• Who Takes Out a Personal Loan?

    According to Bankrate.com, "A personal loan is often an unsecured form of debt, meaning the funds aren't backed by an asset such as a house or car, and has a fixed repayment term. There's no collateral requirement, which is why the loan comes with an interest rate that is usually higher than rates on secured debt."

    This infographics shows that personal loans are popular with many borrowers.

    Personal Loan Infographic

    Infographic courtesy of loans.org

    For discussion:

    What factors should you consider before accepting a personal loan?

    What alternatives do you have instead of a personal loan?

    What are the benefits and risks associated with a personal loan?

  • Millennials Buying Homes

    Many millennials struggle to gather the downpayment required to buy a home. This infographics shows that high student debt and low monthly savings are big obstacles to homeownership for this segment of our population.

    Embedded from MGIC Connects

  • Incomes Rise for College Grads

    A new report shows that unemployment has dropped and incomes are rising for new college grads. Unemployment for new college graduates has dropped from 7% to 4.9% since 2010 while the median income for a bachelor's degree holder was $43,000 last year.

    These numbers suggest that college is worth it. Even when you figure in how much a college education costs.

  • Bond Market and Equity Market Issuance

    Though most of the financial news centers on stock markets, the infographic below shows that bond market issuance is significantly larger than equity market issuance. Stock market issuance includes initial public offerings (IPOs) as well as secondary equity offerings. But those two equity offerings together don't come close the size of bond market issuance.

  • The Secret to Berkshire's Success

    Warren Buffett is known as the "Oracle of Omaha" and for decades has been one of the most famous investors of all time. His secret?

    1. Access to low cost funds

    2. Earn compound returns


    For discussion:

    What is the "float" in the insurance business, and how has that contributed to Warren Buffett's success?

  • The Amazing Growth of Netflix

    Netflix stock has climbed recently as Netflix announced it has expanded into 130 countries this year, well ahead of schedule. With subscribers growing worldwide, Netflix is poised to grow.

    From an article in the Denver Post (Liedtke, 6 Jan 2016):

    Netflix subscribers watched 42.5 billion hours of programming last year, including 12 billion hours in the October-December fourth quarter. The fourth-quarter viewership volume represented a nearly 50 percent increase from 8.25 billion hours the previous year. Put another way, Netflix subscribers are now watching a weekly average of 13 hours of programming, up from 12 hours the previous year.

    This infographics shows that the growth in international subscribers is fueling the growth of the firm:

    You will find more statistics at Statista

  • The Avon Makeover

    What does it take to bring Avon back to life? Currently trading at $2.59/share, Avon is saddled with debt and is struggling in North America.

    This interview with Avon CEO Sheri McCoy explains that Avon is planning a transformation by focusing on international markets and is investing in technology.

    For discussion:

    Would you invest in Avon? Why or why not?

    What would you recommend to Avon to help them create value for their shareholders? 

  • Is Oil The Barometer For The Entire Market? Answers from Davos 2016

    According to this interview with Goldman Sachs President Gary Kohn, the price of oil is not the bell weather for the entire financial market. The low price of oil does not indicate that the economy is slowing down. Rather, it is driven by the oversupply of oil and the high cost of storage.

    For discussion:

    What is needed for the stock market to "uncouple" from the oil market?

    Why should we get ready for more volatility?

  • Paying with bKash

    In Bangladesh, banking can be done with a mobile phone for cheap. It is so attractive, the Gates Foundation is an investor.

    This video describes what this mobile banking system is all about:

    For discussion:

    What defines a bank, and what sets a bank apart from any other firm?

    What do you see for the future of mobile banking? What risks do you think go along with that future?

  • The Cost of Medical Care

    According to experts, the cost of healthcare continues to rise faster than inflation. From this Bloomberg article (Light, 1 Jan 2016):

    Medical bill inflation still is rising faster than the broader consumer price index, which remains well south of a 2 percent annual pace. In November, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumers' health care inflation was up 2.9 percent. That's far down from the 5 percent expansion in 2007.

    The picture is the same for overall health costs. Above what consumers shell out, the government -- through Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare -- and employer plans also chip in to pay medical bills. The PwC Health Research Institute found that this combined spending rose 6.8 percent in 2015 and expects it to climb at a slightly slower clip of 6.5 percent in 2016. That's a far cry from 2007's 11.9 percent.

    The chart below shows that many Americans have trouble paying their medical bills. Even those earning between $50K and $100k indicated that they or someone in their household struggled to pay medical bills.

    You will find more statistics at Statista

    For discussion:

    What is insurance, and how does it protect a family from the rising cost of healthcare?

  • What Happens When Revenue Growth Falls

    The price of a stock captures what investors expect the future to hold for that company. For GoPro, the future is not bright.

    According to Bloomberg (Wang, 13 Jan 2016):

    It’s been a rocky ride for GoPro over the last year: the company tumbled 72 percent in 2015 amid questions over its product mix and signs of slowing growth and increasing competition. The stock dropped 15 percent to $12.48 at the close in New York, the biggest single-day decline since Oct. 29. The company’s market value has plummeted to less than $2 billion, from a peak of almost $12 billion in October 2014.

    The market doesn't seem to like GoPro's prospects, and yet, as we see in this chart, revenue is still climbing. The lesson seems to be all about growth and future prospects. Though the chart shows that revenues are up, revenue growth has dropped at an alarming rate. For investors, this means bleak prospects in the future and declining stock price now.



    You will find more statistics at Statista

    For discussion:

    In your opinion, what would GoPro need to do to convince investors that growth opportunities exist after all?

  • The Consequences of Low Oil Prices

    Low oil prices are great for drivers and for consumers, but for oil producers, it's a bust. According to this CNN video, "this is what a crash looks like."

    How low can oil go?


    For discussion: What are the four reasons identified by this video for why oil has dropped in price?

  • The Interest on Your Powerball Winnings

    How much would you spend if you won the Powerball? How much would you need to live on?

    This video shows that the number that matters is not the Powerball amount itself, rather it's the interest that it would generate annually.


    For discussion: how much would you need to win in order to generate enough interest for you to live on?


  • Should You Insure Your Phone?

    When it comes to risk, people behave oddly. They will buy insurance for low consequence events, but postpone buying insurance for high consequence events like floods. This behavioral bias shows up in the purchase of warranties for electronics and other home products.

    Generally speaking, buying extended warranties on your consumer electronics is a bad idea. Most of us can self-insure--that is, if we set aside all the money we would have spent on extended warranty premiums, then we'd have enough on hand to replace the dropped camera or water-damaged laptop.

    Occasionally, though, warranties are a good idea. This video describes the extended warranty on your cell phone. If you are at higher than normal risk of damaging your cell phone, then perhaps the extended warranty is for you:

    For discussion:

    What factors should you evaluate when you consider purchasing insurance for your phone?

    What is "prospect theory?" How does this behavioral bias or other behavioral biases show up in the decision to purchase insurance?

  • FinTech: The Financial Technology Market

    "FinTech" is defined as the computer technology that supports banking and financial services. Years ago, banking was mostly brick and mortar with many (most) people distrusting electronic payments systems. Today, electronic banking is easily accepted by consumers and some people haven't set foot into a bank branch in years.

    This infographic describes the outlook for the financial technology market over the next several years:

    You will find more statistics at Statista

  • How to Build Credit

    If you're just starting out in life, you may need to borrow money to buy a car or house. But without a credit history, your bank may not be willing to take a risk on you. This video shows some ways to develop credit history from scratch.

    For discussion:

    Which of the ideas discussed in this video seem the most feasible to you?

  • Investing in CDs

    A certificate of deposit or CD is one of the simplest investments to understand. Banks call CDs "time deposits" because CDs are simply savings accounts that require that the investor leave the money with the bank for a specified period of time before withdrawing the principal and interest. Though CDs themselves are straightforward investments, they an be used in combinations with other CDs to create a portfolio that may be a little more complicated.

    The infographic below lists some of the language associated with CD investing and includes words such as "barbell" and "ladder."

    For discussion:

    Under what circumstances would you choose a barbell portfolio? A laddered portfolio? A bullet portfolio?



    Vectors: © BoBaa22/Shutterstock.com

  • Top Wall Street Jobs for 2016

    This Bloomberg video talks about job opportunities in finance in the coming year: Job opportunities are linked to the profit potential and growth opportunity, and those trends are linked to the price of oil and the level of interest rates.

    For discussion:

    How could the price of oil affect job opportunities on Wall Street?

    How could the level of interest rates and the trend in interest rates affect job opportunities on Wall Street.