The Week: Most Recent Business Posts recent posts.en-usMon, 22 Sep 2014 10:16:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent Business Posts from THE WEEKMon, 22 Sep 2014 10:16:00 -04007 common estate-planning mistakes<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>When it comes to checking tasks off your financial to-do list, estate planning is probably the last item you'll get to &mdash; if you get around to it at all.</p><p>We don't necessarily blame you. After all, it can be morbid to think about preparing for death, and people often don't know where to start, so they simply don't get started.</p><p>Case in point: According to legal services site Rocket Lawyer, 64 percent of Americans don't have a basic will.</p><p>But estate planning shouldn't fall to the wayside. Because, although it's nice to think that you can trust everyone to do the right thing, the truth is...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Sheryl Nance-NashMon, 22 Sep 2014 10:16:00 -0400Does solar energy have a battery problem?<img src="" /></P><p>Everyone hates running out of batteries. The onset of that red, depleted battery icon on your phone or laptop is a continual annoyance. But it's not just electronic gadgets that suffer from battery constraints. Solar energy &mdash; one of our most promising energy technologies &mdash; may have a battery problem of its own.</p><p>There is plenty of reason to be bullish about solar. Solar energy's potential for cheap energy is unmatched. The amount of solar energy that falls on the Earth in a single year vastly outstrips the total amount of non-renewable energy in the Earth's crust.</p><p>Furthermore, the...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/john-aziz" ><span class="byline">John Aziz</span></a>Mon, 22 Sep 2014 09:15:00 -0400Personal finance tips: New rules for inherited Roths, and more<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1"> New rules for inherited Roths?<br /></span></strong>Be wary of bequeathing your Roth IRA to loved ones, said Andrea Coombes at <em>The Wall Street Journal</em>. People like using tax-advantaged Roths for bequests because there is no minimum age for distributions, so "money can sit untouched and grow tax free throughout the owner's lifetime." That estate-planning perk, however, might soon disappear. A proposed rule before Congress "would require Roth owners to start taking distributions at age 70 and a half," which would diminish assets available for heirs. Another proposed change would require beneficiaries to receive funds...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/sergio-hernandez" ><span class="byline">Sergio Hernandez</span></a>Mon, 22 Sep 2014 06:15:00 -0400Peter Thiel, and the not-so-secret secret of innovative success<img src="" /></P><p>You should read Peter Thiel's new book, <em>Zero to One</em>. Even if you don't have the slightest interest in business. Even (especially!) if you don't already avidly follow everything the PayPal founder and innovative entrepreneur says.</p><p><em>Zero to One</em> is ostensibly about the startup business. Indeed, the subtitle is "Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future." But the book is really about how you should live your life, whether or not you're an entrepreneur.</p><p><br /></p><p>The book takes its title from Thiel's dictum that it's better to create something genuinely new (going from 0 to 1) than to copy what has already...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/pascal-emmanuel-gobry" ><span class="byline">Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry</span></a>Fri, 19 Sep 2014 09:05:00 -0400Everything you need to know about Alibaba's blockbuster IPO<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">For weeks, Wall Street has been working itself into a frenzy over Alibaba's potentially record-breaking IPO on Friday, Sept. 19, said Chris Wright at <em>Forbes</em>. But as is so often the case when internet companies go public, hype can quickly become hyperbole. So what exactly does the Chinese e-commerce giant do to warrant a market value of more than $170 billion, three times bigger than General Motors? </span>"It's almost easier to list what Alibaba doesn't do," said </span>Mark Broad at <em>BBC</em><span>. As China's biggest online commerce company, </span>Alibaba<span> owns several wildly popular and successful sites: </span>Taobao<span>, an eBay-like...</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/sergio-hernandez" ><span class="byline">Sergio Hernandez</span></a>Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:25:00 -0400Is this the first sign of rising inflation?<img src="" /></P><p>As <em>Business Insider</em>'s Joe Weisenthal points out, August was a stellar month for wage growth. Month-on-month wage growth rocketed to 0.4 percent after being flat in July. It was by far the best showing in a year:</p><p ><br />(<em>Bureau of Labor Statistics</em>/<em>Business Insider)</em></p><p>Why is this such a big deal? Well, wages are one of the key factors that the Federal Reserve is watching alongside the unemployment and underemployment rates as signifiers of labor market slack. Rising wages are a sign that employers are bidding up the price of labor, indicating that the supply of job seekers can't keep up with growing demand...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/john-aziz" ><span class="byline">John Aziz</span></a>Thu, 18 Sep 2014 11:17:00 -0400Why Microsoft was smart to spend $2.5 billion on a low-fi game based on computerized Lego blocks<img src="" /></P><p>Marcus Persson, better known as Notch, the founder of Mojang, says he doesn't "make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits."</p><p>But Minecraft, of course, became a huge hit, which was partly why Microsoft paid a cool $2.5 billion for Mojang, Minecraft's maker, earlier this week.</p><p>A deceptively simple game with low-fi graphics, Minecraft has attracted more than 100 million users who get their kicks from building virtual structures out of computerized, Lego-like blocks. Minecraft has become something of an art form, with users creating beautiful, incredibly complex structures, from space...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/john-aziz" ><span class="byline">John Aziz</span></a>Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:10:00 -0400The U.S. dollar has been strengthening for 3 straight years! (That's not good news.)<img src="" /></P><p>After listening to naysayers and inflation hawks intone for years that the Federal Reserve's monetary policy would weaken the dollar and spike inflation, it's perversely gratifying to see that &mdash; even after all that money printing &mdash; the dollar has strengthened over the last three years:</p><p><br /></p><p >(Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)</p><p>The dollar has been on a particular tear in the last few weeks. This is the ninth straight week where the dollar index has increased on the back of various geopolitical turmoils &mdash; from the ongoing crisis in the Ukraine and the expansion of ISIS in the Middle...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/john-aziz" ><span class="byline">John Aziz</span></a>Tue, 16 Sep 2014 06:31:00 -0400Personal finance tips: How to save on a low income, and more<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong> Saving on a low income</strong><br /></span>Earning a small salary doesn't mean you can't build a sizable nest egg, said Emily Brandon at <em>US News &amp; World Report</em>. Putting money in an IRA not only allows you to sock away money for retirement, but it also helps you reduce your tax bill. For instance, "a worker in the 15 percent tax bracket who contributes $500 to a traditional IRA will save $75 in federal income taxes." Low-income workers are also eligible for the saver's tax credit, which can be worth up to 50 percent of your retirement account contributions, depending on your salary. Roth IRAs are another good option...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/sergio-hernandez" ><span class="byline">Sergio Hernandez</span></a>Mon, 15 Sep 2014 07:03:00 -0400Would a bubble be good for the American economy?<img src="" /></P><p>In an interview with <em>Princeton Magazine</em>, <em>New York Times</em> columnist and Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman faced a difficult and rather strange question: "Are bubbles good or bad and do we need them to create strong economic growth and reach higher levels of employment?"</p><p>The question relates to an often-quoted and often-misunderstood passage from a column in 2002, in which Krugman wrote that "Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble." After the housing bubble burst and caused the Great Recession in 2008, Krugman came under a lot of fire for that comment. He...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/john-aziz" ><span class="byline">John Aziz</span></a>Mon, 15 Sep 2014 06:07:00 -0400