Couple leaves Hawaii waitress large tip, offers to pay off student loans

Cayla Chandara says she’s heard of other stories like this, but never thought it would happen to her. When it did, it left her speechless.

Cayla has been pulling double duty as a waitress at the cheesecake factory and Noi Thai Cuisine in Waikiki.

She was waiting on a couple of visitors from Australia at Noi Thai, and says they hit it off. The three of them ended up chatting with them quite a bit.

“They asked me where I was from and I told them I moved here for school but I was kinda in a little bit of debt and I couldn’t go back to school because I couldn’t afford it and the cost of living here,” Cayla explained.

After a good meal and even better conversation, the man and woman paid their $200 tab and left.

Cayla was shocked to see they left a tip for four hundred dollars.


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The Broke Girls Guide To Traveling In Luxury, Salary Be Damned

Graduating from college and being slammed with bill after bill is the wake-up call every young adult dreads.

We gallivant around our respective campuses, forgetting that in less than four years, we will be bombarded with responsibilities and less energy to do anything other than a nap in our free time.

We dream of the day well make enough money to do whatever we want, whenever we want. We know deep down were likely to live paycheck to paycheck when we first graduate. We know a majority of us aren’t going to start off our careers making six figures.

Yet, we continue to imagine a life of luxury.

I don’t know about anyone else, but my life is a far cry from luxurious. I don’t make a ton of money, so each month I have a certain amount that goes toward certain expenses. I use the money that isn’t assigned to weekend trips and other vacations.

Being financially independent of my parents was a major change. Sure, throughout college I paid for my own alcohol and used my own money while impulsively online shopping, but I still felt like I needed permission to purchase anything.

I didn’t, but I felt like I did.

I knew my parents were going to hold me responsible if I got myself into a hole of debt (apart from my student loans), but I never went crazy.

Now that I’m making more, I’ve decided to use my extra cash on trips. I’ve made sacrifices to enjoy trips to places like Nashville, Turks and Caicos and Florida.

Heres why I don’t regret it:

1. Its forced me to sort out my priorities at a pretty young age.

People have seen my photos from trips and told me they wished they’d traveled this much when they were younger. I’ve heard plenty of jokes that I must be lying about how much I make.

In reality, anyone can afford to travel: It just depends on what your priorities are. If you’re the type of person who likes to go out to bars every Friday and Saturday night, you can sacrifice those nights and save enough for a weekend trip to New Orleans.

If you find yourself online shopping when you’re bored at work, block those sites from your computer. After some time, you could have enough saved up to stay at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico.

2. The memories are worth far more than a material object.

While buying or receiving gifts, I prefer experiences over material items. Take me to a concert, plan an entire day to spend with me or send me on a trip.

Clothes will go out of style, gadgets will become obsolete and trinkets will create more clutter.

When it comes down to it, the trips I’ve gone on have given me longer-lasting memories than most material gifts I’ve received.

3. It provides me with a fun way to learn, especially now that I’ve finished school.

During my time in school, I’ve never admitted to liking learning. I’m not even positive I knew I liked to learn at that time.

Now that I’ve grown up a bit, I recognize I love to learn new things. I like to think I’m more curious than a typical 24-year-old. I’ll watch documentaries and read articles to expand my horizons, but it’s much more interesting to learn through travel.

Sure, I can read some books and look at pictures of Germany, but I did learn a whole lot more by being there.

I’m more curious than ever when I travel outside the country. I love exploring the more local areas.

I don’t want to see the tourist version: I’m there for the full experience. The more I can immerse myself in another culture, the better.

4. I’m proving if I can make a trip work with my salary now, I’ll have no excuses in the future.

Traveling is going to be a huge part of my life until the very end. I will continue to make room for it in my budget, so it gives me something to look forward to at least once a year.

I’m not living lavishly, and I’m not ready yet to live on my own. BUT I’m willing to make sacrifices anywhere I can to book as many trips as possible.

At this point, I hope my salary won’t go anywhere but up. If I’ve gotten the hang of living within my means already, I should have no problems in the future.

I used to be the type of excessively shop, drink and eat out. Now, I’ve gotten into the habit of buying necessarily, going out for drinks once in a while and eating meals at home.

If you’re looking to travel but think you cant afford it, take a look at your expenses and decide where you’ll be willing to sacrifice. You might be surprised at what you can save.

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Maria Bamford gets painfully real about student loans: ‘To receive an invoice is to know you’re alive’

Image: michael loccisana/Getty Images

Ah, graduation season. A perfect time for celebrities, who are not really like us, to seem smart by giving vague inspirational speeches in funny hats.

Instead, comic Maria Bamford used her invitation to speak at the very college she paid to attend the University of Minnesota to do what can only be described as the reverse DJ Khaled: She gave incredibly specific and useful wisdom to the (probably broke) grads.

“To receive an invoice [from Sallie Mae] is to know you’re alive,” the Lady Dynamite star and creator said, ushering the graduates into their painful new reality.

“Let me begin by talking about the elephant in the room at a liberal arts graduation ceremony, and that is money,” said Bamford.

Then she got into the gritty details of how she negotiated her speaking fee from nothing at all to $10,000: “Was my alma mater lowballing me? I’m not a sitting governor and the football coach isn’t living check to check.”

Bamford later explained how her husband’s $17,000 student loan turned into a $53,000 loan by the time he was actually able to pay it off.

Before leaving the stage, Bamford handed a theater graduate a $5,000 check (what she had left after taxes and fees) to go toward her loans.

She didn’t skimp on the broad life advice either, like to avoid getting STDs from Vulcans.

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How New York’s Free College Plan Neglects Low-Income Students

Tuition has become so expensive that going to college is a financial strain for nearly everyone who isn’t mega wealthy. And although New Yorks pioneering program to cover tuition costs at both two-year and four-year colleges will offer relief to the middle class, critics are disappointed that it won’t lighten the burden on many of the states most in-need students.


The Excelsior Scholarship program, which New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed into law Wednesday, ensures New Yorkers free tuition at the states public colleges if their families earn less than$125,000 annually. It will be phased in over the next three years, beginning this fall for families that make up to $100,000.


It’s a last-dollar program, meaning it’ll only cover what federal Pell Grants or other public aid won’t. Many students receive federal or state grants; nationwide, 36 percent of undergraduate students received some amount in Pell Grants in the 2014-15 school year, according to the College Board. Of those students, 27 percent received the maximum grant of $5,730 for the year.


And therein lies the biggest issue, according to social policy experts.

Last-dollar free-college proposals such as the Excelsior Scholarship don’t address the college affordability inequities at play in our country, Mamie Voight, the Institute for Higher Education Policy vice president of policy research, wrote in an email to The Huffington Post.


For a low-income student who opts to attend a lower-priced school, such as a community college, a Pell Grant may already cover tuition costs, she said.Under the last-dollar model, no additional resources are given to that student. Instead, last-dollar proposals divert resources to higher-income students who may already be able to afford college, leaving low-income students struggling to pay other education-related expenses.

Drew Angerer via Getty Images
A student exits a building on the campus of Hunter College of The City University of New York on April 10.

It’s not just community college students who won’t benefit, according to Matthew Chingos, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute think tank who wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post when Cuomo first introduced the plan in January. He used the State University of New York in Albany, a four-year college where tuition is$6,470 per year, as an example.

SUNY Albany students from families making less than $30,000 receive more than $11,000 in grant aid, mostly from Pell and a state-specific program, Chingos wrote.As a result, tuition is already free for them and they receive no additional benefits under Cuomo’s plan, despite the fact that they still have to come up with more than $10,000 to cover non-tuition costs such as rent and food.


SUNY schools have some of the lowest college pricetags in the country, but the university estimates that a student can expect to pay nearly $25,000 a year once rent, food, textbooks, transportation, personal expenses and other student fees are accounted for.

Conversely, the free tuition plans touted on the campaign trail by 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and outlined by Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the College for All Act are both first-dollar plans. That means they would cover all of the qualifying student’s tuition and allow young people to apply other grants to non-tuition costs.


To Cuomo’s credit, he has always been clear that the Excelsior Scholarship is designed to help middle-class-families too wealthy to qualify for federal and state aid but not wealthy enough to afford the cost of college.College tuition for all types of schools, including public and private increased 12-fold between 1978 and 2012, while wages stagnated.

We should make college affordable, college should be accessible, college should be free for middle-class families in this nation, Cuomo said on Wednesdays signing. So every middle-class family can go to college.


Last-dollar free-college proposals such as the Excelsior Scholarship dont address the college affordability inequities at play in our country. Mamie Voight

The last-dollar structure isn’t the only element of the New York plan that may exclude lower-income students, many of whom need to hold down jobs during the school year. To qualify for a tuition-free education, students must attend school full-time and complete their degree within four years. More than 90 percent of current students at the states community colleges and 60 percent at four-year colleges don’t fit that bill, The New York Times noted.


That policy is aimed at helping students graduate, said Tom Sugar, president of the nonprofit Complete College America. The programs 30-credit requirement which has been criticized by some is a research-proven strategy to raise GPAs, increase retention rates and ultimately boost college completion in the state, he said in a statement to HuffPost. Sixty percent of students enrolled full-time in four-year colleges graduate within eight years, according to Sugars organization. Just over 24 percent of part-time students finish school in that same amount of time. Similarly, the nonprofit found that less than half as many part-time students graduate from two-year programs within four years as do full-time students.


Another criticism levied at the Excelsior Scholarship addresses all students. A late addition to the plan stipulates that students who accept the scholarship must live and work in New York after graduation for as many years as they received the funds. If they don’t, their once-covered tuition will be converted to student loans they must repay.

Students may not understand what they are getting into when they accept the money, Tom Hilliard, a senior researcher at the Center for an Urban Future, wrote. And, to be clear, they are not simply agreeing to live in New York …after graduation. They are also agreeing to work in New York. So a graduate who lives in Chatham and four years later gets a summer job in Pittsfield could suddenly face a student loan burden of up to $27,500.


Cuomo justified this requirement on Monday during a call with reporters, explaining that students who take advantage of this opportunity should remain an asset to the state.

Why should New Yorkers pay for your college education, and then you pick up and move to California? he asked.


But such a clause should come with come with workforce alignment strategies that ensure graduates have ample opportunities to pursue meaningful employment, Voight said. Policymakers must guard against restrictions that stifle mobility, as well as career and economic advancement, and hold low-income students back from being as successful and nimble in the workforce as they could be.


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Women Hold Nearly Two-Thirds Of America’s Student Loan Debt

Are you a college-educated woman who is being buried under a pile of student loan debt that devours your paychecks and gives you heart palpitations at 2:30 a.m.? Well, take heart — at least you’re not alone!


According to a depressing new report released this week by the American Association of University Women, women hold nearly two-thirds of this country’s student debt or a whopping $833 billion in outstanding loans. (And that’s probably a lowball estimate because the report does not capture women who enroll and take on a whole lot of debt but don’t graduate.)


Oh, and female graduates also have a significantly harder time paying those loans off making it clear that the student loan crisis is now most definitely a women’s issue.

Time spent in college now sometimes means unmanageable student debt that drags down those seeking greater opportunity, especially low-income women, women of color, and women who drop out before completing a degree or credential, Patricia Fae Hoe, board chair of the AAUW an advocacy and research group wrote in a forward to the report.

So why are women hit hardest by student loan debt? First, it’s because women are simply more likely to go to college. In 2016, 56 percent of people enrolled in colleges and universities were women.

But women also tend to take on larger loans to finance that education.

In a given year about 44 percent of women enrolled in undergraduate programs take out loans compared to 39 percent of men, the report says. Women enrolled in undergraduate programs take on an average of about $3,100 in student loans per year about $400 more than the average man. By graduation, the typical woman receiving a bachelors degree in 2011-12 had an average of about $21,000 in student loans, $1,500 more than the typical man.

The reasons behind that are complex. Men are more likely to attend public institutions, which cost less, so that’s definitely one factor. But even when women attend public schools, they still tend to take on larger loans. And that is in part because the gender pay gap is already working its evil magic. Male and female students are just as likely to work while they’re in college, but women generally earn about $1,500 less per year a difference that is not totally explained by a difference in the number of hours they work, the report argues.


Unfortunately, black women are hit particularly hard by all of this. Roughly a third of black women who got a bachelors degree in 2011-2012 left with more than $40,000 in student loan debt, versus just 16 percent of Latina women, 10 percent of white women and 8 percent of Asian-American women.


And overall, women of all races and ethnicities take longer than men to pay off their loans thanks (yes, again) in large part to the persistent gender pay gap, which means they tend to earn less than men throughout their careers, even after spending all that money on an education. Women with a bachelors degree who worked full time in 2016 earned 26 percent less than men with a bachelors degree who worked full time or $354 less per week, the report says.


Add all this to the long list of things that suck about being a woman in 2017.


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The three friends making it easier for students to rent a room – BBC News

Image copyright Uniplaces
Image caption From left to right: Miguel Amaro, Ben Grech and Mariano Kostelec – the founders of Uniplaces

While many people look back on their university days with fondness, the one thing they probably don’t miss is the student accommodation.

If it wasn’t grotty, it was too expensive, or often both.

Recalling their college days, friends Miguel Amaro, Ben Grech and Mariano Kostelec all say that their biggest problem was finding somewhere to live in the first place.

“Our experience was horrible,” says 28-year-old Englishman Ben.

“As an international student from Argentina, Mariano had to pay 12 months’ rent up-front to get his place in London.

“Meanwhile, Miguel [who is from Portugal] booked some random super-expensive residence in Nottingham because he didn’t know any better, and I was looking around the streets of Nottingham knocking on doors trying to find a place.”

Image caption Student accommodation can be a bit bleak

While it was irksome at the time, a year after graduating from their respective universities – Miguel and Ben from Nottingham University, and Mariano from King’s College in London – the three men realized that there was a business opportunity.

They came up with a plan to create an online marketplace matching students with accommodation.

Ben says: “It was clear that people were doing more online and that marketplaces such as Airbnb were a great solution for travel, but finding accommodation was such a problem for students around the world.”

So in 2011, the three started work on their business and website Uniplaces.

The trio invested around 50,000 – a sum whipped up from their savings, student loans and help from parents.

Image copyright BBC Sport
Image caption Kitchen facilities at a flat in London listed on Uniplaces

To save on costs, the men stayed at Miguel’s parents’ holiday home in Ponte de Lima in northern Portugal, before participating in startup competitions to win free office space, first in Porto, the country’s second city, and then in the capital Lisbon.

Later that year they won first round funding of 200,000 euros ($215,000; 172,534) led by the founder of UK property website Zoopla.

From there it was down to business, getting a permanent office in Lisbon, and wooing landlords to join the site and checking properties.

The Uniplaces website was then officially launched in 2013, with an initial 50 properties in the Portuguese capital listed on the site.

Mariano, 28, says: “We picked Lisbon as our first city as it totally made sense to stay [and open headquarters here].

“It is a low cost, good location with access to great talent such as good engineers, and people with excellent language skills, which is great when dealing with so many international students.

“For the first hundred plus properties, we actually went round them ourselves with our cameras taking pictures, cleaning the places up and asking people to get out of the room.”

Commission based

Students using Uniplaces pay one month’s rent upfront via the website, and the sum goes through to the landlord 24 hours after they move in. Thereafter they pay directly to the landlord.

Uniplaces takes a service fee of 20-25% of the student’s first month’s rent, and then a commission of 5-12% of the total value of the contract from the landlord.

Image copyright Uniplaces
Image caption The web site-based business had to pull back from a quick global expansion

More than half of all properties featured on the site are still verified by Uniplaces staff who visit the property to take pictures and videos, draw up a floor plan and inventory list.

Since its launch, three million nights have been booked through the platform, which currently lists over 40,000 properties.

Revenues grew fourfold in 2016 compared to the previous year, but with the money being reinvested into the business Uniplaces is yet to turn a profit.

The company, which now has 132 employees, has also continued to attract the attention of investors. Last year it received $24m (19m) in its fourth round of funding.

The capital has been used to fund expansion, build brand awareness, fine-tune the product, and appoint extra staff.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Finding student accommodation was historically not an enjoyable activity

But it hasn’t been all plain-sailing for the three entrepreneurs. Initially, they were too ambitious and tried to expand too quickly.

Miguel, 27, says: “We wanted to be a global startup so we quickly launched in 70 cities. But then you start compromising.”

With properties spread across so many cities, they were no longer able to verify enough of the properties.

Miguel adds: “Investors want results, but then you realize you need to focus and deliver a good experience for the customer and make sure landlords’ properties are getting filled up.

“That helps grow a more successful company. It’s a balance of ambition. We want to get out to the world but we have to stage it. So in 2016 we went down to six cities and focused on them.”

Today the business has expanded back up to 15 cities – London, Manchester, Nottingham, Lisbon, Coimbra, Porto, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Rome, Bologna, Milan, Paris, Berlin, and Munich.

‘Fairly innovative’

Jack Wallington, community director at student community website, The Student Room, notes that in recent years student accommodation has changed dramatically.

“Dedicated companies have popped up offering purpose-built student flats across the UK and other accommodation services.

“Alongside the standard mix of landlords it can be hard for students to know who to turn to and trust. Uniplaces is fairly innovative because its interest lies more with the student, supporting first-time renters to find good deals.”

Image copyright Uniplaces
Image caption The company has its headquarters in Lisbon but also has an office in London

While Uniplaces retains global ambitions, Mariano says that for the time being it will focus on Europe.

The ambitious trio also has visions of creating a more wide-ranging university brand.

From next year students will receive a welcome pack including useful materials such as a Sim card, and a travel card when they arrive at their new digs.

There’ll also be the launch of an app where Uniplaces brand ambassadors will be on hand to answer any questions students might have about their new city.

Further in the pipeline are plans to enable students who might have booked to rent a room in the same property to build a relationship through social media before they move in.

Ben says that the aim of such initiatives is to make renting student accommodation through Uniplaces as “welcoming” as possible.

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Wells Fargo Sued For Barring DACA Recipient From Applying For Student Loan

After Mitzie Perez filled out a preliminary form online to inquire about a student loan from Wells Fargo last summer, a message flashed across the screen saying the bank had no options for her. This could be due to the school you selected, your field of study, and/or your citizenship status, the bank’s website said.

The third-year bachelor’s student in gender and sexuality studies at the University of California, Riverside, didn’t think her citizenship status would be a problem. Though she’s undocumented, in 2012 she received work authorization under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. That program shields undocumented immigrants who arrived as youths from deportation and allows them to work legally.


Curious, Perez hit the back button on her browser and changed her answer on one of the preliminary questions to say she was a permanent resident. After she resubmits her application, Wells Fargo allegedly offered her a loan option she could apply for. I didn’t expect it, Perez told The Huffington Post. I’ve been approved for credit cards. It was weird to me that a loan wouldn’t be approved, but creditors would provide me that support.

A class action lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California says rejecting her application based on immigration status violates both federal and state law.

The lawsuit could have sweeping implications if successful. It asks the court to create a class of people affected by the Wells Fargo policy that would include not only people like Perez, with DACA but also any financially qualified person who applied for a loan and was denied for lack of U.S. citizenship since 2013.


The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund brought the lawsuit on behalf of Perez and the California chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, whose membership includes DACA recipients affected by the bank’s loan policies.

We don’t think Wells Fargo was unique, but it was the case that came to us first, MALDEF President Thomas Saenz told HuffPost. Our hope is that if we can resolve the issue with Wells Fargo, perhaps the other banks seeing what were doing will change their policy.

Wells Fargo spokesman Jason Vasquez pointed out that the bank only accounts for roughly 1 percent of total student loans and that its policies are in line with the U.S. Department of Education, which also does not loan to DACA recipients. The bank offers two products for which DACA recipients qualify a credit card and secured personal loan.

While we respect the important role that the California League of United Latino Citizens and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund play in support of the community, we are disappointed they filed a lawsuit rather than work with us on solutions to help people realize their goals of higher education, Vasquez wrote in an email to HuffPost. Wells Fargo understands the dream of pursuing higher education and we remain focused on our responsible lending practices to assist temporary and permanent residents and U.S. citizens in obtaining student financing.


When assessing whether to offer a loan, a financial institution is only supposed to establish the applicant’s true identity and the risk the applicant will default, the lawsuit says. The lawsuit contends that using an applicants immigration status as a factor when considering whether to extend a loan violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1866, which allows anyone in the country to enter into contracts.


Its discriminatory, Saenz said. The bottom line is that banks are supposed to make loans based on the assessment of risk. … A persons immigration status is simply not relevant.

The lawsuit alleges the Wells Fargo policy also violates a California state law protecting against discrimination and another that prohibits unfair business practices.

Barring Perez from applying for a private loan added one more financial hurdle to her path toward a college degree. The DACA program provides some protection from deportation and allows her to work legally, but shes still not allowed to apply for federal student aid the largest pool of financial assistance that people use to pay for a college education.


Already indebted, she charged her tuition on credit cards and works a schedule that includes two full days from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in class and the rest of the week working as a community organizer. She also works on weekends not just to service her debt, but to help support her family. I’m trying to be a good student, Perez said. I’m trying to give back to my community and be involved.


The lawsuit seeks damages on her behalf and for the bank to end its policies of weighing immigration status as part of its loan applications. If the class was granted, it could affect much more people in similar situations.


We deserve a chance to get a student loan, Perez said. We want to be a part of this economy. We want to do well in school. But sometimes were not getting the support we need.


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The Federal Reserve Gives Donald Trump His First Interest Rate Hike

WASHINGTON The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate on Wednesday, a sign of its continued confidence in the economy in the wake of President Donald Trumps inauguration.

The move, which reflects the Feds satisfaction with job growth and its mounting concern about inflation, banks is the first rate hike since Trump took office.

The cenbank’s Federal Open Market Committee increased the target federal funds rate what banks charge one another for overnight lending by 0.25 percentage points, to a range of 0.75 percent to 1.0 percent.


Our decision to make another gradual reduction in the amount of policy accommodation reflects the economy’s continued progress toward the employment and price stability objectives assigned to us by law, Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen said at a Wednesday press conference following the announcement.


One member of the FOMC dissented from the decision to raise the rate. Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, voted to leave the target federal funds rate unchanged. There was no explanation for his dissent in the Feds press materials.


The Federal Reserve has a dual mandate from Congress: to maximize employment, and to keep prices stable.The Fed raises the federal funds rate to tame inflation by putting downward pressure on job market growth.


When this form of interbank lending becomes more expensive, creditors tend to respond by increasing interest rates on home loans, auto loans, student loans, credit cards and a variety of other types of debt. As a result, the Feds quarter-percentage-point increase will likely squeeze borrowers and consumers, while upping the earnings of lenders and savers who rely on interest-bearing investments.


Although Wednesdays rate hike is just the third increase since the Fed lowered the influential rate to zero in December 2008, it is the second hike since December 2016, suggesting the Fed is finally accelerating its efforts to raise borrowing costs. Prior to December, the central bank had gone a year without raising the rate after global economic headwinds gave it caution.


Looking ahead, we expect that job conditions will strengthen somewhat further… and [we expect] overall inflation to stabilize around 2 percent over the next couple of years in line with our longer-run objective, Yellen said Wednesday.


The simple message is the economy is doing well, she added later, when asked what message she would like consumers to take away from the rate hike decision. We have confidence in the robustness of the economy and its resilience to shocks.

However, Dean Baker, co-director of the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research, argued that it is still too soon to raise the benchmark rate and risk putting the brakes on job growth.


Its the wrong move, Baker said on Tuesday. Its based on some wrong views about the economy, particularly that were closer to full employment than I think we are. But a quarter-point doesnt have a huge impact on the economy.

Baker is one of many economists, most of them progressive, who believe the low headline unemployment rate masks underemployment and fails to convey the lower pay of the new jobs being created.


The national unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent in February as the economy created 235,000 jobs.


But the official unemployment rate fails to account for people working part-time involuntarily, or people who have given up looking for work altogether. A broader metric that counts those workers as unemployed shows a jobless rate of 9.2 percent.

In addition, many American workers are settling for lower-paying work. Sixty percent of the net new jobs created between December 2007 and December 2016 were in retail, hospitality and other service sectors that tend to pay less and provide fewer work hours than other sectors, according to an analysis by Dan Alpert, founder of Westwood Capital and a fellow at the Century Foundation.

Its based on some wrong views about the economy, particularly that were closer to full employment than I think we are. But a quarter-point doesnt have a huge impact on the economy. Dean Baker, co-director, Center for Economic and Policy Research

Meanwhile, a measure of price inflation that excludes volatile food and energy prices rose 1.7 percent in the 12-month period ending in January still below the Feds 2-percent inflation target. Baker and like-minded economists prefer the risk of exceeding that target to the risk of prematurely depressing the job market.


Stephanie Kelton, an economist at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and an economic adviser to the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), agrees with Baker that the economy is still employing fewer people than it could.


But Kelton argues that there are limits to what the Fed should be expected to do to make up for the federal government’s failure to boost growth through public spending. She understands what she believes is the Feds desire to raise rates now so as not to deprive itself of the ability to stimulate the economy later.

Fed officials want some space, Kelton said. They want to be able to get away from zero with enough distance so when the next recession inevitably comes, theres some room to move down.

Economic observers now await the White Houses reaction to the Feds announcement. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump was critical of the Fed for failing to raise interest rates ahead of the November election, accusing Yellenof artificially buoying the economy to benefit the incumbent Democrats.


But as Trump prepares a major package of tax cuts and a large infrastructure plan which even some of his critics believe could boost the economy further he could soon be on a collision course with the Fed for doing exactly what he claimed it should have done under President Barack Obama: raise interest rates.


Any of Trumps policies that create more jobs would likely prompt the Fed to increase the funds rate more rapidly. The contractionary impact of those hikes could offset any expansionary effect of Trumps agenda.


Yellen insisted on Wednesday that Fed officials were not basing their decisions to raise rates around the expected impact of Trumps policies. She also acknowledged meeting Trump briefly, and speaking with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on more than one occasion.


Try as Yellen might to avoid it, however, she had to field questions about a potential showdown with Trump. The Feds policymakers predict that economic growth will reach 2.1 percent in 2018 before leveling off at 1.8 percent in 2020 and beyond.

Trump has promised that his policies will generate 4 percent economic growth, and claims they could even spur 5 percent growth rates.


When asked about the disparate estimates, Yellen denied that Fed officialsmore conservative growth projection reflected a possible point of conflict with the president so long as inflation remains within the Feds target range, that is.


I dont believe it is a point of conflict. We would certainly welcome stronger economic growth in the context of price stability, Yellen said.


As with many issues, Trumps stance on the Fed has not been entirely consistent, and its possible he could embrace his old ideas if circumstances warrant it. Before Trump began arguing that Yellen was using low rates to inflate an economic bubble for political reasons, he hadexpressed support for her policies, claiming the low rates were good for U.S. exports.


Should the Fed respond to Trump with higher rates, and should Trump challenge the Federal Reserve for prioritizing concerns about inflation over allowing job growth to proceed unencumbered, he might find unlikely allies in progressive economists who have long taken issue with the Feds priorities. But thats far from a sure thing.

At this point, I wont place bets on that. I guess well find out soon enough, Baker said.

This story has been updated with remarks from Yellen and additional details about the Feds decision.


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Pensions, parents, and children: Am I better off? – BBC News

Image copyright Getty Images

As the baby boomer generation retires, their children are planning their own provision for life after work.

According to the Resolution Foundation, growth rates in income appear to have stalled for millennials, while those now retiring are most likely to own a home and have a generous private pension.

We asked two professionals from different generations what their experiences were compared to their parents’, and what hopes they had for their children.

Peter Coleman, associate at an international transport consultancy, Essex

Image copyright Peter Coleman

I’m still working at 65, with two ‘children’ at home, one of whom is still in full-time education. I’m earning quite a lot more money than my father did at 65, but am I better off?

I’m getting a pension and a salary. Some of the pension I’m drawing down, I’d rather have left it but the rules say I have to draw it. Plus I get taxed on it.

My father retired at the age of 58 in 1980 on a full two-thirds-of-final-salary pension, with children who’d all left home.

He also owned his own house. He worked for the same company all his life. By 58 he was 40 years in with AVCs (additional voluntary contributions) on top, a situation I wasn’t in at 58.

As for my children and their friends, the cost of housing is the biggest issue. That and the fact that most of them have student loans to pay off.

My son is 25. Moving out is clearly not as important to him as it was to me at his age. He sees renting as a waste of money. I saw my independence as more important. I bought my first home when I was his age.

All the major parties have to share the blame for putting our young people in this heinous situation. But who will bear the brunt of helping them cope? It will be those ‘well-off’ pensioners.

Jez Marsh, IT consultant, Cwmbran

Image copyright Jez Marsh

As a 41-year-old homeowner, husband, and father of two beautiful daughters, I am concerned about my fiscal future.

Whilst I am able to afford a traditional repayment mortgage, which will mean the mortgage is paid off by the time I’m 65, I expect I will never be able to retire. I’m expecting to work until I can’t.

As an IT consultant, I haven’t had constant, permanent employment in any sense.

I currently do not have a pension, having taken the plunge from employed status to starting my own business two years ago. I fully intend to start one and pay large chunks into it, but the short-term priorities, ensuring my family home is ready for the future, has to come first.

Time is the ultimate enemy. We simply work far too many hours, and it’s the same for all professionals.

My wife’s parents both retired at 55. Both had fantastic public sector pensions, and their mortgage was paid off before they retired. They are able to do what they want to do when they want to do it, and I couldn’t be more pleased with them.

Their income is far less than my own. They just have a lot more available income than I do.

Pensioners today bought their houses when they were relatively low. House prices are crippling the pensionable income for most people, and almost everyone will be looking to sell their home at retirement in order to fund said retirement!

I’m hoping my daughters’ generation will have the benefit of our experiences, and their grandparents are helping. I hope they’ll be better off, but potentially we won’t have as much to pass on to them.

Interviewed and written by the BBC News UGC team

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Paying off that student Loan- What You’ll Actually Be Doing After You Graduate, As Told By Your Zodiac Sign

Probably the least exciting thing about graduating college is having to answer the question of what you’re going to do after you graduate. It feels like some kind of a test of your self-will. The more you get asked the question, the more you want to throw a chair.

We all have high hopes for ourselves after graduation, and that’s a good thing. But often times, life throws you curve-balls, and things are not exactly how we dream they’ll be, and it’s good to keep a sense of humor about it.

So think of this as a handy realistic guide that outlines exactly what you will ACTUALLY be doing after you graduate, based on both your zodiac sign and real-life, post-college expertise.

You now have an answer for when people ask you what are you doing after you graduate?

Here’s what it is:

Aries: Losing your mind at the slow crawl toward success.

Aries will be incredibly shocked that they aren’t experiencing the meteoric rise to success that they had been planning for themselves immediately after college.

They’ll be ready to hit the ground running, but what they won’t expect and will have no patience for is a number of obstacles that are outside of their control, like an inflated job market and the pressure of student loans. Remember, success takes time.

Be patient and keep pushing.

Taurus: Asking to work from home the first week of your first job.

After four years in a dorm room, most Taurus peeps will be more than happy to move back to the comfort and luxury of their parent’s house. Everything is paid for and there’s unlimited salami. You might take a good amount of advantage of this situation before realizing it’s time to get a job.

Unfortunately for your parents, you’re so good at getting what you want, you’ll probably be able to land one that allows you to work from their couch.

Gemini: Probably having a crisis of conscience.

Knowing the Gemini personality on a deeply personal level, I have first-hand knowledge of the fact that most of them leave college and spend the next six months trying to get a job while still wondering if they even chose the right major.

It’s very difficult for them to make a decision or commit to one thing since they really want to have their cake and eat it too. It’s OK to change your mind Gemini, but if you change it too many times, maybe its commitment you’re avoiding, not making the wrong decision.

Cancer: Crying in public a lot.

There is nothing more upsetting to Cancer than being separated from their inner circle of friends and thrown out of a living situation they’ve become accustomed to. We all spend a lot more time crying in our early 20s than they tell us we will, and that’s OK.

Remember that whatever happens next, friendship and the support that comes with it is important to you, so begin to build new ones wherever you go. That’s your lifeline.

Leo: Killin it and bragging up a storm on social media.

Leos aren’t meant for college life. They’re ruled by the fifth house of education and creative endeavors, so they make their life their school and they learn best hands-on. Youll most likely is the friend that immediately gets successful in the real world, and you’ll be wondering why you even went to college in the first place.

I’d never tell a Leo not to brag on social media, but remember, you could be attracting haters, and a smart business person knows to keep their enemies close. Stay humble.

Virgo: Sticking to a very strict plan of action.

One advantage Virgos have over other signs is an ability to make a plan and stick to it.

They won’t get caught up in the post-grad anxiety that other signs have to fight through. They know there’s no shitty feeling that checking items off a to-do list can’t get rid of.

It’s this ability to execute a plan that guarantees a steady climb to success in the real world.

Libra: Immediately looking for your soulmate.

Of course, your career is important to you, OF COURSE. But first things first: Find and take a lover, hold onto them tightly, marry them, and secure their health insurance.

Nothing is worth doing if you’ve got no one to share it with, right Libra?! You’re the sign of partnership, for the love of Christ.

Scorpio: Taking a million side jobs to pay off your debts.

Scorpio is ruled by the eighth-house of inheritances, debts, sex, and mystery, so these are the themes that seem to surround their lives. If you’re a Scorpio, you’ll have an old-soul wisdom about the amount of debt you have to pay off and you’ll waste no time starting to pay it off.

You know that debts haunt a person, and you’re not going to be controlled by it. Ego won’t play a part in the number of jobs you’ll take to free yourself from the grips of Sallie Mae.

Sagittarius: Travel the world to find yourself.

Sagittarius is ruled by the ninth-house of expanded education and travel. Just because you’ve finished your formal education doesn’t mean you’re finished learning. In fact, your personal education has just begun.

Sagittarius is the most likely of all the signs to make that post-college trip around the world, expanding on their personal experience because they know it’s just as valuable as work experience in the long-run.

Capricorn: Starting from the bottom.

Capricorn is the sign symbolized by the goat pushing a rock up a hill, and like the symbol for their sign, Capricorns will leave college prepared to take any job they can get and ready to climb the ladder toward success.

Your sign is determined to leave and impact on the world, and you won’t get stuck comparing yourself to others along the way. You have all the inner resources to do it, too.

Aquarius: Changing the way your generation is stereotyped.

Aquarians are the most likely sign to show up at their new job and defy the expectations of everyone there. Millennials have been stereotyped as an entitled generation, but the Aquarians desire to learn and their curiosity in the workplace can completely change that.

Not only are you happy to learn more, your advanced and innovative ideas will prove your value to everyone you work with. You can expect to advance pretty quickly in the real world.

Pisces: Either drinking/working a lot, it’s a toss-up.

When they say Pisces is a water sign, it’s good to think of that as a suggestion to hydrate, because Pisces know how to drink everyone under the table. Because they’re symbolized by two fish swimming in opposite directions, toward heaven and hell, submerged under the ocean in their dreamy world, Pisces live in a fantasy world.

The way they choose to escape will make or break them in the real world. Put all that dreamy energy in the right place.

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