The Reinvention of Pawn Shops

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The pawnshop industry is growing. In 2007, there were approximately 6,400 pawn shops nation-wide. Now there are over 10,000. The expansion in pawnshops is fed, in part, by the increased number of Americans with tarnished credit which often bars them from the mainstream financial system. This article explains some of the niche services now offered… Read more »

Donald Trump is in the News Again!

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New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, has sued Donald Trump for $40 million as a result of what he terms a fraudulent educational program through “Trump University.” The program promised to make students rich but instead steered them into expensive and useless seminars. They also failed to deliver promised apprenticeships. Questions: 1. Instead of meeting… Read more »

Ring-around-the-Rosy

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Did you know that you are paying a fraction of a cent every time you open a can of soda (or other canned beverages)? Why? It is because Goldman Sachs and other financial players have maneuvered the price of aluminum. Each day, a fleet of trucks shuffles 1,500-pound bars of aluminum among 27 warehouses in… Read more »

Would you prefer a payroll card to direct deposit?

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More and more American workers are facing fees before they are able to access their wages on payday. Why? Prepaid cards have been issued by their employers to replace direct deposit or paper paychecks. Questions: 1. Who are some of the well-known companies using these prepaid cards? Why is the New York attorney general getting… Read more »

Would you invest in a Bitcoin Fund?

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Bitcoin has been promoted as an alternative crypto-currency that exists outside the realms of governments and central banks. Now Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the twins best known for their part in the history of Facebook, filed a proposal with securities regulators that would allow any investor to trade bitcoins, just as if they were stocks…. Read more »

The Goldilocks Number

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Why does Wall Street like a “Goldilocks number” when it comes to job growth? Job growth in May kept up with the year’s monthly average, with 175,000 new jobs added. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate increased slightly to 7.6 percent. Questions: 1. What is the role of the Federal Reserve regarding the risk Wall Street sees?… Read more »

Massive Estate Planning Mistakes of Celebrities

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[Marilyn Monroe]Consider the mistakes of these five celebrities when you make decisions about your estate or advise others about theirs. As Sheyna Steiner reports, problems in life may compound after death as creditors, heirs and the Internal Revenue Service come calling for their share of an estate. Questions: 1. After reading about these five celebrities,… Read more »

Is it fair that some hospitals are charging 400% above their costs to deliver services?

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According to government data, hospitals charge Medicare wildly differing amounts — sometimes 10 to 20 times what Medicare typically reimburses — for the same procedure. This raises questions about how hospitals determine prices and why they differ so widely. Questions: 1. Discuss the data set and what was included. 2. According to the article, who… Read more »

IPO Fever

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U.S. companies are on track to raise the most money through initial public offerings since before the financial crisis. It appears that this trend is driven by the same thirst for risk among investors that has pushed the stock market to new highs. Questions 1. Based on the information given in this article, what is… Read more »

JPMorgan Chase: Transition from Model Citizen to Problem Child in the Eyes of the Government

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According to The New York Times, government investigators have found that JPMorgan Chase devised “manipulative schemes” that transformed “money-losing power plants into powerful profit centers.” In addition, they allege that one of its most senior executives gave “false and misleading statements” under oath. Questions: 1. Who is Jamie Dimon; who is Blythe Masters? 2. At… Read more »