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Legos Are Now Worth More Than Gold.
Looking to invest your money somewhere safe? Well, you might want to head to your local toy store. According to a recent report in the UK's Telegraph, financial analysts are beginning to suggest that - when it comes to turning a profit - Legos are the new gold. Within the past 15 years, the FTSE 100 - an index of 100 companies on the London Stock Exchange - has increased in value by roughly 4.1%. And while gold investments have seen an increase 9.6% annually, LEGO sets kept in pristine condition have surpassed them with a 12% increase on average. Bottom line? Legos are an investment that packs one serious return. So what kind of LEGO sets should you be investing in? According to avid collector Ed Maciorowski (seen right, with lots of Legos), the money is in franchise picks - movies, TV shows, and even more specific product lines within the LEGO brand: "The neat thing is that all sets are retired at some point, and several hundred are retired each year a movie run ends, a licence expires or the Lego company wants to refresh its range. That means anyone with a set at home – large or small, it doesn't matter – could have quite an investment on their hands if it's in good condition, as this stuff appreciates very well in value." The most coveted LEGO set, for example, is the 2007 Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon - which originally retailed for $500 and currently goes for over a cool $4,000. However, financial analyst Laith Khalaf warns that 'trendy' investments come with much more risk than more traditional options: "The returns from Lego look pretty awesome, but investors need to beware that the value of collectibles can be vulnerable to fads. There’s absolutely no harm in buying some pieces as a hobby, and you may well make some money, but as a main building clock for your retirement, I would suggest sticking to more traditional shares and bonds." So what do YOU think? Would you take the risk of investing in LEGO sets, or would you stick more traditional options like gold? Let me know in the comments below, and for more WTF news, follow my WTF Street Journal collection!
"Don't Worry About Money While Traveling" Is Terrible Advice
Travelers and stuck at home Wanderlusters alike have all heard this phrase, "Don't worry about the money, its about the experience." Well, I am here to tell you that that advice is kind of bullshit. Don't get me wrong, traveling is worth dropping the money, and trust me you will drop money. But taking the spending cost out of the equation will not only leave you completely broke with no hopes for a future trip, but it will also ensure that you will not get the full experience of your travels! Traveling costs money. You have to pay for flights, hostels, food, transportation, tours, city passes, clubs, drinks and every other activity you feel the need to buy or experience aka hang gliding in the swiss alps. And while this is all 100% doable, (people do it all the time), smart travelers are aware of the minimum amount they need to spend, and then factor in more money on top of that for the issues that are bound to arise during the trip. This way they know exactly how much to save and ways to budget money before getting on that flight. Having a set amount of money that you plan on spending means you can figure out just how long your trip can be without having to struggle to pay for simple things like getting on a train or buying a round with your new friends that you met at the hostel. Because trust me you don't want to spend your whole trip worrying if you can spare the 4 euro to buy a drink for your roommate. Heres what will happen if you take this terrible advice: You will run out of money. I have heard of some peoples trips being cut short, or they had to move to crappy but cheaper hostels, or they couldn't even do stuff like the Heineken Experience because they couldn't pay to get in! Yes there are free walking tours and you can explore yourself for free, but seeing only the outside and not paying the money to explore further is a half hearted attempt at traveling. Actually, this means you are wasting all this money to experience only the first layer of the countries experience. The best thing you can do is be honest with the amount you believe you are going to spend and try to stick to it. Pay attention to the money, because you need to it fully experience traveling. But then again, don't let the money control your trip because you will figure out some creative ways to save what you have! So yes, you will be spending a decent chunk of change....but its worth it as long as you're smart about it
This Porn Site Wants To Pay Your Tuition.
College guys have been supporting the porn industry for years, and now one such website wants to give them something back. Popular porn site (or so I've heard) PornHub is offering a $20,000 PornHub Cares scholarship for college students displaying leadership and community involvement. Eligible students must be 18 or older, have a 3.2 GPA or higher, and be enrolled in the Fall 2015 semester. Apparently, all applicants must send in a two- to five-minute video and an essay answering the question, "How do you strive to make others happy?" If you're thinking of making THAT kind of two- to five-minute video, then think again. According to Pornhub Vice President Corey Price: "You don't have to film a porn to be a winner. In fact, anyone who submits a sex video will not be seriously considered. If you're against pornography and an anti-pornography crusader, this is probably not the scholarship for you." For some pretty obvious reasons, there's been some backlash, particularly from national women's groups who feel the scholarship has its heart in the wrong place. A statement released Dawn Hawkins of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation comments that the scholarship is: "...an amazing and deceptive marketing tactic that aims to exploit financially struggling female students. It's really unfortunate we're forcing our kids to sell their bodies to get an education." How do you guys feel about the PornHub Cares scholarship? Would you apply for aid from such a controversial website? Or is tuition money simply tuition money at the end of the day? Personally, I don't know if I'd be comfortable seeking out a scholarship from a porn site, but I wouldn't judge anyone who did. Money is money, after all. And, realistically, it's nice to see a stigmatized billion dollar industry work to turn a new leaf.
Adventures of an Entrepreneurial Introvert
Week 2 So, I'm gonna let you all in on a little secret....I'm starting a business! As an introvert, what kind of business would you imagine I would start? Crafting? Transcription? Graphic design? Anything to avoid social settings, right? Nope, not me. I am opening an errand service. I thought...I'd really like to help the elderly and disabled and public service providers (police, fire fighters, social workers, etc.) get their groceries, pay their bills, and get all of their other errands done. Make life easier for them. I thought about how time consuming errands can be, and I thought about how if doesn't really bother me. I thought about how happy folks might be, with someone to lighten the load a little. What I didn't think about was just how much I might have to interact with people. No, I'm not antisocial...I just have a small, quickly drained social battery. I don't have any customers yet, but I have been beating pavement to advertise my services. And it has been awkward, to say the least. Stuttering and brain dead when they ask what services I offer or what my rates are. Nervous shifting...starting to leave, then lingering momentarily as I try figure out if they're still wanting to talk. Focusing a little too much on maintaining eye contact, so that I have to ask them to repeat what they just asked. In the past two weeks, it hasn't really been that bad...I suppose it's because the excitement of starting my own business kept it mostly at bay. But now the doubts are nibbling at the edges as the excitement wanes a little and I notice my anxieties and discomfort. The utter lack of customers doesn't help. But it's okay, I'm okay...I'm patient and hopeful. I am sure I can tackle these social challenges like I do everything else. What do I do? Honestly, I don't know. But I have been reflecting, and I have identified some interesting points i might be able to use to my advantage. 1. I don't have any trouble with one on one conversations. It's only when there's two or more people that i get anxious. 2. I do better when I have just done something completely different just before. My toddler has been accompanying me as I promote my business (don't worry, it's a small town, and people are surprisingly understanding), and just after we go to the park or stop off at the house to give him a quick change or break, is when I feel most confidant and outgoing. A quick recharge, I suppose. 3. I might need to tap a more extroverted friend to help get the word out there. I don't really like feeling like I'm relying on someone else, but I might just have to swallow my pride to get this business off the ground. So, yeah...I have some hurdles to conquer...I should get on that now, before my procrastination tries to kick in, too.
5 Ways To Control Your Spending
Hello, my name is Tess, and I am a shopaholic. ...This is the part where you say, "Hi Tess." Anyway, I've learned, over the past few months, that controlling your spending can be extremely simple. I've saved a few thousand dollars, and I will tell you how! 1. Budget by week. What I've been doing is taking out around 250 to 350 dollars per week. This way I have a finite amount of money to spend. Keeping track of your expenses by week will enable you to keep a tight hold on your 2. Use Cash Using cash will enable you to see the money leaving your hand. This will encourage you to spend less. It's just a fact of life. If I can see the money going...I won't want to spend it. 3. Leave your Debit card at home. This way you're not tempted to take out more money, or overpay for things. If you have unlimited funds on you at all times, you're not going to want to save, at least, that's what I always thought. Be hard on yourself, and hold yourself accountable for each penny. 4. Make lists NEVER go to the grocery store without a list, this will help you stick to your guns and not end up buying unnecessary stuff. It's liberating to make sure that you can help yourself accountable. It's all about responsibility here! 5. Tell yourself every day what saving can do, buy or set up for you. You are the master of your financial destiny, if you want to be able to say that you're responsible, you've got to take ownership of your money. I guess, me starting to save was a decision of necessity. When you start your life, all of the financial crippling starts to become real. Student loans, rent, car payments and more. You will save when you have to. Better to start now! So there you go! Get out there and make your fortune :)
9 Ways To Survive Being Broke
It's not easy to make money and keep it, and in your early twenties, when you're working for lower salaries and paying off college debts...net worth can be non-existent. Have no fear, because there are a few ways you can survive being broke, and even have a little fun too. 1. Get a mobile banking app Okay, this may seem like a nightmare, but always knowing how much money you have will come in handy It'll save you those inevitable, embarrassing "I'm sorry your card was declined" conversations, and it'll make you more aware of your current money situation. 2. Calculate how much you can spend per/day to stay above water. For instance: If I have 400 dollars in my bank account (after transportation, utilities, rent etc...) for living expenses to last three weeks, divide 400 by 14 to get 19.4, which means, by averaging things out you have around 20 dollars/day to spend before you run out of money. It's bringing consciousness to your spending, and can help when things get really tight. 3. When at the grocery store, never buy name brand anything. This is an extreme tactic, but it will cut your grocery bill by at least 20 dollars, just because you're going generic. Things like peanut butter, bread and juice can be spared. If you can't tell the difference, why not save the money? You can splurge for things you really love, but if you can ditch the name brand stuff, your wallet will thank you. 4. Challenge yourself to not to spend money at all. I did this for a while in college and it ended up saving me a lot! When things got tight, I'd give myself a little tally mark in my agenda for every day I didn't spend any money. It helps with progress and gives you a physical track to follow your habits. If you haven't guessed, lots of these tips are just based on consciousness of how much money you actually have. 5. Know when things are priced at their lowest, and NEVER pay full price for anything. You can google what stores put what things on sale, and when. So when you plan a big shopping trip where you have to buy an entire wardrobe for like...200 dollars, check out where you are going, and when the big sales are. If you get suckered into paying full price for something while you're feeling a little more wealthy, you'll pay for it later if you're broke, so always be conscious of if a purchase is realistically in your budget. 6. Avoid credit cards like the plague. If you're broke, applying for a credit card will be tempting, I'm sure you're like "Oh! They gave me a 500 dollar limit? I'll just make my purchases with that, and worry about it later." Don't. You'll end up paying 3 times as much because you'll run them up and never pay them. If you're broke, you don't have enough money to deal with fees and hassles, so just save yoruself the trouble and tough it out. 7. Evaluate what you really need, and what you can live without. Do you really need Starbucks today? Do you really need that candy bar? We make innocuous purchases that end up seeming pretty useless after we're left without enough money to live off of. If we calculate one 5 dollar cup of coffee per every work day (or god for bid two), we end up spending 25 dollars / week ON COFFEE ALONE. That's a lot! So just by putting things into perspective, you can really start to save yourself money, and also survive! 8. Happy Hour Only Buying drinks adds up. You can spend 50 or more in one sitting without realizing it. In order to avoid this, hit up a happy hour, where things are half priced. If that's not in the works, then you definitely need to buy your own alcohol, and drink at home before going out. Or...stop drinking and just save the money. It's not as fun, but being broke never is! 9. Long term: figure out what your money habits are, where you fail at saving, and put better choices in motion to conserve for the future! We don't always keep track of our money, spend it wisely or have the jobs to support the lifestyles we want, but with a little consciousness, some faith and some discipline we can put the steps into place to get better at the money thing! Also, remember, money isn't everything. You can have fun for free doing lots of things, so look up free events in your city and have a ball. Keeping it together is all about perspective.
Working in the Anime Industry: A Struggle
The Japanese Animation Creators Association just recently released the results of a survey taken in 2015 of over 750 different people working in the Anime industry in Japan. Coming from an American standpoint, where our entertainers are paid staggering amounts of money, you might think it would be similar for Anime creators, considering how popular the medium is. You'd be wrong. Here's a collected set of averages from Kotaku that shows the median salary for each different position in the creation of anime. Series Director Average Age: 42 years old Average Monthly Salary: 540,833 yen ($5,036) Average Yearly Salary: 6,490,000 yen ($60,437) Chief Animation Director Average Age: 43 years old Average Monthly Salary: 470,000 yen ($4,378) Average Yearly Salary: 5,640,000 yen ($52,521) Producer Average Age: 39 years old Average Monthly Salary: 451,667 yen ($4,206) Average Yearly Salary: 5,420,000 yen ($50,471) Character Designer Average Age: 38 years old Average Monthly Salary: 425,000 yen ($3,958) Average Yearly Salary: 5,100,000 yen ($47,491) Animation Director Average Age: 38 years old Average Monthly Salary: 327,500 yen ($3,045) Average Yearly Salary: 3,930,000 yen ($36,602) 3DCG Animator Average Age: 34 years old Average Monthly Salary: 320,000 yen ($2,980) Average Yearly Salary: 3,840,000 yen ($35,764) Episode Director Average Age: 41 years old Average Monthly Salary: 316,667 yen ($2,949) Average Yearly Salary: 3,800,000 yen ($35,391) Storyboarder Average Age: 49 years old Average Monthly Salary: 310,000 yen ($2,887) Average Yearly Salary: 3,720,000 yen ($34,647) Art Director (Background Art) Average Age: 35 years old Average Monthly Salary: 285,000 yen ($2,655) Average Yearly Salary: 3,420,000 yen ($31,864) Color Designer Average Age: 38 years old Average Monthly Salary: 278,333 yen ($2,593) Average Yearly Salary: 3,340,000 yen ($31,120) Cinematographer Average Age: 34 years old Average Monthly Salary: 265,833 yen ($2,476) Average Yearly Salary: 3,190,000 yen ($29,723) Production Assistant Average Age: 30 years old Average Monthly Salary: 257,000 yen ($2,394) Average Yearly Salary: 3,090,000 yen ($28,788) Key Animator Average Age: 36 years old Average Monthly Salary: 235,000 yen ($2,189) Average Yearly Salary: 2,820,000 yen ($26,271) Inbetween Checker Average Age: 35 years old Average Monthly Salary: 217,500 yen ($2,026) Average Yearly Salary: 2,610,000 yen ($24,314) Layout Artist/Rough Keyart Average Age: 38 years old Average Monthly Salary: 195,000 yen ($1,817) Average Yearly Salary: 2,340,000 yen ($21,800) Paint Staff Average Age: 26 years old Average Monthly Salary: 162,000 yen ($1,509) Average Yearly Salary: 1,950,000 yen ($18,167) 2nd Key Animation/Clean-Up Average Age: 27 years old Average Monthly Salary: 93,333 yen ($870) Average Yearly Salary: 1,120,000 yen ($10,434) Inbetween Staff Average Age: 24 years old Average Monthly Salary: 92,500 yen ($862) Average Yearly Salary: 1,110,000 yen ($10,340) The people at the top of the pyramid make the most; that's something we can understand universally. However, even at the highest salary, the numbers still pale in comparison to what series directors would be receiving here in the States. It only gets more depressing as you go down the list, where some of these positions mean that these employees are making less than minimum wage. Considering the amount of work and pressure these people are under, it's a little disheartening to see how little they earn for their efforts. So, maybe rethink your foray into the industry for now...
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