consistent thing we do now is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-write-a-resume-12-steps-to-your-next-job" title="How To Write A Resume: 12 Steps To Your Next Job">update our resumes</a>. New jobs and the economic challenges in-between jobs create disruptions in our financial lives that can, over time, affect our bottom lines.</p> <h2>Normalization of Credit</h2> <p>Credit used to be a line of last resort for our grandparents&rsquo; generation. The normalization of credit without any education on the dangers of its unbridled use has arguably been the largest factor in Americans&rsquo; declining personal wealth. Our parents and grandparents may have used credit from time-to-time to take advantage of an unusually good deal, or to secure the purchase of item that would appreciate in value. Now, short-term or long-term credit is used to buy everything from cheeseburgers to cars, from jeans to haircuts. Combined with unstable employment and a boom-and-bust economy, undisciplined credit use has gone from an outlaying danger to a potential catastrophe.</p> <p>Loan payments, interest rate hikes, late fees, and bruised credit ratings are like death by a thousand cuts, threatening our personal wealth and future security. Whether born of real need or simple temptation, credit has become a national addiction spawning new predatory industries and personal hardships.</p> <h2>America&rsquo;s Shifting Industry</h2> <p>Decades ago, America was a manufacturing powerhouse. The goods made here were marketed and shipped all over the world. Somewhere along the line, the target for our products shifted away from the global stage and began to focus more narrowly on the domestic stage. The burden of consumption (and, thereby the majority of our economic health) fell on Americans. Consumption of domestic goods became conflated with patriotism and over-consumption was encouraged in large part because of the relatively limited domestic market. The demand for a higher volume of cheaper goods forced offshore what little manufacturing jobs remained in America and further reduced labor opportunities at home. The broad and deep markets of American goods that our parents and grandparents took for granted shrank and so did our savings.</p> <h2>Starter Homes</h2> <p>Homes are typically our largest investment, and they carry with them the opportunity to make or break our financial success. Gradually our expectations of what constitutes a suitable home have changed. We now embrace the concept of &quot;starter homes&quot; without question and once our children have grown and left the nest, we&rsquo;re expected to &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-big-of-a-house-do-you-really-need" title="How Big of a House Do You Really Need?">downsize</a>.&quot; That creates three occasions to buy or sell a home over a person&rsquo;s lifetime (not counting other circumstances like job transfers, divorce, etc). The purchase of a new or different home creates an opportunity to cash out some of our equity, refurnish, upgrade countertops, or move into the newest designer ZIP code. But how did our grandparents approach home ownership? Wasn&rsquo;t their starter home typically their &quot;finisher&quot; home too? What is lost in our constant pursuit of a new (and temporary) satisfaction? How has the notion of upgrading everything from cars to closets only downgraded our leisure time and threatened our real financial independence?</p> <p>These are just some of the broad stripes that have repainted our financial lives. Simplicity and frugality are personal efforts that don&rsquo;t happen in isolation. Society, marketing, personal history, and wider economic realities all make the road more challenging. Our grandparents lived in a time that was harder in many ways, but easier in others. As we pursue our highly individual definitions of independence and financial wisdom, it helps to understand where we&rsquo;ve been as a nation and where we&rsquo;re going in order to decide how to navigate where we are right now.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-this-isnt-your-grandparents-economy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/preparing-for-a-recession">Preparing for a Recession</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-sufficiency-self-reliance-and-freedom">Self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and freedom</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-1-losing-a-job">Getting by without a job, part 1--losing a job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-world-currencies-that-took-a-hit-in-2016">8 World Currencies That Took a Hit in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/europe-has-the-euro-are-you-ready-for-the-amero">Europe has the Euro. Are you ready for The Amero?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Economy grandparents history lifestyle changes Thu, 11 Nov 2010 13:00:08 +0000 Kentin Waits 289715 at http://www.wisebread.com Placing Prepositions: Where you from? Where you at? http://www.wisebread.com/placing-prepositions-where-you-from-where-you-at <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/placing-prepositions-where-you-from-where-you-at" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Arnold Jackson and Family.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="120" height="111" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;<span style="color: #333333">She&rsquo;s shakin&rsquo; what her mama gave her. He&rsquo;s stuntin&rsquo; like his daddy. Man you&rsquo;re the spitting image of your mother.&nbsp;Wow, temper like his father.</span></p> <div style="background: white">&nbsp;</div> <div style="background: white"><span style="color: #333333">We hear different variations of these comparisons and contrasts all the time, linking us to our predecessors and ancestors. To say nothing of what we look like, so much of who we are is wrapped up into where we came from. This is true across the board and not just geographically, but psychologically, anatomically and physiologically.</span></div> <div style="background: white">&nbsp;</div> <div style="background: white">&nbsp;</div> <div style="background: white"><span style="color: #333333">For every story about a person who comes from humble beginnings, is the first person to go to college -- blah, blah, blah -- there are 10,000 stories about someone failed by inclination, chasing the same dreams and nothingness as their parents. Just as some parents live vicariously through their children, many children seek to correct past mistakes and distance themselves from antecedents and in doing so, trip the switch that makes them what they loathed or feared. </span></div> <div style="background: white">&nbsp;</div> <div style="background: white">&nbsp;</div> <div style="background: white"><span style="color: #333333">Okay, Okay I know, paging Dr. Point, Mr. Premise B. Please is here for his appointment. Here goes: carrying both the stain and shine of those who physically and scientifically gave you life can have either a devastating or complementary as well as complimentary effect on your attitudes toward money. This includes splurging and pinching, spending and saving, growing and blowing.</span></div> <div style="background: white">&nbsp;</div> <div style="background: white">&nbsp;</div> <div style="background: white"><span style="color: #333333">For instance, members of the so called &ldquo;Greatest Generation,&rdquo; who were teenagers during the &quot;Great Depression&quot; and then went off to fight fascism and foriegn&nbsp;imperialism, came home to the G.I. Bill and came to value family, normalcy and growth. Those before them had been parents during the depression and probably had a mistrust of financial institutions, picked up every penny they saw and stowed it away, re-sewed their clothing, pitched in with neighbors, learned the value of money, scrimped and saved.</span></div> <div style="background: white">&nbsp;</div> <div style="background: white">&nbsp;</div> <div style="background: white"><span style="color: #333333">The baby boomers that followed were the first to have a sense of entitlement, the first to be proud, television-watching, interstate-traversing members of a lone industrial and military superpower. And naturally their kids, with Speak &lsquo;N Spells, Cabbage Patch Dolls and much later, $100 sneakers, went forth into the world with skewed biases and unprecedented demands. </span></div> <div style="background: white">&nbsp;</div> <div style="background: white"><span style="color: #333333">What we are today are walking subjects of an experiment in marketing, consumerism and calamity in the post-nuclear, post industrial, pre-singularity age. If sociological ramifications weren&rsquo;t enough -- say a mother buying a leather coat instead of paying the light bill or a father who lost his shirt trying to flip a house &ndash; it has recently emerged that our different strokes when it comes to attitudes toward personal finance may be nothin&rsquo; but the genes. </span></div> <div style="background: white">&nbsp;</div> <div style="background: white">&nbsp;</div> <div style="background: white"><span style="color: #333333">As part of a social and scientific micro test, Northwestern University finance professor Camelia Kuhnen gave her students a certain amount of money to make as many as 96 separate investment choices. Once the eager students&rsquo; pockets were fattened, she told them to say &quot;ahhhhhhhhh&quot; and got some DNA from their saliva. What resulted was that students who carried specific variations of certain genes and had certain balances of dopamine and serotonin, made risky investments --&nbsp;25 percent more of the time than those without these genetic traits.</span></div> <div style="background: white">&nbsp;</div> <div style="background: white">&nbsp;</div> <div style="background: white"><span style="color: #333333">Interesting stuff, yet we know that the world don&rsquo;t move to the beat of just one drum. Even with the findings from Kuhnen&rsquo;s &ldquo;</span>The Neural Basis of Financial Risk Taking&quot; and other experiments, the question remains: <span style="color: #333333">How would Arnold Jackson have faired if not for Phil Drummond or would he have been fine? (Let that marinate). </span></div> <div style="background: white">&nbsp;</div> <div style="background: white">&nbsp;</div> <div style="background: white"><span style="color: #333333">In the end, Kuhnen said in an interview on the public radio program <a href="http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/02/11/genetic_spending/"><font color="#800080">Marketplace</font></a> that based on her findings, only 30 percent of &ldquo;variation in risk-taking behavior is due to our genes.&rdquo; The other 70 or so percent is based more on sociological stressors and stimuli such as cultural heritage, region&nbsp;and neighborhood or perhaps whether your father carried money in rubber bands, in a wallet or disbursed expenditures using a pen or computer. </span></div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">When managing our money, these are not things that should keep us up at night but are definitely factors to consider. Are you doomed to repeat the past that came before your existence? Are you making your family proud with wise bread traits? Or is it something intangible? Can you simply not help buying the limited edition copy of Halo, those sleek, jet-black, Salvatore Ferragamos or the new fourth-generation <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e4X10hOh9o"><font color="#800080">Pomegranate</font></a> phone that allows you to make coffee, shave and play the harmonica. All this despite the fact that your student loan and credit-card balances are gaining more interest than if Rihanna, Britney, Paris and P.Diddy showed up at a House Banking Committee hearing.</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">What&rsquo;s your motivation? This may be really personal. It may be gut wrenching. There may be an ugly truth you discover about your origin and how it informs your decision making, whether it compels you to be a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/miser-v-stunna-a-case-study"><font color="#800080">miser or stunna</font></a>.</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">What we should remember in the throes of self-examination puzzles such as these is that money squandered can be earned back by working harder, saving more, finding ways to improve our social and economic conditions as well as bring our wants into parity with our needs on this life&rsquo;s Bell Curve. But as for time spent and wasted acting a fool with our dough, well, that&rsquo;s history. Or is it?</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jabulani-leffall">Jabulani Leffall</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/placing-prepositions-where-you-from-where-you-at">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-towers-of-gold">Book review: Towers of Gold</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-taken-how-to-evaluate-an-exchange-rate">Don&#039;t Get Taken: How to Evaluate an Exchange Rate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-your-kids-know-about-your-finances">How Much Should Your Kids Know About Your Finances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-cash-is-not-king">8 Times Cash Is Not King</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-metaphors-you-wouldnt-punch-a-kitten-would-you">Money Metaphors (You wouldn&#039;t punch a kitten, would you?)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Banking Different Strokes Great Depression history money parents spending Sun, 15 Feb 2009 22:18:45 +0000 Jabulani Leffall 2843 at http://www.wisebread.com Book review: Towers of Gold http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-towers-of-gold <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/book-review-towers-of-gold" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/towers-of-gold-cover.jpg" alt="Cover of Towers of Gold" title="Cover of Towers of Gold" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="380" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312355262?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0312355262"><cite>Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California</cite></a> by Frances Dinkelspiel.</p> <p>It will not, I think, surprise my regular readers to hear that I like to read books about money.&nbsp; All kinds of books about money--not just books on personal finance and frugality, but just about anything, including monetary histories and stories of wealth.&nbsp; Dinkelspiel's new book hits those last two categories (besides being an engaging biography as well).</p> <p>The book is the story of how Isaias Hellman, a jewish immigrant from Germany, started as a shopkeeper in Los Angeles in 1859, and went on to found two banks, run two others, and have as much influence on the history of money in California as anyone.</p> <p>As you might expect, I particularly enjoyed the parts about money.&nbsp; The &quot;towers of gold&quot; of the title refer to the way Hellman dealt with runs on his banks--by piling up so many gold coins on the counter that anxious depositors could see for themselves that the bank had enough cash on hand.&nbsp; Also fascinating, though, are the stories of early mass transit in Los Angeles (where Hellman made a fortune), land speculation in Los Angeles (where he made another), and the early politics of the water supply (where he made a little money as well).</p> <p>Also interesting are the threads that run through to the present.&nbsp; For example, Hellman ran the Wells Fargo bank for many years (a name that people will still recognize).</p> <p>If the book has a flaw, it's that it succeeds a little too well at what it's intended to be--a biography of an interesting person.&nbsp; Dinkelspiel never finds a single narrative thread to hang the other pieces of the story on--there are a dozen threads.&nbsp; Each one is interesting in its own right--the thread of his family, the thread of his jewishness, the thread of the railroads (the land speculation, the dangerous frontier, the San Francisco earthquake, fire, and aftermath)--but they remain individual threads.</p> <p>If you like any of a dozen different kinds of books--biographies, monetary histories, corporate histories, stories of wealth and power, stories of the frontier--you'll find things to like in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312355262?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0312355262"><em>Towers of Gold</em></a>.&nbsp; I did.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-towers-of-gold">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-life-inc">Book review: Life Inc.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-only-investment-guide-youll-ever-need">Book review: The Only Investment Guide You&#039;ll Ever Need</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-little-book-of-common-sense-investing">Book review: The Little Book of Common Sense Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-your-money-or-your-life">Book review: Your Money or Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-retire-on-less-than-you-think">Book review: Retire on Less Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Banking banks book review books california history immigration monetary history money review Wed, 10 Dec 2008 11:15:07 +0000 Philip Brewer 2636 at http://www.wisebread.com Patriotism and Personal Finance - A Brief Walk Through American History http://www.wisebread.com/patriotism-and-personal-finance-a-brief-walk-through-american-history <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/patriotism-and-personal-finance-a-brief-walk-through-american-history" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/flag.jpg" alt="Child Saluting American Flag" title="Child Saluting American Flag" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>To all the Americans out there, happy Independence Day! I think this a great day to reflect upon how personal finance and patriotism is so intertwined in America. So I dug up a few tidbits from American history and summarized them here. </p> <p><strong>Before 1776 </strong></p> <p>&quot;No taxation without representation&quot; is an iconic slogan that points to one of the main reasons why the American colonists sought independence from Britain more than 200 years ago. Simply put, the Americans were angry that their personal incomes was being taken without their consent. The first direct British tax on American colonists was spelt out in the Stamp Act of 1765, a law that required every newspaper, pamphlet, and other legal documents to have a British stamp upon it. Since the stamp costs money, it sparked outrage amongst the Americans because they had no need for this stamp and they did not want to pay for it. The Stamp Act was repealed in 1766, but the later Townshend Acts imposed more taxes on many other goods, including tea. These new taxes led to more unrest amongst the colonists and British troops being sent to America. Eventually, the anger over the taxes led to the Boston Tea Party, and in response to this unrest the British Empire passed the Intolerable Acts which spurred the growth of the American Revolution and eventually led to the Revolutionary War. With this history, it can be argued that the American Revolution was all about the freedom of personal finances. The Americans wanted the freedom to spend their own money how they wanted, and do business without being unjustly taxed. </p> <p><strong><br />The Great Depression</strong></p> <p>The Social Security Administration was formed in the midst of The Great Depression by Franklin D. Roosevelt. In a famous speech now known as <a href="http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/fdrthefourfreedoms.htm" target="_blank">&quot;The Four Freedoms&quot; speech</a> , he said this, &quot;I have called for personal sacrifice, and I am assured of the willingness of almost all Americans to respond to that call. A part of the sacrifice means the payment of more money in taxes. No person should try, or be allowed to get rich out of the program, and the principle of tax payments in accordance with ability to pay should be constantly before our eyes to guide our legislation... If the Congress maintains these principles the voters, putting patriotism ahead pocketbooks, will give you their applause.&quot; The basic message was that if people did not want to participate in the Social Security program they would be unpatriotic. Roosevelt also outlawed the ownership of gold by private citizens except in jewelry, and basically allowed banks to print as many bank notes as they want without having to redeem it for gold. </p> <p><strong><br />World War II</strong></p> <p>During World War II, the general message was for Americans to be frugal with their money and support the war effort. A Disney propaganda cartoon called <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spirit_of_'43" target="_blank">&quot;The Spirit of &#39;43&quot;</a> showed the good side as a thrifty and hardworking Donald Duck who paid his taxes, and the film explained that if you did not pay your taxes a good soldier out there would die. The propaganda message was that if you spent your money you would be helping the Axis powers and if you saved your money for taxes you would be helping your country. Many war bonds posters were also made to encourage people to invest in the war effort. In the present day, many of these colorful posters have become collectibles. </p> <p><strong>Now</strong></p> <p>After World War II, consumerism somehow became synonymous with patriotism in America. Americans are systematically encouraged to spend their money. In the fifties and throughout the era of the Cold War Americans were told to spend in order to be as different from communists as possible. After the Cold War, consumerism is already a big part of America&#39;s GDP. After the September 11 attacks in New York, the country slid into a recession and many companies created ads that linked spending money to helping America. Additionally, the Federal Reserve made it cheap to borrow money to encourage spending. Recently, homeownership was <a href="http://www.hud.gov/news/speeches/presremarks.cfm" target="_blank">also touted as a way to fight terrorism</a> and keep our country secure. This year, nearly every tax paying American is receiving a &quot;stimulus check&quot; that they are expected to spend to give a boost to the economy. President Bush said <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,333553,00.html" target="_blank">in a speech in February</a> that &quot;the purpose is to encourage our consumers. The purpose is to give them money …Consumerism is a significant part of our GDP growth, and we want to sustain the American consumer, encourage the American consumer…&quot;. The dominant message out there is that if you want to help your country, you must take out your pocketbooks and spend like there is no tomorrow. </p> <p>I realize that this is a extremely abbreviated collection of American history, but I think it is interesting how the idea of patriotism affects the personal financial decisions of Americans. There is also a stark contrast to how taxes is viewed in the different eras of American history. At first it was a sign of oppression, but eventually it became a symbol of power, freedom, and patriotism. I feel that the current state of promoting rampant consumerism as patriotism is a bit irrational, but I guess propaganda always appeal to the emotion and not reason. </p> <p>I know that some Americans also show patriotism by only purchasing items made in America, or refuse to travel abroad. Do you show your patriotism with your pocketbook? If so, how do you go about it? </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/patriotism-and-personal-finance-a-brief-walk-through-american-history">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-profit-from-obama-and-geithners-toxic-assets-plan">Could you profit from Obama and Geithner&#039;s toxic assets plan?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-social-security-just-a-grand-ponzi-scheme">Is Social Security Just A Grand Ponzi Scheme?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/more-tax-credits-coming-for-homebuyers">More Tax Credits Coming for Homebuyers?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-more-questionable-aspects-of-the-housing-bailout-bill">The Questionable Aspects of The Housing Bailout Bill - H.R. 3221</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8000-housing-tax-credit-can-now-be-turned-into-cash-at-closing-according-to-fha">$8000 housing tax credit can now be turned into cash at closing according to FHA</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Real Estate and Housing Taxes America history Independence Day patriotism propaganda Fri, 04 Jul 2008 08:00:02 +0000 Xin Lu 2217 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Social Security Just A Grand Ponzi Scheme? http://www.wisebread.com/is-social-security-just-a-grand-ponzi-scheme <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-social-security-just-a-grand-ponzi-scheme" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/social-security.gif" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="194" height="200" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I received my Social Security statement this week and it was a useless piece of paper to me since I do not qualify for retirement benefits yet. I always hear critics of Social Security say that it is a government sanctioned Ponzi scheme, and today I did a little research into why this comparison is often made.</p> <p>Ponzi scheme is named after Charles Ponzi, an Italian immigrant who promised investors 50% returns in 45 days on an investment of postal coupons. He raked in millions of dollars in investments in less than a year in 1920. In actuality he was paying the earlier investors with money he collected from later investors and did not invest the money at all. Eventually the scheme collapsed because Ponzi just could not find enough new suckers to pay for the ealier investors who wanted to cash out. Ponzi went to prison and after he was released he returned to Italy and became a top financial advisor to Mussolini.</p> <p>The Social Security program does have a few similarities to a Ponzi scheme. The main point is that it is a system where the later contributors pay for the returns of earlier contributors and if the number of later contributors dwindle to a point where they cannot support the existing promised benefits then the system would collapse. Second, the money collected is not invested to produce more money so the system pretty much depends on new taxpayers. Finally, the earlier participants of Social Security do get a bigger return on their money. For example, the first Social Security beneficiary who received monthly checks was Ida May Fuller. She collected a total of $22,888.92 from the program and contributed only $24.75 from her paychecks. Of course, she was extremely lucky to live to 100, and her Social Security earnings amounted to an annualized return of 22% on her contributions over 36 years of retirement. I am sure when I get my checks I will not have such great returns.</p> <p>So why is Social Security not a Ponzi scheme? Well, first of all it does not make wild claims about making money fast. It also does not claim to be investing your money so it is not actually fraudulent. It is also based on taxes so it is not a voluntary scheme like the original. Finally, when a person dies then the payout stops under Social Security so it is possible that some people who contribute never see a single penny returned. The Social Security Administration actually calls the program a &quot;pay-as-you-go insurance system&quot; and claims that it is sustainable as long as the population demographics of retirees and working people stay stable.</p> <p>Regardless of the semantics, in the near future there will be many more retirees than working folks so the demographics shift will make Social Security pay out more than it takes in. According to the <a href="http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TRSUM/trsummary.html" target="_blank">2008 Social Security Administration report</a> the program could cover 75 percent of scheduled benefits until 2082 after the current surplus exhausts in 2041. This means that young people like me probably cannot count on solely Social Security for our retirement. Just in case Social Security collapses, I think everyone should be putting at least the amount paid in Social Security taxes in an IRA or mutual fund for the sake of a better financed retirement.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-social-security-just-a-grand-ponzi-scheme">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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