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5 Refreshing Lessons From Elizabeth Warren’s Personal Finance Book

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Before Elizabeth Warren became known as Massachusetts’ outspoken Democratic senator and long before she was running for president, she was writing books about money.

Warren spent years as a lawyer specializing in bankruptcy before becoming a Harvard law professor and then devoting her time fully to politics. So it’s safe to say she knows the topic.

Warren and her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi, a financial consultant with an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, co-wrote “The Two-Income Trap” in 2003, which sought to explain why so many middle-class families struggle financially. It became a best-seller, and the pair soon followed up with “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan,” a book that outlines six steps for eliminating your financial woes largely based on the 50/30/20 budgeting rule.

There’s debate as to whether Warren actually invented the 50/30/20 rule, but she certainly popularized it with “All Your Worth.” However, while her budgeting system is the core of this book, there are other important takeaways, too, that often challenge common personal finance beliefs.

Here’s a look at some of the important ― and unexpected ― lessons found in “All Your Worth.”

1. Don’t nickel and dime yourself to death.
Frugal living is definitely not a new concept. But with the recent rise of movements like minimalism and FIRE, extreme frugality has taken center stage in the personal finance world.

Warren and Tyagi, however, rejected the idea of scrimping your way to wealth years ago.

“Here’s a little secret that the other financial books won’t tell you: Savvy money managers don’t spend a lot of time looking for ways to save a few pennies,” they wrote. “They charge right ahead to the big-ticket items, looking to make high-impact changes in the shortest period of time. They don’t sweat the small stuff. And neither will we.”

In fact, Warren’s 50/30/20 budget allocates a generous 30% to flexible spending such as shopping, travel and eating out, more than the 20% for saving and debt payoff. Even so, that doesn’t mean the mother-daughter duo advocate frivolous spending.

2. Focus on the big stuff.
Chapter 3 is titled “Count the Dollars, Not the Pennies” for a reason. When it comes to getting your finances in shape, Warren and Tyagi advocate focusing on a handful of impactful areas rather than trying to make many small changes.

We spend too much time worrying about the price of a bottle of wine or pair of shoes instead of big-ticket items such as our homes, cars and insurance. “If you are overspending on these big monthly bills, then money is draining out of your pocket a lot faster than you can replace it by getting double coupons on your frozen vegetables,” they write.

The goal should be to get your “must haves” in order. Once you do, your budget will be in much better shape and you won’t have to worry about those items again for a long time.

3. Debt steals from your future.
There’s a reason personal finance “gurus” like Dave Ramsey love Warren: She’s staunchly opposed to taking on debt. She says that every monthly payment that goes toward debt is a claim against your future; when you pay your debt off, you open up new financial opportunities.

But unlike other anti-debt experts, Warren recognizes that living completely debt-free isn’t a reasonable option for a lot of people. She emphasizes getting rid of what she calls “steal-from-tomorrow debt” such as credit card debt, payday loans and old medical bills. Debt such as a mortgage, car loan and student loans can be considered good debt, since you’re left with an asset once it’s paid. Still, Warren and Tyagi recognize the danger of all types of debt and stress that keeping them under control is crucial.

4. Renting is OK if it’s what fits your finances.
Just a couple years before the mortgage crisis hit, when everyone else was touting the benefits of buying a home as big as you could possibly afford, Warren and Tyagi were taking a more common-sense approach to homeownership.

Even today, a common myth is that renting is akin to throwing money away since those rent payments don’t lead to owning your own property at the end of the day. Of course, Warren argues, the same would apply to your heating, water and food bills. “At the end of the month there are a lot of things you pay for that you don’t have anything to show for—nothing except that you lived your life … Rent is no different from food, but no one is suggesting you buy a cow.”

If homeownership means stretching yourself thin and living on the precipice of a financial disaster, it’s not worth it. Warren advocates buying a home only after you’ve rid yourself of steal-from-tomorrow debt like credit cards, saved at least 10% down (but ideally 20%) and found a home you can truly afford.

Considering that many millennials are ditching the idea that homeownership is the key to achieving the American Dream, it’s safe to say that Warren’s advice still holds true.

5. Your money problems aren’t all your fault ― but that’s still no excuse.
Warren has long been a fiery opponent of corruption within the financial industry. She was an early advocator of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a supporter of Glass-Steagal 2.0 and remains one of Wall Street’s biggest critics.

So it’s refreshing that Warren and Tyagi don’t buy into what the personal finance industry loves to do: Place the blame for money problems squarely on the shoulders of consumers. They recognize that the banking system and finance industry as a whole are set up to keep Americans poor by design.

“In today’s world, you can get a mortgage that is too big for you—and the banks will help you do it. You can get a car lease that chews up half your income. You can wind up with a student loan bigger than some home mortgages. And as sure as the sky is blue, you can rack up credit card debt without blinking an eye, even if you don’t have 50 cents to make the payments,” they write.

In addition to personal finance advice, you can really get a taste of Warren’s platform as a politician and the types of policies she wants to enact in this book. Still, Warren and Tyagi explain that even though the system is working against you, you can still keep your finances in balance. You just have to know today’s rules.

Overall, “All Your Worth” doesn’t present any radically new ideas, but Warren and Tyagi do challenge a few beliefs held by other personal finance authors and experts. Plus, the book outlines a simple, workable way to build wealth over time. Warren promises no quick fixes, just diligence, patience and common sense, which is exactly what you might expect.

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Men Also Contract HPV. So Why Aren’t They Tested Like Women Are?

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Most sexually active women in the modern era know about human papillomavirus. Some were offered the HPV vaccine in their early teenage years and saw the ads all over television about reducing the risk of cervical cancer.

But women aren’t the only ones who contract HPV. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 79 million American women and men are currently infected with HPV. And while awareness about how men can contract and spread the virus is increasing, there’s still a gap between women and men when it comes to prevention and treatment.

Simply put: Men aren’t routinely tested like women are. In fact, there’s currently no approved test for HPV in men.

PORTRA VIA GETTY IMAGES
“Men can be tested during an anal pap smear if they request that the tests include one for HPV,” said Sunny Rodgers, a sex educator and ambassador for the American Sexual Health Association. “However, an anal pap smear is not usually included in male exams unless the individual has tested positive for HIV.”

Most people with HPV have no symptoms, so they wouldn’t necessarily know to request testing for the virus. If they do develop symptoms, the most common is genital warts in both men and women.

“These warts usually appear near the sex organs … and can be a single bump or a group of bumps close together,” Rodgers said. “They can have different shapes ― some are raised, others flat, and in groups, they can look like the head of a cauliflower. They can be flesh-tone, white, pink and red in color.”

Bumps may also itch ― and they can be treated, said Carlos Malvestutto, an infectious disease expert with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “There are topical antiviral medications to treat genital warts,” he explained. “Larger or more numerous genital warts can be treated with cryoablation, laser ablation, electrocautery or surgery.”

That said, most people have few or no symptoms of HPV, and the immune system will clear the virus on its own in the vast majority of cases. High-risk HPV strains that are never cleared from body are usually the ones docs are most concerned about because they’re linked to an increased risk of cancer; specifically, HPV16 and HPV18 may lead to cervical, anal, oropharyngeal, penile, vaginal and vulvar cancers.

Why Men Aren’t Tested, Even Though HPV Affects Them

GETTY CREATIVE
So, if men and women both get HPV that can cause disease, why aren’t men also regularly tested at a doctor’s appointment? It has to do with whether discovering HPV can lead to any form of prevention.

Women are tested for HPV as part of their pap smears, which they typically get once every three years from ages 21 to 65, unless their doctors decide more frequent testing should occur. This is specifically to look for abnormal cervical cells.

“The American Cancer Society has found that cervical cancer can be prevented. Therefore, HPV is tested for during female pap smears because HPV can lead to cervical cancer,” Rodgers said. “There is a direct correlation between testing and prevention. But thus far, there is very little research showing male anal HPV testing as a certain preventive measure for cancer.”

The Food and Drug Administration approved HPV testing as a primary screening for cervical cancer in 2014. There is ongoing research being conducted on an HPV test for men, but so far the FDA hasn’t approved one. According to a study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, testing a man’s mouth or throat was not an effective way to discover HPV.

Discovering a test for men is vital for the culture that surrounds HPV as well, Rogers said. Since only women can currently be tested, it reinforces the notion that HPV is a woman’s sexually transmitted infection. However, the CDC reports that approximately 25% of men in the U.S. have high-risk HPV, compared to only 20% of women.

“The stigma associated with women having to be the primary individuals tested for HPV is so evident that there are has been research documenting it,” Rodgers said. “According to the BMJ, raising public awareness of the sexually transmitted nature of HPV can potentially increase women’s feelings of stigma, shame and anxiety ― but their research also found that when women learned HPV was common, it helped reduce these feelings by ‘normalizing’ the infection.”

How To Prevent HPV

KOLDUNOVA_ANNA VIA GETTY IMAGES
In the absence of a test that can screen for HPV, prevention mechanisms are still powerful.

The majority of people contract HPV when they become sexually active, according to the CDC. Experts stress that the vaccine is something everyone should ask their doctor about.

Gardasil prevents nine different strains of HPV, including two low-risk strains that cause genital warts and seven high-risk strains that are linked to cancer. While it’s typically given to boys and girls when they’re 11 or 12, it’s often recommended for ages up to 26 ― and perhaps even later than that.

“Prior to October 2018, Gardasil was used to vaccinate males and females from ages nine to 26 only,” Rodgers said. “But on that date, the FDA approved its use for people aged 27 to 45.”

The approval was based on a long-term study of 3,200 women in this older age group, in which the vaccine was 88% effective in preventing infection and cancer. Men in the older age category should see improved prevention as well, according to the FDA.

“Even for someone who has a history of genital warts or has been found to have HPV-associated lesions, there is still benefit to taking the vaccine because it will protect them from acquiring any of the other high-risk genotypes that they could become exposed to,” Malvestutto said.

The importance of the vaccine can’t be understated, Malvestutto added. “Widespread adoption of this vaccine is leading to a reduction in incidence of cervical cancer in several countries around the world,” he said. “In Australia, it is estimated that cervical cancer may be eliminated by 2028 due to the widespread adoption of the HPV vaccine.”

Aside from the vaccine, you should also reduce your risk of contracting HPV by practicing safe sex, though complete prevention isn’t always possible.

“At some point in their lives, most people will have the HPV virus,” Rodgers said. “There is only one way to not contract the HPV virus, and that’s totally avoiding any sexual contact.”

Condoms can offer some protection from HPV infection, though, and shouldn’t be discounted as a way to prevent the virus. “The HPV virus may be on skin that isn’t covered by the condom, but polyurethane condoms are made from a special type of plastic that helps prevent pregnancy and STI infection,” Rodgers said. “They are also good alternatives for anyone allergic to latex.”

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Everything In This New Line Of Clean Beauty Is Under $8

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While we can appreciate an elaborate skin care routine, sometimes you just need something easy and effortless — whether it’s makeup wipes to use while traveling so you can skip your usual double cleanse, or products simple enough for any beginner to start a basic morning routine. In a world of countless beauty products and new brands popping up, however, that idea of a no-frills routine sounds easier said than done.

That’s where Brandless comes in. The retailer offers affordable and quality products in slick packaging, with the goal of bringing morning routines back to the basics — without breaking the bank.

Brandless already has a pretty wide selection of clean and cruelty-free beauty and personal care items, including a grapefruit facial cleanser for $4 and a green tea and aloe body wash for $4. The new items — include a depuffing eye gel, rosewater facial toner spray, face wipes and vegan brushes — were added by customer request, and they’re all under $8.

We’re especially excited about the facial wipes, which come in a package of 30 for $4 and are made out of 100% plant-based ingredients in four different formulas to detox, exfoliate, rejuvenate or simply remove makeup — all perfect for refreshing on the go. There’s also an $8 depuffing eye gel formulated with probiotics, green tea, pomegranate and caffeine to stop swelling, banish dark circles and reduce fine lines — perfect for popping in your beauty fridge and applying after a late night or during allergy season.

If you’re not familiar with Brandless, it launched in 2017 as an online retailer for high-quality, affordable and consciously-curated products across categories like home, food, personal care. We called them the “Ikea of food,” without the furniture. The idea behind Brandless is that better doesn’t have to cost more, so the company offers items like organic snacks for $3 and compostable plant-based disposable plates for $3. Plus, for every purchase made on the site, Brandless donates a meal to someone facing hunger, in partnership with Feeding America.

The prices are pretty competitive when you compare them to other retailers, and then there’s the added convenience of not having to waste time comparing prices and ingredients between different brands. In a world where there are almost too many choices, it’s a refreshing change of pace.

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UFI releases figures showing global economic impact of exhibitions

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PARIS – For the first time, the total global economic impact of exhibitions has been calculated. With a total output of €275 ($325) billion in business sales annually, the exhibition sector is on a par with sectors such as machine tools or medical and surgical equipment.

UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, worked with Oxford Economics to produce the ‘Global Economic Impact of Exhibitions’ report, which was also supported by SISO (Society of Independent Show Organisers). 

“This truly is a first for our industry,” says UFI President Craig Newman. “This new data will support us when we talk to stakeholders about our industry, especially as it’s broken down into the direct, measurable economic impact per exhibiting company – right down to the economic value of every single square metre of venue exhibition space. And on top of that, it makes me proud to work for our industry, knowing that we are securing over three million jobs.”

Based on UFI exhibition metrics, the model developed by Oxford Economics provides results for the world and also regional data for Africa, the Asia-Pacific, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

Key findings
The report shows the far-reaching impact of the exhibition sector, which generates €68.7 ($81.1) billion in direct GDP and contributes a total economic impact of €275 ($325) billion. This ranks the sector as the 56th largest economy in the world, larger than those of countries such as Hungary, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, and Ecuador.

In 2018, approximately 32,000 exhibitions directly involved 303 million visitors and over 4.5 million exhibitors across more than 180 countries. The total impact of €167 (US$198) billion in global GDP includes the direct spending and jobs that are specifically involved in planning and producing exhibitions, and for participants and exhibitors to travel to exhibitions, as well as other exhibition-related spending. Following the ISO definitions, an exhibition, show or fair is defined as an event where products, services or information are displayed and disseminated. Exhibitions differ from conferences, conventions, seminars or other business and consumer events, and exclude flea markets and street markets.

Europe was the largest market in terms of visitors, welcoming 112 million in 2018. This represents 37% of global exhibition visitors in 2018. North America ranked second, with 91 million visitors, followed by the Asia-Pacific with nearly 82 million visitors.

In terms of total GDP, North America ranked first with over €78.2 ($92.3) billion of total GDP attributable to the exhibitions sector. This accounts for nearly 47% of the sector’s global impact. Europe followed with €48.6 ($57.3) billion of total GDP, representing 29% of the sector’s global impact.

Overall, exhibitions globally generated €60,700 ($71,700) of total sales per exhibiting company and €7,900 of total sales per square metre ($870 per square foot) of venue gross indoor exhibition space.

Research will continue
As with every piece of global UFI research, such as the Global Barometer or the World Map of Venues, this study on economic impact allows country and market profiles to be added, using the same metrics. UFI has secured an arrangement with Oxford Economics that allows industry associations who are UFI members to have specific profiles for their home markets added to the report.

Kai Hattendorf, UFI Managing Director and CEO, says: “We are happy to be able to provide this new set of data which highlights the impact of the exhibition industry. The methodology can be used at national level wherever needed, and we hope that it will contribute to consistent data across the world for this important element of economic impact.”

David Audrain, SISO Executive/Managing Director, comments: “SISO is very pleased to have partnered with UFI in funding the production of this report. Having reliable statistics is key to measuring the growth and impact of the Industry. We hope that organizers from around the world will use this data to showcase the value of this industry to their stakeholders and governments.” 

Global Exhibitions Day to highlight the economic impact
The research was timed to provide the data during the run-up to Global Exhibitions Day 2019 on 5 June. Around the world, exhibition industry professionals, companies and associations, are organising a multitude of events and activities to highlight the critical role the industry plays in driving and fostering the growth of regional, national and international economies.

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