3 reasons the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the right credit card to help me see the world

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About five years ago I started wondering if I was taking advantage of credit card rewards the way I should be.

At the time, I was earning limited cash back on a Chase credit card I no longer remember, which was intoxicating, sure, but I couldn’t help but wonder what else might be out there.

It was only a few years before my credit card rewards revelation that I had discovered my love for travel, as well. Without credit card rewards on my side, I needed to dig deep into my savings reserves in order to pay for my (necessary, in my mind) trips to Hawaii, London, Italy, and so on and so forth.

Staying with friends in these places helped curb the costs, but still, these trips were adding up, and as a very low-paid intern living in Manhattan, money was scarce.

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card at Business Insider’s partner, The Points Guy »

Thus began my search for a credit card that would help me fund my travel habit and still allow me to cover my other necessities, like food.

I started with the Capital One Venture card, mostly because those commercials were so alluring. This card did me proud, helping me to cover a number of adventures including a cruise in the Bahamas and a trip to Iceland, but soon I was lured away by a mailer (I was very affected by advertising during this period, apparently) to the Discover it® Miles.

My strategy at this point was to essentially try on a couple different cards until I found the one I liked the best … credit card score be damned. (Don’t worry — since seeing the error in my ways, my score has made a full recovery!)

After a few years of moving from card to card — cards that offered zero-interest APR for a limited time on purchases or balance transfers were of great interest to me, as well — I realized that jumping from card to card probably wasn’t the best strategy. It was a lot of work to keep track of so many different cards and balances and to make sure I was paying for everything on time. So I did a little research and settled on the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Here are the main reasons why:

I’m a ‘sticky’ customer

I had never heard the term “sticky” in reference to banking until a few years ago while sitting in on an intro session at a new job with a personal finance site. Calling a customer “sticky” in the banking world refers to customers who have multiple accounts with one bank.

Whether it’s actually because of superior products or simply a lack of willingness to search elsewhere, sticky customers are more likely to open new accounts at the same bank they’ve always had then find new places to bank with.

While I have tried out products at other institutions, I do find that I usually end up back at Chase. Logging on and seeing all of my information in one place is definitely something I appreciate, and I can often negotiate with them, if I need to, since I’m a loyal customer.

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card at Business Insider’s partner, The Points Guy »

I wanted a card that was flexible

I’ve researched other credit card opportunities — I was particularly interested in the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus since we’re fairly loyal to that airline (thank you, no change fees!) — but I ultimately wanted a product that wouldn’t leave me feeling guilty if, for whatever reason, we didn’t end up booking with the same company over and over again.

I like what I get

I might have originally been drawn to the Chase Sapphire Preferred because it was a Chase product, but what I ultimately get with the card is pretty amazing, as well. After spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening it — easy for a family of four — you earn 60,000 points, worth $750 toward travel when you redeem it through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

I like the travel perks — like 2x the points on airfare, hotel and transportation purchases — but I also like that we earn 2x the points on restaurants and 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases. There is a $95 annual fee for the card (which is the only thing I don’t actually like about it) but so far the points that we’ve earned have far and away covered that fee.

Back in the day my travel goals mostly consisted of visiting places that intrigued me, but these days, as a mom with two kids who lives far from family, most of our points go directly into purchasing plane tickets back home for various occasions.

Those trips definitely add up when you’re paying for four people, but I would never want to skip them, so I’m grateful that the Chase Sapphire Preferred helps us cover them.

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card at Business Insider’s partner, The Points Guy »

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NOW WATCH: All the hidden messages you missed at the end of Jordan Peele’s new movie ‘Us’

Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/chase-sapphire-preferred-card-travel-rewards-2019-4

How to mute keywords and phrases on Twitter (and avoid spoilers)

twitter

  • As the final “Game of Thrones” season airs, and we approach the premiere of “Avengers: Endgame,” there’s more danger than ever of inadvertently running into spoilers on Twitter.
  • Luckily, there’s a way to avoid seeing tweets about these topics, without having to go on a total social media hiatus.
  • You can mute specific keywords or phrases on Twitter, which stops tweets containing those words from appearing on your timeline or in your notifications.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

So many awesome movies and TV shows have premiered recently — “Game of Thrones,” “Avengers,” “Us” — and with everybody and their dog wanting to talk all about them, it’s become harder than ever to avoid spoilers.

Sometimes, it seems like all you can do is shun Twitter altogether, until you get the chance to watch what everyone’s chatting about.

Luckily, Twitter gives us a solution: muting.

On Twitter, you can choose specific keywords and phrases that you don’t want to see in a tweet. Say, for instance, you’re worried about being spoiled on “Game of Thrones” — just hop into your settings, mute a few phrases like “Game of Thrones,” “#GameOfThrones,” or even names like “Daenerys,” and “Bran.”

In the blink of an eye, any tweet containing those words will disappear from your timeline and notifications. You can still access the tweets if someone gives you the direct link, but they won’t show up otherwise.

Ready to block some spoilers? Here’s how to mute keywords and phrases on both desktop and the Twitter mobile app.

How to mute keywords on Twitter via desktop

1. While logged into Twitter, click your icon in the top right corner to open a menu. It should be in between the search bar and the “Tweet” button.

Screen Shot 2019 04 16 at 10_18_59_AM

2. In this menu, click “Settings and privacy.”

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3. This will bring you to your account settings page. In the list on the left side of the page, click “Muted words.”

Screen Shot 2019 04 16 at 10.20.31 AM

4. The first time you open this page, a small pop-up will appear explaining that “When you mute words, you won’t see them in your notifications or timeline.”  You can click the “Learn more” link to read more about muting, or click “Got It” to start muting keywords on your own.

5. Click “Add.”

Screen Shot 2019 04 16 at 10.21.45 AM

6. In the menu that pops up, type the words or phrases you want to mute in the text box offered. You’ll also be asked to choose where you want the words to be muted, and for how long. By default, Twitter sets it so you’ll never see tweets containing the words on your timeline, and you’ll never receive notifications containing the words from people you don’t follow.

Screen Shot 2019 04 16 at 10.22.12 AM

7. Once you’ve typed in the phrase you want to mute, click “Add,” and it will be immediately muted. Repeat this process for every word or phrase you’d like to mute. You’ll see a list on the page of all the words you’ve muted — click the pencil icon to edit them, or the red speaker with a line through it to stop muting them.

Screen Shot 2019 04 16 at 10.31.43 AM

Tweets containing the words or phrases you’ve blocked won’t appear where you’ve muted them, for as long as you’ve muted them.

How to mute keywords on the Twitter mobile app

Muting keywords on the Twitter app is a similar process, but involves tapping through a few more screens.

1. Tap your icon in the top left corner of the screen.

Twitter iPhone 1

2. In the side menu that opens, tap “Settings and privacy.”

Twitter iPhone 2

3. This is the first of a few menus we’ll have to get through. Tap “Content preferences.”

Twitter iPhone 3

4. Tap “Muted.”

5. Tap “Muted words.”

6. This will bring you to a page similar to the one on desktop that lists all your currently muted words and phrases. Tap “Add” at the bottom of the screen to mute another word or phrase.

Twitter iPhone 6

7. Type the word or phrase you’d like to mute into the box at the top of the screen. The rest of the page is filled with options for changing how long you want the mute to last, and where it should apply.

Twitter iPhone 7

8. Tap “Save,” and your new mute will take effect.

Twitter iPhone 8.PNG

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

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NOW WATCH: 5 Brits predicted their heritage before taking DNA tests — the results were pretty surprising

Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/how-to-mute-words-on-twitter

There’s a simple rule to determine whether investing while paying off student loan debt is a smart move, according to the experts

Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

commencement graduation student

Student loan debt is at an all-time high — the national total student debt is over $1.5 trillion and the average student loan debt per graduating student in 2018 who took out loans is $29,800, according to Student Loan Hero.

The weight of student loan debt has made it harder for millennials to save money to the point where some are playing catch-up — but the first rule of building wealth is that the earlier you start saving the better, thanks to compound interest.

So should millennials still invest while they have student loan debt — or should they pay it off first? It depends.

A 6% annual return on an investment portfolio serves as a benchmark, says one expert

If the interest rate for your student loan debt is high, experts say you should pay it off before investing, wrote Erin Lowry, founder of BrokeMillennial.com in her book, Broke Millennial Takes on Investing: A Beginner’s Guide to Leveling Up Your Money.”

While there isn’t a specific interest rate the industry agrees on, Sallie Krawcheck, CEO of Ellevest, told Lowry there’s a good guidepost to follow — a well-diversified investment portfolio should return about 6% annually, she said. Based on that, any student loan debt with interest higher than 7% should be paid off first, she said.

How much could your savings grow? Find out with this calculator from our partners:

Alex Benke, vice president of Financial Advice and Planning For Betterment, told Lowry that Betterment uses a 5% interest rate as the cut-off for student loan debt. You should have an emergency fund and no high-interest debt before starting to invest, he said.

But if your student loan debt has a low interest rate of less than 5% or 4%, it might be worthwhile to invest while paying it off, Julie Vitra, senior financial advisor with Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, told Lowry. “If you expect your portfolio to earn 6% to 8%, and your student loan debt is at 3%, 4%, or 5%, maybe, you’re better off investing your dollars,” Vitra said.

Consider the economic climate and company-match programs

Whether you invest while paying off student loan debt also depends on the climate in which you’re investing, according to Vitra.

“After the Great Recession, the stock market experienced a bull run from 2009 through 2018, but analysts and experts have been anticipating a market correction and less aggressive returns in the coming years,” Lowry wrote. “No one has a crystal ball, of course, but always do your research about recent returns before deciding to invest while paying off debt.”

All experts Lowry talked to said that regardless of your student loan debt interest rate, you should invest in an employer-matched retirement account — like a 401(k) — if the option is available.

A company match means your company will match whatever contribution you put towards your 401(k) up to a certain amount.

For example, say your annual salary is $100,000 and your company offers a “one-to-one” match up to 5% — if you contribute 5% of your salary ($5,000), your company will match it by contributing $5,000, making your actual investment $10,000 a year.

Essentially, it’s free money. Just keep in mind that the 401(k) contribution limit for 2019 is $19,000, according to the IRA.

Ready to invest? Consider these offers from our partners:

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: All the hidden messages you missed at the end of Jordan Peele’s new movie ‘Us’

Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/pay-student-loan-debt-or-invest-broke-millennial-2019-4

This map shows which states in the US are competing to top California-based Uber’s $15.7 billion in equity funding

ustech_states__4_12_19

  • With $15.7 billion in equity funding, Uber is the most highly-funded tech startup in the United States. 
  • This map by CB Insights shows that there’s plenty of money to go around.
  • Florida’s Magic Leap, an augmented reality has raised $2.4 billion in funding, while Illinois’s’ Avant, a financial technology company has raised $655 million, and Georgia’s Kabbage, an online lending platform that has raised $490 million.
  • Visit Businessinsider.com for more stories.

With $15.7 billion in equity funding in its pocket, the San Francisco, California-based ride-hailing company Uber has raised more money than any other tech startup in the country. But California isn’t the only state in the union harboring highly-funded tech startups. 

Upserve Sheryl Hoskins

In this graphic, research firm CB Insights identified the most highly-funded companies in each of the 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. Some of those companies include Florida’s Magic Leap, an augmented reality company that’s disclosed $2.4 billion in funding, Illinois’ Avant, a financial technology company that’s raised $655 million, and Georgia’s Kabbage, an online lending platform that has raised $490 million. 

The list also includes ten different unicorns — companies valued over $1 billion — from Washington, D.C.’s Vox Media to Utah’s InsideSales.com. 

While hge amounts of equity funding can be found across the country, three of the states didn’t have any companies that fit CB Insight’s full criteria, which required that companies have raised at least $1 million in equity funding since January 2014. Those states are Alaska, Mississippi, and Wyoming.

Alaska’s Resource Data, for instance, has raised $1.59 million in equity funding, but it’s raised the sum through multiple small angel rounds.  

Read more: These are the most valuable startups in each state

Here’s the full list: 

  • Alabama: AfterSchool, $16.4 million
  • Alaska: Resource Data, $1.59 million
  • Arizona: IO Data Centers, $311 million
  • Arkansas: One Country, $100 million
  • California: Uber, $15.7 billion
  • Colorado: Welltok, $339.43 million
  • Connecticut: Cedar Gate Technologies, $220 million
  • DC: Vox Media, $324.65 million
  • Delaware: SevOne, $203.5 million
  • Florida: Magic Leap, $2.4 billion
  • Georgia: Kabbage, $490 million
  • Hawaii: Ibis Networks, $4.83 million
  • Idaho: CradlePoint, $154.8 million
  • Illinois: Avant, $655 million
  • Indiana: Scale Computing, $89.67 million
  • Iowa: Involta, $79.5 million
  • Kansas: C2FO, $199.68 million
  • Kentucky: Lucina Health, $24.49 million
  • Louisiana: Lucid, $64.22 million
  • Maine: Tilson Technology Management, $109.4 million
  • Maryland: Sonatype, $142.6 million
  • Massachusetts: DraftKings, $727.6 million
  • Michigan: Llamasoft, $56.1 million
  • Minnesota: Code42 Software, $137.5 million
  • Mississippi: Next Gear Solutions, $11.05 million
  • Missouri: PayIt, $108 million
  • Montana: Blackmore Sensors & Analytics, $21.5 million
  • Nebraska: Hudl, $106.19 million
  • Nevada: PlayStudios, $36.17 million
  • New Hampshire: FlexEnergy, $46.24 million
  • New Jersey: Vidyo, $171.91 million
  • New Mexico: Skorpios Technologies, $45.17 million
  • New York: Infor, $4.1 billion
  • North Carolina: Epic Games, $1.6 billion
  • North Dakota: Myriad Mobile, $10.6 million
  • Ohio: Root Insurance, $159 million
  • Oklahoma: SendaRide, $1.74 million
  • Oregon: Jama Software, $233 million
  • Pennsylvania: Duolingo, $108.3 million
  • Rhode Island: Upserve, $191.45 million
  • South Carolina: Commerce Guys, $46.3 million
  • South Dakota: Covered Insurance Solutions, $4.63 million
  • Tennessee: SmileDirectClub, $426.7 million
  • Texas: WP Engine, $289.2 million
  • Utah: InsideSales.com, $264.3 million
  • Vermont: Faraday, $5.49 million
  • Virginia: Privia Health, $432.84 million
  • Washington: Rover, $280.9 million
  • West Virginia: Geostellar, $29.97 million
  • Wisconsin: EatStreet, $44.74 million
  • Wyoming: Mountain Origins Design (dba Stio), $17.2 million

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The 2 Post Credit Scenes in ‘Captain Marvel’ Explained (SPOILERS)

Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/map-top-funded-tech-startups-us-2019-4

Cloud computing wars, tax frustrations, and chaos at HQ Trivia

cloud

Hello!

The cloud computing wars are heating up.

Thomas Kurian, the new CEO of Google Cloud who came from rival Oracle, already seems to be having an impact, with Googlers and startup execs telling Rosalie Chan that he’s making headway three months in to the job

“Until now, they were losing the war,” Solo.io CEO and founder Idit Levine told Chan. “The way Google is playing, they’re saying, this is the community company. They’re branding themselves better and going multi-cloud.”

He’s pushing hard to make Kubernetes, one of Google’s most popular cloud technologies, even more important to developers. Aparna Sinha, group product manager of Kubernetes and Cloud Services Platform, told Chan that Kubernetes needs to become “ubiquitous.”

And the company just made a big hire, bringing in a former SAP executive to try and win bigger customers.

Meanwhile, over at Amazon Web Services, the Aurora database product continues to grow at a rapid rate. Julie Bort talked to Debanjan Saha, the general manager who built and manages Aurora, who said it “feels great” to be taking on Oracle head-to-head in the database market.

Elsewhere, Microsoft just took an important step to take on Amazon for a crucial winner-take-all $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract with the Pentagon. Amazon was once considered a shoo-in to win the JEDI contract but after a lot of protests by the tech industry, Microsoft now has a real shot.

Meanwhile, IBM is preparing to close its $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat, but Wall Street has “real question marks” after its “mediocre” quarter.

Lastly, Business Insider just week published a list of the 100 people transforming business. You’ll find interviews with many of those on the list — including NYSE president Stacey Cunningham, Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block, and Burger King CMO Fernando Machado — below. 

What would you like this email to include? What have we missed? You can reach me at mturner@businessinsider.com.

—Matt

Quote of the week

“I think this is going to untap the market.” —  Jonathan Sherman, a partner at the law firm Cassels Brock who worked on Canopy Growth’s $3.4 billion purchase of the US marijuana cultivator Acreage Holdings, on the potential for more deals in the marijuana space

In conversation

Finance and Investing

Blend, a start-up that’s building a ‘one-tap’ mortgage application tool, is now jumping into the auto-loan market

Start-up Blend has been working toward an ambitious goal: reducing the mortgage-application process to a single tap on a smartphone.

People frustrated with their taxes are piling a record amount of money into an exempt investment that looks unstoppable

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act touched off a rally in an often overlooked part of the market, and Wells Fargo says it’s not slowing down.

BlackRock says its Aladdin Wealth unit’s helping it ‘be part of the infrastructure,’ and it could drive even more money to the world’s largest asset manager

Individual investors are so impressed by BlackRock’s risk evaluation technology that they’re moving their money to the financial advisors who use it.

Tech, Media, Telecoms

Mistrust, secret memos, and boardroom drama — inside the chaos at HQ Trivia after its young cofounder’s sudden death

On a cold February morning in a quiet corner of HQ Trivia’s New York headquarters, one of the company’s young star managers was talking softly to one of the earliest employees.

$9.2 billion Zoom’s second most powerful shareholder thinks CEO Eric Yuan is like Steve Jobs, but nicer

When Zoom priced its IPO on Wednesday evening, the video conferencing platform garnered a valuation of $9.2 billion, and founding CEO Eric Yuan saw a huge windfall.

Marketers say Amazon’s advertising business is difficult to navigate. Here’s why the company thinks the “chaotic” structure actually makes sense.

Amazon is trying to challenge Facebook’s and Google’s dominance in digital advertising, introducing ad formats like video and display.

Healthcare, Retail, Transportation

A Jeff Bezos-backed startup just inked a deal with $84 billion biotech Gilead to make drugs for a troubling and increasingly common disease

The world’s leading drug companies are racing to capitalize on the $35 billion market for an emerging disease believed to affect 16 million Americans.

Adidas’ global creative director reveals how the brand’s new recyclable shoes could completely change the way footwear is sold

Adidas is closing the loop and creating new opportunities.

Google’s Waze wants more outdoor advertising dollars. Here are pitch decks it is using to sell itself as a complement to out-of-home ads.

Since launching its ads platform in 2012, the Google-owned navigation app Waze has run ad campaigns for several local and big-name advertisers. Now, it’s trying to become a bigger advertising platform.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 5 Brits predicted their heritage before taking DNA tests — the results were pretty surprising

Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/cloud-computing-wars-tax-frustrations-and-chaos-at-hq-trivia-2019-4

Samsung is at the bleeding edge with the Galaxy Fold, and we forget too easily that first-generation products are rarely perfect

Samsung Galaxy Fold

  • Samsung is getting a lot of negative attention regarding issues with the Galaxy Fold‘s display, which some reviewers reported started breaking after just two days. 
  • The Galaxy Fold is the first of its kind in the smartphone world, which often means that issues are bound to pop up, and many people’s expectation are too high for the first foldable smartphone, and Samsung, as well. 
  • As a first-generation device, only early adopters should consider the Galaxy Fold, and early adopters should understand the risks of buying the first generation of anything. 
  • Critics have a point, but let’s also root for Samsung, companies that are making foldable smartphones, and foldable smartphones in general.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Samsung is surely feeling the heat for the issues that some reviewers were having with their Galaxy Fold review units, but I’m not surprised at all that the Galaxy Fold is facing issues — it’s a first-generation product from a company that’s at the bleeding edge of smartphone design, and I’d argue expectations are a little too high.

It would have been great if the device was flawless. But it shouldn’t be surprising that there are issues with the very first smartphone that people can buy that comes with a completely new, unproven design with many more moving parts than a traditional smartphone

Read more: Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is an ambitious but flawed first attempt at what could be the future of smartphones

It’s easy to understand why expectations are high. Samsung is marketing the Galaxy Fold the same way its other proven phones are being marketed. And the Galaxy Fold costs just under $2,000, so anyone would expect reliability at that price.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

But the Galaxy Fold is nothing like Samsung’s long-proven Galaxy S line of smartphones. It’s the first generation of something new, which means anyone who buys it now can be classified as an “early adopter.” 

It’s too easy to forget the unwritten rules of early adoption, or that a first-generation device comes with a ton of risks. By nature, early adopters should hope for the best and expect the worst. After all, Samsung isn’t going to plaster warnings all over the Galaxy Fold’s packaging saying, “For early adopters who accept the risk of early adopting only. Buy at your own risk.” 

The best way to sell a first-generation device is to ensure that it’s reliable. As far as we know, Samsung believed the Galaxy Fold was ready to go. The company said it tested the Galaxy Fold’s display durability enough to claim that it’ll last up to 200,000 folds and unfolds. There’s even a great video showing Galaxy Folds undergoing stress testing:

 

Buying the first ever model of almost anything isn’t always the right thing to do

I don’t predict reviewers to recommend anyone buy the Galaxy Fold, not because of the display issues, but because it’s a first-generation device.

Popular tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee has already declared that he wouldn’t recommend it to most people, even though he thinks the concept is great. The Galaxy Fold costs $2,000 $1,000 more than most premium smartphones and I’d be extremely surprised if Samsung “got it right” the first time.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

Even if the Galaxy Fold was flawless and received rave reviews, there is no doubt in my mind that early adopters who accept the risks are the only people who should even think about buying the Galaxy Fold.

There’s just so much more to come in following generations of foldable smartphones, like better designs, more durable displays, more reasonable price tags, and perhaps an entirely different take on how foldable smartphones should actually fold. No smartphone maker has figured that out yet — Huawei and Motorola, for example, are working on their own foldable smartphones with totally different designs.

Critics are right to point out the flaws in the Galaxy Fold. But we should also be rooting for smartphone makers who are endeavoring into foldable smartphones, and not judging those companies or foldable smartphones based on the very first model that people can buy. 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: We unboxed the $1,980 Samsung Galaxy Fold — here’s what comes inside

Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/samsung-galaxy-fold-expectations-too-high-for-bleeding-edge-device-2019-4

Long hours, isolating loneliness, and confusing fees: Uber drivers in Washington D.C. are struggling to make ends meet (UBER)

Uber low fares protest unhappy sad drivers

  • Uber drivers in Washington D.C. are struggling to make ends meet, Georgetown University researchers have found. 
  • In a two-year study, the researchers found more than half of drivers interviewed had incomes that fall below the poverty line. 
  • Drivers also often have no interaction with others working for Uber, adding to the isolation of working for an app. 

New research from Georgetown University has codified what many Uber drivers have felt for years: it’s hard to get ahead when your boss is an algorithm.

Researchers published their study on Thursday, after more than two-years of interviewing 40 drivers in the Washington D.C. area. The results aren’t meant to be representative of the thousands of “partners,” as Uber calls them, working on the platform worldwide.

Rather, “the data collected and reviewed here is evidence of the structures of work that Uber drivers navigate and the kinds of worker challenges that many face in one of the most visible platform workplaces,” the authors said. The anecdotes also corroborate stories told to Business Insider from multiple drivers across the country in recent months.

Among the litany of frustrations with Uber — both with the company and app — expressed by drivers in interviews was one glaring problem: half of the drivers interviewed take home so little per month, less than $2,000 per month, that they fall below the government’s definition of poverty.

“Since it has been operating in Washington, D.C., Uber has reduced its base rate for drivers several times, added a rider safety fee (and then increased it, calling it a booking fee), and raised the commission it takes from new drivers,” the study said. “These changes, which are built into the heart of the Uber platform, seem to have a point: to keep Uber drivers on the road and in the dark. “

To its credit, Uber does have options available for drivers when the unexpected, like a flat tire or car crash happens, but even those can sometimes cause more harm than good. The researchers compared the practices to coal mining company’s “company towns” of centuries past. Here’s one anecdote, emphasis ours:

One 48-year old driver, Joan, got caught up in Uber’s debt trap after she hit a pothole and damaged her car’s suspension system. She spent nearly all the money she had to get the car fixed. Then, when efforts to repair the vehicle failed, she spent more to lease a car from Uber.While the Uber Xchange program offered lower credit barriers than traditional lenders, the payments which Uber automatically deducted from drivers’ paychecks, were high. It resembled a company town. Joan paid $138, more than the national lease average of $100 per week. Before she worked for Uber, Joan would collect giveaway items from Craigslist and re-sell them on eBay or at flea markets. Her regular income of roughly $35,000 as a school bus driver covered her mortgage but not groceries for herself and her son. Joan started driving for Uber a couple nights after work, making for 16-hour days. But within a year Joan quit Uber and returned the car. Even after driving six to seven days per week, she found herself behind on bills.

Uber took issue with many of the studies findings, pointing to the company’s “180 days of change” program, which it launched in June 2017 to combat its damaged reputation in the wake of sexism allegations and the departure of founder Travis Kalanick.

“Uber has changed a lot since this research was started. Driver-partners are the heart of our service – and Uber would not be what it is today without them,” a company spokesperson said in an email. ” Building on what we’ve already introduced, like in-app tipping, a redesigned driver app, Instant Pay, and new rewards programs like Uber Pro, we’ll continue to improve the experience for and with drivers, every day.”

There’s also a distinct lack of community felt by Uber drivers, the study found.

75% of the drivers in this study said that they had never had a drink or meal with anyone else who had ever driven for Uber,” the study said. “The lack of physical space in which workers met or congregated creates a material barrier to collective identities and deeply shapes the geography of labor and possibilities for collective bargaining in the platform workplace.”

That’s driven many drivers to online forums like uberpeople.net, where drivers discuss everything from pay, to best practices and more. Often, online forums are the only place drivers can interface with others to compare their interactions with the company.

Uber has fought hard to keep drivers classified as independent contractors rather than full-fledged employees, which it would be required to provide with benefits. The company warned in its IPO filing this month that it could seriously damage its business if drivers were considered employees instead of contractors

“Our conclusion is straightforward,” the researchers said. “The patterns identified in this study raise questions about the extent to which working conditions in the ride-hailing industry conform to contemporary labor standards.”

You can read the full study here. 

Do you work for Uber? Have a story to share? Get in touch with this reporter at grapier@businessinsider.com. Secure methods are available here. 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: All the hidden messages you missed at the end of Jordan Peele’s new movie ‘Us’

Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/uber-drivers-washington-dc-struggling-to-make-ends-meet-study-2019-4

We went inside Casper’s mattress-testing lab in San Francisco — here’s what we saw

casper lab mattress company san francisco 29

  • The online mattress company Casper has expanded its sleep-centric product line to include everything from bedside lights to duvets to multiple types of mattresses.
  • More products, however, mean a lot more product testing is needed — especially for a company that’s as much a high-tech startup as it is a mattress company.
  • Recently, Business Insider was invited for a tour of Casper’s San Francisco testing lab. Read on for a look inside the lab. 
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

The online mattress company Casper made waves when it launched in 2014 — mostly for the completely new buying experience it offered.

Instead of having to visit a mattress store in-person and negotiate with aggressive salespeople, those in the market for a new bed could simply order one on Casper’s website and have it shipped (in a compact cardboard box) right to their front doorsteps. 

However, as Casper’s co-founder and Chief Product Officer Jeff Chapin told Business Insider in a recent interview, the mattress world caught on quickly to the experience the startup was offering, and many copied its playbook. 

“Now there’s like 50 companies that sell one mattress online,” Chapin said. “The landscape changed. We have to adapt to that and find a new value proposition. We think it’s about getting people better sleep.” 

A focus on better sleep has broadened the possibilities for Casper, beyond selling the one, standard mattress it offered when it first launched. Today, Casper’s sleep-centric product line runs the gamut from bedside lights to duvets to multiple mattresses for an array of preferences. 

“It’s all about — how do you meet the needs of more people?” Chapin said. “We do think there’s this big unmet need around sleep, it’s just finding what’s our unique take on everything.” 

Read more:  I slept on Casper’s new adjustable bed frame with a built-in massage function — here’s what it was like

Casper’s ability to expand its product offering beyond mattresses will become increasingly important as the company prepares to go public, which it announced in March it had begun preparing for. To date, Casper has raised over $330 million and was most recently valued at $1.1 billion

More products also mean a lot more product testing — especially for a company that’s as much a high-tech startup as it is a mattress company. Chapin told us that for every product that eventually makes it to market, many don’t, but that the tinkering and experimenting in its lab is “all about figuring out what is a sleep company and what isn’t.” 

Here’s a look inside Casper’s San Francisco testing labs: 

The Casper lab is located in San Francisco’s Mission District.

At the labs, there are firmware engineers, electrical engineers, design researchers, and more who are thinking up Casper’s next generation of products.

Casper outsources some of its ergonomics testing, but most of its prototyping and testing takes place in-house, right in the heart of San Francisco. 

The company’s business headquarters is in New York City.

Casper’s co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Jeff Chapin, was our guide.

See the rest of the story at INSIDER
Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/casper-mattress-lab-tour-2019-3

The 20 best smartphones in the world

Galaxy S10

  • What’s the best smartphone? This list focuses primarily on high-end flagship devices, but the best flagship smartphones don’t have to be the most expensive.
  • Value plays a huge role in this list, and there’s a mid-range device here that’s well worth considering for more budget-minded buyers.
  • In fact, the top three phones in this list aren’t the top flagship models everyone expects from Apple or Samsung.

It would be much easier to rank these smartphones based purely on specs and the number of features each offers, but that would mean the most expensive smartphones would always rank in the top three, and they’re not the first phones I’d usually recommend.

One of the biggest factors for me when ranking and recommending a phone is its value in relation to its specs and features. That typically leads me to recommend phones that may have fewer features or a less sleek design than the ultra-premium models that command four-figure price tags. 

Indeed, just because a phone has everything and the kitchen sink doesn’t mean you have to buy it — it’s just an option for those who might have a larger budget. The same logic applies to pretty much anything you can buy. Do you pick the most expensive model of everything you buy? If you don’t, the top three will suit you well. If you always go with the top of the line, then you probably already know the phone you want.

But if you haven’t made up your mind, check out our list of the top 20 smartphones you can buy:

20. BlackBerry Key2

The BlackBerry Key2 is arguably the most unique smartphone on this list because of its physical keyboard. The trade-off here is you sacrifice some screen space to make way for the keyboard. That might appeal to some BlackBerry enthusiasts, but not so much to regular smartphone users.

Price: $634

Read the BlackBerry Key2 review »

19. LG G8

Unfortunately for LG, the new LG G8 at its $820 price places it pretty low on this list. It’s comparable to the $750 Galaxy S10e, but without the sleek design and with little to show for the extra $70 you’d spend. 

Still, it’s a solid device that checks all the right boxes, but doesn’t excel in any particular thing.

You can find the LG G8 for $700 at Best Buy and B&H Photo, which is what the LG G8 should have been priced at to begin with. I wouldn’t recommend buying it for its full price tag from carriers, however. 

Read the LG G8 review »

 

18. Moto G7

Motorola’s Moto G series of smartphones has been our favorite mid-range option ever since they were first released back in 2013, and they’ve only been getting better every generation. Last year’s Moto G6 was a fantastic device that made me forget I was using a $250 phone, and not one that cost more $800.

The new $300 Moto G7 comes with updated specs, design, and even a few rare, out-of-style features that many smartphone users still value.

Price: $300

See the rest of the story at INSIDER
Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/best-smartphones-ranked-iphone-android-samsung-google-lg-oneplus-2019-4

Forget millennials — the real financial time bomb in America is Gen X

Gen X jogging exercise

  • Many Gen Xers are unprepared to retire in their 60s, according to an INSIDER and Morning Consult survey.
  • Almost half of Gen X respondents, defined as ages 38 to 53, said they have no money saved in a retirement account.
  • The Gen Xers were the least likely generation to say they would save or invest an extra $1,000, instead using it to pay outstanding bills and debt
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Retirement isn’t looking rosy for Gen X.

The cohort closest to retirement age behind baby boomers is wholly unprepared to leave work one day, according to an INSIDER and Morning Consult survey. 

Of the 4,400 Americans polled, 1,131 identified as Gen Xers, defined as ages 38 to 53 (237 respondents did not select a generation). The margin of error was plus or minus 1 percentage point.

About half of Gen X respondents said they expected to retire before age 75 — 23% said between 56 and 65, and 28% said between 66 and 75. Meanwhile, 10% of the Gen Xers said they don’t expect to retire at all — the highest share of any generation — and 19% didn’t have an opinion.

The full retirement age for Gen Xers is 67, at which point they can begin to claim Social Security benefits. Whether they decide to retire then or not, delaying Social Security benefits to age 70 will increase the eventual payout by 8% each year it’s delayed. But Social Security isn’t enough to cover expenses for most retirees. Other income from savings and investments is usually necessary.

When should you start taking Social Security? Find out with this calculator from our partners:

And yet, 47% of the Gen Xers said they had no money saved in a retirement account, almost equal to the share of those who said they do. About 48% of the savers have under $50,000, the survey found, and one-quarter have more than $100,000.

Gen Xers may find themselves playing catch up in order to retire. Experts agree that one of the easiest and most beneficial strategies for saving for retirement is maxing out a 401(k) or individual retirement account (IRA) — the tax advantages are often unparalleled. In 2019, you can elect to contribute a percentage or dollar amount of your pretax salary to a 401(k) if your company offers it, up to $19,000, or $25,000 if you’re over 50.

 

As far as investments go, only 17% of Gen X respondents said they have a brokerage account, and most have under $50,000 in that account as well.

These findings underscore a recent MetLife report, which found that 55% of Gen Xers said they were feeling either significantly or somewhat behind on their retirement-savings timeline and that 48% of Gen Xers were living paycheck to paycheck.

The Morning Consult and Business Insider survey also asked what respondents would do with an extra $1,000, and Gen Xers’ priorities are clear. They were the least likely generation to put the hypothetical cash toward savings or investments. Most said they would pay outstanding bills (22%) or pay down debt (28%). 

While the type of debt wasn’t specified, Gen Xers were the most likely generation to report having credit-card debt; about one-quarter are currently paying off student loans; and 70% have a mortgage, the largest share of any generation.

How close are you to being able to retire? Find out with this calculator from our partners:

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: All the hidden messages you missed at the end of Jordan Peele’s new movie ‘Us’

Source: https://www.thisisinsider.com/gen-x-not-ready-for-retirement-no-savings-2019-4