How Blockchain Is Set to Drive Commerce
by Hugh Williams on 16th May 2018 in News While blockchain is not new, it’s a technology that’s starting to make waves in the retail space and is increasingly one retailers can’t ignore. In this piece for RetailTechNews, James Pruden (pictured below), studio director, Xigen , explains that, while blockchain made its name in powering cryptocurrencies, it can offer so much more in helping retailers to drive loyalty and deliver personalised experiences to customers. However, it’s in cryptocurrency where blockchain offers immediate stand-out opportunities for retailers. Why cryptocurrency must be embraced Bitcoin firmly entered into the public consciousness at the beginning of this year, when its value reached a high of $16,522 per Bitcoin in January. While the value of Bitcoin has nearly halved since that January high to fall to around $9,700, as I write this article in early May, it’s worth remembering that in January 2017 it was $900 per Bitcoin. The long-term trend, in my opinion, is growth in value, and therefore popularity, of digital currency, which is something all retailers must recognise, particularly as they are set to allow new, beneficial interactions between consumers and retailers. The key benefits cryptocurrencies offer, include: Cost – Both retailers and consumers benefit from transactions that use cryptocurrencies. Services like BitPay for Bitcoin take a flat 1% settlement charge. Whereas credit cards can take up to 3% in processing fees. Also, it’s possible to accept Bitcoin without any middlemen with plugins on WordPress and Magento-built websites. With price predominately king in the e-commerce world, the ability to reduce the cost for customers who pay in a cryptocurrency will make that e-tailer even more attractive to consumers. However, what is important, if you are a retailer taking payment using a cryptocurrency, is that this is clearly advertised. It’s surprising how many retailers don’t highlight the available payment options, which could lose them potential customers and therefore valuable revenue. Speed – Bitcoin, along with other cryptocurrencies, speed up the transaction process for products and services, wherever the buyers and retailers are in the world. Transactions are broadcasted nearly instantly and are usually confirmed within ten minutes. Fraud protection – Cryptocurrencies help provide protection against fraud and deliver an unparalleled transparency in transactions. Bitcoin payments are irreversible and secure, meaning the cost of fraud is no longer pushed onto the shoulders of merchants. The funds are locked in a public key cryptography system. Only the owner of the private key can send cryptocurrency. Also, the way the payment takes place in a decentralised blockchain provides a level of encryption that’s almost impossible to break. It’s easier than ever for consumers to gain access to cryptocurrencies with the advent of fintech banks, such as Revolut. The result is that consumers will start to buy and become more comfortable with digital currencies and increasingly expect retailers to accept payment by Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency. While there are issues with the fluctuations in the value of cryptocurrencies, the large number of investors in the market, and talk of potential regulation, has impacted the value of these currencies. I anticipate the market will soon settle down. In fact, the benefits of cryptocurrencies have recently been praised by the head of the IMF. However, blockchain can offer much more than power a new and important form of payment for retailers. Traditional loyalty schemes at a crossroads James Pruden, Studio Director, Xigen Blockchain has the potential to revolutionise the loyalty world. But before that happens, retailers need to look at the bigger picture and realise that consumer interest in traditional centralised loyalty schemes is beginning to slow. In 2017 the Colloquy Loyalty Census Report found that loyalty programme membership grew 26% in 2014, but slowed to 15% in 2016. Also, there is a belief amongst consumers that it takes too long to accrue a meaningful number of loyalty points. A report from Maritz Loyalty Marketing discovered that 70% of consumers abandon loyalty reward schemes because it took them between six to nine months to accumulate enough points to redeem rewards. Consumers also face an increasing plethora of loyalty schemes, such as Nectar, Tesco Clubcard, Avios, etc, all offering different and often confusing reward values. It is therefore not surprising that an estimated USD$25bn (£18.48bn) worth of loyalty points expire each year prior to being used. It is clear that traditional loyalty programmes increasingly aren’t doing their job of encouraging consumers back to shop via their favourite channel. This makes such schemes devoid of any value and an expensive white elephant for the retailer. Decentralised blockchains in loyalty The main criteria for any reward scheme that wants to be successful is to provide valuable and useful rewards for customers, so that it becomes a no-brainer for them to take part. For this to happen, there needs to be a fundamental change in how loyalty programmes are structured. This requires retailers to embrace new technologies and consider providing loyalty points or cash rewards as part of a decentralised network, powered by blockchain – one that can unify the fragmented rewards space and provide meaningful rewards that can be spent or exchanged anywhere. These need to offer a globally recognised cryptocurrency as the reward, something it would be just as easy for users to convert into fiat or traditional currency. This process will see consumers having their personal cryptocurrency wallet or ledger in the blockchain that automatically receives the digital currency when a purchase has been made. The benefits of this type of loyalty programme, for both retailers and customers, is huge. Retailers continue to attract back customers, driving revenue, whilst also collecting valuable data on customer trends and spend; while customers will be paid in an easily transportable cryptocurrency that won’t expire that they can spend pretty much anywhere. In fact, cryptocurrencies such as BitRewards and Elements are already moving into the loyalty space. Blockchain & the Internet of Things (IoT) While most retailers know about the internet of things (IoT), they probably don’t know the value that blockchain can deliver for them in the IoT age. For example, there’s set to be new ways for retailers to offer, and customers to accrue, loyalty points or a cryptocurrency through blockchain technology. Rewards could be paid out to consumers for browsing for more than a couple of minutes on an e-tailer’s site, or just walking into a shop, or going for a run longer than a mile – this could be a reward from a sports retailer. Then there are platforms such as Nucleus Vision that use deep customer insight, along with proprietary blockchain systems, to help identify when a customer walks in-store and provide retailers with their buying intent along with both their previous purchase history and personalised artificial intelligence (AI)-based suggestions. This approach provides a truly omni-channel and personalised customer experience. Seize the day Blockchain is set to have a huge positive impact on the retail space, by delivering exciting new ways for retailers and customers to engage, whether that’s via highly personalised communications, loyalty programmes, or payment. Ambitious retailers must embrace the blockchain revolution and benefit from being one of the first to offer one of the many beneficial blockchain-powered technologies to their customers.
This content was originally published in RetailTechNews . Latest Posts
CannaCoin Market Capitalization Achieves $237,782.00 (CRYPTO:CCN)
Posted by Sebastian Weber on May 16th, 2018 // No Comments
CannaCoin (CURRENCY:CCN) traded 1.7% lower against the dollar during the twenty-four hour period ending at 15:00 PM Eastern on May 1st. CannaCoin has a market capitalization of $237,782.00 and approximately $1,405.00 worth of CannaCoin was traded on exchanges in the last day. Over the last week, CannaCoin has traded down 19.4% against the dollar. One CannaCoin coin can currently be bought for $0.0506 or 0. 610 BTC on popular cryptocurrency exchanges.
Here’s how similar cryptocurrencies have performed over the last day: Get CannaCoin alerts: Bitcoin (BTC) traded 2.5% lower against the dollar and now trades at $8,320.02 or 1. BTC. Ethereum (ETH) traded down 2.2% against the dollar and now trades at $699.21 or 0.08433560 BTC. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) traded down 6.6% against the dollar and now trades at $1,276.59 or 0.15397700 BTC. Litecoin (LTC) traded down 1.5% against the dollar and now trades at $138.36 or 0.01668860 BTC. Monero (XMR) traded 4.4% lower against the dollar and now trades at $197.47 or 0.02381840 BTC. Bytecoin (BCN) traded down 2.6% against the dollar and now trades at $0.0103 or 0. 124 BTC. Ethereum Classic (ETC) traded down 5.6% against the dollar and now trades at $17.54 or 0.00211599 BTC. Zcash (ZEC) traded 2.1% higher against the dollar and now trades at $353.29 or 0.04261240 BTC. Bitcoin Gold (BTG) traded 4.8% lower against the dollar and now trades at $56.36 or 0.00679839 BTC. Verge (XVG) traded 4.1% lower against the dollar and now trades at $0.0549 or 0. 662 BTC.
CannaCoin is a proof-of-work (PoW) coin that uses the Proof of Stake Velocity hashing algorithm. Its launch date was March 28th, 2014. CannaCoin’s total supply is 4,701,666 coins. CannaCoin’s official website is www.cannacoin.tech . The Reddit community for CannaCoin is /r/cannacoin and the currency’s Github account can be viewed here . CannaCoin’s official Twitter account is @CCNProject and its Facebook page is accessible here .
CannaCoin Coin Trading
CannaCoin can be purchased on these cryptocurrency exchanges: Cryptopia. It is usually not presently possible to buy alternative cryptocurrencies such as CannaCoin directly using U.S. dollars. Investors seeking to trade CannaCoin should first buy Bitcoin or Ethereum using an exchange that deals in U.S. dollars such as GDAX, Gemini or Coinbase . Investors can then use their newly-acquired Bitcoin or Ethereum to buy CannaCoin using one of the exchanges listed above. Receive News & Ratings for CannaCoin CannaCoin
Pixel & Dimed On (Not) Getting By in the Gig Economy
By Sarah Kessler long Read “If I’m willing to pay $100 for someone to bring me a glass of fresh milk from an Omaha dairy cow right now, there might very well be a guy who would be super happy to do that, but he doesn’t know that I’m the crazy guy who is willing to pay $100.” Bo Fishback was on stage at the “Big Omaha” startup conference in 2011, trying to explain how his company Zaarly was designed to make that connection between the person with more money than time and anyone who, finding themselves in the opposite situation, could fulfill his hankering for local farm products. “It creates instantly the ultimate opt-in employment market, where there is no excuse for people who say, ‘I don’t know how to get a job, I don’t know how to get started.'” Fishback wrapped up his presentation with a flourish: A man in a baseball cap arrived, cow in tow, with a tall plastic jug of milk.
advertisement Neither Fishback nor I realized at the time that he was the first person to pitch the vision I would hear many more times over the next three years: The gig economy (a phrase which encompasses both the related collaborative economy and sharing economy) represents a theory of the future of work that’s a viable alternative to laboring for corporate America. Instead of selling your soul to the Man, it goes, you are empowered to work for yourself on a project-by-project basis. One day it might be delivering milk, but the next it’s building Ikea furniture, driving someone to the airport, hosting a stranger from out of town in your spare bedroom, or teaching a class on a topic in which you’re an expert. The best part? The work will come to you, via apps on your smartphone, making the process of finding work as easy as checking your Twitter feed.
Whatever you do, it will be your choice. Because you are no longer just an employee with set hours and wages working to make someone else rich. In the future, you will be your very own mini-business.
The vision is so intoxicating that even as the U.S. unemployment rate remained stubbornly high, with millions of long-term unemployed dropping off the rolls and untold millions more underemployed, the gig economy came to offer not just a path to freedom from our desks but also a way to get the American people back to work. In a TED talk, Rachel Botsman, author of What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption , described sharing economy companies as “lemonade stands on steroids.” New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote a piece headlined “How To Monetize Your Closet” that argued “these entrepreneurs are not the only answer for our economic woes…but they are surely part of the answer.”
The people running these new companies have made grand pronouncements as well. When challenged by city hotel laws, Brian Chesky, CEO and cofounder of Airbnb, told the Wall Street Journal that “I want to live in a world where people can become entrepreneurs or micro-entrepreneurs and if we can lower the friction and inspire them to do that, especially in an economy like today, this is the promise of the sharing economy.” And in 2012 when PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund led a $13 million investment round in the errand platform called TaskRabbit, its CEO Leah Busque told TechCrunch that the company’s goal was to “revolutionize the world’s labor force.”
The only problem with this narrative is that the prospects of finding a living wage in America do not seem any brighter than they did back in 2008 when Busque founded TaskRabbit. Unemployment has drifted down from its high of 10% in October 2009 to 6.6% in the January 2014 report, but income inequality is, according to research based on tax-return data from the IRS , the worst it has been since 1923.
And the anecdotal evidence is appalling. Walmart, the single largest private employer in the country, was spotted at one location last holiday season hosting a Thanksgiving food drive for its own workers. McDonald’s, the second largest fast-food chain in the country, teamed up last summer with Visa to sketch out a budget for its low-paid full-time workers. The budget presumed they would each be working a second job. More than a decade after Barbara Ehrenreich wrote Nickel and Dimed to chronicle firsthand the struggles of low-wage workers, conditions only seem to have worsened.
advertisement Meanwhile, politicians have begun fighting over what they might do to help, namely, raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to as much as $10.10 an hour. President Obama and the Democratic lawmakers advocating the raise hope that it spurs private employers to follow suit. Gap, for one, announced that it would raise its lowest hourly wages to $10 an hour by next year.
In the tech world, fueled by the success and high valuations of Airbnb (room or home rentals), Uber (car service), Lyft (car service), DogVacay (pet sitting), Postmates (urban courier service), and the many other services that rely on a new cadre of employee to fulfill what they’re selling, hope remains high that these marketplaces can create the solution. “People who are renting their homes out in Airbnb or driving for Lyft, they may make more money than working a minimum-wage job,” says Jeremiah Owyang, a former social-media analyst who last December launched Crowd Companies, a firm devoted to helping name brands such as Ford and Home Depot connect with startups in the gig economy. These folks are doing so well, in fact, Owyang says, “For some brands, this is a threat to employment.”
The only way to find out whether the tech world’s solution for the poor job market and income inequality had the answer was to put it to the test. For four weeks this winter, spread out over a six-week period to avoid the holidays, I hustled for work in the gig economy. Technically I was undercover, but I used my real name and background, and whenever asked, I readily shared that I was a journalist. (Alas, people were all too willing to accept that a writer was a perfect candidate for alternative sources of income.) I have changed the names of anyone who did not know, when I was speaking to them, that I was working on this story.
I decided that I would accept any gigs I could get my hands on in pursuit of my goal: I would use the slick technology and shimmering promise of the Silicon Valley-created gig economy to beat Capitol Hill’s $10.10 per hour proposal. How hard could it be?
“Furloughed? Try Freelancing on Fiverr.” I read this prescriptive headline on Yahoo News during the government shutdown last year. On Fiverr ($31 million in funding), the startup’s founder explained, you can make money doing what you love in your spare time. I didn’t want to deprive a laid-off civil service employee of her right to do what she loved in her (involuntary) spare time, but I couldn’t resist trying. “I’m a professional writer, and I will proofread your paper, essay, or article (up to 1,500 words) for grammatical errors and typos,” I write in the description box. I select my price for this valuable service: $5. Submit.
While I wait for my proofreading gigs, I spend the next five minutes identifying 23 other gigs that I’d like to pursue.
advertisement Some of those are obviously out of the question from the start. Nobody searching Airbnb (more than $300 million in funding) will select a slowly deflating air mattress in my Brooklyn living room/kitchen/office/dining room/gym/guest room. I don’t have a car, thus disqualifying me from working for Lyft (more than $80 million in funding), Uber (more than $300 million in funding), and the peer-to-peer car sharing services Getaround and RelayRides ($19 million and $18 million in funding, respectively). I also quickly cross parking spot marketplace ParkatmyHouse (undisclosed seed funding) off my list. I don’t even know anybody in New York City who owns a parking spot, but I imagine it would be like owning a helicopter pad anywhere else in the country. I consider what I own to determine if there’s something that would be of value to share with others for money, but it seems I don’t own anything that seems like a viable rental candidate. Not even a snow blower or ping pong table. It also seems that the founders of platforms that allow rentals of such assets, like Snapgoods (undisclosed seed funding) and Rentstuff ($835,000 in funding), have since moved on to other ideas. Much to my chagrin, Tom Friedman, my closet stubbornly refused to be monetized.
Within minutes, I am into the second-tier opportunities on my list. The jobs here may be less cushy, but they still seem appealing. On TaskRabbit ($37.8 million in funding), I watch a video called “The Taskrabbit Life.” “I don’t have a boss,” a retiree in the commercial says. “I don’t have a set schedule. I can work for how much I want. If I don’t want to do a task, I don’t have to do it.”
And all this can be mine with just a quick background check and the completion of a quiz with true or false questions such as, “When you complete a task, just let the TaskPoster know and they’ll pay you in cash.” (Answer: “False! Accepting a cash payment will result in a strike on your account or removal from the TaskRabbit Community”). It is about easy as I expect it to be, and it’s likely why TaskRabbit was flooded with 13,000 applications in one day after the government shutdown. Already I can see myself grocery shopping for nice elderly ladies who refuse to let me leave without eating at least one cookie.
The application for the virtual personal-assistant service Zirtual ($2 million in funding) asks, “Have you always dreamed of being able to work from home? Have you wished for a part-time job that is actually meaningful and rewarding? Do you feel that work and play shouldn’t be mutually exclusive?” How did they know? I diligently fill out the application and attach my resume.
Most Skillshare ($9.7 million in funding) classes close to where I live focus on computer programming, cooking, or crafts like hand lettering. I’ve never attempted any of the above without YouTube nearby for crash tutorials. But thanks to my mother, I do have one teachable skill that most people don’t: My mom, a farmer’s daughter who works 60-hour weeks as a finance executive, can wrap packages that put any stay-at-home mom with a Martha Stewart obsession to shame. And I know all of the secrets that go into her big, glittery homemade bows. Truth be told, I am more of a klutz than she is, but I can always call her if I need help. I propose a two-hour “Snazz Up Your Holiday Gift Wrapping” workshop for $20 a person. I’ll provide supplies.
To round out my potential work portfolio, I create a homemade pizza menu for a site called Kitchensurfing ($3.7 million in funding) that connects chefs with people who want meals catered in their homes. I post a profile on DogVacay ($22 million in funding) that details my dog-sitting qualifications. For good measure, I shoot applications to the on-demand cleaning service Exec (more than $3 million in funding) and on-demand delivery services WunWun (undisclosed seed funding) and Postmates ($22 million in funding).
advertisement Then I sit back and wait for the jobs to start rolling in.
The rejection notices come almost instantly. Each one lands with a thud in my inbox that sounds like a wasted hour of my life. Neither Zirtual nor a similar company called FancyHands ($1 million in funding) is hiring independent contractor assistants. Q&A service ChaCha ($83.5 million in funding) has also stopped taking applications. Exec, the cleaning service, rejects me within a day, without explanation. Nobody has taken me up on my Fiverr proofreading gig yet, and when I search for it on the website, there are 4,786 results with similar titles, most of which seem to appear before mine.
DogVacay does not find my application satisfactory, though according to its email, it is still “barking with joy that you want to join our pawesome host community!” The startup wants more details about my love of dogs as well as more photos of the pawesome play space I’ll provide any pups. As I move all my junk to one side of my apartment so that I can take a photo of the deceptively organized other side, I’m grateful to have something to do.
All I’ve done so far is create profiles. To pass the time, I refresh the TaskRabbit dashboard. When tasks first came up for bid, I would think about how a job fits into my schedule or how it would feel to spend an entire day boxing coffee beans. Then, just like the ad said, I’d decide if I wanted to do the job and how much I wanted to get paid. When I bid on jobs, I’d carefully calculate a fair fee before putting in each offer. Test a website for two hours? Twenty dollars. Write a social entrepreneurship proposal? Forty. Three hours of photographing and posting items for sale on eBay? Forty-five bucks. Five hours of helping out at an event? Sixty. Pick up someone’s mail and forward it to California? I’d do it for $12. Two-to-four hours of my specialty, gift-wrapping? How about $40?
I win exactly zero of these gigs.
Time for plan B, which involves a lot less rational analysis of my value as an employee: I begin bidding furiously on anything that I think I could reasonably accomplish.
advertisement Unfortunately, there are far fewer jobs that fall into that category than I’d hoped. I cannot fix your lawn mower. I lack the body mass to move your furniture or deliver a Christmas tree. “Priority will be given to those who have experience as a sommelier.” Nope. “Nice handwriting, calligraphy preferred.” There’s a font for that, right?
I experience that sobering moment when one considers all those hours in the college library learning about Russian literature and the architect of the Chicago World’s Fair and realizes they could have been better put to use learning to sew–or at least assembling Swedish furniture. Even my offer to wake up at 6 a.m. on a Friday morning and wait in the November cold for at least two hours for a cronut is denied.
Because of the way TaskRabbit works, job posters can easily find the people willing to work for the least amount of money. A user with the screen-name BaubleBar (the name of an online jewelry vendor that has raised $6 million to date) creates a task for $40. “We need 10 TaskRabbits to help us pack and check the quality of merchandise, and add labels to merchandise tags,” it says. “PLEASE NOTE: We cannot allow frequent cell phone use during this task, so if you need to be on your phone often, this is not the task for you. This job will take approximately 8 hours. From 8am to 4pm.”
Update: BaubleBar says the task was mistakenly posted, and provided examples of tasks that offered more than minimum wage. We have no evidence that BaubleBar hired a TaskRabbit for less than minimum wage, and regret any confusion.
That’s eight hours of work for $40, $5 an hour, which is $3 an hour less than New York State’s minimum wage. The task quickly disappears. Either the poster deleted it, or a fellow rabbit quickly accepted it.
All that seems to be left to apply for are tasks that require handyman skills, cars, or have foreboding titles such as INDUSTRIAL TOILET CLEANING. “Need someone to purchase the finest quality cucumber Whole Foods has to offer (just 1) and deliver it to my girlfriend at her office this afternoon,” reads a new offer. “This is not a dick joke.” I hesitate for a moment, and the task gets assigned to someone else before I can apply.
When Postmates invites me to its courier orientation, it seems like a big break. “Earn up to $30/hour, flexible hours!” the application splash page read.
advertisement When I arrive at the cramped office, a man is standing by the door asking the manager, “Can you guarantee a job?” The muscular young manager, wearing a blue polo shirt, explains that no, the company doesn’t guarantee anything. “There are too many people here,” the candidate announces. “Imma peace out.”
As he leaves, another recruit, this one with a slicked-back ponytail and a tattoo that creeps up his neck, locks the door behind him, effectively disqualifying anyone who’s tardy. “There are no guarantees in life,” he says, delivering the line like the wise old gangster in a mob movie.
He turns to Blue Polo. “The $20 to $30 an hour thing, is that for real?”
Blue Polo assures him it is.
As the presentation begins, Blue Polo tells the 24 of us here about a “big shot architect” named James who wants a meatball sandwich and a Postmates delivery man named Tom who will stop at nothing to get it to him. When James has a friend stop by unexpectedly, he lets Tom know to pick up an extra sub. Tom does–and gets a bigger tip for the trouble. Blue Polo explains how he makes the schedule each week based on availability couriers submit themselves, taking time, like everyone else in the gig economy, to reiterate the freedom we’d have in this job.
When Blue Polo talks about compensation, though, he doesn’t talk about the $20 to $30 an hour mentioned in the ad. He says that couriers make 75% of the delivery fee on all orders they accept.
advertisement Postmates delivery fees start at $5. So if you do the math, the courier keeps $3.75 on the minimum delivery. At that rate, we would need to make eight deliveries every hour in order to make that promised $30. Couriers I speak with later say that the average tip is around $5 (Postmates confirms this figure), which eases the burden to three to four deliveries an hour. In Manhattan or Brooklyn traffic. On a bike or in a car.
Blue Polo opens the floor for questions and I ask whether there are any health insurance or safety policies for couriers. He tells me in no uncertain terms, “You are not an employee of Postmates. So when it comes to safety, you are on your own.” (I am, after all, my own microbusiness.) When I later visit the web page that Postmates uses to recruit employees, I can’t help but notice that it boasts that Postmates pays 100% of its employees’ medical, dental, and vision insurance premiums. “Your physical and mental health is a priority to us,” it says. But that’s only for Postmates’ 45 engineers, designers, and executives. It does not include the 2,000 people who are making deliveries.
After orientation, I approach Blue Polo to confess that I don’t own a bike, just a helmet and a year-long subscription to New York City’s bike-sharing program. He laughs. “You need a vehicle,” he tells me.
As we’re leaving, Blue Polo hands out survey cards. There’s a red side for “not interested” and a green side for “interested.” It reminds me of a mandatory sexual harassment seminar I attended during my first week of college. As if the session had not made it clear enough, the green side requires you to check off that you “understand that Postmates is a marketplace and that I won’t be an employee.”
About 10 of us cram into an elevator to leave. As the doors close, one of the men who identified himself as a professional courier during the meeting asks the rest of us what we thought. His friend scrunches up his face like he ate something sour. “I saw the Craigslist ad for $20 an hour,” he says. “And I was like, I will ride the shit out of this for $20 an hour.”
The professional courier nods his head in agreement. “And now we’re down to a 75% commission,” he says.
advertisement Reflecting on the experience, the Postmates survey card in my pocket (I couldn’t choose a color), I realize that Blue Polo’s “on your own” answer applies to everything about the job. If you work for Postmates and you don’t beat your coworker to accept deliveries that might fill your shift, you–not Postmates–are out of luck. If you get a flat tire, you–not Postmates–are out of luck. And if there aren’t enough jobs to go around, you–not Postmates–are out of luck.
Instead of buying a bike or a car to be a Postmates courier, I direct all of my efforts toward TaskRabbit. When I see a post for someone who needs help cleaning her desk–indoors, doesn’t mention toilets–I pounce. And this time, I win.
The next morning, I am pleased with myself for arriving at my task on time, at 10:00 a.m. on the dot. “I’m here to see Teresa, in 1A,” I tell the doorman. He looks confused. “It’s a doctor’s office,” he says. “But maybe they have a Teresa over there.” He points me to the street entrance, where I find a receptionist. “Is there a Teresa here?” I ask hopefully.
“Oh,” he says. “What’s her last name?” This is not information a TaskRabbit would usually have. The app reveals only the last initial of your employer’s name. Being somewhat paranoid about the idea of spending time in someone’s apartment whom I had never met, however, I had done some basic Google stalking. I’ve also left an address with my husband. “Where the body is,” I told him that morning as I was writing it down on a post-it note.
“I think it’s something Italian,” I tell the receptionist.
“Oh!” He tells me he gets her mail all the time. But she lives at the same address–in Brooklyn. That’s when the suckiness of this job starts to sink in like the rain in my soggy boots. Though it’s not my fault that I’m at the wrong place, I won’t be reimbursed for showing up here. By 10:36, I’m back where I started the day at 9:22. By 10:57, I’m ringing Teresa’s bell. “Your name is Sarah, right?” she asks.
advertisement As Teresa makes me a cup of coffee, we exchange small talk, much of which is focused around the fact that she’s too busy to open her own mail. “Someone offered $80 for what you’re doing now,” she tells me. I have been assigned to do this task for $22. “I mean, you don’t even need a high school degree. You can’t get paid $20 an hour for everything you do.”
Teresa is a single mother who has had trouble collecting child support. Her son is a freshman art student in California. She sometimes forgets to pay her bills and has been applying for jobs even though she’s worked in freelance PR for years. I know all of this because I’ve opened at least a year of her mail. In the process, which I complete while she works nearby on her laptop, I see all of her account numbers, her lease agreement, and other personal information. If I wanted to steal her identity, it would be quite easy.
I get the feeling Teresa uses TaskRabbit a lot, but never very effectively. I can’t see how opening her mail is much help, aside from the fact that I’m a human in her home. Next to her desk, there’s a makeshift filing cabinet that another TaskRabbit created, but there are no files in it.
My predecessor, she says, “was pretty much my personal assistant.” That ended when he wanted to get paid through PayPal instead of TaskRabbit. Because Teresa is an independent contractor, TaskRabbit is a tax write-off for her. If she starts paying someone regularly through something like PayPal, she worries she would have to claim him as an employee. And pay additional taxes .
I finish the piles at 1:19, about two and a half hours after I arrived. I’ve made about $8.80 an hour since I arrived, and about $5.50 since I left my house this morning. There aren’t enough folders, so I just show her which piles are which. When she pays me three days later, she doesn’t leave a tip.
After two full days of bidding on tasks, I’ve made a whopping $52. I need help, and I know just where to find it: TaskRabbit. I post an $8 task, “Mentor Me In Being A Good TaskRabbit.”
advertisement My mentor, Dmitry Solominsky, is already waiting for me at the café when I arrive. He has a scruffy beard and thick black glasses, and he is wearing a sweatshirt that says ARMY. “Tools for pretty much any job I do are in here,” he says, pointing to the large camo backpack tugging on his shoulders. He doesn’t have a job planned, but he’s carrying it just in case.
Where to Get the Gig Want to try out the gig economy? Four apps to get you started.
1. Fiverr Sample Job: A web designer will create a custom wedding website for, yes, $5.
How It Works: Anyone can post an offer to perform simple one-off services, usually for $5 (hence the company’s name). Fiverr keeps 20% of every transaction.
2. Postmates Sample Job: Deliver a Potbelly meatball sandwich to a nearby office building.
How It Works: This courier service guarantees one-hour delivery from partner stores like Whole Foods. Sign up as an independent contractor, accept jobs on your phone, and keep 75% of the delivery fee ($5 and up).
3. Skillshare Sample Job: A chef offers a $15 class on authentic southern fried chicken.
How It Works: Anyone can apply to set up a class about whatever wisdom they think they have to impart–and charge whatever they think it’s worth (Skillshare kept 12% of offline course fees, it charges $9.95 for access to all online classes and doles out payment to teachers based on popularity).
4. TaskRabbit Sample Job: Pick up a document from the county clerk’s office and deliver it for $16.
How It Works: Users can post any sort of temp employment on the site, either setting a fee or accepting bids from potential workers (known as TaskRabbits). The company handles all payments and takes a 20% cut.
Illustrations by Tim Boelaars I have hired Solominsky because he is a TaskRabbit success story. All but three of his 312 ratings are a perfect five stars (those three are four-star reviews). According to comments on his profile, he’s punctual, good with kids, helpful, and professional when a task turns out to involve more than expected. He can install blinds perfectly. “Nine months ago, I had no contacts, nothing to fall back on, no reviews, nothing,” he says. “Now I have reviews and a litany of people willing to vouch for me.” This is why Solominsky is at the top of TaskRabbit’s leaderboard.
Every gig economy company has at least one glittering success story like Solominsky’s. Postmates promotes Chris Hicks. “I started out thinking I would do Postmates part-time, in between jobs, but I fell in love with Postmates,” reads a quote from him on its website. “I’m addicted to it.” Fiverr’s CEO, Micha Kaufman, is fond of telling the press that people have used his site to pay for college or pay for a home. TechCrunch wrote an article about a Lyft driver who had quit his job as a miner (yes, a miner in San Francisco–perhaps it was Bitcoin?) to give rides full-time. I am not immune to promoting a gig economy winner: Last fall, I came across a stockbroker who had set up a lucrative Airbnb business on the side, renting six different apartments in San Francisco to create a makeshift hotel that could net him almost $100,000 this year.
The reason these people make good headlines is precisely because they are outliers. For every Solominsky I meet, I can easily find dozens of people like Sharon in San Diego, who has a goal of making $300 a week on TaskRabbit to help pay her bills, but hasn’t hit it yet. Or Kristen in New York City, who bids on tasks when she’s working full-time as a receptionist. Or Stacie, who works full-time as a software engineer in Boston, but always keeps the TaskRabbit website open so she can complete tasks on her lunch hour, after work, on weekends, or without leaving her desk. Stacie made about $6,000 on TaskRabbit last year, earning her “elite TaskRabbit” status. She likes helping people out, but she would never work on TaskRabbit just for the money. “If I wasn’t working full time, I could do more tasks,” she tells me, “but even if I doubled that, that’s still poverty–$12,000 a year. And there are no benefits. You don’t know what you’re going to wake up to. You could wake up one day, and be like, oh my god, I made $300 today, and then have three days where you’re making $12.”
When Stacie heard about Lyft, she decided to try that, too. She passed the screening process, attached the requisite pink mustache to her car, and had a great time driving people around for a day. Then she read an article about the insurance risks of driving for a peer-to-peer ride platform like Lyft. She became afraid that if someone were to sue her for getting hurt in her car, her insurance would not cover it. “I have savings, I have kids, and I have a house. I can’t risk it,” she says. “If I were 25 and I had nothing, yeah, to make a buck, what are the chances.” (Lyft has recently made efforts to address such concerns by expanding the insurance it provides drivers, but there are still ambiguities about what happens if claims exceed Lyft’s $1 million protection.)
Leena Chitnis, a former Fulbright scholar, finished an MBA program at Syracuse University last year and, while she looks for work, set up eight gigs on Fiverr to keep her going. So far, she’s completed a total of 27 orders and made $176. “I have $90,000 in school loans,” she says, “so when people say, can you edit my business plan for five bucks, I’m like, people charge $10,000 to write your business plan, and here I am editing it for four bucks [Fiverr takes 20% of every $5 fee]. I’ve seen panhandlers get more money outside of the 7-11.”
advertisement When I order my next Postmates delivery, I talk with the courier who biked through an icy storm to bring me a bag of cashews from Whole Foods. He’s 22, which means he can still use his parents’ insurance. On this four-hour shift, one of his first since signing up for Postmates, he expects to make about $40. “I don’t rely on this for my main source of income,” he says. “I haven’t talked with anyone who does.”
Every once in a while on a crowded New York City sidewalk, a puff of sadness will float off a stranger and hit me like a cloud of too-strong cologne. Whether it’s coming from a deliveryman with ice caked to the back of his bike or from a man with an overly starched white collar, it only lasts as long as it takes us to pass each other.
Not so in the gig economy. When you meet your neighbors, you meet their hardships. Sometimes they’re upfront about it. “Going through a divorce,” reads one TaskRabbit task. “Need somebody to preview emails from a contentious ex, redact any contentious material and summarize the essential practical elements (like ‘pack the kids’ rain boots next week,’).” Other hardships, like Teresa’s loneliness, sneak up on you. But it’s Marge who makes me want my desk job back.
A fluffy poof of a dog greets me before I reach her apartment, where Marge is hanging out of the doorway. She takes my coat and puts it in the bathroom, where it won’t get cat hair on it. “Kayla?” she calls for her daughter, and then turns to me. “She’ll tell you what she needs to work on.”
Kayla is a skinny teenager who attends what she calls “a stupid small school that nobody has ever heard of.” She needs to finish her English and history homework, but she has already finished her math and science homework, “because that is easy.” (Thank God, I say to myself.)
It quickly becomes apparent that I am not really being paid $20 an hour to be a tutor. I’m more like an enforcer. On the first day, that means sitting in silence as Kayla types her English essay. She’s bright enough to be taking a sophomore class as a freshman, but she hasn’t read the book and requires constant oversight for even the most straightforward, simple tasks. Every time she finishes a sentence, she asks me what she should write for the next one. At one point the website on which her teacher leaves her homework assignments doesn’t load. She just informs me and stares blankly, expecting me to somehow fix it for her. But in Marge’s eyes, I am a success, and she asks me to come back one or two times every week.
advertisement By the next time I visit, Kayla has stopped attending school. Her mother sits at the kitchen table, where I can hear her on the phone scheduling tutors. After an hour or so, she walks to the stove, pours a pan of noodles into a baking bowl, sticks a fork in it, and hands it to Kayla. She opens cans of cat food and fills two dishes on the floor before returning to the table with her own dinner.
Though I know I should sit quietly beside Kayla as she looks up vocabulary words for her history class (“Is this ok?” she asks me after every one), I can’t take it anymore. I’ve made up stories for every object in the room. Mapped out the apartment in my head, and checked my phone more than 100 times. I grab another book she’s been assigned, Albert Camus’ The Stranger–a book about existential dread–and crack it open. Later, I refuse to help her fabricate an essay about it. “If I could do anything in the world right now,” I tell her. “I would go home and read a book. You should read it. It’s a good one.” If she were ever trying to impress me, we’ve long passed that moment. Her mom tries to back me up. “Kayla, you can either read the book, or I can find an audio version and you can listen to it,” she says. “Or Sarah can read it to you.”
I think about reading Camus out loud to a 13-year-old who thinks she’s too smart for her expensive private school and am not sure I can do it. If Kayla chooses that option, I may ruin the best-paying job I’ve found in the gig economy.
But Kayla is not really up for discussing it. Instead, she tells her mom that she walks like an ogre. Marge looks at me, embarrassed, and tries to laugh it off. I look at the floor. The sadness smells strong, and it smells like cat food.
The last time I visit Kayla, it’s 3:45 in the afternoon, and Marge isn’t home from work yet. Marge had sent me a text asking me to contact her if Kayla doesn’t answer the doorman’s call.
Kayla doesn’t answer the call.
Marge asks the doorman to give me the key. The doorman tries to reassure me by saying, “There’s nothing wrong,” before adding, “If there is something wrong, come back down here right away.”
I know that Kayla hasn’t been to school in at least a week and that she’s clearly unhappy. I don’t really know why. But I am terrified that when I unlock the door to her apartment it is going to be silent inside. That I’m going to open her bedroom door and see something that I can’t ever un-see. That I am going to be the person who calls 911, the person who rides in the ambulance, the person who calls her overly sweet mother to explain what has happened. And all I wanted was a $20-an-hour tutoring assignment.
“Kayla?” I call for her, as I push open the door. Nothing. “Kayla?” I call her name in a cooing voice, the way one might call for a pet.
Much to my relief, she appears, groggy, wearing a purple T-shirt.
“I just woke up,” she says.
When I come across the task, “Proposal Flash Mob in Central Park,” I know immediately that I am exactly the wrong person for the job. The training video opens in a mirrored dance studio, with a man in a tight-fitting black t-shirt. “Please make sure you are familiar with this choreography before you commit to that rehearsal so we don’t have to waste any time,” he explains in a high-pitched voice before counting out about three minutes of what looks to me like complex choreography. During slow claps at baseball games, I’m the fan who claps on the wrong beat. A real rabbit might have a better chance of learning this dance.
But the job pays $20, and because it involves a two-hour rehearsal beginning at 8 a.m., it could help me finally achieve an elusive goal I had been working toward for weeks: a full day of micro-entrepreneurship employment. I had already lined up a personal assistant gig for mid-afternoon, and I had bids out on a handful of odd jobs in the evening. Experience has taught me not to count on any of these, but still, here was the morning timeslot that could lead me to an eight-hour workday. I accept the offer.
And then I immediately panic.
“After attempting the choreography,” I write to the event company that posted the task, “I realized that I am not the best person for the job. Please accept my apologies and my ‘cancel task’ request.” I receive a response a few hours later. “Enthusiasm is what’s most important,” it says. I throw gym clothes in my backpack.
Only in New York can you easily find 20 talented professional dancers with the free time to fill out a flash mob at 8 a.m. on a Friday. It’s amazing to live in such a city. But in this case, it’s my curse.
Everybody else seems to know the choreography when we start. “I made this dance super simple so that you can really perform it,” our choreographer, the same man from the video, tells us. The dancers add artistic flashes of their hands and pointed toes to polish their turns.
I am not performing. I am scrambling. “For this next part I want you to do whatever you think contemporary dance is,” our leader says. “Some of you do not have a lot of contemporary dance experience.” He means me. “Just pretend you’re really, really high.”
In one sequence, I’m paired with a boy who is in New York from France to attend a pre-professional ballet school. He instantly understands that I’m not a dancer and mercifully tutors me on the sidelines. Occasionally he touches my arm in the way you might comfort someone at her mother’s funeral. “You’re doing great,” he says. The number of times I collide with other dancers suggests otherwise.
After the rehearsal, I return to my phone and discover that three things have happened while I was “dancing.”
1. The flash mob task I just rehearsed for has been canceled on TaskRabbit, which means I won’t get paid unless I get the event company to repost the task.
2. The gift-wrapping job I’ve booked for the evening wants me to come in earlier than first agreed upon, during the time I’ve scheduled to complete administrative tasks for someone who asked to meet at the Harvard Club of New York.
3. Someone accepted my bid for another gift-wrapping job during the same already-double-booked time slot. They’ve sent me two text messages, the last of which is a simple, frustrated “Hello??”
My best-laid plans are going awry.
I text and walk at the same time, somehow managing to simultaneously avoid other pedestrians and reschedule all the gift wrapping I’ve been assigned.
I arrive at the Harvard Club, and although I’ve changed into clothes that comply with the dress code, I feel like I belong here about as much as I belonged at the dance studio. My bright blue backpack clashes with all of the black suits, and I look more like a coat-check girl than a member.
My short-term employer, Greg, has requested that I meet him by the fireplace. On our way to “the casual room,” we pass a two-story Christmas tree, an elephant head trophy, and so much rich mahogany that I feel as though I’m stuck wandering around a satire of New York City’s intellectual elite rather than its actual hive. We make tea when we arrive at the bookshelf-lined den where we will work.
Greg has been looking for some part-time help. “A lot of it can be done virtually, but I wanted to have this face-to-face meeting first.” In other words, this three-hour $45 task is a test for a potential job.
He leaves me alone with my assignments. Reschedule a first-class airline ticket. Inform the state of New York that Greg’s LLC has been absorbed into a new C-Corp. Reformat an Excel document of contacts so that it can be easily uploaded into his Gmail account. I finish right on schedule, and Greg says that if I want to work for him, I should send him an email. “We can set up direct deposit,” he says. “The full rate is $17 an hour.”
It’s not the first time I’ve been offered a job on TaskRabbit. Though it’s against TaskRabbit’s rules, Marge pays me in cash after my first homework help visit. “I don’t want you to get in trouble,” she tells me. But by cutting out the middleman platform, she can pay me $5 more every hour.
Some employers use TaskRabbit as a job board. A karate studio I apply to assist for a day sends me an email asking for my resume. “Just so you know, I’m planning to hire several different people over the next few weeks to ‘try’ them out.”
A startup that describes itself as “a food site that offers the best alternative to sourcing home-cooked meals” requests that TaskRabbits bid $1 on a task. “This Monday and Tuesday will be an open call for servers–no payment, just interviews and possible [sic] some training,” it says. Another task poster cancels the personal administrative task he’s scheduled and instead asks me to call him for a job interview.
These offers to go “off TaskRabbit’s books,” as it were, are tempting. Setting up a full day of gigs–or even a gig in a target free period–isn’t easy, and it often takes as much effort as applying for a regular economy job. I get rejected from about five tasks for every one I win. Sometimes I hold spots in my calendar that I could fill with other tasks for jobs I’ve bid on but haven’t heard from. I’m essentially competing for every hour of my employment.
Even if I land a gig with a decent hourly wage, it typically looks like nothing once I factor in the time spent looking for jobs and commuting between them. Despite the oft-repeated promise of the gig economy, in fact I have no control over when I work, because the only way to get gigs is to be available sporadically and often without much notice. For example, the only people who respond to my DogVacay profile want a dog sitter over Christmas, when I am also out of town.
So when Marge offers me cash for tutoring her sullen teenage daughter, I don’t feel bad accepting her offer. Nor do I feel bad when, after wrapping 40 holiday gifts for a business consultancy, they ignore our TaskRabbit agreement and instead hand me some twenties. Or when I tell Greg at the Harvard Club that I’m up for taking on his other work. It’s the quickest route to a 20% raise I’ve ever encountered.
That may be why Zaarly, the platform that first introduced the concept of a new kind of employment to me, eventually pivoted to focus on generating leads for small businesses. “It will be interesting to see from a macro perspective how much you can pull together a full-time job out of a collection of small jobs, versus how much what we’re really talking about doing is help people discover the thing they want to spend all of their time doing,” Fishback says today. TaskRabbit also seems to have come around to this line of thinking. After a couple of weeks on the platform, a new type of task appears, labeled “jobs.” It is part of a “TaskRabbit for Business” offering that launched in May. These tasks, which come with W-2 forms, require you to submit a cover letter and connect your LinkedIn profile. It’s a tacit admission that gig economy platforms may ultimately be an app-powered temporary employment agency rather than a revolutionary new form of work.
Crypto prices stall; bitcoin at risk of sub-$6,000 trade, says one analyst – MarketWatch
The buzz around the correlation between bitcoin and the annual Consensus conference is dwindling as the No. 1 digital currency continues to face headwinds after slipping below $9,000. The mid-April rally has stalled and now faces some downside risk.
“After holding $9k support for several weeks, bitcoin finds itself under this widely watched support level. As I warned readers two weeks ago, there comes a point where support turns into stalling. That is what happened here,” wrote Jani Ziedins in a Tuesday blog post .
“I’m skeptical of BTC at these levels and it needs to recover $9k as soon as possible to prove me wrong. Otherwise expect nervous selling to return and push us back under the $6k lows.”
The price of a single bitcoin BTCUSD, -3.89% was last traded at $8,392.69, down 1.6% since Tuesday’s levels at 5 p.m. Eastern time on the Kraken exchange.
The recent slide in cryptos has taken the total value of all cryptocurrencies below $400 billion to $385 billion, according to CoinMarketCap .
Read: Bitcoin fans troll Warren Buffett with ‘Rat Poison Squared’ clothing line
Brian Kelly to manage blockchain ETF With the growing number of companies exploring the blockchain technology, Rex Shares and Brian Kelly, CEO and founder of BKCM funds announced today that they are launching an actively managed blockchain ETF.
“With over 30 industries exploring the use of blockchain, the emerging technology may fundamentally transform the way business is transacted. This disruptive innovation could impact supply chains, healthcare, governments, and financial services companies, among others,” the two companies said in a news release.
Rex Shares CEO and founder Greg King, is a veteran in the ETF business having helped launch the iPath ETN product when working at Barclays Bank in 2006.
The fund will be rebalanced quarterly.
Read: Steve Eisman, of ‘The Big Short’ fame, is bearish on cryptos and Deutsche Bank
What are altcoins and futures doing? Altcoins, coins alternative to bitcoin, have begun Wednesday in the red. Ether ETHUSD, -3.21% is down 0.9% at $705.49, Bitcoin Cash BCHUSD, -6.90% is off 3.5% at $1,300.00, Litecoin LTCUSD, -2.52% has slipped 0.2% to $139.92 and Ripple’s XRP XRPUSD, -3.35% last traded at 69 cents, down 0.7%.
Futures look set for another tough day. The Cboe May contract XBTK8, -3.73% is down 1.9% at $8,360, while the CME May contract BTCK8, -3.97% is off 2.2% to $8,365.
11 numbers that will terrify you into saving for retirement
11 numbers that will terrify you into saving for retirement HuffPost 6 hrs ago Ann Brenoff Click to expand Replay Video UP NEXT Men with labor-intensive jobs die young, but not women, study says While a number of studies have found sitting behind a desk for a long period of time causes health issues, apparently so do labor-intensive jobs. Veuer Bitcoin mining consumes enough energy to power Ireland The power required for bitcoin mining will likely go up before it goes down. These days it’s enough to run entire countries. Newsy Amazon pushes discounts for Prime shoppers at Whole Foods CNBC’s Deirdre Bosa reports on Amazon rolling out discounts to Prime members when they shop at Whole Foods. CNBC 1 Cancel SETTINGS OFF HD HQ SD LO Here’s Why 42% Of Americans Will Retire Broke GOBankingRates See more videos SHARE SHARE TWEET SHARE EMAIL What to watch next Men with labor-intensive jobs die young, but not women, study says Veuer 1:00 Bitcoin mining consumes enough energy to power Ireland Newsy 1:25 Amazon pushes discounts for Prime shoppers at Whole Foods CNBC 1:38 Warren Buffett admits he blew it with Amazon Wochit Business 0:45 Why so many fast food logos are red Business Insider 3:13 Cheesecake Factory says it suspended employees over alleged MAGA hat harassment CBS News 0:41 Woman lived in NYC apartment for $28 a month CNN 1:14 Winners and losers in the US-China trade skirmish The Wall Street Journal. 4:06 Is Macy’s turnaround working? Fox Business 1:03 Why surging 10-year Treasury yields should worry investors The Street 1:13 How to stop robocallers Business Insider 3:16 Amazon is in a bitter tax feud with Seattle Wochit Business 0:42 Report: 3 million Facebook users’ data exposed through quiz Veuer 1:02 Supreme Court ruling opens door to legal sports betting CBS News 1:14 Two trade rules that are complicating NAFTA talks The Wall Street Journal. 2:46 Trump tweets support for embattled Chinese telecom company ZTE CBS News 3:31 UP NEXT Video by GoBankingRates
It can be tough to save for retirement when it is still decades away. It’s apparently even tough for older workers who are on the verge of retirement. Living expenses can eat up paychecks, and saving takes a back burner to spending. But it leads to the quintessential fear of what having no money in our older years looks like: the elderly parent who must move in with an adult child, having to chose between food and prescription drugs because only one can be afforded.
Here are some numbers that should scare you into becoming a retirement saver right this very minute:
That’s the amount of money 21 percent of all adult Americans have saved for retirement , according to a recent survey. Not one dollar. Nothing, zero, zip. These adults vary in age, occupation, education and skill set; they come from all over the country, and they are of every ethnicity and race. What they all have in common is just this one thing: They haven’t saved a nickel for retirement.
Oh, and most of them work!
Almost 66 percent of employed people between the ages of 21 and 32 have absolutely nothing saved for retirement. For working Latinos in that age bracket, that number jumps to 83 percent. The National Institute on Retirement Security says the reasons for this vary, but certainly include the usual suspects of student loan debt and high housing costs. Things are so tough that 40 percent of millennials are still living at home, real-estate listing site Trulia found in an analysis of 2015 U.S. Census data. It’s the largest percentage since 1940, almost an 80-year period.
Savings among baby boomers ― the generation with retirement nipping closest to its heels ― is in the danger zone. One in three boomers has $25,000 or less in retirement savings.
Fidelity says that by age 30, you should have one year’s worth of salary saved. The company bumps that to twice your salary by age 35, three times your salary by age 40, seven times at 55, and 10 times at 67.
So, if you are 67 and earning $100,000 a year, you should have $1 million saved. Pass the Kleenex time?
Here’s a reality check: Across all age groups, the average retirement savings is a mere $95,766 , according to the Economic Policy Institute, proving that Americans just don’t save enough, regardless of their age.
How do you get back on course? If you’re not saving enough in your employer’s plan to get the full matching contribution , increase your contribution. If you don’t have access to a 401(k), start an IRA. Use a nifty calculator like this one that tells you what each big purchase you want to make will “cost” in terms of retirement years. And for inspiration, watch your money grow on a compound interest calculator .
One of the more widely used rules of thumb says that for every $1,000 in monthly income you will need in retirement, you should have $250,000 saved . Let’s say you estimate that you will need $4,000 a month to live on when you retire. Roughly speaking, means you need to save $1,000,000.
This rule assumes that your investments will generate an annualized real return of 4 percent per year. Stocks, over the long run, are expected to produce annualized returns of roughly 7 percent, and this rule allows for inflation to devalue the dollar at roughly 3 percent a year. If investments generate less or inflation busts out, all bets are off.
According to Economic Policy Institute data, the average retirement savings for families aged 50 to 55 is $124,831. For families aged 56 to 61, it’s $163,577. That’s far less than the recommended $1 million.
Your 50th birthday means you can legally begin making catch-up contributions to your employer’s 401(k) or your individual retirement account. Go hurry and catch up!
Two-thirds of working millennials are offered retirement plans through their employers, but only 34 percent of them participate.
The National Institute of Retirement Security says the other 66 percent aren’t always eligible, despite working for a company that offers a plan. Employers usually require new employees to be with the organization for at least a year before allowing them into retirement plans. Millennials tend to jump from job to job, which hurts them when it comes to retirement savings. In 2014, more than half of millennials had spent a year or less with their current employers, according to NIRS.
One way around it is to set aside money each pay period until you’ve been with an employer for a year and then dump it into your new retirement account. That, or start an IRA. Not saving is not a good option, even if your company makes it harder to do.
It’s recommended that millennials save 15 percent of their salary for retirement. Only 5 percent of them do.
The best way to save for retirement is through our jobs. By increasing employer matches and default contribution rates, employers can greatly assist all workers with early-in-career, lower-income savings. Remember, those early-in-career savings increase the value of a long-term account because of decades of compound interest .
You will need to replace 70 percent to 90 percent of your annual pre-retirement income through savings and Social Security. So, someone who was living on $63,000 a year before retirement would need $44,000 to $57,000 per year in retirement.
Plan for a 20-year retirement. Remember to adjust for inflation and consider Social Security’s uncertainties.
Speaking of Social Security, heads up for a 23 percent reduction.
According to the latest projection, if nothing changes, the Social Security Trust Fund will only have enough revenue coming in to pay 77 percent of promised benefits beginning around 2034. If you were expecting to get $2,000 a month, your payout would shrink to $1,540. For younger workers today, that means more of your retirement will need to be funded through your savings ― so start saving ASAP.
And for older Americans, it could mean certain poverty. For 61 percent of elderly beneficiaries , Social Security provides the majority of their cash income. For 33 percent, it provides 90 percent or more of their monthly income. The average monthly retirement benefit was recently $1,368, or $16,416 per year. The overall maximum monthly Social Security benefit for those retiring at their full retirement age in 2017 is still just $2,687 ― or about $32,000 for the whole year.
Ignorance is not bliss when you will probably need to fund a 20-year retirement, yet an Age Wave/Merrill Lynch report found that 81 percent of Americans have no idea how much money they will need for retirement. Granted, retirement savings amounts are based on a lot of assumptions about things you can’t predict in your future ― your health, where you live, etc. But that’s not an excuse for saving nothing.
Start somewhere and take ownership of at least setting a target amount as a goal. That, or cue up the theme song from “The Twilight Zone.”
CannaCoin (CCN) Market Cap Achieves $238,810.00
Posted by Jim Brewer on May 17th, 2018 // No Comments
CannaCoin (CURRENCY:CCN) traded up 1.5% against the U.S. dollar during the 24-hour period ending at 22:00 PM Eastern on May 16th. One CannaCoin coin can now be purchased for about $0.0508 or 0. 607 BTC on cryptocurrency exchanges. In the last seven days, CannaCoin has traded down 20.3% against the U.S. dollar. CannaCoin has a market capitalization of $238,810.00 and $2,520.00 worth of CannaCoin was traded on exchanges in the last 24 hours.
Here’s how related cryptocurrencies have performed in the last 24 hours: Get CannaCoin alerts: Bitcoin (BTC) traded 1.3% higher against the dollar and now trades at $8,406.51 or 1. BTC. Ethereum (ETH) traded 3.1% higher against the dollar and now trades at $712.81 or 0.08518490 BTC. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) traded 3.7% higher against the dollar and now trades at $1,324.63 or 0.15830100 BTC. Litecoin (LTC) traded up 2.6% against the dollar and now trades at $140.46 or 0.01678620 BTC. Monero (XMR) traded up 2.6% against the dollar and now trades at $203.19 or 0.02428260 BTC. Bytecoin (BCN) traded up 0.1% against the dollar and now trades at $0.0103 or 0. 123 BTC. Ethereum Classic (ETC) traded 4.1% higher against the dollar and now trades at $18.17 or 0.00217160 BTC. Zcash (ZEC) traded up 6.5% against the dollar and now trades at $357.63 or 0.04273890 BTC. Bitcoin Gold (BTG) traded up 4.6% against the dollar and now trades at $58.55 or 0.00699692 BTC. Verge (XVG) traded up 4.2% against the dollar and now trades at $0.0564 or 0. 674 BTC.
CannaCoin Coin Profile CannaCoin is a proof-of-work (PoW) coin that uses the Proof of Stake Velocity hashing algorithm. Its launch date was March 28th, 2014. CannaCoin’s total supply is 4,701,667 coins. The Reddit community for CannaCoin is /r/cannacoin and the currency’s Github account can be viewed here . The official website for CannaCoin is www.cannacoin.tech . CannaCoin’s official Twitter account is @CCNProject and its Facebook page is accessible here .
CannaCoin Coin Trading
CannaCoin can be traded on the following cryptocurrency exchanges: Cryptopia. It is usually not currently possible to buy alternative cryptocurrencies such as CannaCoin directly using U.S. dollars. Investors seeking to trade CannaCoin should first buy Bitcoin or Ethereum using an exchange that deals in U.S. dollars such as Changelly, Gemini or GDAX. Investors can then use their newly-acquired Bitcoin or Ethereum to buy CannaCoin using one of the exchanges listed above. Receive News & Updates for CannaCoin updates for CannaCoin and related cryptocurrencies CryptoBeat newsletter .
Stop Gambling with Cryptocurrency / Bitcoin!!! | CNBC Fast Money
Subscribe To Our FREE Newsletter Get the latest updates, exclusive content, and more. Subscribe Be Part of The Monsta Squadd Family. Cryptocurrency 24 hours 24/7 news follow me on Instagram! @cinadean1 https://share.robinhood.com/cinam (0 fee trades) Click this link:https://www.coinbase.com/join/5a1715f… (using this link will give you a 10 dollar sign up bonus) https://www.ledgerwallet.com/r/ccc9 https://www.kucoin.com/#/?r=7bt1J8
Cryptocurrency 24 hours 24/7 news Altcoin ASIC/ASIC Miner Blockchain Distributed & Central Ledger Fork Hashrate Mining Node P2P Public/Private Key Signature Smart Contract 1 Bitcoin BTC 2 Ethereum ETH 3 Bitcoin Cash BCH 4 Ripple XRP 5 Litecoin LTC 6 Dash DASH 7 NEO NEO 8 IOTA MIOTA 9 Monero XMR 10 NEM XEM 11 Ethereum Classic ETC 12 Lisk LSK 13 Qtum QTUM 14 EOS EOS 15 Hshare HSR 16 Cardano ADA 17 OmiseGO OMG 18 Zcash ZEC
*NOT Professional advice, this is all just my own opinion and experience. Consult professionals for any tax, accounting or legal related questions you have.
Howeycoins ICO Pre-sale is Live
Howeycoins ICO Pre-sale is Live May 17, 2018 DON’T MISS THIS EXCLUSIVE OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIPATE IN HOWEYCOINS TRAVEL NETWORK NOW! Combining the two most growth-oriented segments of the digital economy – blockchain technology and travel, HoweyCoin is the newest and only coin offering that captures the magic of coin trading profits AND the excitement and guaranteed returns of the travel industry. HoweyCoins will partner with all segments of the travel industry (air, hotel, car rental, and luxury segments), earning coins you can trade for profit instead of points. Massive potential upside benefits like: HoweyCoins are officially registered with the U.S. government; HoweyCoins will trade on an SEC-compliant exchange where you can buy and sell them for profit; HoweyCoins can be used with existing points programs; HoweyCoins can be exchanged for cryptocurrencies and cash; HoweyCoins can be spent at any participating airline or hotel; HoweyCoins can also be redeemed for merchandise.
The chic, state-of-the-art HoweyCoin digital currency website features images of luxurious destinations and celebrities promoting crypto currency. Investors could expect at least 1 percent daily return, they say. HoweyCoin is “the newest and only coin offering that combines the magic of coin trading and the excitement and guaranteed revenue of the travel industry.”
But everything is fake.
Clicking on “Buy Coins Now” redirects potential investors to the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s website, where they find a clear warning: “If you had responded to an investment offer like this, you could have been cheated – HoweyCoins are completely fake! “By doing so, the SEC wants to show that initial coin offerings (ICOs) – in which companies sell digital coins that can ultimately be used for goods or services – are prone to fraud.
With a wink, the US agency states, “If you’re ever tempted to embark on a hot investment opportunity in luxury travel, the SEC has an offer for you … But please do not expect the SEC to take you to an exotic location – because the offer is not real. ” Bitcoin News
TheBitcoinNews.com – leading Bitcoin News source since 2012
Virtual currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and accounts and value balances are not subject to consumer protections. The information does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. TAGS
Bitcoin Price Watch: Currency Falls to $8,300 | News World
A password will be e-mailed to you. Home Finance Bitcoin Price Watch: Currency Falls to $8,300 Bitcoin Price Watch: Currency Falls to $8,300 May 17, 2018 0
Another drop is in the books. After falling to $8,500 yesterday from its previous mark of $8,800, bitcoin is once again stumbling down the staircase and is now trading for $8,300 – just a sliver above last week’s low of $8,250.
The Coindesk Consensus Conference – which potentially gave bitcoin a boost over the last 72 hours – ends today, and it appears the hype it garnered for cryptocurrency is ending with it.
No doubt, most investors are annoyed with bitcoin’s lack of strength against its newfound resistance. Many analysts now wonder if the currency will drop back down to the $7,000 range, which it last skimmed in March.
One of the alleged reasons for the recent drop may be Bing’s recent ban of cryptocurrency ads. Powered by Microsoft, Bing is the world’s second-largest search engine behind Google, and apparently doesn’t see safety in cryptocurrency usage. The platform made the announcement on its Bing Ads blog, and expects the ban to be fully integrated by either late June or early July.
Advertising policy manager for Microsoft Melissa Alsoszatai-Petheo explained:
“Because cryptocurrency and related products are not regulated, we have found them to present a possible elevated risk to our users, with the potential for bad actors participating in predatory behaviors or scamming consumers. To help protect our users from this risk, we have made the decision to disallow advertising. We are always evaluating our policies to ensure a safe and engaging experience for our Bing users and the digital advertising ecosystem.”
Facebook made a similar ban last January. Representatives explained that they could no longer promote unregulated financial options as they potentially put investors and their money through unsafe conditions. Company product management director Rob Leathern later commented, “We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception. That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs, and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.”
Google took a similar route in March, explaining that all cryptocurrencies would be banned from its AdWords platform given that they were not regulated, and investors were offered no guarantees that digital currencies or ICOs operated in a clean or decipherable manner.
According to one source , bitcoin is the victim of weak “technical setup.” It’s explained that bitcoin is back to the diamond formation it had escaped last week, and the price could potentially fall as low as $7,850 or $7,800 in the coming days. The source did say, however, that if bitcoin broke above $8,500, it could develop newfound resistance levels. Perhaps $9,000 isn’t far off the mark after all…
And still, many analysts remain bullish towards the coin. Jeremy Liew and Peter Smith – a Snap venture capitalist and the CEO of Blockchain, respectively – believe that the currency could hit the half-a-million mark by the end of 2030. Granted we still have 12 years to wait, but both men believe bitcoin adoption will explode in the coming years, and that bitcoin transactions will account for roughly half of the world’s non-cash transactions, pushing the price to new heights. Share this:
Photon Tops 24 Hour Volume of $3,104.00 (PHO)
Posted by Jeanne O’Marion on May 16th, 2018 // No Comments
Photon (CURRENCY:PHO) traded 0% higher against the US dollar during the 1 day period ending at 21:00 PM ET on May 16th. Photon has a market capitalization of $899,422.00 and approximately $3,104.00 worth of Photon was traded on exchanges in the last day. In the last seven days, Photon has traded 47.8% lower against the US dollar. One Photon coin can now be purchased for approximately $0.0000 or 0. 1 BTC on exchanges including Cryptopia and C-Patex.
Here is how related cryptocurrencies have performed in the last day: Get Photon alerts: Bitcoin (BTC) traded down 0.8% against the dollar and now trades at $8,372.90 or 1. BTC. Ethereum (ETH) traded 1.4% higher against the dollar and now trades at $712.12 or 0.08522120 BTC. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) traded 1.4% lower against the dollar and now trades at $1,302.11 or 0.15582700 BTC. Litecoin (LTC) traded 1.2% higher against the dollar and now trades at $140.29 or 0.01678860 BTC. Monero (XMR) traded down 0.3% against the dollar and now trades at $202.21 or 0.02419850 BTC. Bytecoin (BCN) traded 2.6% lower against the dollar and now trades at $0.0102 or 0. 122 BTC. Ethereum Classic (ETC) traded up 0.4% against the dollar and now trades at $18.06 or 0.00216098 BTC. Zcash (ZEC) traded 6.6% higher against the dollar and now trades at $367.72 or 0.04400590 BTC. Bitcoin Gold (BTG) traded up 2.5% against the dollar and now trades at $58.73 or 0.00702886 BTC. Verge (XVG) traded 0.2% lower against the dollar and now trades at $0.0555 or 0. 664 BTC.
Photon is a proof-of-work (PoW) coin that uses the BLAKE256 hashing algorithm. Its launch date was February 21st, 2016. Photon’s total supply is 22,873,301,279 coins. The official website for Photon is www.photoncc.com . Photon’s official Twitter account is @PhotonCoin .
Photon Coin Trading
Photon can be bought or sold on the following cryptocurrency exchanges: Cryptopia and C-Patex. It is usually not currently possible to purchase alternative cryptocurrencies such as Photon directly using US dollars. Investors seeking to trade Photon should first purchase Ethereum or Bitcoin using an exchange that deals in US dollars such as Coinbase , Gemini or Changelly. Investors can then use their newly-acquired Ethereum or Bitcoin to purchase Photon using one of the exchanges listed above. Receive News & Updates for Photon updates for Photon and related cryptocurrencies CryptoBeat newsletter . «