May 26, 2018

Wealth Matters: From Super Bowl to David Bowie, V.I.P. Treatment Awaits

Both companies also have parties at the Super Bowl and the Art Basel art fair in Miami Beach, Fla.

“The No. 1, 2 and 3 reasons for these events are retention, retention, retention,” said Kenny Dichter, chief executive of Wheels Up. “If people show up, they’ll always renew.”

But if other jet companies — and luxury purveyors in general — are throwing the same great parties at the same exclusive venues, the events lose their unique appeal.

After a five-figure initiation fee, Wheels Up charges $4,500 to $7,500 an hour. Another industry rival, VistaJet, which aims for a more global client and so has bigger jets, charges $12,000 to $19,000 an hour.

To woo their well-heeled clients, such companies create events so intimate that they beggar belief. Want to play tennis with Roger Federer? NetJets has organized that. If you’d prefer Serena Williams, Wheels Up has set up private events with her.

Then there were private viewings of the David Rockefeller collection before it went to auction this week at Christie’s. To see it all meant hopping among international destinations, and VistaJet took care of it.

“In London, 20,000 people saw it, but I arranged a dinner for 12 people in Christie’s ballroom with the head of Christie’s London and the head curator of the Rockefeller auction,” said Matteo Atti, executive vice president for marketing and innovation at VistaJet. “I put people in the room who might like each other.”

And for many, that’s the cachet: rubbing elbows with other equally wealthy people who may have shared interests or present a business opportunity.

Of course, sometimes the bar is not that high. Mr. Orender recalled a simple perk of having exclusive access to the Olympic Games: “There was a special line so no one was hassling you and you didn’t have to wait to go in.”

Article source:

Your Money: Quilts, Cows, Money and Meaning: College Essays That Stood Out

To his relatives in Kenya, however, he’s the young man with the braces. They want to know how many shillings it cost to fix his teeth that way and they mock him for his lack of soccer prowess. Mr. Muthondu will attend Harvard in the fall.

At Colgate, as with most of the colleges that see large piles of application essays each year, admissions staff don’t take off points for character flaws or stories about the mistakes their writers have made. In fact, they often seek people who can truly come into their own if they just get into the right school.

“With my father incarcerated, the women in my family went to work,” writes Kataryna Piña, who will attend Colgate in the fall. “At the age of 11, I started working for the very first time as a cleaning lady with my grandparents. Even though I wanted to help my family, I was ashamed to be a cleaning lady. I argued with my mother against living a life like that, a life in which I gave up my childhood for my family’s stability.”

Her family calls her ungrateful, and eventually her grandmother inspires her to get past her resentment. Much of the essay explores those feelings of shame and Ms. Piña’s feelings about those feelings. “It’s really mature, that level of metacognition,” said Jamiere Abney, senior assistant dean of admission at Colgate.

Mr. Abney was also taken with the thread that ran through Ms. Piña’s essay: a quilt that her grandmother began, patch by patch, and that Ms. Piña plans to complete now that her grandmother has grown ill. At the end, Ms. Piña’s grandmother tells her to go make her own quilt now. “The metaphor works very well when we think about how students will move through campus,” he said. “The things they might clean up or smooth out or add, all moving towards an end goal. But you don’t get there without that first piece.”

The single best sentence of the 2018 batch of essays was written by Alison Hess, an Illinois native who attends boarding school in Wisconsin. It is the last line of her essay about cows, farming, feminism and her father, and I won’t give it away here.

But it’s clear that every sentence charmed her readers at the University of Chicago, where she will begin college this fall. “There is no pretense or calculation in this essay,” said James G. Nondorf, dean of college admissions and financial aid. “There is loyalty and respect and deference but challenging ideas, too. That’s hard to do for a 17-year-old.”

Article source:

Your Money: 5 High Schoolers and Their College Application Essays About Work, Money and Social Class

Endicott, N.Y.

My family is a matriarchy in a patriarchal community.

Jeffrey C. Yu

Not all sons of doctors raise baby ducks and chickens in their kitchen. But I do. My dad taught me.

While my childhood was spent in a deteriorating industrial town, my dad was raised during the onset of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. After forgoing university so his sister could attend, my dad worked on a commune as a farmer. So while I grew up immersed in airy Beethoven melodies each morning, my dad grew up amid the earthy aromas of hay and livestock. Every time that I look between our grand piano and our baby chickens, I’m amazed by the stark differences between our childhoods, and how in raising livestock, my dad shares a piece of his own rural upbringing with me.

Embracing these differences, my dad has introduced me to diverse experiences, from molding statues out of toilet paper plaster to building greenhouses from the ground up. So you might be wondering: What does he do for a traditional 9-to-5 job? He’s already captained a research vessel that’s navigated across the Pacific, designed three patentable wind turbines and held every position imaginable, from sous chef to Motorola technician.

The answer? Nothing. He’s actually a stay-at-home dad right now.

My family is a matriarchy in a patriarchal community. Accordingly, I’m greeted with astonishment whenever I try to explain my dad’s financial status. “How lazy and unmotivated he must be!” Many try to hide their surprise, but their furtive glances say it all. In a society that places economic value at the forefront of worth, these assumptions might apply to other individuals, but not to my dad.

When I look at the media, whether it be the front cover of a newspaper or a featured story in a website article, I often see highlights of parents who work incredible hours and odd jobs to ensure their children receive a good upbringing. While those stories are certainly worthy of praise, they often overshadow the less visible, equally important actions of people like my dad.

I realize now that my dad has sacrificed his promising career and financial pride to ensure that his son would get all of the proper attention, care and moral upbringing he needed. Through his quiet, selfless actions, my dad has given me more than can be bought from a paycheck and redefined my understanding of how we, as people, can choose to live our lives.

I’m proud to say that my dad is the richest man I know — rich not in capital, but in character. Infused with the ingenuity to tear down complex physics and calculus problems, electrified with the vigor of a young entrepreneur (despite beginning his fledgling windmill start-up at the age of 50) and imbued with the kindness to shuttle his son to practices and rehearsals. At the end of the day, it’s those traits in people that matter more to me than who they are on paper.

Stories like my dad’s remind me that worth can come in forms other than a six-figure salary. He’s an inspiration, reminding me that optimism, passion and creativity can make a difference in a life as young as mine. It’s those unspoken virtues that define me. Whether it’s when I fold napkin lotuses for my soup kitchen’s Christmas dinner, or bake challah bread French toast sticks for my chemistry class, I’m aware that achievement doesn’t have to be measured empirically. It’s that entrepreneurial, self-driven determination to bring ideas to life that drives me. My dad lives life off the beaten path. I, too, hope to bring that unorthodox attitude to other people and communities.

Article source:

How to Get Help Paying for Your Wedding

Like personal loans, they have fixed terms. But because the loan is secured, interest rates are generally lower than on personal loans or credit cards. According to Bankrate, they average 5.56 percent for a home-equity loan and 5.90 percent for Heloc. There may be other fees, however, like closing costs or account maintenance. Also, the interest is no longer tax deductible; the new tax law eliminated this longstanding feature.

Other potential borrowing sources may be retirement funds, like 401(k)’s. But here again, be cautious: Failure to pay it back in a timely manner could result in penalties and taxes, not to mention reduced retirement income. (Along those same lines, you can also borrow against a whole life insurance policy, though the death benefit is reduced if you don’t repay.)

“A wedding is a depreciating asset,” Mr. Shagawat said. “You don’t want a wedding to jeopardize your retirement or long-term success.”

Friends and Family Donate Here

Some couples have successfully turned to sites like GoFundMe and Indiegogo to raise money for their weddings.

“In this day and age, why not?” Ms. O’Neill said. “Couples are already doing gift registries online, including honeymoon registries. This is an extension of that.” (Some registries, in fact, offer cash options, like the Knot’s Newlywed Fund or the WeddingWire’s NewlyWish Fund.)

The big question, however, is how do you make requests for cash without sounding, well, tacky? “I’ve seen it done tactfully,” Ms. O’Neill said, particularly for couples saving for both a wedding and a home. “I’ve seen invites that say something like, ‘Our biggest financial goal right now is to save for a house. We encourage you to help us reach our dream.’”

Article source:

Sketch Guy: Maybe You Shouldn’t Outsource Everything After All

Credit Carl Richards

Have you ever thought you’d be happier if you could just pay someone else to do your laundry?

Turns out, you’re right — at least, according to a recent study, which found that paying someone else to complete unenjoyable daily tasks could result in greater life satisfaction. Outsourcing housework you dislike could even save your marriage!

I found myself nodding my head as I read these articles. But then I shared this research with some friends, and I got an unexpected response: anger.

They were actually mad. My tax lawyer friend charges $300 an hour but still changes the oil in his car. He demanded to know when everything we did started having to fit into an economic model. Another friend earns $50 an hour but still bakes bread that he could easily buy with a $5 bill. His take on the study was that it was just another example of people with too much money not stopping to consider how much satisfaction can come from doing basic things well yourself.

On one hand, my wife and I spend a few hundred dollars per month to have someone help clean our house. We’re even considering hiring someone to help us with meals a few days a week. And while it may be a stretch to say that this has saved our marriage, there is something to the idea that paying for help can make you happier.


Continue reading the main story

But at the same time, a surprising number of people I have talked to on this topic had the same response: It feels like the research is missing something very important.

Continue reading the main story

Article source:

Yes, It’s Bad. Robocalls, and Their Scams, Are Surging.

Despite these efforts, robocalls are a thorny problem to solve. Calls can travel through various carriers and a maze of networks, making it hard to pinpoint their origins, enabling the callers to evade rules. Regulators are working with the telecommunications industry to find ways to authenticate calls, which would help unmask the callers.

“Everywhere I go, it is what people talk about,” said Denise Grimsley, a Florida state senator, who said she received automated sales calls several times a day. Credit Todd Anderson for The New York Times

In the meantime, the deceptive measures have become more sophisticated. In one tactic, known as “neighborhood spoofing,” robocallers use local numbers in the hope that recipients will be more likely to pick up.

It’s a trick that Dr. Gary Pess, a hand surgeon in Eatontown, N.J., knows all too well. He receives so many calls that mimic his area code and the first three digits of his phone number that he no longer answers them. But having to sort robocalls from emergency calls has cost him precious minutes.

Dr. Pess recounted an incident in which he didn’t recognize a number and figured it was a robocall. He later learned it was an emergency room doctor calling about a person who had severed a thumb that he wanted Dr. Pess to reattach. “It delayed the treatment of a patient,” he said.

Consumer advocates say they worry the flood of calls could get even worse. A federal court ruling recently struck down a Barack Obama-era definition of an auto-dialer, leaving it to the Federal Communications Commission to come up with new guidance. Advocates fear that it will open up the field to even more robocallers, leaving consumers with little recourse.

Business groups, including the Consumer Bankers Association, counter that defining auto-dialers too broadly would hurt legitimate businesses trying to reach their customers.

Robocallers see the current F.C.C. leadership “as friendly to industry,” said Margot Saunders, senior counsel at the National Consumer Law Center, “and they are anticipating F.C.C. rulings that will enable more calling and forgive past mistakes — or violations of the current law.”


Continue reading the main story

A spokesman for the F.C.C. said the commission would seek public comment on how auto-dialers should be defined, and then “take action based on the record it compiles.”

Rising Complaints

Complaints about telemarketers and scammers have steadily increased in recent years, with robocalls identified in the majority of cases.

By The New York Times | Source: Federal Trade Commission

Automated calls are increasing because they are cheap and easy to make. Robocallers can easily dial millions of consumers daily, experts say, at little cost.

That’s essentially what one accused robocaller recently told legislators at a Senate hearing last month: Adrian Abramovich, a Miami man who regulators say made nearly 100 million “spoofed” robocalls, was peddling vacation packages that were advertised as coming from well-known companies like Marriott. But when consumers pressed to hear more, they were transferred to foreign call centers often trying to sell time shares, according to the F.C.C., which is seeking a $120 million fine. Mr. Abramovich has denied the charges and asked the regulator to reduce the penalty.

The calls are increasing despite stepped-up enforcement and other efforts to stamp them out, which some have likened to a game of Whac-a-Mole; robocallers find new phone numbers to hide behind once their numbers are ignored or blocked.

The federal Do Not Call List, which is supposed to help consumers avoid robocalls, instead resembles a tennis net trying to stop a flood. The list may prevent some (but not all) legitimate companies from calling people on the list, but it does little to deter fraudsters and marketers, some of them overseas, who are willing to take their chances and flout the law.

Complaints to federal regulators are also increasing sharply. The Federal Trade Commission, which oversees the Do Not Call Registry, said there were 4.5 million complaints about robocalls in 2017, more than double the 2.18 million complaints logged in 2013.

“Everywhere I go, it is what people talk about,” said Denise Grimsley, a Republican member of the Florida Senate, who said a woman named Elizabeth leaves her prerecorded messages several times daily selling a vacation package.

“But it’s not just annoying,” she added. “They are coming after your personal information.”

How Robocallers Try to Defraud You

Estimated volumes of top phone scams in March 2018.

Florida passed a bill in March giving phone companies the authority to block certain robocalls.

Other efforts are underway. The Federal Trade Commission has held contests to encourage app developers to create innovative ways to block calls. And some phone companies offer blocking services, though “many people don’t have access to free, effective robo-blocking tools,” said Maureen Mahoney, a policy analyst at Consumers Union.


Continue reading the main story

With some exceptions — like calls from schools on snow days — auto-dialed calls to mobile phones are typically illegal, unless a person has given prior consent. Advocates say courts have generally interpreted the law to say that when a consumer revokes that consent, the calls must stop — though they often don’t.

The same rules apply to creditors seeking to collect debts, which lawyers and advocates say can be some of the most ruthless dialers.

There are fewer restrictions on landlines, unless you’re on the Do Not Call list, but prerecorded telemarketing calls are always illegal without written consent, advocates say, and debt collectors must stop calling after consumers send a written request.

James Hunter, a Florida resident who is paralyzed below the waist and can no longer work, had his federal student loans forgiven. But Navient, the giant company that services and collects student debt, made more than 2,500 automated calls to him about his private loans over a period of about two years, sometimes calling nine times a day, according to Mr. Hunter’s lawyer, who filed a suit on his behalf claiming Navient acted illegally.

Navient did not immediately comment.

For now, consumers must do their best to find ways to control the wave of calls. Brett Hein, a sports editor at a newspaper in Ogden, Utah, said that for him it was a losing battle. His mobile phone has been inundated with calls in recent weeks, rousting him from bed and twice interrupting him while he was volunteering in his son’s kindergarten class.

“It’s disconcerting to have your phone go off all the time,” Mr. Hein said from a landline in his office, when his mobile phone began to ring.

It was another robocall. The fifth one that day.

Continue reading the main story

Article source:

Your Money: Public Servants Do Get Student Loan Forgiveness. Meet One of the First.

Mr. Mitchell had set out to change careers, not become a pioneer. A professional musician with debt from graduate school, he turned to social work and got a master’s degree from Hunter College in 2006. His debt from all of his degrees was about $129,000 by then.

Mr. Mitchell with his husband, Ted Altschuler, in their Manhattan neighborhood. “It would be Saturday morning, and I would be reading The Times and he’d be in bed looking at regulations like some treasure was going to pop up,” Mr. Altschuler said. Credit Bryan Anselm for The New York Times

While searching the internet for information about state loan forgiveness programs for social workers, he stumbled onto a website for financial aid professionals about a fledgling federal public-service loan forgiveness program. It was still a proposal, but Mr. Mitchell tracked it through its passage.

Then he did what very few people seem to have done: He printed out the entire bill that made loan forgiveness the law of the land and read it. Then he read it again, over and over and over.


Continue reading the main story

“I read it like a proofreader,” he said, having spent years doing that professionally for books ranging from a cultural history of the penis to parts of “The Joy of Cooking.”

The forgiveness program seemed simple at first glance: Work 10 years as a public servant and the federal government will forgive your loans. But deep, repeated, near-Talmudic parsing of the words revealed the following: Borrowers need to be in exactly the right kind of federal student loan. They need to be in the right kind of repayment plan. They need to pay on time in exactly the right way. And their full-time work has to qualify as proper public service.

Mr. Mitchell already had the right kind of direct federal loan. He was also in the right repayment plan, namely one tied to his income. As for sorting out the rest of it, he was entirely on his own in those early years of repayment. The Department of Education wasn’t issuing much detailed guidance. And when he called his loan servicer for advice, his requests were often met with silence or confusing advice that made him doubt that he was on the right track.

“I’d come away thinking that I’d better go over the law again to make sure I’m as clear about this as possible,” he said. “So I would pull it up and reread it every six months or so, and sometimes I’d read it and think, ‘That looks different now.’”

The anxiety was warranted. Like many people in income-driven repayment plans with modest salaries and large amounts of debt, Mr. Mitchell was making monthly payments that were so low they weren’t even covering all the interest each month. So his balance was going up, not down, and rather quickly. Any mistake could lead to enormous financial consequences.

In 2012, he had a good scare when the Department of Education introduced its employer certification forms. Borrowers needed to fill them out to make sure their job qualified for the program and that their payments were counting toward the required 120 months. At first, the word back was that he had made no qualifying payments at all. Only later did it become clear that his two jobs at the time did indeed add up to full-time employment.

So Mr. Mitchell marched ahead, biding his time and crossing his fingers. “It would be Saturday morning, and I would be reading The Times and he’d be in bed looking at regulations like some treasure was going to pop up,” Mr. Altschuler said. “And I’d be thinking, ‘Thank God I don’t have to do this, because I’d never have the patience.’”

By 2016, it was clear that few people had made as much progress as Mr. Mitchell. While the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has estimated that one-quarter of the United States work force could potentially qualify for the forgiveness program, only 139 people had made at least 97 qualifying payments toward their goal of 120 as of 2016, according to figures that the Department of Education presented at a conference.


Continue reading the main story

This lack of successful uptake represents a huge systemic failure, and as Mr. Mitchell surfed the internet for more information and started reading horror stories about the administration of the program, he became more determined not to mess anything up.

He began recording all his phone calls with FedLoan, which services loans for people trying to qualify for forgiveness. He left a comment on a column of mine from last year, and we became email penpals. And as he approached 120 months, he also asked for a complete accounting of all of his payments, to check for any discrepancies between his records and FedLoan’s. His diligence and follow-up eventually prompted an internal review, causing his payment count to temporarily fall into the 50s, wiping out years of credit.

“I had no idea what was going on,” Mr. Mitchell said, while replaying his call to FedLoan for me. “You can hear my heart beat faster.”

“You freaked out and didn’t sleep all night,” Mr. Altschuler added.

All turned out to be fine, and FedLoan restored the payments and submitted his account to the Department of Education for one last review. Weeks passed. Mr. Mitchell kept making monthly payments, just in case something was awry. And on the day I visited his apartment, he logged in and saw the magic number for the very first time: Zero. There was no balance left; after making just over $24,000 in payments over a decade, the federal government had wiped away his balance of roughly $170,000 tax free.

As long as the public-service loan forgiveness program continues to exist, there should be fewer high-wire stories like Mr. Mitchell’s. Awareness will spread further, and people will find their way into the program sooner and face fewer obstacles later on.

That will probably take many years, however. Mr. Mitchell said he felt a bit weird about being one of the few successes so far. He knows he was lucky that he had the right loan and repayment plan at the outset and lucky, too, that he did not have distractions, like children, that might have kept him from devoting so much time to staying on track.

But it should not have been this hard. “I’m always helping my patients figure out how to tolerate uncertainty and not freeze up in an uncertain world,” he said, “and that’s one of the things that has gotten me through this. I didn’t stick my head under a rock because it was freaking me out. I leaned into it.”

Have a story to share about your encounters with the public service loan forgiveness program? Send it to

Continue reading the main story

Article source:

Wealth Matters: Forget the Kentucky Derby Prize. The Big Return on Investment Is in Breeding.

If horse racing is the sport of kings, thoroughbreds are the kings of horse breeding. And the business of breeding a winning racehorse is as lucrative — and risky — as any investment.

Other types of horses have the potential to be good investments, too. While the auction prices may not be as eye-popping as they are in the thoroughbred world, there is still plenty of money to be made in the dressage, reining, hunter and jumper styles of horses.

Still, the risks are plentiful. Mr. Grau noted that the full stud fee was payable once the foal could stand and nurse, which can be as quick as 15 minutes after it’s born.

Mr. Miola has set up a system where horse owners can order breeding online for about $3,000 to $5,000. Credit Caitlin O’Hara for The New York Times

“Then, what do you do if the horse gets sick in the next week and dies?” he asked. “You’ve got to start over.”

The individual ways that people breed horses for profit are as unique as the horses themselves. While there are some large equine operations, the majority of the business remains the province of individuals with deep pockets, big ideas and a high tolerance for risk.


Continue reading the main story

American quarter horses are used in the sport of reining, a sort of Western dance in which rider and horse are in sync as the horse spins and runs around an arena.

Michael Miola, a breeder of quarter horses who made his fortune as the founder of the mutual fund technology company NorthStar Financial Services, runs Silver Spurs Equine. He has farms in Arizona and Oklahoma with 34 stallions and 100 mares, but few horses go to him.

He has set up a system where horse owners can order breeding online for about $3,000 to $5,000. Like any retailer, he offers online discounts, as low as $550 a breeding, and incentives for booking a stallion early.

“I make it up in volume,” Mr. Miola said. “We sell about 2,000 to 3,000 breedings a year.”

The push in the reining world, as it is with thoroughbred horses, is to breed a winning stallion as much as possible in his first three years — when his offspring are still unproven in competition. But Silver Spurs also aids in egg embryo transfers for mares that are still competing. Mr. Miola’s farms have some 150 mares that act as surrogates, he said.

Horse semen preserved in liquid nitrogen at Silver Spurs Equine. Credit Caitlin O’Hara for The New York Times

In dressage, the costs can be lower still. Louise Leatherdale, owner and co-founder of Leatherdale Farms in Long Lake, Minn., which is considered among the best breeders of dressage horses, said she might charge as little as $2,000 for two breedings.

But the horses need to be approved by Mrs. Leatherdale’s farm to ensure that the bloodlines of dressage horses remain strong. (Dressage horses trace their roots to Germany and the Netherlands.)

And raising dressage horses for sale takes several years, largely because championship qualities don’t emerge until the horse is 5 or 6, Ms. Leatherdale said.

Tom Grossman, who got into horse breeding 15 years ago as a tax deduction when he worked at Goldman Sachs and then in hedge funds, left the financial world in 2011 to concentrate full time on breeding two types of horses at his Blue Chip Farm in Wallkill, N.Y. He said his standardbred horses, for harness racing, were like reliable stocks, while he sees his show-quality jumping horses as private equity investments that may pay off big or not at all.


Continue reading the main story

Mr. Grossman typically has $20,000 to $25,000 invested in each standardbred horse — which includes a breeding fee of around $7,000 to $10,000 — and looks to sell the horse for around $60,000 after the first year, he said. His highest sale price was $240,000 for a horse he had invested $50,000 in.

One reason for the lower price for these racehorses — which pull a buggy and a jockey around a track — is that the winnings aren’t as substantial. They’re competing in races with prize pools of about $100,000 or less. The Kentucky Derby pool is expected to be around $2 million, with about two-thirds going to the winner.

Silver Spurs Equine breeds quarter horses for the sport of reining, in which rider and horse act in sync as the horse spins and runs around an arena. Credit Caitlin O’Hara for The New York Times

Mr. Grossman said he had branched out into jumpers because he had seen a chance to build a program for a type of horse that was typically bred only in Europe. It began with a mare named Sapphire who won two Olympic gold medals. The farm now has 52 show jumping horses, from a few days old to 7 years.

But he said he couldn’t properly value the show jumping horses until they were at least 5. Annual costs run about $40,000 when their training starts at age 3.

“I have the land and the staff, and I have patience,” Mr. Grossman said. “There aren’t that many people willing to invest in a purely cash-flow-negative business for the first few years. It’s like vintages of private equity funds: There are no realizations, just money out the door.”

The risks of investing in horses are legion. Foals are stillborn. Colts and fillies break legs. Horses that fetched top prices on great promise can’t run, or struggle to compete. And the horse that makes it through a great competitive career can have complications: Stallions don’t always perform, and mares can die giving birth.

In 2002, Ms. Leatherdale bought a stallion named His Highness, considered among the finest in his day. The horse bred 536 times as a 2-year-old. But at age 6, he broke a leg and had to be euthanized.

Still, the return for the horses that make it is enough to keep breeders chasing a great one.

James Fairclough, a professional rider who trains sport jumping horses, said a good rule of thumb was to assume that out of 100 horses, 65 may break even or lose money at sales prices of $5,000 to $15,000. Of the remaining 35, most will sell for above $50,000, but only the top five will command the high six-figure prices that support the breeding program.

These prices are far from the $1 million prices for top 1-year-old thoroughbreds. But whatever the breed, the goal is to raise sound horses and turn a profit.


Continue reading the main story

“When we had our inspections, the inspectors said you just need to keep them healthy for three more months and you’re good,” Mr. Grau said of Sunnyfield’s two horses sired by American Pharoah. “It’s a lot of pressure. I’ve been on farms and the horses are just going through the fields, and they break their leg.”

Continue reading the main story

Article source:

Your Money Adviser: A Student Debt Payment Plan That Saves Now, Yet Costs More Later

The G.A.O., for instance, described one student who borrowed $34,700, then opted for forbearance and accrued $10,000 in interest over three years. The borrower told the G.A.O. that she would be paying off the loan “for the rest of my days.”

Borrowers in long-term forbearance defaulted more often in what would be their fourth year of repayment, when colleges are no longer penalized for defaults, the report found, suggesting that forbearance had merely delayed default, rather than preventing it.

Consultants have an incentive to promote forbearances, the G.A.O. found, because they usually can be approved quickly over the phone. In contrast, borrowers must fill out an application and submit documentation of their income to switch to a special payment plan. Approval can take two weeks or more.

“This structure can result in borrowers being pushed into forbearance despite better options,” said Melissa Emrey-Arras, an education director at the G.A.O. and a contributor to the report.

The report analyzed data on federal loans that entered repayment from fiscal years 2009 through 2013, and focused on nine companies that offer default prevention services, out of about four dozen such companies. (The nine served about 1,300 colleges, and accounted for about 1.5 million borrowers who entered repayment in 2013.)

Of the nine, five encouraged forbearance over other options, and four sometimes provided “inaccurate or incomplete” information to borrowers, the G.A.O. found. In one case, a consultant mailed forbearance applications to past-due borrowers, along with a letter incorrectly stating that they could lose federal benefits like food assistance if they defaulted on their student loans.

The report did not identify the consultants or the colleges that had hired them. Abby Shafroth, a lawyer with the National Consumer Law Center, said such consultants may often be retained by for-profit colleges, which tend to rely heavily on federal student aid programs for revenue.


Continue reading the main story

Some companies that promote default prevention services on their websites focus on two-year community colleges, although some include testimonials from traditional, four-year colleges.

Here are some questions and answers about forbearances:

Does a forbearance ever make sense?

Forbearance may be a helpful tool for short-term financial setbacks — say, an unexpected medical bill — that you can resolve in a few months to perhaps a year, loan experts say. But they are a bad idea if you simply can’t afford your loan payments and you don’t expect the situation to change anytime soon. In that case, flexible plans that tie monthly payment amounts to your income may make more sense, said Diane Cheng, associate research director at the Institute for College Access and Success.

What should I do if I’m contacted by a default prevention consultant?

If a consultant suggests forbearance, it’s wise to call your loan servicer on your own and explore alternatives, including plans that offer affordable payments tied to your income. A servicer is the company that officially manages your loan, handling tasks like sending you statements, collecting payments and processing changes in your repayment plan. (In some cases, the consultant may even be an affiliate of the servicer, Ms. Cheng said, but it’s the servicer that actually makes the changes.) “Borrowers,” she said, “should know they have options beyond forbearance.”

Several plans are available that adjust monthly payments to reflect your income and family size. Depending on how low your monthly payment is, your debt could actually grow over time, in some cases. But any loan balance remaining after 20 or 25 years (depending on the plan) is forgiven, so there is light at the end of the tunnel. Still, there is a downside to consider: You’ll pay income taxes on the amount forgiven.

What if I don’t know who my loan servicer is?

You can look up your federal loan servicer on the Education Department’s website.

You’ll also find calculators to help you determine if a flexible payment plan will work for you. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also offers online tools for student loan borrowers.

Continue reading the main story

Article source:

Strategies: Who Runs Mutual Funds? Very Few Women

Marie Chandoha, chief executive of Charles Schwab Investment Management, said: “I think it is clear that our industry is in great need of a makeover. While progress has been made in recent years, we need a serious and concerted effort to bring more women and greater diversity into the asset management industry.”

Ms. Chandoha pointed out that Schwab has made progress in metrics aside from the percentage of female portfolio mangers. “While 28 percent of our portfolio managers are women, I am proud that they are managing 64 percent of our funds,” she said. And, she added, “Looking at it another way, 53 percent of our mutual fund and E.T.F. assets are managed by a woman.”

MFS, which stood at the bottom of the list, with a mere 6 percent of female portfolio managers in its American-registered funds, said that it, too, was committed to improving that record.

Daniel Flaherty, an MFS spokesman, said in an email: “Beginning in 2010, MFS put in place a program to improve the diversity within its investment division, focused on recruitment, engagement and professional development. We believe we are making progress, as 25 percent of the investment division today are women, up from 12 percent in 2010; 50 percent of new hires in 2017 were women; and one-third of new hires over the last five years have been women.”

With women making up 10 percent of its portfolio managers, Fidelity falls right at the industry average, though it ranks in the bottom half of the biggest managers’ list. For the last six months, the company, headed by Abigail Johnson, a granddaughter of Fidelity’s founder, has been responding to allegations of sexual harassment, originally reported in The Wall Street Journal.

Fidelity “is very committed to gender diversity, not only among its portfolio managers, but across the entire business,” Vincent G. Loporchio, a Fidelity spokesman, said in an email. He added, “We continue building our female talent pipeline with hiring programs through undergraduate and graduate school.”

In addition to Ms. Johnson, he said, “women leaders include Kathy Murphy, who heads our personal investing business, which serves individual investors, and oversees $2 trillion in customer assets under administration, and a range of other senior-level executives.”

Article source: