Personal Finance

Pages

The Faith Middleton Show
11:44 am
Mon September 15, 2014

How to Protect and Grow Your Money

Credit Dave Dugdale/flickr creative commons

While more people are saving, a startling number of people have no pensions or savings as they head toward retirement years. If you are lucky enough to have investments, the key question for our show is, how do we protect and grow our assets at the same time? Too conservative means you miss the gains; too risky means you can lose a bundle if the market sinks, and never make it up if retirement is near.

Read more
Energy Grid
3:21 am
Wed September 10, 2014

New York Says It's Time To Flip The Switch On Its Power Grid

A worker repairs electrical lines in Plainview, N.Y., after Superstorm Sandy in 2012. A proposed plan to overhaul the state's power grid could help the system better withstand severe weather and enable energy to be stored and managed more efficiently.
Bruce Bennett Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 11:18 am

In the power business, it's all about managing the peaks.

During the hottest days of summer, electric utilities run at full capacity to keep giant cities comfortably cool. But most of the rest of the year, half that capacity goes unused — and that's highly inefficient.

Read more
Technology
2:40 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Apple Shows Off Larger iPhone 6; Unveils New Apple Watch

Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch Tuesday in Cupertino, Calif. Apple unveiled the long-awaited smart watch, which comes in two sizes and requires an iPhone.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 4:03 pm

After months of rumors and dozens of fan-created images of what an Apple watch might look like, today the tech giant will show us what it's been working on. Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled a new smart watch at a splashy event in Cupertino, Calif., called the Apple Watch

We'll be updating this post with news from Apple today, including tweets from NPR's Laura Sydell, who's at the event at the Flint Center.

Update at 2:40 p.m. ET: Apple Watch Price: $349

Read more
Technology
7:52 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Size Matters: Why Apple Is Expected To Unveil A Bigger iPhone

The Samsung Galaxy Mega (from left), Samsung Galaxy S4 and Apple iPhone 5 are shown. Apple is expected to announce larger models of its smartphone on Tuesday.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 11:04 am

You may have noticed that after years of getting smaller, smartphones are getting bigger. It's a trend that's mostly been led by Samsung. Apple's late CEO, Steve Jobs, famously knocked the idea that people wanted larger phones. But on Tuesday, Apple is expected to announce bigger iPhones and is relenting to the reality that we're talking less on our phones and using them more like a mini computer.

Read more
Demonstrations
10:29 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Across The Country, Fast-Food Workers Rally For $15-An-Hour Pay

Protesters demonstrate outside a McDonald's in Chicago. Hundreds of workers from McDonald's, Taco Bell, Wendy's and other fast-food chains were expected to walk off their jobs Thursday to push the companies to pay their employees at least $15 an hour, according to labor organizers.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 10:58 am

Fast-food workers in cities across the country, from Los Angeles to Chicago to Hartford, Conn., rallied for higher wages during a day of demonstrations Thursday.

Union organizers, backed by the Service Employees International Union, are building a campaign for $15-an-hour pay.

At the corner of 87th Street and South Wabash in Chicago, an intersection that has a McDonald's on one corner and a Burger King on the other, workers chanted "$15 an hour" or sang "We Shall Not be Moved" as they blocked traffic.

Read more
Labor
6:28 am
Fri September 5, 2014

In Market Basket's Win, Did Workers Change The Game?

Market Basket meat manager Bob Dietz of Methuen, Mass., (center) and other workers celebrate after watching a televised speech last month by restored Market Basket CEO Arthur T. Demoulas at a store in Chelsea.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 10:58 am

Labor unions are looking for lessons in the recent worker victory at New England supermarket chain Market Basket. By using Internet technology to rapidly coalesce around a single demand, nonunion workers forced a sale of the company to their beloved CEO.

"I've never seen anything like it, that's for sure. And they prevailed, which is even stranger. They took on this and forced these people to sell their shares to this one guy," says Dennis Irvin with United Steelworkers Local 12012. "It's amazing, totally amazing!"

Read more
Civil Disobedience
12:30 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Fast Food Workers Strike; 13 Arrested in Hartford

A protester is arrested in Hartford on Washington Street.
Harriet Jones WNPR

Workers from Hartford and New Haven area major fast food restaurants went on strike Thursday as part of a national effort to gain attention for workers' rights. In Hartford on Washington Street, protests partially blocked traffic, and several protesters were arrested.

Read more
Tobacco
11:58 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Drugstore Chain CVS Kicks Tobacco Habit A Month Early

An unnamed CVS employee removes tobacco products from the store shelves in East Greenwich, R.I.
AP

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 4:59 pm

CVS Caremark has pulled cigarettes from its shelves a month ahead of schedule.

In February, CVS, one of the nation's largest drugstore chains, said it would stop selling tobacco products by October, despite the profits they brought the company. Now cigarettes in the company's stores are history.

Read more
Election 2014
8:03 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Republican PAC Airs TV Ad Slamming Malloy Tax Hike

Grow Connecticut released an ad Tuesday criticizing Malloy's tax increases.
YouTube

A Republican political action committee has launched a TV ad attacking Governor Dannel Malloy's tax policies. 

Read more
The Wealth Gap
7:27 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Young People, Minorities Watching Wages Stagnate in Recovery

Most workers in Connecticut have not seen a real wage increase in over a decade.

Income inequality is getting greater in Connecticut as the recovery continues. That’s the message from a new report which says the state needs to use tax policy to help poorer families catch up. 

Read more
Paid Sick Days
7:01 am
Tue September 2, 2014

The Politics Of Calling In Sick

Women are more likely to take time off to care for a sick child or elderly adult, making mandatory paid sick leave a hot partisan topic.
Shutterstock

Originally published on Tue September 2, 2014 1:23 pm

Got the flu? Or a new baby? Perhaps a little one with chicken pox? In most countries, your employer must pay your wages if you stay home sick or to care for others. Not in America.

But a growing grass-roots movement aims to change that — starting with paid sick leave.

Already the movement has met some success. This past weekend, California became the second state in the country to mandate sick leave for employees.

Read more
Working Hours
12:42 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Who's In The Office? The American Workday In One Graph

Jason DeCrow AP

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 11:36 am

Researchers often look at the number of hours worked, but rarely do they ask the question of when. Fortunately, the government conducts an annual study called the American Time Use Survey that tracks how people spend their days.

The interactive graph below shows the share of workers who say they're working in a given hour, grouped by occupation. Play with the different job categories to see how the average workdays differ from one another.

Read more
Planet Money
8:44 am
Thu August 28, 2014

A Mall With Two Minimum Wages

Wetzel's Pretzels employee Emperatriz Orozco hands out free samples at the Westfield Valley Fair Mall.
Steve Henn NPR

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 7:20 am

The Westfield Valley Fair Mall straddles two cities. One side of the mall is in Santa Clara, but walk a few feet down the mall, and you're in San Jose. In 2012, San Jose voters agreed to raise the city's minimum wage from $8 to $10 an hour.

Philip Sandigo manages a shoe store on the $8-an-hour side. When San Jose raised the minimum wage, he lost about half his staff.

They went to the stores on the side of the mall that paid $2 an hour more.

Read more
Utilities
2:56 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Connecticut Utility Rate Increases Discussed at Hearing

Kenneth Bowes of Connecticut Light and Power during the PURA hearing.
Credit CT-N

A fight is brewing over a request by Connecticut's largest utility to raise rates by $232 million to upgrade equipment following destructive storms. The first of three related public hearings took place on Wednesday.

Read more
Healthy Workplace
1:23 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Work-Related Illnesses Fall in Connecticut

Credit Fuse / Thinkstock

The number of workers sickened on the job in Connecticut has declined slightly, according to a new study by UConn. Occupational illnesses in the state, however, remain more prevalent than the national average. 

Read more
Consumers
3:44 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Many Homeowners Still Qualify For Mortgage Relief

Mel Watt, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, says many homeowners who could qualify to refinance their mortgages under HARP are suspicious.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 11:47 am

The financial crisis pushed millions of Americans from their homes. And housing advocates complain that the government did more to prop up big banks on Wall Street than it did to help average people on Main Street.

But many of those people on Main Street could still qualify for a government program to help them save money by refinancing their mortgages.

Read more
Consumers
3:29 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Grocers Lead Kids To Produce Aisle With Junk Food-Style Marketing

A kids healthy snacks display at Giant Eagle.
Courtesy of Giant Eagle

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 4:09 pm

Despite all the cheerleading for healthy eating, Americans still eat only about 1 serving of fruit per day, on average. And our veggie consumption, according to an analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls short, too.

Read more
Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri August 22, 2014

America: The "No-Vacation Nation"?

One in four Americans gets no paid time off.
Krystal International Vacation Club Creative Commons

Research shows that using your vacation time can have some major benefits. For one, it’s better for productivity, and -- as one study shows -- it can even be better for your health. But are Americans taking enough time off, or are we really a "no-vacation nation"? 

Read more
Back to School
7:16 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Notebooks And Pencils And Pens, Cha-Ching!

On the left, supplies on the back-to-school list for third-graders in Arlington, Texas; on the right, the items fifth-graders need in Palmer, Alaska.
LA Johnson NPR

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 9:12 am

Millions of families are heading to Target or Wal-Mart this month to make sure their kids have what they need for the first day of school. And, as many parents know, those glue sticks and gym clothes can really add up.

Read more
Baseball
2:28 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

New Britain Says Rock Cats Have Paid Back Taxes

The New Britain stadium for the Rock Cats.
Credit Doug Kerr / Creative Commons

Josh Solomon, the owner of the minor league New Britain Rock Cats, has paid the city $164,569.26 in back taxes for its baseball stadium, the city said in a press release.

Read more
Job Statistics
2:09 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Connecticut Recovery Shows Mixed Fortunes

David Lewis, president and CEO of Operations Inc.
Credit CBIA

Recent jobs numbers from the Connecticut Department of Labor showed some areas of the state recovering much better than others.

Late last week, the state released figures for July job gains, the sixth straight month in which Connecticut employers have been hiring. The state overall gained a net 2,400 jobs in the month.

Read more
Bilingual Tax Help
10:44 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Revenue Services Reaches Out to Hispanic Businesses in Connecticut

Park Street in Hartford is home to many Hispanic-run businesses.
Tucker Ives WNPR

The state of Connecticut is trying to make it easier for Spanish-speaking business owners to pay their taxes. The Department of Revenue Services has produced a Spanish language video on electronic filing.

Read more
WAMC News
9:44 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Connecticut Unemployment Rate Falls To 6.6 Percent

Originally published on Sat August 16, 2014 5:16 am

Connecticut's Labor Department says the state added jobs for a sixth straight month in July, dropping the unemployment rate to 6.6 percent.

Read more
Here and Now
3:03 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Malls On The Decline Find New Ways To Stay Relevant

In addition to traditional shopping mall attractions like shops, restaurants, and movie theaters, the largest U.S. mall -- the Mall of America -- also includes an amusement park, an aquarium, and several museum exhibit spaces. (Jeremy Noble/Flickr)

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 7:14 pm

Shopping malls are a part of American culture — people go to malls to socialize, eat and, of course, buy. But as purchases are increasingly just a click away online, malls have been losing money.

NPR’s Sonari Glinton has been reporting a series on shopping malls across America, and he joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss why some malls are doing better than others, and the creative new ideas that some malls are adopting to attract customers.

Read more
Health Care Costs
1:04 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Wide Range Of Hospital Charges For Blood Tests Called 'Irrational'

Explaining the charges for simple blood tests isn't all that simple.
David Romero Corral iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 7:47 am

One California hospital charged $10 for a blood cholesterol test, while another hospital that ran the same test charged $10,169 — over 1,000 times more.

For another common blood test called a basic metabolic panel, the average hospital charge was $371, but prices ranged from a low of $35 to a high of $7,303, more than 200 times more.

Read more
Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Obamacare Gets a Checkup

Deb Polun.
Chion Wolf WNPR

According to new data from Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, Access Health CT, the state’s uninsured rate has dropped by roughly 50 percent since 2012 This decrease is due, in part, to the more than 256,000 residents who’ve signed up for health insurance and Medicaid since Access Health CT’s exchange website was launched last fall. 

Read more

Pages