MONEY financial literacy

This is the State That Is Smartest About Money

Concord, New Hampshire
Alamy The folks in Concord, New Hampshire, can boast that they are the most financially literate in the nation.

Based on financial literacy and spending and borrowing data, a new survey ranks the states.

Think you and your neighbors are savviest in the nation when it comes to money?

Well, unless you live in New Hampshire, you’ll have to let that notion go. According to a report released Tuesday by WalletHub, the Granite State alone can claim the title of “most financially literate state.”

The report looked into the financial education programs and consumer habits in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, to create its rankings. Each state was judged on 11 different qualities, ranging from Champlain University’s high-school financial literacy grades to the percentage of residents who spend more than they make, and then scored on its planning/daily habits and knowledge/education level separately before receiving an overall rank.

New Hampshire pushes its way to the top by having the lowest high school dropout rate, the second lowest non-bank borrowing rate, and the fourth lowest number of unbanked households in the country.

Mississippi ranked last in financial literacy, dragged down by having the most residents without a rainy day fund and the most unbanked households.

Want to know how your state fared? See the full ranking below. Check out the study details to see the states that did best and worst by each measure.

Overall Rank

State

Knowledge & Education Rank

Planning & Daily Habits Rank

1 New Hampshire 2 1
2 Utah 1 7
3 Massachusetts 21 2
4 Maryland 12 4
5 New Jersey 11 9
6 North Dakota 33 3
7 Illinois 14 8
8 Minnesota 8 13
9 Pennsylvania 30 4
10 Virginia 3 20
11 New York 24 10
12 South Dakota 6 15
13 California 38 6
14 Maine 30 11
15 Iowa 20 14
16 Colorado 5 24
17 Wisconsin 13 17
18 Florida 40 11
19 Nebraska 23 16
20 Washington 19 18
21 District of Columbia 10 22
22 Idaho 4 36
23 Montana 14 23
24 Hawaii 29 21
25 Vermont 16 27
26 Wyoming 18 26
27 Delaware 44 19
28 South Carolina 28 28
29 Connecticut 37 25
30 Alaska 35 30
31 Oregon 27 32
32 North Carolina 22 36
33 Missouri 7 44
34 West Virginia 33 33
35 Indiana 45 29
36 Ohio 42 31
37 Tennessee 26 38
38 Georgia 17 40
39 Rhode Island 39 38
40 Michigan 48 34
41 Arizona 25 42
42 Texas 32 40
43 Alabama 50 34
44 Kansas 9 48
45 Oklahoma 35 46
46 Kentucky 46 42
47 New Mexico 47 45
48 Louisiana 43 49
49 Arkansas 51 47
50 Nevada 41 50
51 Mississippi 49 51

 

MONEY Ask the Expert

How to Pick an Appraiser to Value Your Heirlooms or Collectibles

Ask the Expert - Family Finance illustration
Robert A. Di Ieso, Jr.

Q: “I inherited quite a large stamp collection. I am sure there are a few valuable ones in there, but aside from quitting my job to spend eight hours a day sorting through them one at a time, what are my options for getting it appraised?” — Russell, Melbourne, Fla.

A: The key thing you need to beware of when seeking out an expert to value an heirloom is conflict of interest: You don’t want the person evaluating your property to have an active interest in purchasing it.

So rather than simply walking into any antique shop or auction house and asking for an appraisal, instead hire a certified appraiser. You’re more likely to get a fair judgement from such an individual because it’s a violation of his or her professional ethics to offer to buy an item he has been hired to appraise.

You can find a certified appraiser in your area specializing in stamps—or any other type of collectible, antique or valuable—via the websites of the three major appraiser organizations: International Society of Appraisers, American Society of Appraisers, or Appraiser Association of America. Each member’s profile should list his or her certification level and background in appraising property similar to yours.

Appraisers might charge a flat fee or an hourly rate starting at $150, says Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg, president of the International Society of Appraisers. (You should avoid those who charge a fee based on a percentage of the item’s value.) Depending on location and the level of expertise your property requires, the total bill may be $400 or more.

For that fee, you’ll get a written report that includes the object’s value, the procedure used to estimate this, and a full description of the item.

Be aware that an item can have different values for different purposes: For insurance or estate taxes, you need to know its retail value, or what it would cost today to purchase. For selling, you need the fair-market value or what a buyer would pay you.

If your item has a minimal value and doesn’t require a full written appraisal, Charleston-Rosenberg says she and the vast majority of appraisers will tell you its ballpark worth and waive the service fee.

“An honorable appraiser will turn away a project when an object is not worth it,” says Charleston-Rosenberg.

Often by calling an appraisal office, you can get a rough idea of whether to pursue a full consultation. Charleston-Rosenberg says she knows of appraisers who request an emailed image of an heirloom to determine if their services are actually needed.

Because your heirloom is not a single object but a larger collection, however, you will probably need to have an appraiser view the stamps in person.

More from Money 101:

Do I need an accountant to do my taxes?

What if I need more time to file my taxes?

How do you know if it makes sense to itemize?

MONEY Millennials

The Most Important Thing Boomer Couples Can Learn From Millennials about Money

Transparent piggy banks talking
Getty Images

Gen Y-ers are more financially transparent with their mates than their parents.

When it comes to being open with a partner about your finances, millennials have all other generations beat.

Despite their lower rates of marriage and length of time in relationships, millennials appear to value financial transparency far more than Gen X or Boomers. A full 98% of millennials who are in a relationship reported that they’ve already spoken with their partner about money matters, a report from NerdWallet found.

By comparison, only 87% of middle-aged couples reported that they’ve discussed their financial situation with their partners.

Millennials were also the most likely group to have had these financial discussions before moving in together.

The NerdWallet study also looked into the significance singles place on a person’s credit and financial savvy when dating. The takeaway: 40% of singles reported that they were more likely to date someone with a higher credit score, and over half said they would be less likely to go on a date with someone who had a poor credit score.

For an upcoming story, MONEY wants to hear from both Boomers and Millennials about how they approach money in relationships. Do these findings surprise you? Or do they seem right based on your own experiences? If you’re in a relationship, we want to know when you and your partner had the money talk and what questions you both raised; if you’re not partnered up, we want to hear what financial criteria you think are important for people to consider as they approach a new relationship.

We’ll be in touch for more information if we’re considering your story for publication. We look forward to hearing from you.

MONEY Ask the Expert

How to Collect Child Support from an Ex’s Social Security Benefits

Ask the Expert - Family Finance illustration
Robert A. Di Ieso, Jr.

Q: “Can I collect unpaid child support from my ex-husband’s Social Security?” — Carol

A: That depends on the kind of benefit your ex receives. If it’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you’re out of luck. But if he collects any other type of benefit, you can get the money you’re owed.

Because SSI is considered a welfare benefit—rather than an earned Social Security benefit like retirement, disability, or survivor benefits, which individuals pay into over their lifetimes—the federal government does not allow this income to be garnished for child support payments, says Vicki Turetsky, commissioner for the Office of Child Support Enforcement.

For other Social Security benefits, however, if your ex is collecting and is either not paying child support or owes back support, you can request that your local Social Security office garnish those benefits. (In certain circumstances, you can also make a claim if an application for Social Security is pending).

In order for the agency to do this, you’ll need to send an income withholding order issued by a judge. So you must go to court and prove that your ex has failed to fulfill his child support obligations.

If your children are still minors, you can apply for child support services offered by the state. The typical application fee is $25. This service will walk you through the legal process and is the “inexpensive route” to getting those child support funds, says Turetsky.

If your children are fully grown, you will need to hire a private attorney to help you go through the process—unless you applied for child support services when your children were minors, in which case you may be able to use the services.

Once your local Social Security office has this order, it will enter the data about your case into their database and begin withholding the child support payment, or a percentage of the total back child support that’s owed, from your ex’s benefit payments. If no benefit payments are being made, the garnishment order will remain on file, and those deductions will resume if he begins collecting again.

Under federal law, the Social Security agency can only withhold up to 65% of your ex’s monthly benefit. It may be less depending on your state law and whether your ex is supporting another child or spouse. “The government also has the authority to take your ex’s entire bank account; however, some states look at the overall financial circumstances of the noncustodial parent,” says Turetsky. “This may be the only money he has to survive on.”

If you cannot collect sufficient payments from your ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits, your state’s child support enforcement office may be able to help you get the funds you’re owed by withholding the amount from state or federal tax returns also.

MONEY identity theft

Yahoo Gets Rid of Passwords

Yahoo! screen on mobile phone
Anatolii Babii—Alamy

The tech giant offers a new way to sign into your email account.

If you use Yahoo, you can quit trying to remember your password or having to change it every time a company you do business with is hacked.

The tech company on Sunday announced that it is now offering “on-demand” email passwords that will be sent to you via your cellphone.

The process is similar to “two-step verification” security models already used by other businesses, which requires you to enter a fixed password first, followed by another code sent to you by the company via text message. Yahoo’s system skips that whole first step.

At its unveiling Sunday at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, company vice president Dylan Casey called this “the first step to eliminating passwords,” and said he doesn’t think the industry “has done a good enough job of putting ourselves in the shoes of the people using our products,” according to a report by the Guardian.

The company also released a blog post detailing exactly how to sign up for the optional service, which is currently available only in the United States.

Learn more about why to set up two-factor authentication and how to protect your online money accounts here. And until you do, use this handy chart to create a harder-to-crack password that you can still remember.

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 10.06.24 AM
MONEY Economy

Household Wealth Is the Highest Ever. Probably Not Your Household’s, Though

house sitting on stack of cash
Steven Puetzer—Getty Images

American households now have a total net worth of $83 trillion, but most families are still behind where they were in 2007.

Americans’ total wealth has reached a record. According to a Federal Reserve report released Thursday, the net worth of U.S. households and nonprofit organizations rose to $82.9 trillion at the end of 2014.

Much of that growth was driven by stocks, which grew in value by $742 billion during the final quarter of last year. The value of residential real estate also rose by $356 billion.

However, these aggregate numbers from the Fed provide only a partial view of Americans’ financial well-being. Since wealth is spread unevenly, so is the effect of gains in asset value. The median household—the one that’s richer than about half of households, but poorer than the other half—is likely still well behind where it was before the financial crisis.

The most recent solid data on this runs through 2013. As MONEY recently reported, an analysis by researchers at the University of Michigan last year found that the median wealth of a U.S. household, in inflation-adjusted dollars, dropped 36% from 2003 to 2013. In that same period, the richest 5% of households saw their median net worth increase by 12%.

In 2003, the wealthiest 5% of Americans had a net worth 13 times that of the median household. By 2013, that disparity had nearly doubled, with these households holding 24 times that of the median.

The main reason for this increasing wealth gap: not only do the rich have more assets, but they have more of the assets that have performed better. More than half of a typical household’s wealth is in real estate. But a median household in the top 5% keeps only 16% of wealth in home equity. More of their assets are in businesses (49%) and financial investments like stocks and bonds (25%). So these households have gained far more from the recent equity bull market.

MONEY ID Theft

How To Get Your Money Back If Your Tax Refund Is Stolen

Tax Refund check
B Christopher—Alamy

To protect your identity—and get the refund you're due as quickly as possible—follow this guide.

Did a thief beat you to filing your own taxes this year?

You’re not alone. More and more Americans are finding that someone has taken over their identity to file a fraudulent tax return in their name and collect the refund check.

In the first half of 2013, 1.6 million taxpayers were hit by tax identity theft, compared to just 271,000 in all of 2010, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reported. And the IRS paid out $5.8 billion in stolen tax refunds in 2013, according to a study by the General Accountability Office (GAO).

The increased use of electronic filing means that fraudsters are able to file a greater number of returns more quickly and with little or no documentation. This year, the number of suspicious electronic returns has been so great in some states that in February TurboTax, one of the largest tax prep software providers, temporarily suspended processing all state tax returns until it could block users from filing unlinked state returns, which are returns filed without a federal return.

Unfortunately, the number of false returns may not be coming down any time soon. A GAO report just named the IRS’s ability to address tax refund fraud and identity theft as one of the government’s top weaknesses.

If you’ve received a notice from the IRS stating that more than one return has been filed in your name, or if you believe your identity has been used fraudulently, here’s what to do:

1. Report the Fraud Quickly

Call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490 right away so that they can begin the process of verifying your information. You’ll also need to fill out an identity theft affidavit, or Form 14039, so that the IRS can place an alert on your account. If your state tax return was filed falsely as well, contact your state revenue agency (for your state’s hotline, check out this list).

Also report the theft to the police. While law enforcement is unlikely to investigate, many government agencies and credit bureaus require an official theft report to help you solve the fall-out.

2. Gather Your Proof

“When you call the IRS about the ID theft, have old copies of your tax returns from the past two or three years out. It will move your case faster,” says Valrie Chambers, a CPA and Stetson University accounting professor.

By providing additional information that the IRS can check against, you strengthen your case that your return is the legitimate one. For example, an ID thief is unlikely to know that you got divorced two years ago and stopped filing jointly, but this fact can easily be checked by the IRS, giving your filed return more credibility.

While you’re searching for those forms, also pull out your driver’s license, birth certificate, passport, two recent utility bills, and, if you’re married, your marriage certificate. You’ll need to mail in copies of all these documents as well as your police report in order for the IRS to verify your tax return and rule the other one fraudulent, says CPA Art Auerbach, who has worked with tax refund theft victims.

3. Pick Up More Protection

Once you report the fraud and fill out the affidavit, the IRS should issue you a personal identification number to provide another layer of security. You’ll need to submit this PIN along with your Social Security number when you file any tax form going forward so that the IRS knows to carefully check over your account. As an identity theft victim, you’ll get a new PIN every year.

If you live in the tax fraud hotbeds of Florida, Georgia, and D.C., you can apply for a PIN without having been an ID theft victim, thanks to a new IRS initiative. To get the six-digit number, you need to register and verify your identity online. You can sign up on the IRS website.

4. Alert the Credit Bureaus

“If a thief had enough information about you to file a false tax return, he could have also opened new credit card accounts or taken out a loan in your name,” says CPA Troy Lewis, chairman of the American Institute of CPAs’ tax executive committee.

Set up free fraud alerts with the three major credit reporting bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These alerts, which last 90 days but can be renewed, warn potential creditors or lenders that you are an identity theft victim and that they must verify your identity before issuing credit.

You can go a step further by placing a credit freeze on your files, which instructs the credit agencies to prevent new creditors from viewing your credit score and report. With a police report, it’s free; without one, it can cost as much $10, depending on your state.

A freeze will keep you from accessing instant credit too. If you need to apply for a loan, you will need to give the agency permission to thaw your data, and in some cases you’ll pay a fee to lift the freeze, which can take a few days.

5. Check Your Credit Report

You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three agencies. Check them carefully for unauthorized activity. Look at your history as well as recent activity. Just because you were first alerted to the problem through a false tax return does not mean that’s where the ID theft started.

If you see errors in your report, such as wrong personal information, accounts you didn’t open or debts you didn’t incur, dispute those errors with each credit agency and the fraud department of the businesses reporting that inaccurate information.

6. Change Your Passwords

In the past, most thieves collected data about a taxpayer and then created an account at a tax preparation software site to file a false return. But Intuit, the parent company of TurboTax, says that in the past 18 months it’s seen fraudsters shift to taking over people’s existing accounts.

Thieves know that people use the same password at multiple websites. When usernames and passwords are compromised in a data breach, a thief could use them to test for a TurboTax account and file in your name.

If you have an online account at a site like TurboTax, make this password unique from any other passwords you use online. Follow this guide to make it as secure as possible. If you use your tax prep password at your bank or any other site with personal information, change that password too.

7. Be Patient

The IRS says a typical case of ID theft can take 180 days to resolve. And even after you’ve cleared up this year’s tax mess, tax and credit fraud can be a recurring problem.

When a thief beats you to filing, the IRS will flag your legit return and process it manually, scrutinizing every detail to figure out which return is authentic. This means your refund could be delayed for months.

The IRS will always pay you your refund, regardless of whether it already paid it out to a fraudster. If your tax fraud case hasn’t been resolved and you’re experiencing financial difficulties because of the holdup with your refund, contact the taxpayer advocate service at 877-777-4778.

MONEY Kids and Money

The Hidden Downside to Rewarding Your Kids for Good Behavior

150305_FF_kids_1
Alamy

Giving your kids treats for getting an A at school or doing chores can come with surprising consequences, a new study suggests.

Next time you want to show your children you’re pleased with their perfect report card or good behavior, skip the visit to the toy shop.

Though your intention might be to reinforce responsible or thoughtful actions, new research suggests that providing treats like money, toys, or sweets can backfire on parents. A study published Wednesday in the Journal of Consumer Research found that children who receive more material rewards grow up to be more, well, materialistic.

“Parents don’t want their children to use possessions to define their self-worth or judge others, yet loving and supportive parents can also use material goods to express their love, paving the way for their children to grow up to be more likely than others to admire people with expensive possessions,” said authors Marsha Richins of the University of Missouri and Lan Nguyen Chaplin of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

By using possessions to reward—or, on the flip side, punish—children, parents may be setting the stage for long-term overconsumption, the study found. Children raised in households where acts of discipline involved giving or taking away belongings were more likely to continue rewarding and defining themselves with material things. They also grew up to admire people with expensive possessions and judge people based on what they own.

If that doesn’t sound bad enough, materialism in adulthood has also been linked to reduced feelings of well-being, marital problems, and financial difficulties, the authors noted.

Of course, many parents might wonder what they can do to reinforce good behavior without using material rewards. While the authors caution that using experiential rewards (say, a trip to Disneyland) can also make kids more materialistic, teaching your children to be grateful can mitigate the negative effects of any rewards you provide.

“One viable strategy might be to encourage gratitude in children—reward children, but also teach and encourage them to be thankful for the people and things in their lives,” they wrote. “Gratitude has been found to increase the value placed on connections to people, mindful growth, and social capital.”

For help walking the fine line between giving your child too much and giving them just enough, see how first-time dad and MONEY writer Taylor Tepper learned the secrets to not spoiling his child.

MONEY Shopping

Are Malls Losing Their Cool, or Still Standing Strong? An Exchange

150304_EM_MALL
Brennan Linsley—AP

Mike Kercheval, president and CEO of the International Council of Shopping Centers:

I write in response to Kerri Anne Renzulli’s January article, “Why Teens Hate Shopping at ‘Teen’ Clothing Stores,” and in particular to her contention that “Malls Are No Longer a Hangout.” In arguing this point, MONEY joins a steady stream of voices to incorrectly write-off the shopping center industry.

Renzulli accurately points out that e-commerce sales are increasing at about four times the growth rate of physical retail establishments. But a closer look at the stats shows that actual e-commerce sales still amount to just 6% of total retail sales (with the balance happening at brick-and-mortar locations) and that consumers make 78% of their purchases at shopping centers.

It is true that some major teen-oriented retailers have announced store closings recently, but teenagers remain a driving force in the retail industry—and, yes, they still visit the mall. Teens are simply shifting where their spending dollars go to. In fact, their demand for new brands and styles has generated a need for more retail space from fast-fashion brands such as Zara, H&M and Forever 21, each of which have recently announced big expansion plans—mostly in shopping malls. And when teens have been asked—as they were in this recent survey by Teen Vogue—they point convincingly to an omni-channel approach, one which still puts brick-and-mortar (or the mall) retail at the core of their purchasing habits.

Like shoppers of all ages, teens will use mobile and online to complement their shopping experience, but they still prefer to walk into a store and feel the merchandise before they buy that next pair of designer jeans. They also go to malls to enjoy the social experience. During the past holiday shopping season, Jason Wagenheim, vice president and publisher of Teen Vogue, said, “the mall remains the most important part of the overall omnichannel shopping story” for the millennial shopper, especially 16 to 26 year-olds. He pointed out that even though millennials are shopping more online and through mobile, “the brick-and-mortar experience still greatly matters.”

The bottom line is that consumers today want to choose where and when they can shop, and they are using online technologies to enhance their shopping experience, but malls and shopping centers will continue to be the number one distribution channel of goods, services, and entertainment.Retail tastes change over time, and brands will come and go, but people of every generation clearly want to shop in stores.

Kerri Anne Renzuli responds:

My article was focused not on the state of shopping centers or malls but rather on the growing disinterest of teens in teen-targeted retail brands, a point that was underscored by the ongoing management shake-up at—and disappointing earnings released today by—Abercrombie & Fitch.

That said, I stand by my contention that teens are less likely than in past decades to use the mall as a nexus of social gatherings. The numbers seem to paint a pretty clear picture: Teens are spending less of their leisure time at malls and ascribe decreasing cultural importance to them. In 2014, according to Piper Jaffray, teens visited the mall an average of 29 times a year—still a lot, as you point out, but down from 38 times in 2007.

As I note in my article, so-called “fast fashion” brands like H&M and Zara that are aimed at a broader demographic have indeed absorbed some of the teen traffic lost by Abercrombie and the like. But teens tend to see these retailers as primary destinations, much like large department stores. By contrast, many of the struggling teen brands like Wet Seal and Aeropostale have historically benefited from incidental foot traffic from teens wandering the mall with friends—which they are doing less of now. The number of stores visited per mall trip has dropped from five to three since 2007.

While teens still gather at the mall, other types of retail establishments, particularly “fast casual” eateries like Chipotle and Starbucks, are growing in popularity. And with teens choosing to spend more of their time and income in restaurants, it’s become even harder for teen brands to attract the attention and wallets of their core audience.

 

MONEY Nasdaq

11 Ways the World Has Changed Since the Nasdaq Last Hit 5,000

The Nasdaq index just topped the 5,000 point line, which practically speaking means…. well, nothing. But it is a historical marker, since the tech and growth-stock heavy index hasn’t been at this level since just before the Internet bubble burst in 2000.

The index’s previous record close of 5,048 was March 2000. By the end of that year, it would be half that amount.

We went back to look at what the world looked like back at peak dotcom. What was all the fuss about?

  • Pets.com

    The Pets.com sock puppet.
    Chris Hondros—Getty Images "I love stuffed things!"

    You’d have seen this cute sock puppet pictured everywhere during commercial breaks and even during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

    Thanks to Pets.com’s marketing campaign centered on this sock puppet, the online pet food and supplies company became the most recognized flop of the dot.com bubble. The company lost $147 million in 2000 before folding in November of that year. But the biggest flop title belongs to another company, Webvan, which was a grocery delivery service. In Nov. 1999, its stocks were trading at $30; by July 2001, stocks were 6 cents a share.

     

  • Jeeves

    AskJeeves
    Ask.com via Internet Wayback Machine "AskJeeves it," said nobody

    “Google” wasn’t quite a verb yet. (That usage took until 2002 to show up on Buffy the Vampire Slayer) You could still plausibly ask Jeeves. Or Lycos or Excite something. Or you went to Yahoo!, which was famous for its Web directory, an index of stuff online. Because people really found things that way.

  • Y2K

    150226_INV_Nasdaq5000_Y2K
    Richard Ellis—Getty Images Don't worry, we've got this. (And they mostly did.)

    Everyone was still relived that everything worked when the new millennium began. The scare: That around the world computers would get hopelessly confused and crashy when the year “99” flipped over to “00.”

  • MP3s

    Ernesto Roy holds a Diamond Rio portable MP3 player in San Francisco on Thursday, July 27, 2000. The tiny device can store and play dozens of megabytes of downloaded MP3 music files. A federal court yesterday ordered an injuction against Napster, a major resource for MP3s on the internet.
    Dan Krauss—Associated Press The Rio MP3 player, which lasted just long enough to help murder the CD

    MP3 players like this one were the newest way to listen to all your favorite songs. And, for the first time, you didn’t have to go to a shop and buy those tunes—you had to rip them from a CD or steal them, because there was no iTunes yet. Peer-to-peer music sharing service Napster was still going strong. Pearl Jam had yet to sue the service for copyright infringement.

  • Nokia

    Sending Text Message On Mobile Phone Nokia 3310
    Alamy Seemed like a smart phone at the time.

    This was one of the best selling phones of 2000, with 126 million units sold worldwide. It was known for its impressive features, which included a calculator, stop watch, reminder function and four—four!—games. Also, it really did seem stylish at the time. Still, only about half of Americans even owed a cell phone in 2000, vs. 90% today.

  • iBook

    Steve Jobs, Founder and acting CEO of Apple Computer Inc., holds up one of the company's new consumer laptops called an "iBook" after his keynote address at the Macworld Expo in New York. The iBook G3 in 1999 was among the first laptops to come with a Wi-Fi card.
    Bebeto Matthews—AP Steve Jobs revived the Mac and had Apple on the comeback trail

    This early laptop from Apple with its colored plastic sides inspired comparisons to things like Barbie accessories and toilet seats, but was still everywhere in 2000. It was the first mainstream computer designed and sold with WiFi built in.

  • Email

    A computer user reads a program code attached to an e-mail dubbed the Love Bug May 5.
    Heinz-Peter Bader—Reuters People didn't hate this yet.

    In 2000, hardly anyone had to worry about missing an important email from their boss on a weekend. Only 1 in 3 adults even used email from their homes.

  • Internet Usage

    Address bar of internet browser
    Andrew Paterson—Alamy

    Today nearly 90% of Americans use the internet, but in 2000 only 46% of Americans used the internet and many nonusers felt that the internet was a “a dangerous thing”—54% believed this.

    A third of people who did not use the internet in 2000 said they definitely will not be going online and another 25% said they would probably not go online.

  • American Beauty

    AMERICAN BEAUTY, US poster art, 1999
    DreamWorks—Courtesy Everett Collection AMERICAN BEAUTY, US poster art, 1999

    Kevin Spacey was having a midlife crisis in suburbia, instead of masterfully manipulating Washington, DC politics in 2000. He took home the Oscar for best actor for his role in American Beauty. The film also won the Oscar for best picture that year beating out The Sixth Sense, The Green Mile, The Cider House Rules and The Insider.

  • NSYNC

    American boy band 'N Sync, circa 2000.
    Tim Roney—Getty Images

    NSYNC’s second studio album No Strings Attached was the best selling album of the year beating out Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP and Britney Spears’ Oops!…I Did It Again. We just wanted to show a picture of NSYNC…

  • Shaq

    Shaquille O'Neal #34 of the Los Angeles Lakers attempts a layup against Sam Perkins #14 of the Indiana Pacers during Game 6 of the 2000 NBA Finals on June 19, 2000 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
    Andrew D. Bernstein—NBAE/Getty Images

    … and also one of Shaquille O’Neal. At the top of the game in 2000, he lead the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA Championship and was crowned MVP of the NBA finals.

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