Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:
College costs and your child's GPA
"When should you tell your child that their high school grades might be worth six figures?" asked Ron Lieber at The New York Times. Nearly all but the most selective schools now consider grades as a factor not just for admission but also in "what you might pay." In Georgia, for instance, "a 3.0 grade point average or above can lead to thousands of dollars per year off the price" at state schools. Many schools aren't shy about making the grades-price connection explicit; Clark University sent out an email in 2019 with the subject line "Show me the money." It's worth having a conversation about this with your kids surprisingly early, even "two months into the summer after eighth grade." Wait any longer, and "the vicious math of grade point averages may not allow them to catch up."
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DIY investors turn to expert advice
Rumors about the death of the financial advice industry appear to have been greatly exaggerated, said Kamaron Leach at Bloomberg. One study released in October found that "40 percent of U.S. investors said they need more advice," while "those who said they were willing to pay a financial professional rose to 56 percent, up 5 percentage points from 2019." The rebound in expert outreach may be a counterintuitive outgrowth of the rise of investing apps such as Robinhood. While these apps were once seen as "the death knell for the financial planning and advice industry," more investors have "come to realize there are a lot more components involved in building wealth" than picking stocks or index funds. The year's market gyrations also may have convinced some traders that their portfolios require "constant attention."
Fitness apps' growing monthly fees
"Taking a page out of the Netflix handbook," fitness apps from Peloton, Apple, and FitBit have turned to pricey subscription models, said Rachel Lerman at The Washington Post. Instead of simply "watching free workout videos online" when the pandemic closed many gyms, "consumers became more willing to shell out cash on workout apps." The subscription model has been key for Peloton. "More than 1.3 million people currently both have the bike and subscribe to the $39 monthly service that gives them access to guided workouts." Apple also recently entered the market with its $10 monthly Fitness+ service, "which offers workouts and personalized data combined with Apple Watch hardware."
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