In this week's Weekend Reads, does the government have to take the War on Drugs to Uber? And why are wedding costs the only money topics that soon-to-be couples talk about?
Plus, when cutting the cord doesn't cut your spending, why you shouldn't judge books by their Amazon thumbnails, the one key you need to know about investing, and NPR makes Millennials feel good about their money (for once).
Cable is simple. That’s one of the only reasons people stick with it. It’s expensive and cable companies call you profanities, but at least you know what you’re getting. Cutting the cord is appealing, but then you have to patch your entertainment options together like some weird, video-streaming Frankenstein’s monster, which sounds exactly like the plot of a movie you’d find on Netflix. But what you’re giving up in convenience you’re making up in price, right? Maybe? Grayson over at Debt RoundUp says not so fast, because he actually did the real-life math, and while some people may come out on top, others won’t. Cord-cutting obviously still requires an internet connection, and when you pair that with streaming from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, Showtime Anytime, Sling TV, Playstation Vue, CBS All Access (does that have subscribers?), and any of the million other streaming services, you might not be saving much, if any, money. Now, does anyone need to be subscribed to all of those at once? Of course not! But keep that in mind before you get caught up in the cable-less utopian future. Or, do as Grayson suggests, and don’t replace your cable with anything: cut the cord and do something productive with your life, like starting a business or a hobby. Maybe after the new season of Orange is the New Black.
Taxi drivers may not be super thrilled with Uber, but you know who does stand to benefit from on-demand ride hailing? Drug dealers, apparently. Or, rather, potentially. It doesn’t happen often (that authorities know of) but it’s enough that it’s becoming a thing. Passengers, drivers, buyers, sellers – everyone’s getting into the game. Which is, y’know, possibly dangerous for the unknowing parties who don’t realize they’re unwittingly a part of illicit activities. Motherboard didn’t receive an answer from Uber regarding whether or not "information of suspected drug deals...can or has been used to implement artificial surge pricing in suspected zones of illegal drug distribution" – which, duh, of course Uber wouldn’t answer that – but the question they should be asking is to El Chapo, and that question should be does he feel silly crawling all that way through a tunnel when he could have just hailed an Uber.
Remember how for a little while the color scheme for every movie, whether it was poster, DVD cover, or the film itself, was orange and blue? Turns out we’re in the midst of another cycle, but instead of movies it’s books, and instead of orange and blue we’ve got yellow. Like, really, really yellow book covers. Because of Amazon. Everything is because of Amazon. (Or Uber.) Why yellow? Publishers want covers that will "pop" – because, despite the popular saying, everyone judges books by their covers – and thanks to Amazon, where book covers are an inch high and sitting on a white website background, yellow is a quick and easy way to make a tiny image stand out. Even if you aren’t a particularly avid reader, it’s interesting as yet another example of how technology is making subtle changes in our lives. Yellow not your color? Don’t worry, at least one publisher has opted for "neon orange" as their next go-to hue. So you have that to look forward to.
The first step to anything can always be the hardest one, and when it involves money – where you feel like a misstep could cost you, literally – a lot of people are nervous to get started at all. But it’s important to start because the sooner you do, the more money you’ll have. The steps outlined in Business Insider by Holly Hanson – prioritize, pay down debt, and create an emergency fund – are all really good, but the most valuable tip might be for people to just trust their plan. Despite what The Big Short taught you, things typically work out for people when it comes to investing because there are so many factors involved and it plays out over such a long period of time. So keep your head up, don’t panic when things look grim, and stick to your plan. When you retire rich enough to afford a time machine, you can go back and thank yourself.
Hey brides, you should know that your dress, centerpieces, and venue are really the last things you should be worried about when it comes to getting married. (Haha just kidding, please don’t send me hate mail.) But really, there are other (and, arguably, more important) things you should be concerned with. Like, your fiancé may not be cheating on you, but is sneaking money from one account to another any better? You might be on the same page when it comes to having kids, but what about when it comes to your spending habits? Basically, you should be asking certain questions to your future Mr. or Mrs. before debt does you part. So head over to Motto and take a look at what you should be asking. The sooner you can get to them the better, and besides, I’ve already spent way too much time trying to figure out a pun with "finance" and "fiancé" to no avail.
The recession really did a number on Millennials, and not just because many were stuck with record high student loans trying to find a job when there simply weren’t any. It affected a lot of them psychologically, too, having to see their parents really struggle financially for the first time. Seeing role models fail just when you’re starting to come into your own is tough. And then you have people calling your entire generation names like "lazy" and "entitled" and "snake people" just because you can’t live out the white picket fence dream and aren’t sure if you’ll ever be able to retire and you’re like, "Well, kinda not my fault, so…" That’s why it’s encouraging to hear advice like "You've got to invest for who you are, not what rationally might make sense," and "it's more important to be comfortable with your investments — and not nervous about them." Take a read and then a listen to Weekend Edition for some quality advice on saving and investing that will actually inspire you.