money

igor kislev / Flickr/CC

Of all the difficult conversations between parents and children, talking about money may be the one parents are the least prepared for. This, despite the constant stream of financial news and data all around us. We talk with New York Times columnist Ron Lieber about where parents should draw the line between educating their children about money and unnecessarily involving them in the financial stress of an adult life.

Guest:

Apple Pay: Yea Or Nay?

Nov 3, 2014
Modified photo Bart via flickr Creative Commons

For those who have wallets bursting at the seams with payment and loyalty cards, this scenario may sound familiar: You’re out shopping, you bring your items to the cash register and face the quick mental calculus of which card to use? Visa? Mastercard? Debit? The store issued credit card? Well, Apple proposes to solve all that with a swipe, provided you have an i-Phone 6, or 6 Plus that is. Two weeks ago today, Apple unveiled its latest creation: Apple Pay, a mobile payment system it claims will make purchasing easier and more secure. Some major retailers aren’t having it, but why?

Bart via flickr Creative Commons

The old adage goes, “money can’t buy you happiness”, but maybe you’re just not spending it right. From paying for experiences to spending on others, we'll look at the science of smarter, happier spending. Plus, NHPR's North Country reporter Sean Hurley attended the Highland Games last weekend and ran into 'The Mountain' on Loon Mountain.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

ninahale via Flickr Creative Commons

The old adage goes, “money can’t buy you happiness”, but maybe you’re just not spending it right. From paying for experiences to spending on others, we'll look at the science of smarter, happier spending. Plus, parents prepare! The end of the school year is nigh. For those looking for ways to get kids off their screens and outside this summer, fear not, we have just the activities in mind. Then, the surprisingly fascinating history of the scarecrow.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.


Ervins Strauhmanis via Flickr Creative Commons

It gets bandied about countless times by economists, politicians, and newscasters, but what exactly is GDP? Today on Word of Mouth, the surprisingly fascinating process of measuring Gross Domestic Product, and what this live or die by economic indicator overlooks. Plus, prehistoric humans are commonly depicted as grunting, club-wielding brutes. Now, evidence that Neanderthal parents didn’t just rear children, but loved and cherished them. All that and more on today's show.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments


dantegeek via Flickr Creative Commons

Do employees work harder when they are paid more?

A new study out of Harvard set out to answer that question and came away with some interesting conclusions. One, that employers should consider not just what they pay workers, but how. Offering cash bonuses increases employee productivity more than raises in  salaries, even if the amount of bump is exactly the same.   

Duncan Gilchrist is Ph.D. student studying business economics at Harvard, and one of the authors of the study. 

Taylor Quimby / NHPR

When it comes to food I can be a bit of a cheapskate. If I can’t tell the difference between two similar products, the first thing I look at to determine which to buy is the price tag. But sometimes, being a frugal shopper means more than picking the right brand – sometimes it’s about getting your hands dirty. 

Take pistachios for example. I always buy them with the shells on.  Why?  Because they’re cheaper. Presumably, consumers are paying extra for the privilege of not having to split a thumbnail cracking them open. But when we asked around the office at our Concord studios, it turned out there were lots of reasons people choose to buy whole pistachios.

M.C. Chavez via flickr Creative Commons

Do you cut coupons or drive around looking for the gas station with the lowest price? If so, you might think of yourself as a skinflint…but you’ve probably got nothing on Jeff Yeager, who proudly claims the title “The Ultimate Cheapskate.” Jeff doesn’t just stretch a dollar; he gets his cash to do calisthenics.  He is the author of several books rife with miserly tips, including the The Cheapskate Next Door, Don’t Throw That Away and How To Retire The Cheapskate Way. Jeff is also featured in the AARP web video series, “The Cheap Life.”

purpleslog via Flickr Creative Commons

In a down economy, most folks are happy to find a crumpled fiver in a jacket pocket, or fish out quarters to pay for parking.  Not David Wolman. David is a contributing editor at Wired magazine, and author of the book The End of Money, for which he attempted to spend a year without touching or passing any paper money.  We spoke David when the book was first released.  It’s being released on paperback in October.

kinggloobie via Flickr Creative Commons

You know those Hummels your great aunt had covering every available surface of her house? Worthless. Those Cabbage Patch Kids that were never taken out of their box? Similar ones can be found on E-Bay for just over retail price. It turns out, a great many collectibles that once commanded high-prices and fantasies of early retirement haven’t lived up to their promise.

In a new book called “Saved”, author Ben Hewitt explores a different way of looking at wealth. Rather than dwelling on monetary standards and what can be lost financially, Hewitt writes through experience of what can be gained when we prioritize personal relationships, community cooperation, and connectedness to the environment.

Guest

Ben Hewitt - Vermont based author. His new book is called "Saved: How I Quit Worrying about Money and Became the Richest Guy in the World"

Tax Credits via Flickr Creative Commons

What's hiding in your IRA? If you’re part a mutual fund that includes weapons manufacturer Smith and Wesson, you’ve seen a handsome return on your investment over the last several months. But what if you’re a proponent of stricter gun control, or a straight out pacifist? Whether by blissful ignorance or stubborn prioritizing, an uneasy dissonance between morals and money is growing in America’s investment portfolios.

tarale via Flickr Creative Commons

Valentine's day is creeping closer…a big day to celebrate abiding love or seal the deal on a new one with a diamond engagement ring. And now for the wet blanket: diamond debt. You know that whole two months salary for an engagement ring calculus? It’s tradition, right? Not really. Diamonds were not associated with romance until the Debeers Diamond Company began marketing them for engagement rings in the 1930s. Debeer’s "Diamonds Are Forever" campaign remains one of the most successful of the 20th century. So, young men still march into jewelry shops prepared to spend…and retailers have plenty of financing available for those who don’t have money up front. Gerri Detweiler, is the director of consumer education for Credit.com, and she recently wrote a blog post about the common credit traps diamond buyers fall into.

Our story begins last month inside a busy Washington, D.C. subway station plastered with posters of giant dollar bills. One of them says: "Tell Congress to stop wasting time trying to eliminate the dollar bill." Another asks: "Do you heart the dollar?"

Political fights in the nation's capital normally involve billions or even trillions, not single dollars. What's going on here?

A retirement crisis is looming. As people live longer, one study finds that half of all households are at risk of coming up short on retirement money. And while many working households may feel they simply don't have enough to spare for retirement, experts say some of the biggest barriers to saving up are psychological.

In 2012, the federal tax return deadline is Tuesday, April 17 — so if you haven't already filed your income tax return, you have about one week left to shop around for different options to finish your taxes, or request an extension.

Don’t let the profit margin fool you: dollar stores are one of the fastest growing niche retail markets.  Just this week, the national chain Family Dollar reported much higher than predicted second quarter earnings, with a profit of more than one hundred and thirty six million dollars. I guess all those dollars add up…

But in some communities, dollar stores aren’t welcome additions.  Vermont public radio reporter Steve Zind covered the recent battle over a proposed dollar store in Chester, Vermont, and joins us now to tell us about it.

Photo by atelier tee via Flickr Creative Commons

Part 1:

In a down economy, most folks are happy to find a crumpled five in a pair of old jeans, or turn in their saved quarters for a dinner out.  Not David Wolman David is a contributing editor at Wired Magazine, and author of the new book, The End of Money, which explores the notion that everyone might benefit from a cash-free world. 

 

In our next installment of The Socrates Exchange we're asking the question: “What is the relationship between money, happiness, and a good life?” Our culture may often tell us the personal wealth equals success, but most of us are suspicious of this. What really is the relationship between money, happiness, and a good life? If money isn't essential for happiness, why are we concerned with poverty? Is money, as some say, the root of all evil?

Guest: