CFTC Issues Temporary Relief from Certain Regulatory Requirements

CFTC Issues Temporary Relief from Certain Regulatory Requirements

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CFTC Issues Temporary Relief from Certain Regulatory Requirements
On March 17, the staff of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued a series of no-action letters to provide certain CFTC-regulated entities and registrants with temporary regulatory relief from a targeted set of regulatory requirements. The CFTC’s Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) issued a set of Staff Letters aimed at a broad range of market participants — including futures commission merchants (FCMs), introducing brokers (IBs), swap dealers (SDs), retail foreign exchange (forex) dealers, floor brokers, and members of designated contract markets (DCMs) and swap execution facilities (SEFs). These letters provide for temporary no-action relief from a number of CFTC regulatory requirements, as described below. Until June 30, 2020, DSIO will not recommend enforcement action against FCMs, IBs, SDs, retail forex dealers, floor brokers and members of DCMs and SEFs for failure to record the time and date on certain order records and trade information by time stamp or other timing device as required by CFTC rules if the personnel who are responsible for preparing such records are mandated by the firm’s BCP to be absent from their normal offices, provided that the required records are created, are maintained, and include any required date and time to the nearest minute. This date and time entry could be manually entered. Until June 30, 2020, DSIO will not recommend enforcement action against FCMs, IBs, SDs, retail forex dealers and floor brokers for failure to record the oral communications of personnel who would otherwise be required to use a recorded line pursuant to CFTC rules if such personnel are mandated by the firm’s BCP to be absent from their normal offices, provided that a written record of the communication is maintained that identifies date, time, participants and subject matter, and that the firm takes “affirmative steps” to collect and maintain any written materials prepared by affected personnel in connection with such communications. Until June 30, 2020, DSIO will not recommend enforcement action against floor brokers who are not physically located in a pit or other place determined by a contract market, nor will floor brokers be subject to a requirement to register as an IB because of failure to so locate, if the floor broker is required by the DCM’s BCP to be absent from such place. DSIO will not recommend enforcement action against FCMs and SDs who would otherwise be required to provide the CFTC with a copy of their Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) annual reports prior to September 1, 2020, provided that they submit such reports within 30-calendar days of their original due dates. The CFTC’s Division of Market Oversight (DMO) issued a set of Staff Letters covering SEFs and DCMs. These letters provide for temporary no-action relief from certain audit trail-related requirements for SEFs and DCMs, as well as an extension of the deadline for submission of CCO annual compliance and certain financial reports for SEFs. Until June 30, 2020, DMO will not recommend enforcement action against any SEFs that cannot meet requirements around recording of voice communications, to the extent that voice trading personnel are outside their normal offices, provided that the SEF makes reasonable efforts to record in writing the time, date, parties and subject matter of unrecorded conversations, all transaction terms are captured in SEF systems, and orders (even if placed on unrecorded lines) are retained in the SEF’s normal audit trail. Until June 30, 2020, DMO will not recommend enforcement action against DCMs that fail to comply with audit trail requirements, to the extent that those failings are a result of interactions with market participants who are relying on the DSIO Staff Letters described above, provided that the DCM requires such participants to comply with the applicable conditions of those DSIO Staff Letters and that orders entered by such participants are retained in the DCM’s normal audit trail. DMO will not recommend enforcement action against any SEF or SEF CCO for failure to timely submit to the CFTC either an annual compliance report or a fourth quarter financial report (where either report would have been due prior to September 1, 2020), provided that such reports are submitted no later than 120 days after the end of the fiscal year for that SEF. The DSIO Staff Letters are available here. The DMO Staff Letters are available here. NOTE: On March 17, the National Futures Association provided relief from parallel NFA requirements for Members that are in compliance with the terms of the CFTC staff no-action relief. The NFA statement is available here.
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Does Life Insurance Cover Deaths From Coronavirus?

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Does Life Insurance Cover Deaths From Coronavirus?
Thousands of people worldwide have already died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. For those who have life insurance, in almost all cases, they are covered, and insurance will likely pay out for deaths from COVID-19. There are a few exceptions, according to representatives from life insurance companies and industry organizations. Potential... Kayda Norman is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: knorman@nerdwallet.com. The article Does Life Insurance Cover Deaths From Coronavirus? originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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This Week in Fintech ending 27 March 2020

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This Week in Fintech ending 27 March 2020
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Business interruption- cover that’s too big to cover- but needs to be next time

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Business interruption- cover that’s too big to cover- but needs to be next time
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Coronavirus and Negative Interest Rates: What It Means for You

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Coronavirus and Negative Interest Rates: What It Means for You
Thanks to the coronavirus-related financial crisis, we’ve broken more records in U.S. financial markets: Interest rates on some government securities have now dropped below zero, with one hitting a new low. As of this morning, three-month Treasury bills on the secondary market were paying negative 0.036% — a record low. One-month Treasury bill rates also went negative. This is the first time since... [...]
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BIG Updates From Our House (we tell you all about it on the podcast)

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BIG Updates From Our House (we tell you all about it on the podcast)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Well, like I’ve alluded to other places online, the past two weeks have been packed full of so many different, unexpected things. Some good, some hard, some just plain different than what we expected. It feels almost as if we’ve lived through an entire month in just a week’s time. In this week’s podcast episode, we sit down and talk about some of the BIG updates/changes/unexpected things that happened at our house recently, including: getting a long-term placement from foster care for a preemie who was still in the NICU (he got out of the hospital today!!!!) the kids being out of school and everything being cancelled — and how we are letting them plan their routine for the day and how that is working for us Kathrynne’s trip to Suriname where she ended up getting stuck there because the country closed their borders due to COVID-19 (she only ended up having to stay two extra days — and she shares more about that experience on the podcast) If you have some extra time and want a more newsy behind-the-scenes peek into what’s going on at our house right now, don’t miss this episode. In This Episode:  [01:25] There have been some major life changes happening lately and we’re going to discuss a few of them in-depth on the podcast today. [03:21] The kids are planning their own routines during this time and it is saving both my life and Jesse’s life. Hear why we are having our kids be in charge of this and how we went about having them set this up. [09:11] I’m reading Don’t Overthink It by Anne Bogel and I share some of my favorite quotes. [12:45] Jesse is reading Fearless by Eric Blehm. [18:36] Our sweet foster baby should be released from the hospital soon and we are so excited. [21:24] Kathrynne joins us to chat about her adventures in Suriname. She shares why she went on this trip, what they did on the trip, and her biggest highlight of the trip. [27:41] Hear all about how the trip ended very differently than any of us could have imagined and Kathrynne felt when they were told that the trip could be extended for 30 days or more.  Links and Resources: Don’t Overthink It by Anne Bogel Fearless by Eric Blehm MoneySavingMom.com YourBloggingMentor.com My Instagram account (I’d love for you to follow me there! I usually hop on at least a few times per day and share behind-the-scenes photos and videos, my grocery store hauls, funny stories, or just anything I’m pondering or would like your advice or feedback on!) Have feedback on the show or suggestions for future episodes or topics? Send me an email: crystal@moneysavingmom.com How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show The podcast is available on iTunes, Android, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player here. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.) Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app. [...]
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Technology helping governments & citizens, one line of code at a time

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Technology helping governments & citizens, one line of code at a time
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XBRL news for Week Ending Tuesday 17 March 2020

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XBRL news for Week Ending Tuesday 17 March 2020
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Niche Fintech Could Catch The Coronavirus Bug

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Niche Fintech Could Catch The Coronavirus Bug
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CFTC’s Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee to Meet on March 24

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CFTC’s Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee to Meet on March 24
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee (EEMAC) announced that it will hold a public meeting at 9:30 a.m. on March 24 at the CFTC’s headquarters in Washington, DC. At the meeting, the EEMAC will consider the CFTC’s proposed rule regarding the establishment of position limits for derivatives contracts that provide for physical delivery. Specifically, the EEMAC will examine the proposed position limits for spot months, single month, and all-months-combined and the proposed bona fide hedging exemptions from such position limits and related procedures. The CFTC’s Market Intelligence Branch will also make a presentation on recent developments in the energy derivatives marketplace. The meeting is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, as well as via conference call. More information is available here. For more information on the CFTC’s proposed rule regarding Position Limits for Derivatives, please see the January 31, 2020 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest. [...]
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Time to check US Consumer debt, delinquencies, and refinancing applications

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Time to check US Consumer debt, delinquencies, and refinancing applications
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XBRL news for Week Ending Tuesday 10 March 2020

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XBRL news for Week Ending Tuesday 10 March 2020
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CFTC Designates Small Exchange, Inc. as a Designated Contract Market

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CFTC Designates Small Exchange, Inc. as a Designated Contract Market
On March 10, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that it had issued an Order of Designation approving the application of the Small Exchange, Inc. (Small Exchange) for designation as a contract market (DCM). As required under Section 5 of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC Regulation 38.3(a), the CFTC issued the order after finding that the Small Exchange had demonstrated its ability to comply with the provisions of the CEA and CFTC Regulations applicable to DCMs. The CFTC press release is available here. A full copy of the Order of Designation is available here. [...]
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Security Token news for Week Ending Friday 13 March 2020

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Security Token news for Week Ending Friday 13 March 2020
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CFTC Approves Rule Change Relating to Termination of Exemptive Relief for Foreign Brokers

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CFTC Approves Rule Change Relating to Termination of Exemptive Relief for Foreign Brokers
On March 4, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that it unanimously approved amendments to CFTC Rule 30.10 to codify the CFTC’s authority to terminate exemptive relief issued to foreign firms. Through an existing exemptive program, the CFTC provides foreign entities with access to U.S. customers and U.S. customers with increased access to foreign futures markets by allowing customers to interface with foreign brokers subject to comparable regulatory oversight. To apply for exemptive relief under Rule 30.10, a foreign regulator or self-regulatory organization acting on behalf of foreign brokers within its jurisdiction must specify with particularity the corresponding laws and regulations applicable in the broker’s home jurisdiction. The amended rule clarifies the circumstances under which the CFTC may terminate the exemptive relief. Specifically, the CFTC may terminate the exemptive relief if the CFTC determines, after an opportunity to respond, that: (1) there is a material change or omission in the facts and circumstances pursuant to which relief was granted that demonstrate that the standards set forth in Appendix A to Part 30 of this part forming the basis for granting relief are no longer met; (2)  the continued effectiveness of any such exemptive relief would be contrary to the public interest or inconsistent with the purposes of the Rule 30.10 exemption; or (3) the arrangements in place for the sharing of information with the CFTC do not warrant continuation of the exemptive relief granted. The rule provides that the CFTC will give an affected party notice prior to terminating a Rule 30.10 exemption, and the affected party, and any other interested person, will have 30 business days to respond. The amended rule is effective upon publication in the Federal Register. More information on the Rule 30.10 amendment is available here. [...]
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Does Debt Consolidation Affect Your Credit Score? Get the Facts

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Does Debt Consolidation Affect Your Credit Score? Get the Facts
Debt consolidation is usually billed as a smart financial move, because it can boost your credit score and save you money. But a few mistakes could actually hurt your credit or cost you more money in the long run. Here’s what to keep in mind when deciding whether to consolidate your debt and how to choose the best way to do it. How Does Debt Consolidation Work? Debt consolidation usually means taking out a loan to pay off existing debts, most commonly credit card debt. These are technically personal loans that lenders often market as “debt consolidation loans,” which isn’t inaccurate; it’s just their way of letting you know how they can help you. You’ll take out the loan, receive the funds and use them to pay off your credit card balances. Then you’ll repay the loan over time like any other loan. You could also consolidate with a balance-transfer credit card or other kind of loan, such as a retirement account loan or home equity loan. However, personal loans typically have the advantage of lower interest rates and no collateral requirement. People with a lot of high-interest debt tend to look to consolidation because it simplifies repayment, and could reduce the cost of the debt through lower monthly payments, a lower interest rate or both. Pros of Debt Consolidation Replace a bunch of monthly payments with just one. Potentially get a lower interest rate. Potentially owe less each month. Boost your credit score — we’ll talk about how below. Cons of Debt Consolidation The debt might cost you more over time. Some mistakes could hurt your credit score — we’ll talk about what to avoid below. You’ll owe one large monthly payment, instead of several spread over the month. Your payment could be larger than minimum credit card payments. You might pay fees upfront or over time. Alternatives to Debt Consolidation  You might come across companies offering one of several ways to fix your debt. They’ll each have a different effect on your credit score and apply to different situations: Consolidation refers to “combining” several debts into one. A single loan or credit card pays off the balance on several others, so you’re left with just the one line of debt. Consolidate debt when you want to streamline repayment of several debts. Refinancing works like consolidation, but the term usually refers to paying off a single debt. You pay off one loan balance with a new loan that gives you a better interest rate and repayment terms. Refinance your debt if your credit and finances have improved since you first borrowed. Debt relief is an umbrella term that includes consolidation and refinancing, and it often includes some amount of debt forgiveness. The term is often used by companies that facilitate debt consolidation or a “debt management plan” — you’re generally best off doing a little research and managing the debt on your own. Settlement is when you agree with a creditor on a reduced repayment amount that it’ll consider payment in full. This will show up on your credit report and could have a negative impact for several years, but will help you pay off the debt faster. Restructuring is more common for companies than individuals and usually happens in dire situations. The effect is similar to refinancing, but it involves reorganizing the existing debt rather than replacing it with a new one. Do You Need Good Credit to Consolidate Debt? You don’t necessarily need a high credit score to take out a loan for debt consolidation, but better credit gives you a better chance at a low interest rate and favorable terms. Watch out for predatory lenders if you have a low credit score; some unscrupulous companies are willing to give you a loan you can’t afford with a super high interest rate. A loan you can’t afford to repay could put you in a worse situation than you are with credit card debt. Does Debt Consolidation Affect Your Credit Score? Consolidating debt could help your credit score in two major ways: Lower your credit utilization: The amount of available credit you use weighs heavily into your score. A bunch of maxed-out credit cards looks bad. Consolidation pays off those balances and reduces your utilization. A positive line on your credit report: The loan is a way to demonstrate your creditworthiness as long as you stay current on payments. Consolidation itself doesn’t leave a negative mark on your credit report, like debt settlement does. But the loan (or credit card) shows up as a new credit line, which could temporarily lower your score. FROM THE CREDIT FORUM Payoff Focus 2/24/20 @ 3:22 PM Credit Score impact for paying off an auto loan ? 2/25/20 @ 7:43 PM BUILDING CREDIT FINANCING A PHONE 1/12/20 @ 4:41 PM Build credit 2/16/20 @ 10:50 PM B See more in Credit or ask a money question How to Consolidate Credit Card Debt Without Hurting Your Credit A few common debt consolidation mistakes could hurt your credit score or cost you money. Here are a few tips to make the right decision for your situation. Don’t Close the Paid Accounts After you pay off credit cards, don’t close every account. Having them on your credit report affects these factors that make up your credit score: Age of credit history: Creditors want to see you’ve been around the block with credit. When you close old cards, your average credit history gets shorter. Credit mix: This is the variety of types of debt you have — installment loan versus credit card versus mortgage, for example. It has a small but significant effect on your credit score. Utilization: More cards open means more available credit. Cut up your cards to avoid growing that balance again, and that unused credit will keep your utilization ratio low. Keep up With Payments Your credit card consolidation loan or balance-transfer credit card is still debt with monthly payments you have to keep up with. Budget before you take out the loan so you know you can afford the monthly payment. Staying on top of the payments should help your credit score over time — but getting behind will hurt. If you opt for a balance-transfer card — which usually comes with an introductory 0% APR for about a year — plan to pay the debt off during the introductory period. Any longer, and you’ll probably face a high interest rate and annual fees. Compare Consolidation Options Shop around before committing to any debt consolidation option. Consider what kind of consolidation — personal loan, balance-transfer card or secured loan — works best for you based on your budget, existing debt and creditworthiness. Online loan marketplaces can help you quickly see and compare personal loan offers from lenders side by side. To evaluate a debt consolidation loan, consider: Interest rate: Aim for an interest rate that’s lower than the combined rate on your existing debt. A loan with a higher rate could still give you the relief of a lower monthly payment and fewer creditors, but it will cost you more money. Monthly payment: Reorganizing your debt to land a smaller monthly payment could outweigh the long-term savings you’d get with a shorter repayment term or lower interest. A smaller bill could make the difference between paying on time or not, which has a major impact on your cre [...]
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USDA Home Loans: What They Are and How to Apply for One

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USDA Home Loans: What They Are and How to Apply for One
You want to own your own home. It’s part of the American dream, right?  But saving up that magical 20% for a down payment seems impossible. Even 10% would take years. All you want is a nice, affordable house in the suburbs, or even out in the country. You might be in luck, thanks to a little-known mortgage program. If you qualify, it could help you buy your dream home with a $0 down payment. What’s a USDA Home Loan? The USDA is the United States Department of Agriculture, and one of its main purposes is to support rural development. The USDA home loan program is one of the ways the agency accomplishes that. Pro Tip The program’s full name is a USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan. You may also see it referred to as a Section 502 loan.  USDA home loans offer qualified borrowers a chance to purchase a home with no money down, mortgage rates that are below the market average, and even reduced mortgage insurance premiums.  The program is designed to help people with average or even below-average income buy their own homes, so don’t let that “qualified borrowers” part scare you away. USDA home loans are made to help those who need them, so a less-than-perfect credit score and lower income may be enough to qualify you. Who Qualifies for a USDA Home Loan? Like most loan programs, there are some eligibility requirements. Here are the basic qualifications for a USDA home loan: U.S. citizenship or permanent residency The ability to prove creditworthiness, typically with a credit score of at least 640 Stable and dependable income The ability and willingness to repay the mortgage – generally 12 months of no late payments or collections Adjusted household income is equal to or less than 115% of the area median income The property has to serve as the primary residence and should be located in a qualified rural area, which is defined as an area with a population under 10,000 (or certain areas with fewer than 20,000 people who are underserved with mortgage credit for low to moderate-income families). See if your area qualifies.  There may be exceptions to some of these qualifications based on the standards of individual lenders.  “The main limits are on location and income,” said Miguel Morales, a loan officer with Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. “There are also rules for debt to income ratio and minimum credit scores. Most lenders need a 640. My company allows a 620 if we get automated approval and meet all approval criteria.” The income requirements are pretty straightforward. You probably qualify if you earn less than $86,850 for a household of up to 4 people, or less than $114,650 for a household of 5-8 people. The USDA has an income eligibility calculator you can use to determine if you could qualify for a USDA home loan. What Do You Need To Know About USDA Home Loans? If you qualify for a USDA home loan, you should get great mortgage rates and you won’t need a down payment. However, you still need to be ready to cover some basic costs of the loan. “The main benefit is that [the loan] does not require a down payment, but it does have closing costs,” Morales said. “The seller can often help pay some or all of the closing costs in a purchase scenario. A buyer can get into a home with little money as long as they meet the criteria. They will need funds for the earnest money deposit, appraisal and any home inspections, at the very least.” An earnest money deposit is basically a “good faith” deposit made to the seller. The deposit, which can be between 1% to 10% of the mortgage, is held in escrow until closing, at which point it’s put towards the down payment.  The average cost of an appraisal for a single-family home runs between $300 and $400, according to HomeGuide.  The cost of a home inspection typically ranges from $280 to $390. These loans also carry a 1% fee, which is paid at closing.  So if you’re looking at a rural home with a cost of $150,000, you may still need to have $1,500 or more for the earnest money deposit and another $650 or so for the appraisal and inspection. Then you’ll need $1,500 for the USDA fee. That’s $3,650. That’s still a lot less than a 20% down payment of $30K, right? Another thing to consider is that buying a home with a USDA home loan could be a slower process than your typical home-buying experience. “It can take a little longer to process a USDA loan since the USDA has to approve the loan after the lender has completed their final approval, which would include appraisal review and final underwriting,” Morales said. “So instead of closing a loan in 30 days, it may take 45 days or so to close a USDA loan.”  If you decide to pursue a USDA home loan, be aware that not every bank or mortgage company handles USDA Home Loans. To find one near you, check out the USDA’s list of approved lenders.  The USDA home loan program is targeted to a rather specific set of home buyers. If you’re looking to purchase a home in a rural or suburban area, make less-than-average income, and have decent credit, it could be perfect for you.  Tyler Omoth is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Security Token news for Week Ending Friday 6 March 2020

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Security Token news for Week Ending Friday 6 March 2020
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From Adam Smith to the Glasgow Economic Forum 2020

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From Adam Smith to the Glasgow Economic Forum 2020
What was the most important document published in 1776? Most Americans would probably say “The Declaration of Independence”. But many would argue that Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations” had a far bigger and more global impact. The University Glasgow in Scotland is home to the “Father of Capitalism”. Since Adam Smith published his works that revolutionized the world’s marketplaces, the progress over the last two hundred fifty years has been explosive. Year after year, the world has grown more connected and more prosperous. Today, the world is far more complex because of globalization, climate change, population growth and movement, and we need new approaches to problems. True to his spirit, for the fifth year in a row, students from the Adam Smith Business School at the University of Glasgow, are organizing the Glasgow Economic Forum (GEF). This is a student-led conference that brings together academics and professionals to share and exchange ideas that can stimulate discussion on how we can approach these complex problems. The two-day event will be led by world-class speakers from Oxford, Cambridge, OECD, the European Commission, Heidelberg University, and the Scottish Government among others. Professor Sarah Smith from the University of Bristol will deliver a keynote speech on the role of women and minorities in the economics and the ways the #DiscoverEconomics initiative can help to boost diversity in this subject area. The second keynote speaker is Professor Doyne Farmer, from the University of Oxford and Santa Fe Institute, and he will talk about Modelling the Economy as a Complex System. During the event there will be a fintech workshop, organized by Garreth Stubbs from the University of Glasgow Fintech Society. This event is supported by the Bank of England and the Young Scholars Initiative. Here are all the details about the event: Date: Saturday 7 – Sunday 8 March 2020 Time: 9:00am Venue: Lecture Theatre 201, Charles Wilson Building, 1 University Avenue Audience: Event is open to all Admission: Early bird – day pass £13.66, weekend pass £18.76 Website: https://www.glasgoweconomicforum.com LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/glasgow-economic-forum Instagram: @glaeconomicforum Louis Hatzis is the founder and CEO of Mercato Blockchain AG. The idea for this post was prompted by one of the investors in his company, whose son is a student at the University Glasgow and one of the organizers of the Glasgow Economic Forum (GEF). The post From Adam Smith to the Glasgow Economic Forum 2020 appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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`Before me, everything was done manually` says the `Blockchain` Figure muppet

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`Before me, everything was done manually` says the `Blockchain` Figure muppet
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Wells Fargo Review: Big Sign-up Bonuses Come With High Fees

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Wells Fargo Review: Big Sign-up Bonuses Come With High Fees
Wells Fargo is a Big Four bank that made big headlines back in 2016 and 2017 over a scandal where employees created millions of fake accounts to hit their sales targets. But it’s up to you to decide whether you should or shouldn’t trust Wells Fargo with your money. We’re here to give you an honest look at the bank’s checking and savings features for individuals and small businesses, as well as its overall convenience and mobile banking features in this Wells Fargo review. Wells Fargo Review: Pros and Cons What we like: The monthly service fees for Wells Fargo’s basic checking and savings accounts are easily waived. The Automatic Refund feature is free and will reverse some overdraft fees. Low-fee checking and savings options for small businesses. Wells Fargo is currently offering a $400 bonus to new customers who open a checking account and set up at least $4,000 of monthly direct deposits for three consecutive months. What we don’t like: The APY on savings accounts is well below the national average. Not for habitual overdrafters: The standard overdraft fee is $35, and overdraft protection costs $12.50 per transfer. The trust factor: Remember that whole fake account scandal? Checking  Grade: C Wells Fargo’s most popular checking option, the Everyday Checking account, has a pretty standard minimum opening deposit of $25. It has a $10 monthly service fee, but Wells Fargo will waive it if you meet one of the following conditions: You have 10 or more debit transactions. Have $500 or more in direct deposits. Maintain a daily balance of $1,500 or more. Are between the ages of 17 and 24. The money you keep in the Everyday Checking account won’t earn you interest, but if you opt for the Preferred Checking account, you’ll earn a minuscule 0.01% APY if you maintain a balance of at least $500. Wells Fargo’s overdraft fees are a steep $35, with a limit of three per day. Overdraft protection is available if you have a linked Wells Fargo savings account or credit card — but the transfer to cover your overdraft will cost you a hefty $12.50. However, we do like the Automatic Refund feature, which will waive some overdraft fees if Wells Fargo receives an automatic transfer that covers at least the amount you overdrafted by before 9 a.m. the following business day. This feature is free and is automatically applied to all checking accounts. Wells Fargo is known for pretty sweet bonus offers for new customers: If you’re a new customer and you open a checking account, you’ll receive a $400 bonus if you set up and receive at least $4,000 in monthly direct deposits for three consecutive months. The offer is good through July 31, 2020. Savings Grade: C Wells Fargo’s basic savings account, the Way2Save Account, also has a $25 minimum opening deposit. There’s a $5 monthly service fee that’s waived if: You maintain a daily balance of at least $300. You set up at least one automatic transfer. You’re under 18. We’re also fans of the optional Save As You Go program, which transfers $1 into your savings account for each non-recurring debit purchase and automatic online bill pay transaction. But the Way2Save Account isn’t exactly a way to earn interest, as your balance will earn just 0.01% APY, which is well below the national average. The Platinum Savings Account has a standard APY of 0.05%, still below average, and requires a minimum balance of $3,500 to avoid the $12 a month service fee. Wells Fargo’s standard CDs require a deposit of at least $2,500, and APYs are also below average. To see Wells Fargo’s CD rates near you, click here. Small Business Banking Grade: B+ We think Wells Fargo is one of the best banks for small businesses in general. What we like its small business checking and savings account offerings because of their low fees. The Simple Business Checking Account has a $25 minimum opening deposit. There’s a $10 a month service fee that’s waived with an average balance of $500. You’ll also get 50 free transactions and $3,000 worth of free cash deposits each month. The Business Market Rate Savings Account also requires just $25 to open. It has a $6 a month service fee that’s waived with an average balance of $500. The account comes with 20 free check deposits and $5,000 worth of free cash deposits per month. Convenience Grade: A Wells Fargo is hard to beat on convenience, with more than 5,400 branches and 13,000 ATMs in the U.S. There’s also 24/7 customer service. Of course, like most big banks, Wells Fargo offers a lot of digital features (more on these in a minute) like mobile deposit and text banking that make it less important to be able to visit a physical location or interact with an actual human. While this Wells Fargo review is limited to its checking and savings options, it’s a convenient place to bank if you want a full suite of financial products, like credit cards, mortgages, car loans and investment accounts, all under the same roof. Mobile Banking Grade: A Customers give the Wells Fargo Mobile app solid reviews. It gets 4.8 out of 5 stars in the Apple App Store and 4.6 out of 5 stars in the Google Play Store. We also like the Control Tower option that lets you easily turn your card off if you’ve misplaced it. There’s also a cool cardless ATM option that allows you to access cash using your mobile phone — no debit card required. The app has several neat financial management tools that let you track your spending in real time, create a budget and make a savings plan. Granted, there are tons of other budgeting apps that do the same things, but it’s nice to have these features rolled into your banking app. Our Bank Review Methodology The Penny Hoarder’s editorial team considers more than 25 factors in its bank account reviews, including fees, minimum daily balance requirements, APYs, overdraft charges, ATM access, number of physical locations, customer service support access and mobile features.  To determine how we weigh each factor, The Penny Hoarder surveyed 1,500 people to find out what banking features matter most to you.  For example, we give top grades to banks that have low fees because our survey showed that this is the No. 1 thing you look for in a bank. Because more than 70% of you said you visited a physical bank branch last year, we consider the number of brick-and-mortar locations. But more than one-third of you use mobile apps for more than 75% of your banking, so digital features are also considered carefully. Banks are graded across the following categories: Personal checking accounts Personal savings accounts Small-business banking Convenience Mobile banking Credit card and loan products are not currently considered. Robin Hartill is a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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SEC Proposes to Modernize Infrastructure for NMS Securities Market Data

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SEC Proposes to Modernize Infrastructure for NMS Securities Market Data
On February 14, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed to modernize the infrastructure for the collection, consolidation and dissemination of market data for exchange-listed national market system (NMS) securities, including by expanding the content of included NMS market data and introducing a decentralized consolidation model with competing data consolidators. The rules that govern the content and dissemination of NMS market data have not be updated since the 1970s. The proposal will be published on SEC.gov and in the Federal Register. There will be a 60-day comment period following publication. More information from the SEC is available here. [...]
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Security Token news for Week Ending Friday 21 February 2020

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Security Token news for Week Ending Friday 21 February 2020
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How to Become a Graphic Designer: Here's What It Takes

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How to Become a Graphic Designer: Here's What It Takes
A picture is worth a thousand words — and maybe just as many dollars. Graphic designers work in a competitive but exhilarating and fulfilling field in which they combine their passion for art and love of technology to create compelling design work for logos, websites, flyers, brochures, infographics and more. If you have been a lifelong artist and are looking for a way to apply your talents in your career, consider finding out how to become a graphic designer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for graphic designers is $50,370, plus the benefits that come with working in a typical office role (paid vacations, paid holidays, sick leave, health insurance, etc.). What can make graphic design an even more lucrative career choice is the flexibility to do freelance work. A common hourly rate for freelance graphic design work is $65 to $150, though as a freelance designer, you can set your own hourly or per-project rates above or below that range. What’s the Day-to-Day Work Like for a Graphic Designer? Parker Myers is a graphic designer at the Nashville, Tennessee, office of market-research firm Forrester Research, headquartered near Boston.  Myers told me in 2018 that he spends his days using software like Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft PowerPoint to build presentation graphics, interactive tools for websites, infographics and similar materials. He also keeps an ongoing dialogue within his organization regarding branding (fonts, colors, etc.). Aside from the actual graphic-design work, Myers’ role involves a lot of collaborative conversations with clients and the employees who interact directly with them, who are ultimately responsible for what he designs. But it’s not just the 9-to-5 that consumes Myers’ design skills. “My free time is taken up by freelancing projects and volunteer work as a designer for the church that I go to. Freelancing very much comes in waves. Right now, I’ve got a consistent flow of work, enough that my evenings are really busy. That’s why the full-time work is a great combination with freelancing if you don’t mind spending 90% of your waking time on design stuff.” Skills and Qualities of a Successful Graphic Designer Myers has been in the design field for the past five years, long enough to achieve a fair amount of success. The biggest driver of success is communication or, as Myers calls it, understanding and empathy.  “[You are] constantly putting yourself in someone else’s shoes,” he explained — meaning at times, you have to sacrifice your own personal aesthetic to create your client’s vision or to maintain your company’s brand. “The ability to see how others see — being able to get out of your own head — is really important.” Of course, the more obvious skill that a successful designer needs in is what I, someone with no eye for design, would call a talent you are born with: a well-nurtured aesthetic sense. But in the 21st century, that artistic vision must be coupled with a thorough understanding of technology, including programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as web languages; a lot of design work is web-based nowadays. Myers also explained that minimalism is a helpful trait — “stripping down a solution to its core and making sure it functions perfectly, then dressing it up a little. That’s how I try to approach [design].” How to Become a Graphic Designer Graphic designers take varied paths to get where they are — and there’s no “right way.”  1. Consider Education in Graphic Design Myers attended college to become a journalist and realized closer to graduation that he wanted to pursue design. He ended up graduating with a journalism degree with a concentration in design, which is definitely not the most common route. “You can get there without [a degree],” Myers told me, “but if you’ve got the opportunity to go to school and study it, you’ll definitely be better off. School gives you a safe place to earn your wings and work out the kinks.” If you intend to go the full-time route, an associate’s degree at the very least is recommended; coursework will cover the basics of typography, web design and color theory.  The more common and preferred route is a bachelor’s degree. In pursuing your bachelor’s, you will take courses in digital and print production, media management and entrepreneurialism. Some graphic designers even get a master’s degree. 2. Put Together a Portfolio Perhaps just as important as the degree is the portfolio. Develop a portfolio that shows your special skills, your range and your understanding of core competencies.  If you need to build a portfolio and have no professional projects to include, volunteer your talents with a local nonprofit or offer to work for a reduced rate to start-up companies willing to give you a chance. 3. Create as Many Designs as Possible Myers emphasized the importance of doing as much work as possible. “Volume of work is essential to getting better,” he said. “In that sense, I like to think of it like a physical skill, like a jump shot in basketball. The more time you spend in the gym, the better you’ll be. Find ways to create every day. Put in the reps. Create random prompts for yourself. Take on any work you can find: brochures, posters, logos, flyers, programs, whatever. Do it all. Don’t turn down projects. And don’t be afraid to spend a lot of time on every project,” “It’s very hard to fake your way into being good at design. It’s just something that gets sharper and sharper over time..” The Challenges of Being a Graphic Designer Communication can be a graphic designer’s best friend or ultimate downfall. Most of your work as a designer will be in translating someone else’s vision. Talented designers are able to listen and ask the right questions to successfully act on someone else’s ideas. Hand-in-hand with this challenge is another: Sometimes colleagues or clients with no eye for design will push their ideas on you even when they conflict with your expert guidance. Designers must find the fine line between pushing back when novices try to influence the design direction and making clients happy. “Resisting trends is very tough for me,” Myers said. “I get really wrapped up in what everyone else is doing and want to chase it.”  That’s fine now and then, according to Myers, but it’s your own unique methods and stylistic touches that will set you apart from the competition when going in for a job interview or bidding for a client. Interviewing and bidding for work may be the biggest challenge of all; the field is highly competitive. While graphic designers are in large demand, the field is saturated by artists hungry for a challenge. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career field should see only 3% growth between 2018 and 2028 (slower than the national average). If you decide to pursue graphic design, be ready to fight hard to earn work, whether full-time or freelance. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM Extra money on the side 1/27/20 @ 6:48 PM S Make money from home 2/2/20 @ 5:47 AM Is there Really a way to make MONEY ONLINE? 2/14/20 @ 7:34 PM Earn well with little Money? 2/14/20 @ 8:06 PM [...]
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Flood insurance- where the rising tide has NOT raised all ships

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Flood insurance- where the rising tide has NOT raised all ships
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What’s the Best Use of Your Tax Refund? 8 Smart Ideas

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What’s the Best Use of Your Tax Refund? 8 Smart Ideas
Getting a sizable tax refund can seem like winning the lottery. All at once, you’re a few thousand dollars richer. It can be tempting to blow that cash without thinking, but you’re wiser than that. You know that your tax refund isn’t free money — it’s your money. If you’re unsure of the best use of your tax refund, remember that it’s a portion of the hard-earned cash you worked for throughout the year and consider these eight smart ways to put that money to good use. 1. Build Up Your Emergency Fund Saving cash aside for emergencies gives you peace of mind that you can financially weather a crisis. Unfortunately, many Americans have much less than the recommended amount for an emergency fund. If you have less than three-to-six-months worth of living expenses, funnel some of your tax refund to your emergency fund. Pro Tip Keep your emergency fund savings in a liquid, no-risk account that’s easy to access when you need it. Earn interest with a high-yield savings account or money market account. 2. Pay Down Debt Relieve yourself of some of the pressure weighing down on you from debt. If you’re a fan of the snowball method of debt repayment, put your refund toward one or two of your smaller debt balances. Once they’re paid off, work on your next largest debt.  If you’re more of a debt avalanche fan, use your tax refund to pay down a larger balance that has the highest interest rate. Even if you don’t pay it off completely, reducing the balance means you’ll pay less in interest. 3. Contribute More to Your Retirement Funds Hopefully you’re already contributing to a 401(k) plan or individual retirement account (IRA), but are you maxing out your contributions? The 2020 401(k) contribution limits are $19,500 for individuals younger than 50 or $26,000 for those 50 and up. This year, you can contribute up to $6,000 in an IRA if you’re younger than 50 or up to $7,000 if you’re 50 or older. The more you add to your retirement accounts, the greater your money can potentially grow. Even if you can’t afford to increase the percentage of your paycheck that goes to retirement each month, you can use your tax refund to make a one-time, lump-sum contribution. 4. Save for a Big Bill Think about what big expenses you have coming up on the horizon that you haven’t budgeted for — like your auto insurance premiums or getting braces for your teen. If your monthly income can’t support such an expense in addition to all your regular bills and obligations, using your tax refund is a smart choice in lieu of dipping into your emergency fund or turning to credit cards. FROM THE BUDGETING FORUM Changing my eating habits is changing my finances 1/8/20 @ 2:56 PM Family Budgeting Strategy for Youth 2/10/20 @ 4:42 PM K Pay all bills on one day or spread throughout the month?? 2/6/20 @ 5:59 AM See more in Budgeting or ask a money question 5. Fill Out Your Sinking Funds You’re probably juggling multiple savings goals. Maybe you’re trying to stack cash for a cross-country move while saving for a wedding. Or you’re saving to welcome a new baby into the family while putting money aside for your older kid’s birthday party and concurrently saving for a down payment on a minivan. Each sinking fund — which is just a personal finance term for a pool of money you add to over time to break up a large expense — could probably use an influx of cash. Distribute a portion of your refund money to each savings goal — or funnel it all toward your most pressing need. 6. Invest in Yourself Sometimes it takes money to make money. Is there a certification program you can take or a piece of tech equipment you need to enhance your career and help you get a better-paying position?  Or perhaps you have a business idea you’ve been wanting to get off the ground but just needed some initial capital. Invest your tax money in something that’ll help you generate more income. 7. Save for Your Kids’ College Education College is a big-ticket expense for most parents. Even with scholarships and financial aid, families can expect to have significant out-of-pocket costs. Get in the habit of putting your tax refund toward saving for college to help offset your child’s looming tuition bill. A 529 college savings plan is a common option to store your funds. Pro Tip If your kid is still in diapers, it may seem more practical to put your extra money toward more immediate expenses, like the cost of daycare. There’s always time to save for college later. 8. Make Home Improvements Home upgrades can be expensive, but they can also increase the value of your home when it’s time to sell. If your roof is due for replacement, you’ve got major appliances that are decades old or you simply want to give your kitchen a facelift, tap into your tax refund to take care of those home improvement projects. Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Small Business Fintech is levelling the playing field with big business over cost of capital

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Small Business Fintech is levelling the playing field with big business over cost of capital
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FINRA Requests Comments on Proposed Amendments to CAB Rules

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FINRA Requests Comments on Proposed Amendments to CAB Rules
On January 14, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued Regulatory Notice 20-03 announcing that it had concluded its retrospective review of Rule 5250 (Payments for Market Making), which generally prohibits members from receiving payments for market making. Based on the review, FINRA has elected to maintain the rule without change. Regulatory Notice 20-03 is available here. [...]
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FINRA Issues Investor Alert Regarding Required Minimum Distributions

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FINRA Issues Investor Alert Regarding Required Minimum Distributions
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued an Investor Alert regarding a new law raising the age for required minimum distributions (RMDs). A RMD is the amount an individual must take out of their traditional retirement savings plan to avoid tax penalties, once such an individual has reached the mandatory age for making withdrawals. The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019 raises the mandatory age an individual must begin taking RMDs from 70 ½ years old to 72, unless such individual turned 70 ½ years old in 2019. The Investor Alert is available here. [...]
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5 Cellphone Plans That Come With Free Streaming TV

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5 Cellphone Plans That Come With Free Streaming TV
This post comes from partner site WhistleOut.com. All major carriers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile now offer incredibly competitive unlimited data plans. In their effort to win your business, these carriers (and some smaller mobile companies) are now offering streaming service as a free perk for signing up for one of their unlimited plans. So, if you’re in the market for an... [...]
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Australian Fintech Assembly Payments Lands JV with Standard Chartered Bank

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Australian Fintech Assembly Payments Lands JV with Standard Chartered Bank
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SEC Proposes Amendments to Financial Disclosure in Regulation S-K and Issues New Guidance

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SEC Proposes Amendments to Financial Disclosure in Regulation S-K and Issues New Guidance
On January 30, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted to propose amendments to certain financial disclosure requirements in Regulation S-K, in an effort to modernize and simplify such requirements. The SEC also issued new guidance relating to key performance indicators and metrics. The SEC has proposed the following amendments and guidance to Regulation S-K: Elimination of Items 301 Selected Financial Data and 302 Supplementary Financial Information To simplify disclosure requirements in light of modern technological developments and reduce the repetition of non-material information, the SEC proposed eliminating the requirements that registrants provide 1) five years of selected financial data and 2) two years of selected quarterly financial data. Amendments to Item 303 Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations The SEC proposed various amendments to Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (MD&A), including: adding a new Item 303(a) to succinctly state and clarify the principal purposes of MD&A and streamline the instructions; eliminating the specific requirement to discuss the impact of inflation and price changes, though a discussion of such matters would still be required if the trend shows they have had or are reasonably expected to have a material impact on net sales, revenue or income from continuing operations (Item 303(a)(3)(iv) Results of Operations (Inflation and Price Changes)); replacing the requirement that a registrant discuss off-balance sheet arrangements with a requirement to integrate disclosure of off-balance sheet arrangements within the broader context of MD&A (Item 303(a)(4), Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements); eliminating the requirement to provide a contractual obligations table (Item 303(a)(5) Contractual Obligations); permitting registrants to compare the most recently completed quarter to either the corresponding quarter of the prior year, as currently mandated, or to the immediately preceding quarter (Item 303(b) Interim Periods); and requiring disclosure of critical accounting estimates. Other proposed amendments to MD&A would require disclosure of known events reasonably likely to cause a material change in costs and revenues; codify existing interpretive guidance requiring the discussion of reasons underlying material changes in net sales or revenues and require disclosure of material cash requirements (including capital expenditures commitments); and the anticipated source of funds and general purpose of such material cash requirements. Amendments Relating to Foreign Private Issuers The proposed revisions include parallel amendments to Forms 20-F and 40-F relating to foreign private issuers (FPIs), intending that MD&A requirements for FPIs continue to mirror the substantive MD&A requirements in Item 303 of Regulation S-K. Guidance The SEC also issued new guidance providing that, where registrants disclose key performance indicators or metrics, they should also consider the extent to which additional disclosure relating to the metrics is necessary in light of existing MD&A requirements and to ensure that the presentation of the indicators or metrics, in light of the circumstances under which they are presented, is not misleading. The guidance further provides a reminder for registrants to consider whether they have effective controls and procedures in place to process information related to the disclosure of key performance indicators and metrics to ensure consistency and accuracy. Commenters have 60 days following publication in the Federal Register to submit comments to the proposed amendments, which is available here. The guidance is available here. [...]
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Speaking of Blockchain, what of its place in insurance?

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Speaking of Blockchain, what of its place in insurance?
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Buy Now Pay Later Player OpenPay Diversifies Revenue As Regulatory Headwinds Increase For Sector

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Buy Now Pay Later Player OpenPay Diversifies Revenue As Regulatory Headwinds Increase For Sector
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50 Diverse Takeaways from Davos WEF2020

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50 Diverse Takeaways from Davos WEF2020
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SEC Division of Corporation Finance Issues C&DIs on Omission of Third Year From MD&A

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SEC Division of Corporation Finance Issues C&DIs on Omission of Third Year From MD&A
As previously discussed in the April 12, 2019 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted final rules on March 20, 2019, that allow registrants to omit a discussion and analysis of the earliest of the three years of required financial statements from the Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (MD&A) section of their annual reports. Omitting that section from the annual reports filing with the SEC is permissible so long as the discussion of such year is already included in an earlier SEC filing and the registrant includes a statement identifying the location of such discussion in the prior filing. On January 24, the staff of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance (the Staff) issued three Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (C&DIs) to address questions related to the final rule. C&DI 110.02. The Staff clarified that a statement in a registrant’s filing identifying the location of where the omitted information can be found in a prior filing, in reliance on the rule amendment, does not have the effect of incorporating such prior disclosure by reference, unless the registrant’s current filing expressly provides that the information is incorporated by reference. C&DI 110.04. The Staff further clarifies, that, when a company updates an effective registration statement by filing a Form 10-K in which the discussion of the earliest of the three years is omitted and there is a statement identifying the location of the discussion in a prior filing, the prior discussion would not be incorporated into the updated registration statement, unless the registrant’s current Form 10-K filing expressly provides that the information with respect to such omitted year is specifically incorporated by reference. C&DI 110.03. This provides that a registrant may not omit a discussion of the earliest of the three years of financial statements in a filing, in reliance on the rule amendment, if the registrant believes that such discussion would otherwise be required in order to understand the registrant’s financial condition, changes in financial condition and results of operations. In such case, the registrant must either expressly incorporate the discussion by reference from a previous filing or include the discussion in the current filing. The new C&DIs are available here. [...]
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Nimbla To Take Invoice Insurance Mainstream With Barclays Deal

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Nimbla To Take Invoice Insurance Mainstream With Barclays Deal
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From ICOs to STOs and IEOs. What is next in the evolution of crypto fundraising?

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From ICOs to STOs and IEOs. What is next in the evolution of crypto fundraising?
Funding is a prerequisite for any new crypto project or startup. At the dawn of the new decade, we’ve seen a decline in token sales as source of funding. Where is the capital for crypto projects going to come from? Will traditional investment vehicles, like venture capital become more significant or will we see another evolution in crypto fundraising? Ilias Louis Hatzis is the Founder at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and a weekly columnist at DailyFintech.com. In 2017, ICOs were the most popular cryptocurrency trend. During that year 875 projects sold $6 billion worth of their tokens. In 2018, 1253 ICOs raised $7.8 billion, but 2019 was a completely different story. In 2019, we saw the introduction of the IEO. In total, token generation events during 2019 raised $3.2 billion (ICOs raised less than $370 million). But very few IEOs last year were able to raise a decent amount capital and only on selected exchanges. The drop can all be attributed to lack of regulatory oversight, a large number of exit scams, failed projects and delayed developments, severely damaging investor sentiment around token sales. While the price of Bitcoin bounced back after the first quarter of 2019, the fate for most of the other coins, like Ethereum, EOS and Tron, was not the same. The introduction of IEOs provided an extra layer of trust and security, when compared to ICOs. An IEO is very similar to an ICO. Investors receive tokens at a discounted price, in exchange for investment. IEOs are conducted on cryptocurrency exchanges, that claim to perform strict due diligence checks, to filter out any bad actors and protect their users. At a first glance IEO figures are impressive. The launch of BitTorrent on Binance in January ended in 15 minutes with over $17 million worth of tokens sold. But only a small number of IEOs have been able to get this kind of activity. IEOs have their own share of problems and many are still skeptical. For the most part, IEOs were more secure than the conventional ICOs. While the IEO experiment showed that ICOs can be rebranded, it also showed that some of the inherent flaws couldn’t be evaded. As smaller exchanges, with more lax requirements, launched their own IEO launchpads, once again fraudulent token sales appeared With declining ICOs and IEOs, blockchain startups are looking for other ways to raise money. Even when ICOs were red hot, there was venture capital investment in crypto companies. Companies like Coinbase and Circle raised money from VCs. In 2018, VCs invested around $3 billion in crypto and blockchain-related startups, around 40% of what was raised by ICOs. In 2019, venture capital investment took a step back. By the middle of 2019, VC funding in cryptocurrency startups accounted for USD 822 million. Security Token Offerings (STOs) have emerged as an alternative. While launching an STO is a complicated process, in 2019 they gained more traction and capital, with 64 STOs, collectively raising almost $1 billion. STOs were born out of the need to raise money in a more regulated way, while keeping the flexibility that tokenized assets offer. Only a few platforms are licensed to host STOs, but a huge surge in interest has led many to seek licenses. Because of this, 2020 will likely bring a new wave of STOs, though these will mostly only be offered to accredited investors, while a regulatory framework evolves. We are also seeing another trend, the Initial DEX offering (IDO). Very similar to IEOs, IDOs are conducted on decentralized exchanges, instead of centralized exchanges used IEOs. Last year, Raven Protocol (RAVEN) conducted an IDO on Binance’s DEX. But for now decentralized exchanges still need to mature in terms of users and volume. For example, Binance’s DEX has a daily trading volume that is under $2 million. When ICOs first came out, I thought they were revolutionary. The IEO model fixed some of the flaws that plagued ICOs and gave developers an effective and faster way to get to market. Even though IEOs started early last year with some fireworks, they did not completely resolve the trust issues, so the investor enthusiasm quickly fizzled out. To make investors feel comfortable again, we need more than ease and accessibility, that ICOs and IEOs offer. We also need to offer IPO-grade regulation and compliance. But most startups are not able to do that. So what’s the middle ground? Well, maybe the solution is STOs, tokenized securities that comply with regulations. But for now STOs are still a hard route, that lacks liquidity and regulatory clarity. Image Source Subscribe by email to join the other Fintech leaders who read our research daily to stay ahead of the curve. Check out our advisory services (how we pay for this free original research) The post From ICOs to STOs and IEOs. What is next in the evolution of crypto fundraising? appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Security Token news for Week ending 24 January 2020

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Security Token news for Week ending 24 January 2020
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CFTC to Hold an Open Commission Meeting on January 30

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CFTC to Hold an Open Commission Meeting on January 30
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) will hold an open meeting on January 30, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET, to discuss a proposed rule regarding position limits for derivatives. The meeting will resume at 1:30 p.m. to consider another proposed rule on amendments to codify current no-action relief regarding swap execution facility (SEF) and real-time reporting requirements. The meeting is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, as well as via live webcast and conference call. More information, including viewing and listening instructions, is available here. [...]
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Australia’s Open Banking Dream Drifts Away

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Australia’s Open Banking Dream Drifts Away
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Blockchain Thematic ETFs from the West to the East

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Blockchain Thematic ETFs from the West to the East
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How to Redeem the Welcome Bonus from the Alaska Airlines Visa

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How to Redeem the Welcome Bonus from the Alaska Airlines Visa
After you receive your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card welcome bonus, the fun begins. Here’s this card’s current offering: Get 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days... Ben Nickel-D’Andrea is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article How to Redeem the Welcome Bonus from the Alaska Airlines Visa originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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9 Ways to Recover from Overspending During the Holidays

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9 Ways to Recover from Overspending During the Holidays
The packages have been opened. The kids are loving their new toys.  You are enjoying your coffee one morning and reading your mail when you see them… THE BILLS! Yikes! It seems you went a little over your budget. It was fun and the joy you brought to your kids’ faces was worth it. However, ... Read More about 9 Ways to Recover from Overspending During the Holidays The post 9 Ways to Recover from Overspending During the Holidays appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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The Bitcoin off-ramp regulatory problem.

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The Bitcoin off-ramp regulatory problem.
Editor’s Note: this is the 3rd post on Daily Fintech, written in 2014. How things have NOT changed! To give our authors a break over the holidays, we are re-posting from our archive of over 1,000 articles. Rather than pick favourites we elected to simply  repost the first 8 articles (as that was over 5 years ago you may have missed them; we were pretty unknown then).  As we close out 2019, make a resolution to be smarter about Fintech in 2020 by subscribing for just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day). You will get all our fresh daily insights and participate in our forum. You can also read our archives with over 1,000 articles, an example of which you are reading from over 5 years ago. We look forward to welcoming you to the Daily Fintech membership community today! Will the Bitcoin off-ramp regulatory problem limit it to transactions within national borders? Technically, converting Fiat to Bitcoin (on-ramp) and converting Bitcoin to Fiat (off-ramp) is easy. This is an Exchange function and the Internet is perfect for setting up Exchanges. So, the problem is almost entirely a regulatory problem. I don’t think there is an on-ramp problem. Regulators want to protect consumers against scams and frauds; they want to make sure that your grandmother does not buy fake Bitcoins. However it is hard to argue that one should prohibit the purchase of any commodity. The American tax authority, IRS, has declared that Bitcoin should be treated like a commodity. You can buy gold or wheat or tulips, so you can buy Bitcoin. Bitcoin is of course different from all other commodities, because Bitcoin is a digital commodity that can be transferred as easily as an email or any other digital file. Which leads us to the off-ramp, converting Bitcoin to Fiat. There are legitimate reasons for regulators to control the off-ramp. This is far too easy for money launderers and other bad actors to abuse. Libertarians can rant against this, but entrepreneurs and investors are wise to treat it as a fact of life. Betting against regulatory control of the off-ramp is a huge speculative risk. Regulators tend to be happy with a digital currency that only works within the borders of the nation state that they control. There are many of these already such as M-Pesa and and Dwolla. Google has their own currency which you can send as an email attachment – within the US only. So, regulators will be comfortable with the idea that you can buy Bitcoins in US$ for example and then convert those Bitcoins back to US$. This will be a way for traders/investors to buy Bitcoins in the hope that the price will go up and then sell them for a profit – just like any other commodity. Regulators are more keen to stop cross border transactions. That is hard for regulators because digital bits don’t stop at borders and present their passport. That is why regulators seek to control the off ramp. It is possible to imagine a fully regulated global money transfer business that allows you, for example: 1. Buy Bitcoins with US$ 2. Send those Bitcoins to the UK. 3. Convert the Bitcoins into UK £ This hypothetical fully regulated global money transfer business would have to go through all the usual KYC (Know Your Customer) checks that regulators have put in place to prevent money laundering and other illegal activity. In that case it cannot offer free exchange and existing money transfer businesses will be able to do exactly the same thing. Consumers who want to change currency only care about a) price and b) speed/convenience. If adding Bitcoins as an intermediate step makes it cheaper and quicker to change currency then this will happen. However, given a regulator/KYC level playing field, it is unclear how adding Bitcoin as an intermediate step makes the transaction cheaper/easier. This is one of a series called Explorations down the Bitcoin rabbit hole. As we close out 2019, make a resolution to be smarter about Fintech in 2020 by subscribing for just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day). You will get all our fresh daily insights and participate in our forum. You can also read our archives with over 1,000 articles, an example of which you are reading from over 5 years ago. We look forward to welcoming you to the Daily Fintech membership community today! The post The Bitcoin off-ramp regulatory problem. appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Be Better With Your Money With Help From Our Top Budgeting Stories of 2019

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Be Better With Your Money With Help From Our Top Budgeting Stories of 2019
Budgeting often gets a bad rap. But it’s only unbearable if you think of it that way. Essentially, a budget is just a plan for what to do with your money. We spend so much of our time at work earning a living. We might as well invest an hour or so into deciding the best ways to allocate those funds. Going into 2020, it’s time to stop wondering where the heck all our money goes each month. Here’s to a prosperous New Year — one where we control our money rather than letting it control us. The Penny Hoarder’s Top 10 Budgeting Posts of 2019 We’ve rounded up our favorite stories of the year on starting and maintaining a budget. 1. Download a Free Budget Spreadsheet Template A spreadsheet is a popular way to record your income and expenses. But don’t worry if your Excel skills are rusty. There are various budget spreadsheets available for free online that do the work for you. Whether you budget for the week, month or entire year, there’s a template for you. You can even find spreadsheets customized to specific events, like budgeting for a wedding. 2. Or Use an App to Manage Your Money If you prefer a more digital approach to budgeting, there’s an app for that. Make that, several. We evaluated eight of the best budgeting apps out there. Check out our breakdown of the pros and cons. The bonus? All the apps we reviewed are either free or include a free trial so you can test them out before committing to a paid subscription. FROM THE BUDGETING FORUM What do you do when you have a surprise expense? 2/20/19 @ 10:59 AM How to pay for my trip to Machu Picchu 11/21/19 @ 1:08 PM This week in... The Penny Hoarder Community 11/8/19 @ 9:28 AM See more in Budgeting or ask a money question 3. Include All the Budget Categories That Apply to Your Life Making a plan for your money can be tricky if you forget to account for all the expenses you really have. When you overlook the cost of toiletries or your mom’s birthday present, your overall spending estimate will be off. That’s why it’s important to think about all the relevant categories your spending will fall under. This list of 101 budget categories will ensure you include everything. 4. Know What You Should Be Spending on the Essentials Without a few guidelines, you may not realize you’re allocating too much — or too little — of your money to important categories like housing or retirement. We tapped government sources and industry leaders to get the best idea of what budget percentages you should be sticking to.   5. Don’t Limit Yourself to One Budgeting Method Budgeting is not a one-size-fits-all type of thing. There are many budgeting methods out there, and what works for one person may not work for the next. That’s what Kumiko Love found out when she began her budgeting journey. Instead of wallowing in the defeat of failed budgets, she combined three money management styles to create her own budgeting method.  Love’s budget by paycheck method proves you don’t have to box yourself into one approach to gain control of your finances. 6. Master Budgeting When Your Income’s Not Steady When you don’t get paid every other week like clockwork or your paychecks vary based on how many hours you’re scheduled, it can be a challenge to stick to a budget. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Budgeting when you have variable income requires you to work with income averages and save money in sinking funds to make up for periods of lean earnings. You’ve also got to make smart choices about what gets paid first.  7. Prepare for Worst-Case Scenarios No one likes to dwell on the worst, but the time to plan for financial emergencies is before they occur. One important tip is to regularly budget to build up your emergency fund — but that’s not the only thing you should be doing to safeguard your finances. 8. Rebound From Life’s Curveballs Life’s curveballs — like a layoff, divorce or sudden illness — can wreck your finances. If your family is left with one income when you’re used to thriving on two, what are you to do? These tips help you navigate your financial life when you’re experiencing a major reduction in income. Be prepared to overhaul your budget. 9. Get Back on Track After Blowing Your Budget Everyone makes mistakes now and again… like indulging in too much retail therapy after a really tough week. The goal is to not allow setbacks to derail all your progress. We share five moves to make after blowing your budget. 10. Curl Up With a Good (Personal Finance) Book We love a good money book here at The Penny Hoarder. So does our cohort of TPH Community members. We turned to them for recommendations of personal finance books that have changed their lives for the better. If you’re looking for some additional inspiration to gain control of your money, check out this list of the best personal finance books. Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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CFTC Approves Final and Proposed Rules on Rulemaking, Capital Requirements for Swap Participants and Inter-Affiliate Swaps

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CFTC Approves Final and Proposed Rules on Rulemaking, Capital Requirements for Swap Participants and Inter-Affiliate Swaps
At the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission  open meeting on December 10, the CFTC approved one final and two proposed rules as follows: The CFTC unanimously approved a final rule to amend its Part 13 Rules regarding rulemaking. Because the Administrative Procedure Act governs the CFTC’s rulemaking process, this amendment eliminates the procedures for the formulation, amendment or repeal of CFTC rules or regulations. As a result, Part 13, as amended, will be comprised solely of the procedure for filing petitions for rulemakings. In a 3-2 vote, the CFTC reopened the comment period for the proposed capital and financial reporting rules for swap dealers and major swap participants, providing for a 75-day comment period after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register. For a more complete discussion of the proposed capital and financial reporting rules, see the December 9, 2016 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest. The CFTC unanimously approved a proposed rule that would reinstate the expired alternative compliance frameworks for the inter-affiliate swaps clearing exemption, with minor revisions. This proposal would codify the relief provided by the Division of Clearing and Risk no-action letters and make the two alternative compliance frameworks permanently available to affiliated entities. There is a 60-day comment period following publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register. The CFTC’s release is available here. Additional information on these rulemakings, including statements of the Chairman and Commissioners, is available here. [...]
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SEC Issues Guidance on Substituted Compliance Applications by Non-US Security-Based Swap Dealers and Major Security-Based Swap Participants

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SEC Issues Guidance on Substituted Compliance Applications by Non-US Security-Based Swap Dealers and Major Security-Based Swap Participants
On November 25, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Trading and Markets issued guidance intended to facilitate certain substituted compliance applications submitted by non-US security-based swap dealers and/or major security-based swap participants (Guidance).  The Guidance is intended to help persons submitting applications in accordance with Rule 3a71-6 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by posing relevant questions regarding the relevant foreign requirements in comparison with the SEC’s requirements and describing the relevant SEC requirements in detail. The SEC provided information on five categories of requirements that will be applicable to security-based swap dealers and/or major security-based swap participants. These categories relate to 1) risk controls (including risk controls related to capital, margin, risk management systems and trade acknowledgment and verification); 2) recordkeeping and reporting requirements (including requirements related to record creation, record maintenance, and reporting/notice); 3) internal supervision and compliance requirements (including requirements related to supervision, conflicts of interest, and chief compliance officers); 4) counterparty protections (including protections related to fair and balanced communications, the disclosure of certain risks, characteristics, incentives and conflicts, daily mark disclosure, “know your counterparty,” recommendation suitability, and the disclosure of clearing rights); and 5) any other relevant requirements (including requirements related to the eligible contract participant verification process and special entities and political contributions). The text of the Guidance is available here. [...]
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Sign up with EF Education First to work from home as an ESL teacher!

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Sign up with EF Education First to work from home as an ESL teacher!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Looking for unique ways to earn a part-time income from home? Apply to teach with EF Education First! If you hold a Bachelor’s degree, you can currently apply with EF Education First to to make money teaching kids English online from the comfort of your home! With EF Education First, your teaching is supplemental to what they’re already learning in a classroom environment. You don’t need any mandatory props or teaching backdrops. And you can earn up to $2,000 per month teaching part-time with EF Education First! Interested? Here’s how to apply: Go HERE and and enter your name and e-mail address to get started. Complete the application form. Speak to someone from the recruitment team. If hired, you’ll get a contract and be up and running in as little as two weeks! Go here to apply to teach with EF Education First! Psst! Looking for more opportunities like this? You can also apply with VIPKID or Qkids to teach part-time from home! [...]
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Innovate from the customer backwards- but caveat innovator!

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Innovate from the customer backwards- but caveat innovator!
image The insurance industry is in large part past the hysteria of disruption, innovation and entrants solving the issues of the insurance world, and is moving into the stage of implementation, collaboration and iteration. Startups that have gained traction are now broadening their markets, and in some cases, their offerings. And, the industry is recognizing […] The post Innovate from the customer backwards- but caveat innovator! appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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CFTC Proposes Rule to Amend Regulation 160.30

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CFTC Proposes Rule to Amend Regulation 160.30
On November 12, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) published a proposed rule that would amend CFTC Regulation 160.30 by establishing specific requirements for policies and procedures to protect customer records and information (Detailed Requirements). The Detailed Requirements were inadvertently deleted in a 2011 amendment to the regulation. The Detailed Requirements are consistent with section 501 of the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act, pursuant to which part 160 of the CFTC’s regulations was adopted. The Detailed Requirements clarify that the policies and procedures must be reasonably designed to: Insure the security and confidentiality of customer records and information; Protect against any anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of customer records and information; and Protect against unauthorized access to or use of customer records or information that could result in substantial information to any customer. The proposed rule has a 30-day comment period following publication in the Federal Register. The Proposed Rule is available here. [...]
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6 Secrets From Couples Who’ve Paid Off Debt, Built Empires and Semi-Retired by 35

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6 Secrets From Couples Who’ve Paid Off Debt, Built Empires and Semi-Retired by 35
Are you one part of a couple? Someone’s better half? Partner in crime? That’s good news, because we’ve got plenty of money tips from real couples who’ve paid off debt, improved their credit scores and built business empires. They share their tips and secrets to financial success. And, hey, you two can even start using some of their strategies right now. Secret No. 1: Boost Your Nest Egg By “Starving and Stacking” Whether you want to build a nest egg or pay off a substantial amount of debt, the “Starve and Stack” savings method is perfect for couples, especially newlyweds. Here’s how it works: As a couple, you’ll combine your money and live off one income for 18 to 24 months. The other paycheck goes directly into a high-yield savings account or toward your debt. (Shoutout to Nick Vail over at Remove the Guesswork’s website who coined the term!) Personal finance writer Jen Smith put this strategy to the test. Her and her husband were able to pay off $78,000 of debt in two years due, in part, to this strategy. And, no, they didn’t have to starve without meals. Secret No. 2: Enjoy The Spoils of Passive Income and Semi-Retire by 35 Have you ever thought about investing in some real estate? No, you don’t need to have enough money saved for a down payment — you can start with a minimum investment of $500. Through the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, your money will be invested in portfolios of real estate around the United States.  You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a set of townhomes in Snoqualmie, Washington, or an apartment building in Charlotte, North Carolina. And you don’t have to be the landlord — Fundrise does all the heavy lifting. As tenants pay their rent, you can earn money through quarterly dividend payments and potential appreciation of the property.  We talked to Christopher and Meghan Miller, who at just 35 and 29, quit their full-time jobs and bought two acres in Berryville, Virginia. They live off their savings and income from side gigs — and use sources of passive income, like Fundrise, to add to their financial security. They own rental properties, too, but Christopher said Fundrise is even better: “I view our investments in Fundrise as something even more passive than the rental properties we own. I don’t have to manage them; I don’t have to do the work to improve the properties; I don’t have to find tenants, evict tenants.” Plus, it only takes $500 to get started with Fundrise — not $50,000. Secret No. 3: Make Improving Your Credit Scores a Team Sport If you and your partner have plans to buy a car or home — or even rent a place — you’ll need a healthy credit score. But if you’re like many of us… when’s the last time you even checked your score? Let’s start there. We suggest using a free website called Credit Sesame. We like it because, again, it’s free, and it takes less than two minutes to sign up. Once you have access to your score, you can take steps to improve it with Credit Sesame’s personalized recommendations. Salome Buitureria and her husband, Alfredo, both struggled with bad credit. Both of them got laid off from their jobs, and the credit card bills started to stack up as they tried to support their nine kids. Their scores were in the low 500s. They signed up for Credit Sesame and started taking its recommendations. For Salome, it helped her find an error on her report and dispute it. It also recommended a rewards credit card she could qualify for that’d help her improve her score. Today, Salmone’s score is around 690, and Alfredo’s is at 701, and now they have big plans to buy a home soon.* Just because you have bad credit now doesn’t mean you have to live with it forever. Credit Sesame will help you get there — it takes approximately 90 seconds to get started. And if you have a partner in crime to keep you motivated along the way? Even better! Secret No. 4: Leave Your Kids $1 Million (Without Being an Actual Millionaire) If you have kids, you’ve probably worried about what’ll happen to them if something were to happen to you… That’s where life insurance can provide a peace of mind. You sign up for a policy and pay a monthly rate, and if you die, your partner and kids will receive the payout. Traditionally, life insurance was seen as something only the wealthy needed, but that’s not the case anymore — especially since policies are so affordable. Consider a life insurance company called Bestow. The application doesn’t take more than about five minutes to fill out, and you can leave your family with $1 million — for as little as $5 a month. Derick Davis understood the importance of life insurance when his dad passed away. His dad had a life insurance policy, but it wasn’t enough coverage, and Davis, then 5, remembers his family struggling to stay afloat financially. When he started looking into life insurance policies for his family — his wife and two sons — he found that life insurance was actually much more affordable than he expected. And now? “It makes me feel that I’m doing the right things in order to give my kids the best chance if something should happen,” he says. It takes minutes to get a free quote from Bestow. Secret No. 5: Start a $350K Business Empire Back in 2007, Adam and Coryn Enfinger were a young, broke married couple who’d just had their first baby. Both of their cars broke down within the same month, and they couldn’t afford a new one. So Adam bought a bike to ride to work. On one of his 17-mile commutes (one way), he had a business idea: Sell screen-printed T-shirts with animals on bikes. Adam and Coryn worked odd jobs to make ends meet while they worked to launch what would become a $350K business, Dark Cycle Clothing. Now, their first few attempts at selling products didn’t go so hot. At one event, they sold maybe two items. Coryn decided to list the extra products on Etsy, and that’s when things started taking off. In 2009, Dark Cycle Clothing became the couple’s full-time career. Since then, they’ve started selling their T-shirts at markets again, which now makes up about a third of the company’s revenue. They’ve even hired someone to help out with photography and customer service. “We were so busy,” Coryn said. “We grew really fast. I sometimes feel like we’re still catching up from the growth in the beginning because we didn’t start with a plan.” “It took three or four years for us to really believe it was going to be our career,” Adam added. The key to building a business together? Get creative, don’t give up, hustle hard and enjoy it! Secret No. 6: Vow to Pay Off Your Debt, For Richer or For Poorer If you’re like the majority of Ameircans, you’ve probably got debt. And unfortunately, it doesn’t just disappear when you get married. In fact, it might feel even more overwhelming if you’re trying to tackle your combined debt together. Here’s what we suggest: Refinance and consolidate your debt. What’s that mean? Take out a personal loan, one that has lower interest rates and more favorite terms than your current situation. Then, you’ll use that personal loan to pay off your debt. You can do this for your debt, their debt and even your combined debt. It might sound counterintuitive at first — like you’re just moving one form of debt over to another — but the truth is, paying one bill each month will be a lot easier, and this could even lower your payments, save you tons of money in interest and/or allow you to pay off your debt faster. If you’re not sure where to start looking, use a website called Fiona. It’ll match you with a low-interest loan — rates start at 3.84%. It won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. (We know you don’t have time for that.) Refinancing and consolidating debt was one of the moves Deacon and Kim Hayes made to pay off $52,000 worth of debt in 18 months. They had a few [...]
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How to Finally Break Free from Anxiety & Stress

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How to Finally Break Free from Anxiety & Stress
Need some practical encouragement to move past anxiety, stress, and survival mode? Longing for life of more wholeness? Don’t miss this episode with Aundi Kolber! Missed previous episodes of The Crystal Paine show? You can listen to them here. Okay, I know I’ve said this before about other episodes, but I truly think today’s episode was one of my very favorite podcast recordings to date! Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Aundi Kolber is a therapist and I felt like I got a therapy session just by spending an hour with her?! 🙂 Listen in to the episode and you’ll see what I mean. Aundi has a gift of sharing so eloquently and yet also in such a heartfelt manner. She just exudes such peace and calmness, but also such profound wisdom and understanding of how we are wired. In this episode, we not only talk about what’s saving our lives (I had to laugh that she talked about something related to brain science and I talk about leggings!) and the books we’re reading, but then we dive into some deep heart topics. She shares what it means to Try Softer (the title of her new book), the difference between Big T trauma and little t trauma and how we might be experiencing the aftershocks of little t trauma without even realizing it and this might be at the root of our stress, anxiety, and overwhelm. Aundi explains thoroughly how the body processes pain — whether physical or emotional. And she provides very concrete suggestions and ideas for how we can start to take steps toward more healing and wholeness. Whether you feel stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed or whether you know someone who does, this conversation is highly important and one that you do not want to miss. I have thought of it over and over again since we recorded last week and will be taking so many nuggets of truth from it to apply to my everyday life. In This Episode:  [00:25] Welcome back! I am so excited to have Aundi Kolber on the show! [01:06] Aundi shares about a little about her background and family [03:43] Meaningful walks are saving Aundi’s life — and the brain science she shares here is fascinating! And then, to keep things a little more down to earth (!), I talk about my new favorite leggings. [09:25] We discuss our current reads, including one written by a therapist and a novel I finished last week.  [13:08] Why did Aundi write Try Softer? (I loved that she wrote it as a love letter to her younger self!) [17:20] We talk about the stigma surrounding the word “trauma” and why it’s important to understand if you’ve experienced little t trauma. [19:27] How can you tell if you’re holding onto the pain of the past and how does it show up in your life? [23:50] What does it mean to “try softer” and how can we apply this in our every day lives? [27:37] Aundi shares practical first steps for beginning to break free from stress, anxiety, and survival mode — even if you feel so stuck and overwhelmed that you don’t know how to take the first step! Links and Resources: Try Softer by Aundi Kolber Aundi’s Website My New Favorite Leggings Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb (Note: Aundi wrote me a few days after the interview to say that she would give a language warning with this book. She said it didn’t show up until the later parts of the book which she hadn’t read yet when we did this interview.) Boundaries for Your Soul by Allison Cook and Kimberly Miller The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay Aundi on Facebook Aundi on Twitter Crystal’s Favorite Things on Amazon CrystalPaine.com MoneySavingMom.com Crystal’s Instagram account (I’d love for you to follow me there! I usually hop on at least a few times per day and share behind-the-scenes photos and videos, my grocery store hauls, funny stories, or just anything I’m pondering or would like your advice or feedback on!) Have feedback on the show or suggestions for future episodes or topics? Send me an email: crystal@moneysavingmom.com How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show The podcast is available on iTunes, Android, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.) Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app. Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission — at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support! [...]
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5 Shrewd Secrets from Women Who’ve Fixed Credit, Paid Debt and Made Fortunes

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5 Shrewd Secrets from Women Who’ve Fixed Credit, Paid Debt and Made Fortunes
Looking for some advice when it comes to managing your money? We have stories from a former Merrill Lynch executive, a mom of nine who overcame a job layoff and a college grad who was able to pay off $100,000 worth of debt — then start her own business. They share their tips and secrets for financial success. You can even start using some of their strategies right now. Secret No. 1: Women Should Invest Differently Than Men Traditional investing companies have never really considered the fact that women statistically get paid less, yet live longer. That’s why Sallie Krawcheck, the former head of Merrill Lynch designed an investing company for women called Ellevest. With Ellevest, you can start investing with as little as $1. Plus, when you sign up through The Penny Hoarder, you’ll get a $25 bonus in your Ellevest account.* When you sign up, Ellevest will build an investing plan just for you and your financial goals. It considers gender pay differences, any potential career breaks and overall lifespan. Even better? It invests your money in women-owned businesses. Thanks to Krawcheck, we can invest exactly for our needs and feel more confident in our financial future. Secret No. 2: Be an Advocate For Yourself (and Your Credit Score) It’s easy to pass your credit score off as some silly three-digit number — that’s what most of us did throughout our early twenties anyways. But what happens when you want to buy a car? Or a house? That seemingly arbitrary number starts to play a huge role in your life. And here’s the unfortunate fact: You can do everything right, but if your credit report has an error (one in five reports do), it could be holding you back — for no good reason. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on things. Thankfully, a free website called Credit Sesame will give you your credit score for free and help you detect any errors on your report. If you find any, it will even help you dispute them. Salome Buitureria, a working mom in Louisiana, found a major error on her report — a supposed unpaid medical bill that had definitely been covered by Medicaid. Using Credit Sesame, Buitureria fixed the mistake and took additional steps to raise her credit score from 524 to nearly 700.**  Now? She’s focused on buying a home. It only takes about 90 seconds to sign up with Credit Sesame. Secret No. 3: You’re Not Stuck With Your Credit Card Debt Wanna know something? Even if you have loads of credit card debt right now, that doesn’t mean you’ll have it forever. Heck, that doesn’t even mean you’ll have it tomorrow. What? We’re serious. One of our favorite first steps in escaping credit card debt is to refinance it with a personal loan. It might sound counterintuitive — like you’re just moving your debt from your credit cards to a loan — but the truth is, this could lower your monthly payment, save you tons of money in interest over time, and allow you to pay off your debt faster.. If you’re not sure where to start looking, use a website called Fiona. It’ll match you with a low-interest loan (rates start at 3.84%). You can then use that loan to wipe out your credit card debt. Then you’re left with just one bill to pay every month. Pro Tip When shopping personal loans, look for interest rates lower than your credit cards’ and manageable monthly payments. Oh, and don’t take out more than need to pay off your credit cards. Fiona won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. We chatted with one San Francisco resident who struggled to keep up with her credit card debt. She faced a minimum monthly payment of $274 plus $154 in monthly interest plus a $99 annual credit card fee. She said it felt like she was on a treadmill. She decided to refinance with a personal loan, which spared her from what would’ve been $14,000 in interest over time. Secret No. 4: You Can Leave Your Kids $1 Million for $5/Month If you have kids, you’ve probably worried about what’ll happen to them if something were to happen to you… For single mom Rebekah Pearsall, this was difficult to consider. “Since my son doesn’t have a biological father in his life, I wanted to make sure he was secure if something were to ever happen to me,” she said. That’s when she started looking into life insurance. Before you start thinking you don’t have the time or money for that, look into policies through a company called Bestow. It offers $1 million policies starting at only $5 a month. Your application shouldn’t take more than about five minutes. You can change or cancel your plan at any time. Plus, the security of knowing your family is taken care of is priceless. Pearsall had seen firsthand the benefits of life insurance; her childhood friend lost his dad and life insurance helped his family make it through that time financially. It takes only a few minutes to get a free quote. Secret No. 5: You Don’t Have to Have an MBA to Start a Business If you dream of starting a business, don’t let the fact that you don’t have a business degree from an Ivy League school hold you back. (Yeah, imposter syndrome is the worst.) We’ve talked to plenty of women who’ve successfully started businesses on their own. Here’s a story that really resonates with our frugal hearts: The Budget Mom. After graduating college, Kumiko Love had $100,000 worth of debt — student loans, credit cards and medical bills. All that good stuff. Still, she had trouble sticking to a budget. So she gave up. Then she started studying the psychology behind money and that gave her a renewed hope: She started viewing her situation through a positive lens. She combined several budgeting tactics and started logging her process through her blog, The Budget Mom. And guess what? Love is now debt free and she recently quit her full-time job to focus on her seven-figure business, The Budget Mom. *The Ellevest The Penny Hoarder promotional offer is valid for the first 1,000 new clients of Ellevest who enter through this designated landing page. Clients who enroll and fund their non-retirement account will receive $25 added to their highest priority goal in their Ellevest account. Clients who enroll and fund their retirement account will receive a $25 Amazon gift card which can be redeemed by visiting www.amazon.com. Please review Amazon.com Gift Card Terms and Conditions prior to redemption. Ellevest is not responsible for lost Amazon Gift Cards. Ellevest’s processing time for depositing $25 into a client’s Ellevest account or delivery of a $25 Amazon gift card may be up to 60 days. **Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits. Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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New from SmileDirectClub: Straighten your teeth while you sleep!

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New from SmileDirectClub: Straighten your teeth while you sleep!
Want to straighten your teeth while you sleep? Check out this brand-new program from SmileDirectClub! Note: This post is sponsored by SmileDirectClub and contains affiliate links. All opinions are 100% my own. Read our disclosure policy here. As I’ve been sharing my journey with SmileDirectClub, I’ve heard from many of you who are very interested in using SmileDirectClub, but you don’t want to wear retainers all day and all night. Some of you said that it just sounds like a pain. Others of you said that you couldn’t because of your job. One of you told me you work in customer care and are on the phone all day and need to be able to talk clearly and you were worried people wouldn’t be able to understand you as well if you were wearing aligners. Introducing the Nighttime Clear Aligners Program Well, if the thought of wearing aligners all day and all night has been holding you back from signing up for SmileDirectClub, I’ve got GREAT news for you! They just launched their new Nighttime Clear Aligners program. This allows you to only wear aligners at night (approximately 10 hours/day) and to straighten your teeth while you sleep. Now, most of you probably don’t sleep for 10 hours total every night, but you could put these in at 9 p.m. when you’re winding down for bed and wear them until 7 a.m. in the morning. Then, just pop them out, rinse them, put them in the case, and go about your day. Repeat the same thing the next night and the next night and watch your teeth “magically” begin to straighten! The Nighttime Clear Aligners program is twice as long as the regular aligners program (10 months versus 5-6 months), but you never have to mess with your aligners during the day! I think that’s a HUGE score! Best of all, the price is exactly the same ($1895 total or $85/month)! I have been so excited to tell you about this program as I think it is such a great idea and I wish they had had it when I started SmileDirectClub! My 5-Month SmileDirectClub Update Speaking of SmileDirectClub, I’ve been so happy with my overall experience! I can’t tell you how many people have noticed how much better my teeth look — without me ever mentioning anything to them! Now that I’m finished with my 5-month treatment, I only have to wear retainers at night to make sure my teeth don’t go back to where they once were. It is SO NICE to not worry about wearing aligners during the day, but I’m so happy I decided to take the plunge and do this program. It has been everything I hoped and more. Best of all, every time I see a photo of myself with my new smile, I can’t help but smile even bigger. It’s given me a newfound level of confidence. My teeth aren’t perfect, but they are so much better than they used to be and the process was really quite simple, with minimal pain and discomfort. Overall, I would highly recommend SmileDirectClub and have had a really positive experience with them. For years to come, when I see my smile or look in the mirror, I will be grateful to them! Read More of My SmileDirectClub Journey: My Completely Honest Experience at the SmileShop My First Month Wearing SmileDirectClub Aligners Does SmileDirectClub Really Work? (My 90-Day Update) Want to try SmileDirectClub? I highly recommend going to a local SmileShop to get a 3D Scan done. If you don’t have one nearby, though, you can order an at-home Impression Kit. Again, I would personally recommend going into a SmileShop. It’s completely FREE to do so and they do such a great job of giving you such a high-quality scan. But you if you do end up ordering an at-home Impression Kit, use coupon code MSMDEAL to get 50% off the price. And if you decide to sign up with SmileDirectClub, you can also use coupon code MSMDEAL at checkout to get $100 off the price of your Invisible Aligners. [...]
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Overwhelmed by Student Loans? Find Some Relief With Debt Forgiveness

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Overwhelmed by Student Loans? Find Some Relief With Debt Forgiveness
Ever wonder what life would be like if you could make your student loans disappear? It’s possible, but it isn’t magic.  Or immediate. Or easy. Or likely. (Sorry.) But considering the mounting pile of outstanding student debt in U.S. — at $1.5 trillion, student loans were the largest non-mortgage source of household debt in 2018 — we should at least consider every option for wiping it out, right? If your student loans have become more than you can handle, seeking forgiveness or discharge of your debt could be an option. Check out this Penny Hoarder guide to student loan forgiveness so you’ll know all your options. Understanding Student Loan Forgiveness, Cancelation and Discharge Before we dig into individual programs, let’s cover the ground rules. First, a word about words: Forgiveness, discharge and cancellation essentially mean the same thing when you’re thinking about your student debt — they mean you no longer have to pay the remaining balance on your loan — but the terms are usually applied in different circumstances: Forgiveness is usually used in cases where you qualify because of your job or employer.  Discharge typically refers to other reasons for not paying the debt, such as your financial situation.  Cancellation is a more general term that often covers both. All of the programs covered here are only available for federal student loans, not private student loans. And depending on the program, there are requirements for which types of federal loans qualify. Additionally, these programs typically take years to qualify for — sometimes as much as 25 years. There’s one exception to this rule, but it’s probably the least desirable way for getting rid of your debt. (Spoiler alert: It’s death.) Many of the options depend on your job. If you work in public service or choose a specific profession, you can receive forgiveness for a loan after a specified amount of time, during which you must document your employment. If you don’t have a job through which you can receive loan forgiveness, your other choices for forgiveness or discharge become limited to income-driven options or extreme circumstances, like becoming permanently disabled or your school closing. Additionally, although you might celebrate wiping out your student loans, understand that you might be trading your student loan debt for a big tax bill, depending on the program.  Pro Tip If you borrowed before July of 2010, you’ll need to consolidate your loans to qualify Public Service Loan Forgiveness and some income-driven repayment plans. In general, if your loan is wiped out because you worked in public service, you won’t owe federal taxes. And if you die or are permanently disabled, you don’t owe taxes on the forgiven amount (and neither do your survivors). Pretty much everyone else can expect to get a bill from Uncle Sam. But even if your forgiveness isn’t subject to federal taxes, you could still be on the hook at the state level, so find out beforehand whether you’ll be liable for taxes and plan accordingly. We’ve broken down the programs by work and non-work qualifications. We’ve also included “scam alerts” throughout since, unfortunately, there are plenty of unscrupulous individuals and companies out there who prey on the unsuspecting and often desperate people overwhelmed by student loan debt.  With that in mind, let’s dive in. Student Loan Forgiveness Based on Your Job If you’re committed to a life of helping others, whether it’s by working for the government or a non-profit or by choosing a public service profession, you could qualify for student loan forgiveness. This is not a commitment to be taken lightly, as it means you’ll have to ensure that your loans qualify, stay current on your payments throughout the process and stick with a job that qualifies for forgiveness.  And while you may graduate ready to give back through a career in public service, a lot can change over those qualifying years — whether it’s adding family responsibilities to the mix or simply realizing you don’t like your job. Pro Tip Scam alert! It’s illegal for anyone — including companies that offer to “help” you repay your student loans — to ask for your federal student aid user name and id. Never give that info out. “There is danger and risk with that because you don’t know what is necessarily going to occur,” said Melinda Opperman, executive vice president at Credit.org. “What if you change professions halfway through and you don’t do the whole 10 years? Circumstances change.” If you do change your mind and switch to a non-qualifying job, you’ll be responsible for paying the remaining amount you owe. Public Service Loan Forgiveness The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is probably the most well known, but for all the wrong reasons. Out of the approximately 76,000 PSLF applications that were processed by March 2019, 518 applications were approved. For those who didn’t major in math, that’s less than 1%.  And the program that was supposed to fix the problem — Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF)? Yeah, it turns out the acceptance rate for that one nearly matches the original. Pro Tip Scam alert! When it comes to federal student loan repayment applications, there’s nothing a company can do for you that you can’t do for free on your own. But if you have your heart set on serving the public at a government or non-profit entity and are facing a mountain of student loans, then the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program may be the way to wipe out your debt. Be prepared for a long wait — it takes a minimum of 10 years to qualify — and to follow a lot of rules in regards to your loan and employment eligibility. To help you navigate the process, check out these seven essential questions to ask about Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness No one goes into teaching for the money. But when student loans leave you thousands of dollars in debt, scraping out the payments on a teacher’s salary can be downright overwhelming. Fortunately, there’s a specific Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness program for those who work in underserved communities and/or subject areas.  Forgiveness will be dependent upon where you teach, what you teach and how long you teach, and the maximum amount you can receive is $17,500. But you can discover additional options for graduating from student debt with these teacher student loan forgiveness programs. Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Medical debt can be an additional burden for students, so nursing student loan forgiveness offer some help with the debt.  In addition to a couple of specific loan-forgiveness programs for nurses, you can also find debt relief through programs at some hospitals. Eligibility requirements can include holding an advanced degree, having a specific loan type or working in a specialized department.  Other medical professionals, including doctors, can find student loan relief at the national and local level through the Association of American Medical Colleges. Perkins Loan Forgiveness The Perkins loan program program ended on Sept. 30, 2017, but you’re still on the hook for paying off any of the Perkins loans you took out. That said, if you work in public service — including teaching, law enforcement and the military — you could qualify for a partial or total discharge of your Perkins loan.   Depending on your career, you could receive 100% loan cancellation for five years of service, which is distributed in annual increments. FROM THE DEBT FORUM Student loans!! 8/9/19 @ 1:07 PM J My debt 9/23/19 @ 12:05 PM [...]
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SEC Issues Security-Based Swap Recordkeeping and Reporting Rules

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SEC Issues Security-Based Swap Recordkeeping and Reporting Rules
On September 19, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted a package of new final rules and rule amendments dealing with recordkeeping and reporting requirements for security-based swap dealers (SBS dealers). In general, the SEC is requiring SBS dealers to create and maintain records with respect to security based-swaps in a manner consistent with current recordkeeping and record retention rules that apply to broker-dealers. The SEC is, however, providing alternate compliance mechanisms that will allow an SBS dealer that also is a swap dealer but is not a broker-dealer to comply with Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) rules instead and will allow a non-US SBS dealer to request permission to comply with its home country rules. The new rules go into effect 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register, but the related compliance date will be 18 months after the effective date of future final SEC rules addressing the cross-border application of security-based swap requirements, which is the last of the SBS rules the SEC needs to adopt to complete their Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act swap rulemaking obligations. The text of the new rules are available here. An SEC Press Release and Fact Sheet concerning the new rules are available here. [...]
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How to Buy a House Without Help From Your Family

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How to Buy a House Without Help From Your Family
On the highway to homeownership, coming up with a sufficient down payment continues to be one of the biggest roadblocks. In fact, many prospective home buyers, particularly first-timers, find it hard to overcome this challenge without the kindness of loved ones. Among recent home buyers age 28 and younger (who are more likely to be... Beth Buczynski is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: bbuczynski@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @bethbuczynski. The article How to Buy a House Without Help From Your Family originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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How to Make Your First $100 From Blogging {free class}

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How to Make Your First $100 From Blogging {free class}
Are you a new blogger or a longtime blogger who still hasn’t figured out how to really make money from blogging? You don’t want to miss my new brand-new class on How to Make Your First $100 From Blogging. Best of all, it’s FREE! In this free class, you’ll learn: 5 tried and true ways YOU can make money from your blog today The #1 mistake most bloggers make that keeps them from earning an income My secrets for building a 7-figure blog on a shoestring budget Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to ask me your burning questions about monetizing a blog Go here to sign up for one of the two times I’m teaching it on Saturday or the one time I’m teaching it on Monday. The class will be about 50 minutes long and then I’ll allow 30 minutes extra at the end to answer your questions live. By the way, on these classes, I’ll also be unveiling my brand-new course, Monetize Your Blog: A Beginner’s Guide to a Profitable Blog. You’ll be one of the first ones to have the opportunity to sign up for it! P.S. If you can’t make it to the live class, still go ahead and sign up because I’ll be sending you a replay of the class once it’s finished. [...]
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Conventional Loan Requirements and Guidelines for 2019

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Conventional Loan Requirements and Guidelines for 2019
When buying a home, many people opt for a conventional loan, a type of mortgage that’s readily available from most lenders. Here’s a look at the qualification requirements. What is a conventional loan? Conventional loans aren’t backed by a government agency, but they do follow some government guidelines. Most conventional loans conform to loan limits... Beth Buczynski is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: bbuczynski@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @bethbuczynski. The article Conventional Loan Requirements and Guidelines for 2019 originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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SEC Issues New Guidance Regarding Proxy Voting Responsibility of Investment Advisers and the Applicability of Proxy Rules to Proxy Voting Advice

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SEC Issues New Guidance Regarding Proxy Voting Responsibility of Investment Advisers and the Applicability of Proxy Rules to Proxy Voting Advice
Investment Advisers On August 21, by a vote of 3 to 2, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued interpretive guidance on an investment adviser’s fiduciary duties with respect to voting of proxies for client accounts. The guidance makes clear that advisers may agree with their clients that the client, and not the adviser, will vote proxies, but such guidance is generally impractical for advisers to private funds and registered investment companies (because there is no practical way to assign voting power to the funds). When the adviser retains the obligation to vote proxies, it must do so with care and loyalty to the clients. The SEC stated that this may involve individualized analysis of how to vote in certain cases. It also might be necessary for advisers to adopt different proxy voting procedures for different funds they manage. When an investment adviser has the authority to vote on behalf of its client, the investment adviser is required to have a reasonable understanding of the client’s objectives and must make voting determinations that are in the best interest of the client. Accordingly, the SEC noted, investment advisers must form a reasonable belief that its voting determinations are in the best interest of the client and should conduct an investigation reasonably designed to ensure that the voting determination is not based on inaccurate or incomplete information. The adviser must annually review its proxy voting practices and document this review. If a proxy advisory service is used to help the adviser vote proxies, the adviser must conduct due diligence on the proxy advisory service and adopt policies and procedures relating to monitoring the quality of the proxy advisory service. This could include, for example, considering additional information beyond what the proxy voting service provides, including an issuer’s proxy material or other materials provided by stakeholders. An investment adviser also should consider whether a proxy advisory service has adequately disclosed its methodologies for formulating its recommendations. The SEC also observed that use of a third-party proxy advisory service may be beneficial to investment advisers in cases where a conflict of interest may exist. However, the SEC noted that such reliance does not relieve the investment adviser of its obligation to make voting determinations in the client’s best interest or its obligation to provide full and fair disclosure of any conflicts of interest. Proxy Voting Advice The SEC also issued new interpretative guidance regarding the applicability of the federal proxy rules to proxy voting advice. The SEC noted that the use of proxy advisory firms, which would include Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis, has become more widespread and now includes a broadened array of services. In particular, the SEC examined whether the proxy voting advice provided by the proxy advisory firms constitutes a “solicitation” within the meaning of the federal proxy rules (concluding that generally, yes, such advice does constitute a solicitation) and outlined the import of Rule 14a-9 (False or Misleading Statements) to such solicitations. Further, the SEC noted that while such solicitations would generally be exempt from the informational and filing requirements of the proxy rules, the SEC staff is considering recommending that the SEC propose rule amendments that would address proxy advisory firms’ reliance on these exemptions contained in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 Rule 14a-2(b), though nothing in the interpretative guidance challenges the ability of the advisory firms to continue relying on these exemptions. Solicitation. In deciding that proxy voting advice constitutes a solicitation the SEC noted that the definition of solicitation is broad and includes communications to security holders “under circumstances reasonably calculated to result in the procurement, withholding or revocation of a proxy.” It observed that proxy advisory firms provide voting recommendations to their clients, touting their expertise in researching and analyzing the matters submitted for a shareholder vote. Even where a proxy advisory firm provides recommendations based on a client’s own tailored voting guidelines, the proxy adviser’s analysis and advice generally should be considered a solicitation. Similarly, in circumstances where clients may not follow the advice of the proxy adviser, the recommendations would still constitute a solicitation. The SEC rejected the view that proxy voting advice from advisory firms should be viewed as “unsolicited” voting advice, as the advisory firms invite client inquiries through the marketing of their expertise and the researching and analyzing of proxy issues. Rule 14a-9 (False or Misleading Statements). While any solicitation by a proxy advisory firm may be exempt from the informational and filing requirements of the proxy rules, any such solicitation is still subject to the anti-fraud provisions of Rule 14a-9, which prohibits any solicitation from containing any statement which, at the time and in the light of the circumstances under which it is made, is false or misleading with respect to any material fact. Any proxy voting adviser, must not make any materially false or misleading statements or omit material facts, such as information underlying the basis of the advice or which would affect the proxy adviser’s analysis and judgments. In particular, the SEC identified several specific items that may require disclosure in the context of proxy voting advice, including: an explanation of the methodology used by the advisory firm to formulate its voting advice; the extent that any advice is based on information other than what has been publicly disclosed by the subject company; and any material conflicts of interest in connection with providing the advice. The SEC’s full release is available here. [...]
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SEC Division of Corporation Finance Issues C&DIs Regarding Inline XBRL

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SEC Division of Corporation Finance Issues C&DIs Regarding Inline XBRL
On August 20, the staff of the Division of Corporation Finance (the staff) of the Securities and Exchange Commission released several new Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (C&DIs) relating to interactive data/eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), with a focus on items relating to Inline XBRL format requirements. Inline XBRL requires registrants to embed their XBRL directly into the main filing as opposed to providing a separate accompanying XBRL file. As a reminder, the requirement to provide Inline XBRL is currently being phased-in for registrants on the following schedule: Filer Status Compliance Date Large accelerated filers reporting using US GAAP Beginning with fiscal periods ending on or after June 15, 2019 Accelerated filers reporting using US GAAP Beginning with fiscal periods ending on or after June 15, 2020 All other filers Beginning with fiscal periods ending on or after June 15, 2021 A US domestic form filer is not, however, required to comply with the Inline XBRL requirements for any form other than Form 10-Q until the filing of its first Form 10-Q after the applicable phase-in date. Additionally, once subject to the Inline XBRL requirements, a registrant also will be required to include Cover Page XBRL tagging, pursuant to Rule 406 of Regulation S-T, for any filings on Forms 10-K, 10-Q, 8-K, 20-F and 40-F. C&DI 101.01 Beginning with new C&DI 101.01, the staff clarified how Inline XBRL should appear in the exhibit index of filings. Interactive Data Files, including Inline XBRL, should appear as exhibit 101 and Cover Page XBRL should appear as exhibit 104. When Inline XBRL is used, the word “Inline” should appear within the title description for the exhibit. Cover Page XBRL files, which are required to be filed as exhibit 104, should be included with other XBRL files as exhibit 101, with exhibit 104 cross referencing to the exhibit 101 file. C&DI 101.02 The staff confirmed that registrants that voluntarily submit Inline XBRL prior to the applicable compliance date are not required to comply with the Cover Page XBRL tagging requirements. Cover Page tagging is only applicable to registrants “required” to submit Inline XBRL. C&DI 101.03 Inline XBRL and the related Cover Page XBRL requires tagging the cover pages of Forms 10-K, 10-Q, 8-K, 20-F and 40-F. Now, following the applicable phase-in period, all Form 8-K filings will require Cover Page XBRL tagging, even if the filing does not include financial statements for which XBRL data is required. C&DI 101.04 The requirement noted above to list Cover Page XBRL as exhibit 104 also applies in the case of Form 8-Ks. However, the staff will not object if registrants exclude an exhibit index from a Form 8-K filing if the exhibit index would be included solely to identify Cover Page XBRL. C&DI 101.05 The staff notes that Cover Page XBRL tagging will require a registrant to tag its company name using Inline XBRL. A company’s name, as it appears on the cover page of a filing, may differ from its name as it appears in the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (EDGAR) filing system, and for the most part, such differences will not prevent the filing from being accepted and disseminated. The staff notes that in rare cases such variations may result in a notice of suspension for the filing (in which case the registrant should contact EDGAR Filer Technical Support). Filers should use this as an opportunity to review the way their company name appears in the EDGAR filing system and ensure it matches the company name as it appears on the cover page of SEC filings. Others — Timing Registrants that voluntarily submit Inline XBRL prior to the applicable compliance date may cease such voluntary Inline XBRL submissions until the applicable compliance date. [C&DI 101.06]. US domestic form filers are required to comply with Inline XBRL beginning with their first Form 10-Q after the applicable compliance date, not necessarily the first filing after the compliance date. Where a Form 8-K is filed earlier on the same day as such first Form 10-Q filing, Inline XBRL will not be required for the Form 8-K. [C&DI 101.07]. Others — Foreign Private Issuers Foreign private issuers that prepare financial statements in accordance with US GAAP are required to comply with the Inline XBRL requirements based on filer status (large accelerated filer, accelerated filer, etc.) as set forth in the compliance phase-in schedule above. Foreign private issuers that prepare financial statements in accordance with IFRS will be required to comply with Inline XBRL for fiscal periods ending on or after June 15, 2021. [C&DI 101.08]. Filers using Form 20-F and Form 40-F, which have no quarterly filing obligations, will be required to comply with Inline XBRL beginning with the first filing on a form for which Inline XBRL is required after the applicable compliance date. [C&DI 101.09]. The complete text of the new C&DIs is available here. [...]
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FINRA Issues Regulatory Notice Reminding Members of the SEC’s Adoption of a Best Interest Standard of Conduct

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FINRA Issues Regulatory Notice Reminding Members of the SEC’s Adoption of a Best Interest Standard of Conduct
On August 7, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued Regulatory Notice 19-26, reminding members of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) adoption of a “best interest” standard of conduct for broker-dealers and a relationship summary (Form CRS) delivery obligation. Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI), adopted by the SEC on June 5, 2019, establishes a “best interest” standard of conduct for broker-dealers and associated persons making a recommendation of any securities transaction or investment strategy involving securities to a retail customer. Other new rules and forms were adopted that will require broker-dealers and investment advisers to provide a Form CRS to retail investors. Firms must comply with Reg BI and the Form CRS delivery obligation by June 30, 2020. In connection with the new rules, a staff committee with representatives from the SEC’s Division of Investment Management, Division of Trading and Markets, Division of Economic and Risk Analysis, Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations and Office of the General Counsel was established to assist firms with planning for implementation. Firms may send any questions by email to IABDQuestions@sec.gov. In addition, FINRA will produce written and online content and hold in-person meetings and workshops to assist firms with their implementation efforts. A webpage is also available for members to obtain information about the new rules. The Notice is available here. [...]
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FINRA Proposes to Ease Restrictions on Initial Equity Public Offerings and New Issues

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FINRA Proposes to Ease Restrictions on Initial Equity Public Offerings and New Issues
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is proposing to amend its Rule 5130 and Rule 5131 to ease certain restrictions on initial equity public offerings and new issue allocations and distributions. FINRA Rules 5130 and 5131 are designed to protect the integrity of the public offering process by, among other things, generally prohibiting FINRA members from selling a new issue to an account in which a “restricted person” has a beneficial interest in order to ensure that industry insiders, including members and their associated persons, do not take advantage of their insider position to purchase new issues for their own benefit at the expense of public customers. FINRA has proposed amending the Rules to remove certain impediments to capital formation deemed unnecessary to protect investors to address the impact of the rules on family offices, sovereign entities, foreign employee retirement benefits plans, foreign investment companies and executive officers and directors of charitable organizations. If adopted, the proposal would amend Rule 5130 to exempt foreign employee retirement benefits plans, exclude sovereign entities that own broker-dealers from the categories of restricted persons, and broaden the scope of “family investment vehicle” under the rule. In addition, the proposal would amend Rules 5130 and 5131 to exclude from the definition of “new issue” offerings that are conducted pursuant to Regulation S under the Securities Act of 1933 and other offerings outside of the United States and its territories. The proposal also would amend Rule 5131 to exclude unaffiliated charitable organizations from the definition of “covered non-public company.” The proposal also would make certain additional minor amendments to Rules 5130 and 5131 to make the rules more consistent. FINRA’s proposal is available here.   [...]
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Retire on Your Own Terms With Help From This Course

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Retire on Your Own Terms With Help From This Course
Knowing how to plan for retirement is a must-have for any soon-to-be retiree. It’s especially important if you’d like to keep a steady income stream, travel and enjoy your golden years. Having a plan in place will ensure that you’re ready for what’s ahead. If you need help with your own retirement plan, consider The Only Retirement Guide You’ll Ever Need... [...]
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CFTC Publishes Request for Comment on Proposed Rule Change to Cross-Border Regulatory Commitments

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CFTC Publishes Request for Comment on Proposed Rule Change to Cross-Border Regulatory Commitments
On June 25, 2019, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission published for comment a proposed amendment to CFTC Regulation 30.10. Part 30 of the CFTC’s regulations govern the offer and sale of foreign futures and options to customers located in the United States. Among other requirements, Regulation 30.4 requires any person that solicits or accepts orders for execution on a foreign board of trade and that, in connection therewith, accepts any money or securities to margin any resulting contracts, to be registered with the CFTC as a futures commission merchant (FCM). Regulation 30.10 authorizes the CFTC to exempt from registration as an FCM any person located outside of the U.S. that the CFTC finds is subject to a comparable regulatory structure in the jurisdiction in which it is located. Requests for exemption are generally filed by a non-U.S. regulatory authority or self-regulatory organization on behalf of their registrants. Although the CFTC reserves the right to condition, modify, suspend, terminate, withhold as to a specific firm or otherwise restrict any exemptive relief it grants under Regulation 30.10, the regulation currently does not provide a specific course of action should the CFTC determine that exemptive relief is no longer warranted. To address this issue, the proposed amendment to Regulation 30.10 would provide that the CFTC may terminate exemptive relief if, after appropriate notice and an opportunity to respond, the CFTC determines that: (i) there has been a material change or omission in the facts and circumstances pursuant to which relief was granted; (ii) the continued exemptive relief would be contrary to the public interest or inconsistent with the purposes of the exemption; and (iii) the information-sharing arrangements no longer adequately support exemptive relief. Interestingly, in describing circumstances in which it could determine to withdraw a Regulation 30.10 exemption, the CFTC notes that it could take into account a lack of comity relating to the execution or clearing of any commodity interest subject to the CFTC’s exclusive jurisdiction. This appears to be the first time that the CFTC has stated that lack of comity could be a factor in determining whether a Regulation 30.10 exemption would be appropriate. The comment period will end 30 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register. A full copy of the press release is available here. [...]
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Earn Cash Selling Clothes From Your Closet With These 6 Online Resale Shops

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Earn Cash Selling Clothes From Your Closet With These 6 Online Resale Shops
Truth time: My wardrobe embarasses me. It’s not because I dislike the things I wear — it’s because I have so many things I don’t wear. Since cleaning out my closet and attempting a capsule wardrobe experiment a few years ago, I’ve unfortunately regressed to my old ways — and by “old ways,” I mean my closet is overflowing with things I just don’t wear often enough. In fact, I would guess that at this point, about 60% of my wardrobe is simply taking up space. But I’m ready to simplify again, and, in the process, I’m hoping to make a little extra money. So, I’m heading to the internet (because my local consignment shops are — shall we say — choosy) and selling my clothes in an effort to earn back some of the money I’ve carelessly funneled right into my closet (again). 6 Places to Sell Clothes Online These are the sites I’ll use to try and make a few extra bucks as I clear out my wardrobe. 1. Poshmark Poshmark touts itself as a “fun and simple way to buy and sell fashion.” And while “fun” may be an accurate descriptor, “simple” really isn’t — but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You see, Poshmark is more than just an online platform for selling clothes — it’s a “social marketplace.” Rather than being a place where sellers can list an item, hope it sells and move along, Poshmark is powered by buyers and sellers who share fashion ideas and styling tips, browse each others’ “closets” and generally connect over clothing and fashion. What Poshmark isn’t? A set-it-and-forget-it type of site. In order to make sales on Poshmark, you need to upload quality photos, write thorough descriptions, offer style guidance, “attend” buying and selling events within the app, share and promote listings and interact with other users. Pro Tip Some successful Poshmark users recommend investing in nice packaging or thank you cards to keep your ratings up and your listings more visible. Buyers are allowed to negotiate prices, but you can choose to decline or accept an offer. For sales under $15, Poshmark takes a flat commission fee of $2.95. For sales of $15 or more, you’ll keep 80% of the profit. Once a sale is made, Poshmark will provide you with a pre-paid, pre-addressed shipping label. All in all, Poshmark is a good option for anyone who’s willing to do a little (virtual) legwork. 2. thredUP ThredUP is an online consignment and second-hand shop focusing on brand-name clothing for women and children — and it couldn’t be easier to use. If Poshmark is the most involved clothing selling site on the market, thredUP might just be the least. Sure, your return may not be quite as big as if you steamed, photographed and listed each piece individually all while liking, commenting and sharing other people’s items, but for the lazy among us, thredUP couldn’t be more convenient. Debra Wallace, the woman behind the blog Zero, also notes the small return as a con of selling on thredUP. “Used clothing is not worth much,” she writes. “So if you’re looking to make more money, you’ll have to put in more effort” using other sites or brick-and-mortar stores. For anyone who’s still on board, thredUP’s process is pretty simple: Go to the “Clean Out” tab on thredUP’s website and select “Order a Kit.” You can then choose whether you’d like to receive a standard clean out bag or an expedited one. (There’s also an option to just donate a bag of clothing, if you’d prefer to do that.) ThredUP will then send you a bag that you’ll fill with clothes, seal up and return for free with a prepaid shipping label. ThredUP will then sort through your clothes, list the keepers on the site and, depending on which clean out option you chose, either recycle or return the unwanted items to you. Depending on whether your items are highly trendy and in season or have a little more longevity to them, thredUP will determine whether to give you the money up front or when the item sells on consignment. Once your payout becomes available, you have to cash out via PayPal. 3. Swap.com Swap.com is similar to thredUP in a lot of ways, except it also accepts and sells men’s clothes and even kids’ toys and a few household items. To sell your unwanted clothing on Swap.com, you can either request an “inbound box” or simply print a prepaid shipping label to use for sending in your items. Once the company receives your items, it will price them, upload them to the site and send you your payout after your items sell. Similar to thredUP, any items not accepted for resale will either be sent back to you or donated, depending on which option you choose. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM Sell photos 6/24/19 @ 3:40 PM Earning Money 6/24/19 @ 1:18 PM A Make Money Asking Questions On Quora 4/26/19 @ 12:28 AM Employment in the trades 6/20/19 @ 11:41 AM See more in Make Money or ask a money question 4. Instagram If you’re an avid Instagram user, you’ve probably stumbled across more than one person selling their “closet” on the popular app. And while it’s a clunky interface for buying and selling (sales are done through the comments under photos and via direct messages), the return is pretty good because no commissions or fees are shaved off the top. Still, selling your clothing on Instagram will take a bit of legwork on your part. You’ll have to know how to work the system (lucky you, we have some tips right here!), and you’ll have to go through the trouble of steaming (it helps), photographing and listing each piece individually. You’ll also have to be totally in charge of collecting payments and shipping the items. All in all, though, it’s a great option for those who are willing to go the extra mile to make the extra dollar. 5. Tradesy If you want to sell your clothes on a platform that’s just a little bit more seller friendly, (but still not quite as involved as Poshmark) Tradesy is the way to go. Tradesy says it deals primarily in designer and luxury items, but technically you can sell any brand from Xhilaration for Target to Gucci — and any item from purses to wedding gear. To sell on Tradesy, all you have to do is take a few photos of an item (Tradesy will even do a little editing for you to make it look better), add a description and input a price. (Again, Tradesy is pretty helpful and will suggest a selling price if you’re at a loss.) When an item sells, you can use one of Tradesy’s complimentary shipping kits to ship the item at no cost. Tradesy’s flat commission fee is a little steep: The company takes $7.50 of any item sold for under $50. If an item sells for $50 or more, Tradesy takes 19.8%. The process is a little more involved than just loading up a bag and sending it off in the mail, but with a little bit of work, your payout can be pretty good — as long as you’re selling at the right price point. 6. eBay You thought we were going to leave eBay off this list for a second there, didn’t you? But we couldn’t do that! Even though it’s been around for quite some time (and sometimes has a reputation for being unwieldy or a little outdated), eBay is still a valid option when you’re selling clothing — especially when you’re looking to make a few bucks on so [...]
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NFA Amends Swaps Supervision Requirements and Makes Technical Changes to NFA Rules and Interpretive Notices

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NFA Amends Swaps Supervision Requirements and Makes Technical Changes to NFA Rules and Interpretive Notices
On June 12, the National Futures Association (NFA) amended several of its rules and interpretive notices to incorporate expressly supervision requirements for NFA members’ swaps activities. NFA Compliance Rule 2-9(a), as amended, will apply specifically to futures commission merchant (FCM), introducing brokers (IB), commodity pool operator (CPO) and commodity trading advisor (CTA) members. New NFA Compliance Rule 2-9(d) will require swap dealer (SD) members to diligently supervise the swaps activities of their employees and agents. Finally, as part of the overhaul to the supervision requirements, the NFA adopted a new interpretive notice titled, NFA Compliance Rule 2-9(d): Supervision Requirements for Swap Dealer and Major Swap Participant Members. The amendments and interpretive notice will become effective September 30. A complete copy of the March 8 submission letter detailing the amendments is available here. [...]
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My Favorite Cute Summer Tops for Women (all from Amazon!)

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My Favorite Cute Summer Tops for Women (all from Amazon!)
Looking for some cute summer tops for women that are inexpensive and durable? Here are 3 of my favorite summer tops from Amazon that I have worn over and over again in the last year! 3 Cute Summer Tops From Amazon As you likely well know, I love finding great clothing deals at great prices on Amazon. And I love sharing those great finds with you all! In today’s post, I want to share 3 summer tops for women I purchased from Amazon and absolutely love! All of these have held up well to multiple washings, are very comfortable, are inexpensively priced, and fit well. This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. 1. Amazon Essentials V-Neck T-Shirt These tees come in a two-pack for $18.50 shipped (Less than $10 each shipped!) and they are some of my favorite v-neck tees! They are soft, fit well, but aren’t too tight. You can wear them tucked in or left out. I prefer to tuck them in and wear them with a belt or to do a half tuck. I got the navy/turquoise set (see the two pictures above). This particular set is currently out of stock, but they have a lot of other colors available in this same style and price. 2. Made By Emma Short Sleeve Chambray Shirt I adore this shirt and usually always wear it at least once a week! It’s lightweight, soft, and so comfortable. You can wear it untucked for a casual look, tucked in for a more tailored look, or with a cardigan or jacket. Many of the reviews on Amazon say that it runs small. I have on a small here and that’s the size I usually wear. It’s possible that some of the larger sizes aren’t as true to size. The only drawback of this shirt is that Amazon doesn’t offer free returns on it and it’s $14.97 + $4.99 shipping.   3. WLLW Crew Neck Sleeveless Shirt This is another shirt that I wear almost weekly! And it’s just $15.99 shipped or less (depending upon what size and pattern you choose). It comes in a number of different patterns and colors. One thing I wanted to mention is that some of you have ordered this and some of you said your shirt was a bit darker than mine was and you felt like the material looked different than mine does. The good news? This shirt has free returns, so if you order it and don’t like it, you can easily return it — completely free (Amazon will email you a shipping label to return it). Note: Many of you asked about the shirt I have on underneath this tank. It’s this halter top bralette and I really love it for halter top tanks! How to Search for Clothes on Amazon Be willing to dig. It’s not always easy to find what you’re looking for at first. Sometimes, you have to put in specific search terms to find exactly what you’re looking for. Don’t give up within a few tries; it’s probably there if you’re willing to dig! Use as specific of search terms as possible. If you know a brand name and specific type of what you’re looking for, be sure to include those details in the search terms. Amazon carries a LOT of brands and you might be surprised what you find and the prices they are offering. Look at the related searches. If you find an item you love, be sure to scroll down on the page to see the “Related Searches” items + the “People Who Bought This Also Bought” selections. In both cases, I’ll often find some great options there that I might not have found just by searching. What To Check For Before Making a Purchase Check if they offer free returns. Many clothing items on Amazon offer free returns. This means that if you don’t like the item for any reason, you can go on Amazon and request to return it. They’ll send you a free shipping label so you can return it and get your money back. Read the reviews. I learn so much by looking at the reviews. You can often also see pictures of the actual item on someone. This is really helpful! Always check the shipping price. Many clothes ship free to Amazon Prime members. Make sure you check the shipping price before falling in love with something — because sometimes it won’t be free and might be as high as $5-$6. Look to see where something is made/ships from. Some of Amazon’s clothing ships from China and takes 4-6 weeks to arrive. Be aware of this when you are looking at items — especially if you are hoping to get them within in a few days. Two other tops that didn’t make it to my top 3 list, but that I also love and wear often are the two above shirts: FOMANSH Color Block Tee (this one looks a tad different than the one I have on above but Amazon says it’s the one I have — it has free returns in case it shows up looking different!) Vemvan Striped Block Tee (comes in a number of different colors and is just $15.99!) Other Places to Get Great Deals on Clothes Your Closet — Don’t run out and get something new because “you have nothing to wear” without first checking your closet. There might be a dozen items in there you’ve not worn for awhile just because you forgot about them! Save yourself a trip to the store plus the money for new clothes by making sure you’re wearing what you already own! Thrift Stores — Thrift stores are a gold mine of deals, if you have the patience to dig and look. Approach it like a treasure hunt, have strict guidelines for what you are looking for, and make sure Swap Meets with Friends — Get your group of girlfriends together and have everyone bring what they no longer love, need, fit into, or wear and swap out clothes. This is a fun way to freshen up your closet — for free! TJ Maxx — I’ve found lots of great deals at TJ Maxx over the years. You never know quite what you’ll find, but it’s a great place to find deals on basics like camis, socks, scarves, and workout clothes. Target — Target often releases great coupons through their cartwheel app that can be paired with items from the Clearance Racks. This can make for great deals! Zulily — This is an online daily deal site that has lots of sales on ladies’ clothing. If you like certain name brands like Under Armor or Tom’s, check out this site for their regular sales. Note: The shipping tends to be high on this site and it takes quite awhile for you to receive your items in the mail. What are YOUR best tips for finding great deals on clothes? I’d love to hear! Other Related Links: How I’ve Simplified My Wardrobe The Outfit Formulas That Changed My Life My Completely Honest Review of Stitch Fix Putting Me Together (no-fuss fashion for moms) Get a FREE Month of Rocksbox Jewelry [...]
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