The Week: Most Recent Business Posts recent posts.en-usTue, 22 Jul 2014 11:01:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent Business Posts from THE WEEKTue, 22 Jul 2014 11:01:00 -0400Is inflation really picking up?<img src="" /></P><p>With the U.S. recovery strengthening &mdash; unemployment is now down to just 6.1 percent, a considerable reduction from its peak in 2009 of 9.9 percent, and only a few points away from the Federal Reserve's target of below 5.5 percent &mdash; some are saying that the Fed may be due to change course and raise interest rates. Unless the Fed ends not only its program of quantitative easing, they argue, but also its regime of ultra-low interest rates that have been in place since the financial crisis, the economy is in serious danger of overheating.</p><p>What signal is the Fed waiting for? While traders...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/john-aziz" ><span class="byline">John Aziz</span></a>Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:01:00 -040010 burning questions you've always wanted to ask about investing<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>As the saying goes, there's no such thing as a dumb question &mdash; and that's especially true when it comes to investing.</p><p>After all, putting your hard-earned dollars into an investment account isn't the same as simply stashing it away in a checking or savings account.</p><p>You've got decisions to think about: What will I invest in? How do I manage my investments? What do I do if the financial news gives me the jitters?</p><p>Well, we're glad you asked because a good way to learn about your finances is to fearlessly ask all of the things that make you scratch your head when you're just learning to build...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Allison KadeTue, 22 Jul 2014 10:14:00 -0400The rise of the global middle class is our best hope to stop climate change<img src="" /></P><p>A month ago, Ezra Klein explained why he's a pessimist about climate change. His explanation is compelling &mdash; our ineffectual national and international institutions really do handicap our ability to deal with this problem. But Klein is too quick to dismiss our technical ingenuity and its capacity for unexpected greatness.</p><p><em>The Week</em>'s John Aziz has already written about the accelerating progress of solar energy. Advances in the efficiency and versatility of solar may slow down carbon emissions more than we realize. And if we're lucky, it may buy us enough time to develop the ultimate source...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/nicholas-warino" ><span class="byline">Nicholas Warino</span></a>Tue, 22 Jul 2014 06:16:00 -0400What the Fed haters don't get about interest rates<img src="" /></P><p>Ever since the financial crisis, the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks around the world have kept rates far below their historical averages. U.K. interest rates remain at 0.5 percent, American interest rates are less than that, and even Spain, Ireland, and Italy can borrow for under 3 percent. Central banks lowered rates to spur economic activity, jobs, and growth &mdash; and with American unemployment down to 6.1 percent, there are signs that, at least in the U.S., it's working.</p><p>Yet, there is a growing backlash against low interest rates in influential circles.</p><p>Bankers and policymakers...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/tom-streithorst" ><span class="byline">Tom Streithorst</span></a>Mon, 21 Jul 2014 12:40:00 -0400Personal finance tips: How to invest in your company's shares, and more<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong> Investing in your company's shares<br /></strong></span>Don't put all your eggs in your employer's basket, said Jason Zweig at <em>The Wall Street Journal</em>. Before you buy stock in your own company, "set your emotions aside" and carefully assess the risks. While you're at it, look at the "tragic tales" of ex-employees of failed firms like Enron, Bear Stearns, and Lehman Brothers, "who had nearly all their retirement assets riding on those firms' own shares." While subsequent laws have made linking retirement plans to your employer's stock harder, the problem "hasn't disappeared" completely. A smart investor should remember...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/sergio-hernandez" ><span class="byline">Sergio Hernandez</span></a>Mon, 21 Jul 2014 06:53:00 -04004 smart takes on the Fed's cautious optimism<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">The Fed will keep propping up the economy, said Binyamin Appelbaum in <em>The New York Times.</em> That was the main message Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen delivered this week when she appeared before the Senate Banking Committee to deliver the central bank's semiannual monetary policy report. While she acknowledged that "important progress has been made in restoring the economy to health and in strengthening the financial system," Yellen clearly remains concerned about unemployment and the strength of the recovery. Last week, the Fed announced plans to end its controversial bond-buying program, known as quantitative...</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/sergio-hernandez" ><span class="byline">Sergio Hernandez</span></a>Fri, 18 Jul 2014 12:05:00 -0400Corporate advertisers are hijacking girl power to sell products -- and I'm totally into it<img src="" /></P><p>When I was 11, I played in a softball league. We were called the Blimpies, as in the sandwich shop (such unfortunate sponsorship for tween girls, right?). And let me tell you, I was a terrible softball player.</p><p>I was terrified of the ball and would avoid hitting it or catching it at all costs. Fortunately, we Blimpies had the league's best pitcher. Her whip-fast throws &mdash; which I blissfully didn't have to face &mdash; made us one of the most intimidating teams in the league. Even the adults would marvel at how our star pitcher "didn't throw like a girl."</p><p>Actually, she did throw like a girl...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/lauren-hansen" ><span class="byline">Lauren Hansen</span></a>Fri, 18 Jul 2014 06:03:00 -0400U.S. spying may cost the U.S. economy billions<img src="" /></P><p>Talk about bad timing.</p><p>This week marked the start of renewed negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the European Union and the U.S. And mere days before that, the German federal prosecutor's office confirmed that it is investigating another possible case of U.S. spying in Germany. Imagine being at the TTIP negotiating table with that elephant in the room.</p><p>Billions upon billions of dollars in potential economic growth for both Germany and the U.S. are at stake with this free trade agreement. <em>Forbes</em> notes that "one study, done for the EU, concluded that...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/cathy-reisenwitz" ><span class="byline">Cathy Reisenwitz</span></a>Wed, 16 Jul 2014 06:11:00 -0400How to maximize your retirement account<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>So you've signed up for your company's 401(k) plan or opened an IRA for your retirement savings. Congrats! That's a great first step.</p><p>But if you haven't made your investment choices yet, you may still be behind the curve, whether that's because your money was automatically allocated to your plan administrator's default fund that doesn't meet your individual needs &mdash; or it's left in cash without any market exposure at all.</p><p>"Once you factor in inflation, you actually get a negative return from cash," warns Ted Toal, a Certified Financial Planner&trade; at Rockwood Wealth Management in Annapolis...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Kate AshfordTue, 15 Jul 2014 09:17:00 -0400The Fed's stimulus worked out great (if you're rich)<img src="" /></P><p>I was wrong about quantitative easing.</p><p>Back in 2009 when the Federal Reserve began its operation of creating new money to buy government bonds and mortgage-backed securities, I worried that the unconventional measure would lead to excessive inflation.</p><p>After getting the housing bubble so dramatically wrong &mdash; Fed chair Ben Bernanke claimed throughout 2005 and into 2006 that there wasn't a housing bubble &mdash; I worried that the Fed was now making another severe error, and that a nasty bout of '70s-style inflation (or worse) was coming.</p><p>I was hardly alone in this conviction. In 2010, a...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/john-aziz" ><span class="byline">John Aziz</span></a>Tue, 15 Jul 2014 06:08:00 -0400