TIME Money

You’ll Never Guess College Students’ Biggest Regret

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Female student worrying about money Image Source—Getty Images/Image Source

It's not what you think

You might think that when people look back on their college years, their biggest regret would be not being more involved socially, choosing the wrong major or partying too much. In reality, the biggest regret college grads face is a much more grown-up one, and it’s one with repercussions that can follow them well into their adult years.

According to a study conducted by Citizens Financial Group, 77% of former college students age 40 and younger regret not doing a better job of planning how to manage their student loan debt.

Student loan debts have ballooned in recent years, even as the demand for higher education has boomed as more companies in nearly every industry require that job applicants have college degrees. Earlier this year, Federal Reserve Bank of New York data showed that Americans collectively owe $1.1 trillion in student loan debt. By comparison, we owe $8.2 trillion in mortgage debt and $659 billion in credit card debt. Each indebted borrower owes nearly $30,000 upon graduation, and many of them are struggling. Citizen’s survey finds that current students carry roughly $25,000 of student debt, while their parents carry an average of $22,000.

Nearly a quarter of former students in Citizen’s survey say they can’t stay current on their debt payments, and almost two-thirds say they’re uncomfortable with their debt load. Almost half say they would have reconsidered going to college entirely if they knew how burdensome their debts would be years or even decades later.

Current students aren’t faring much better: Seven in 10 don’t think they’ll have enough financial acumen to do a good job managing their debt, and more than 80% say they wish they knew more about the long-term impact of carrying this debt — which will take nearly two decades to pay off for many borrowers, according to the survey responses of former students. What’s more, more than a third of former students don’t even have a guess when they’ll have those debts paid.

A lack of communication seems to be a big contributing factor to this situation: Families don’t talk about student loan debt or make a plan to tackle it in advance. Only 15% of former students and just under a quarter of today’s students report having detailed discussions with their parents about how to pay off those debts — 46% of former students say the topic never came up at all.

The heavy debt burden has some wondering if it’s even worth it. While almost 90% of current students think taking out loans to pay for school will be worth the investment, only about two-thirds of former students think so. And while nearly three-quarters of current students think college is necessary no matter what the cost, only 59% of former students feel the same way.

TIME Advertising

Watch Apple’s Black Friday iPhone Ads

See six ads from both sides of Apple’s — and America’s — cultural divide.

Having cut the cable TV cord before the busiest shopping day of the year, I had to go to YouTube to see how Apple was promoting its products in advance of Black Friday.

Here’s what I found: Six ads in two days, three for the iPhone and three for Beats by Dre, the headphone-and-streaming-music company acquired by Apple in May for $3 billion.

I liked them all. But they’re very different.

Two white comedians, Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon, are once again carrying the water for Apple.

Beats’ SoloSelfie-with-iPhone campaign taps into a different celebrity culture.

The iPhone ads

Nov. 24: Gamers

Nov. 24: Reservations

Nov. 26: Voice text

The Beats by Dre ads

Nov. 26: #SoloSelfie Kenan Thompson Tutorial

Nov. 26: #SoloSelfie

Nov. 26: #SoloSelfie – The Tutorial

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME technology

Blackberry offers iPhone users up to $550 to trade in for a Passport

Holiday offer is designed to build on promising initial sales for the square-screened “workhorse”

It’s perhaps one of the most poignant holiday promotions out there this year, a reminder – if one were needed – as to just how sharply fortunes can reverse in businss.

BlackBerry is offering iPhone users lump sums of $150 to trade in their Apple smartphone in a new “trade-up” program to bolster sales of its new Passport, which the once-dominant Canadian company is hoping will make it a player again in the premium smartphone segment.

Calculating a trade-in value of up to $400 for a nearly-new iPhone 6, BlackBerry is pitching the offer as being worth up to $550.

The company is trying to build on what appeared to be a generally successful launch of the Passport in September, despite some mixed reviews. Initial sales — 200,000 units in the first two days – far exceeded the company’s conservative estimates, and the device sold out within six hours on BlackBerry’s website and within 10 hours on Amazon.com.

The new offer (which is valid in North America only) helped make it the best-selling unlocked smartphone on Amazon as of Thursday morning.

BlackBerry’s overall shipments of smartphones have collapsed in the last three years as both Apple and, increasingly, Samsung Electronics Co. have eaten into its once loyal fan-base among corporate executives. From a peak of 52.3 million in 2010, shipments fell to less than 14 million in the last fiscal year.

The Passport, which features a monster 4.5″ square touch screen as well as the company’s trademark physical keyboard, is designed to sharpen the focus on executive users, especially as regards the reading and editing of spreadsheets.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Companies

European Parliament Calls for Possible Breakup of Google

The vote went through despite U.S. concern over its politicization

The European Parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution Thursday asking the European Commission to consider breaking up Google as a means to address what some in Europe view as Google’s abuse of its dominance in search to benefit its other products.

The vote succeeded by an overwhelming margin of 458 to 173, the Wall Street Journal reports. The resolution is non-binding and Parliament has no power to break up Google on its own. Still, lawmakers are hoping it will put pressure on the European Commission, currently investigating Google’s search practices on the continent, to take action against the tech giant.

The resolution went forward despite the United States expressing “concern” over what it perceives as an unnecessary politicization of the anti-trust probe.

[WSJ]

TIME Black Friday

How a Target Store Gets Ready for Black Friday

US-ECONOMY-TARGET
A Target department store is seen in Springfield, Va., on Oct. 23, 2014 Saul Loeb—AFP/Getty Images

Target gave a peek at how its stores get ready for Black Friday

When you show up at your favorite store on Thanksgiving night looking for that big deal on a smart TV, you will probably be too busy to think about all the work—and science—that went into prepping the place, from putting up signage, to laying out and replenishing the merchandise, to establishing safety protocols.

For a big-box store like Target, it takes pretty much a small village to make the Black Thanksgiving/Black Friday shopping extravaganza go off without a hitch.

One such village is the 170,000-square-foot Target store in Westbury, N.Y., where Tony Roman, senior group vice president overseeing the retailer’s stores in Greater New York, gave Fortune a tour this week ahead of Thanksgiving. (Target stores open at 6 p.m. on the holiday.)

Below, in loosely chronological order, is how this Target gets ready in the days before Thanksgiving evening.

1. The calm before the storm

Target starts planning two months in advance, thinking about crowd control practices, scheduling workers and planning on stocking and replenishing merchandise for the biggest shopping weekend of the year.

2. Earlier in the week: Starting to put the Black Friday hot sellers on the floor

Some items that Target will push over the Black Friday weekend need more room in the store, often encroaching on space normally given to other products. Take these microwaves. The retailer will stock 40 of them on an area in heavily trafficked aisle that normally holds bedding. But it will also stock the ovens where they normally live (see below), so regulars know where to look for them. And that area is also near their temporary home so that it’s easy for staff to replenish the stock.

Target this year has added maps for each store to its app so shoppers can find where the deals are, given that many items won’t be in their usual place.

3. Earlier in the week: Changing the merchandise it showcases at the end of an aisle

“Endcaps” are what retailers call the area at the end of an aisle where they stock on popular items to capitalize on the the large amount of traffic that goes by. By the time stores open on Thursday, the Target in Westbury will have changed over 100 endcaps in the store.

4. Already done : Stacking the hot sellers like toys and TVs on the floor

A lot of the hot items like FurReal toys are on already shelves, stacked high, and on the store floor, and workers have “deboxed” many more and put them in bins for quick replenishment throughout the weekend. Such products are placed prominently on the floor too.

5. Unloading extra trucks for the bonanza

The Westbury Target is 170,000 square-feet in size, making it bigger than average. To make sure there is enough inventory, Target has already received three trucks worth of merchandise, whereas a more typical Target would get one or two trucks’ worth.

6. Wednesday afternoon: Setting up the barricades for shoppers who will line up on Thanksgiving

To make sure things proceed in an orderly manner on Thursday for the doorbusters, Target will set up barricades on Wednesday (and complete the last bit of it, right in front of the store entrance) on Thursday before the opening.

7. Overnight into Thanksgiving: Setting up the hot areas like the iPad store and install the signate

Apple’s iPad will be a hot item this Black Friday weekend, and Target is giving it its own specific line, and cash registers so things move swiftly, and don’t impede customers shopping for something else. There will be balloons to alert shoppers to the iPad area. The temporary iPad lines will be set up overnight Wednesday.

During the wee hours, shoppers will be putting up signage throughout the store indicating to customers to what’s on sale. (The bin in the picture will not feature picture frames on Black Friday. These bins usually hold softer items like bedding or pillows.)

8. Thursday afternoon: Handing out tickets to guarantee the hottest items

On Thursday afternoon, Target workers will go visit customers waiting in line and hand out tickets to those wanting to buy either of the two hot TVs the retailer is offering deals on so they are guaranteed one. The idea is to free them up to shop more and not worry about getting the TV first, or risk having the shoppers leave as soon as they get the TV.

“In the past, guests would come in, get a TV, get in line, and couldn’t continue to shop—this time, they will be able to,” said Roman.

9. Thursday late afternoon: 100 or so Target staff get ready for show time

Target will staff as many as 100 people at a time in shifts over the big shopping weekend. (Wal-Mart Stores has promised to staff every single cash register in the U.S. during peak times, so Target needs to similarly be ready.)

Soon before 6 p.m., the first shift of workers will start what will be a 30-hour shopping blitz. Show time.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Companies

Labor Group Plans Strike of Walmart Stores on Black Friday

Operations Inside A Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Location Ahead Of Black Friday
Employees assist shoppers at the check out counter of a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. location ahead of Black Friday in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014 Bloomberg—Getty Images

For the third year in a row, OUR Walmart is planning a massive strike on Black Friday

Employees at Walmart stores in at least six states and Washington, D.C., plan to strike on one of the busiest shopping days of the year to protest workers’ wages and hours.

OUR Walmart, an employee labor group, announced earlier in November that workers across the country would walk out over “illegal silencing of workers who are standing up for better jobs.” The group has been hosting Black Friday strikes since 2012, but promises this year’s will be the largest yet.

The group has the support of some of the nation’s labor unions including UFCW, a grocery and retailers union, the American Federations of Teachers in New Mexico, and AFL-CIO. In a statement, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, “the entire labor movement will proudly stand with the brave workers at Walmart as they lead the largest mobilization to date for better wages and schedules.”

Added Trumka: “Their courage is inspiring and powerful in the fight for all workers.”

Employees are calling for consistent, full-time work as well as a living wage of $15/hour. In a press release, Our Walmart boasts that its previous efforts against the retail giant have led the company to agree to increase minimum wages for its lowest paid workers as well as program that provides workers with greater access to open shifts.

Late Wednesday, social media reports began circulating of workers in Washington, D.C., and other cities who had already started participating in sit-ins and strikes. The group also accuses Walmart’s owners of growing wealthy on the backs of their low-wage workers.

“While many Walmart workers are unable to feed and clothe their families, the Walton family takes in $8.6 million a day in Walmart dividends alone to build on its $150 billion in wealth,” read a statement. “Walmart brings in $16 billion in annual profits.”

TIME Retail

Why Your Boss Will Turn a Blind Eye on Cyber Monday as You Shop Online

Most companies have given up trying to keep people from shopping at work

Braving the local mall this weekend may appeal to fewer shoppers this year than last, but online stores expect a cheery Cyber Monday. With total holiday sales forecast at $617 billion, up about 4% over last year, online shopping will jump 16%, according to the National Federation of Retailers—and more of those online shoppers will be sitting at their desks, especially if they work at tech companies.

The number of companies allowing “unrestricted access” to non-work sites has leapt 17 percentage points in just the past two years, says a new survey from staffing firm Robert Half Technology, and fewer employers bother monitoring for “excessive” web surfing. Altogether, about two-thirds (69%) have given up trying to keep people from shopping at work.

That’s not to say that the IT department is always thrilled with it. “There’s still a higher risk of corrupting the network when you have large numbers of employees visiting a lot of outside sites,” notes John Reed, RHT’s senior executive director. “But, even so, there’s more upside to allowing it than to trying to lock it down.”

One reason is that people bent on, say, the latest Disney “Frozen” doll or an Xbox One are nothing if not determined. “So it’s either a three-hour lunch for a trip to the mall, or 10 minutes online at their work stations,” observes Reed. The rise of BYOD (bring your own device) policies in most workplaces plays a part, too. “From a productivity standpoint, you gain nothing by blocking retail sites,” Reed says. “People will just use their own iPads.”

A subtler reason for turning a blind eye to online shopping is that “employees want control over their own time,” Reed notes. “So employers are trying harder to be flexible. They’re looking for any edge that will keep talent, especially tech talent, from taking a phone call from a recruiter.”

Besides, it’s tough to tell people they can’t shop online during work hours when they see their bosses doing it. More than half (53%) of senior managers—defined as “C-suite executives, vice presidents, directors, managers, and supervisors” —admit they’ll use company time to go cyber-shopping, says CareerBuilder’s 2014 Cyber Monday survey, versus 46% of professional and entry-level staffers who say the same.

If gift-buying online at the office looks like a major distraction, consider the following: It could help people focus on their work by serving as a seasonal stress reliever. A 2013 poll by the National Federation of Retailers found that 46% of women, and 78% of men, ranked in-person shopping—and battling the holiday crowds—as “more stressful than a trip to the DMV.”

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Retail

How Black Friday Invaded the U.K.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s U.K. Asda Supermarket Entices Shoppers With Black Friday Deals
Customers push loaded shopping carts through crowded aisles as they look for bargains during a Black Friday discount sale inside an Asda supermarket in Wembley, London, U.K., on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013. Simon Dawson—Bloomberg / Getty Images

Black Friday, long an American tradition, is becoming a British one, too

Four years ago, Black Friday was considered a distinctly American tradition, as exotic to non-Americans as the running of the bulls to non-Spaniards. “It was never even on our radar,” says Elizabetta Camilleri, CEO of SalesGossip, a web service that tracks discounts at 1,400 fashion labels across Europe.

Three years ago, Camilleri’s team first spotted a handful of Black Friday sales cropping up in London. This year, they’re witnessing a veritable American invasion.

“We’re seeing promotions from 250 branded retailers,” says Camilleri. “It literally doubled over last year.” And the deals keep coming. “We’re getting all of these retailers phoning us, saying, ‘We’ve just realized we’re doing a big promotion next week. Can we get on your home page?'”

So nearly 400 years after the Mayflower made it to Plymouth, Black Friday has taken the return trip and officially landed in the Old World. Some 65% of U.K. retailers plan to hold Black Friday sales this year, according to a survey by Barclays. Giants such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s have jumped in with aggressive, half-off discounts, while high-end boutiques, such as the clothing store Duchamp London, have shaved off 25% for the holiday.

Black Friday’s British invasion might seem odd, given that the sales revolve around an American holiday. Indeed, American retailers have considered the day so essential to their business that in the midst of the Great Depression, they lobbied to give Thanksgiving Day a little nudge on the calendar to prolong the shopping season. So how did Black Friday make the leap across the pond?

Amazon takes credit for introducing the tradition to the U.K. in 2010, though inklings of Black Friday sales could be found along one of London’s main shopping thoroughfares — Oxford Circus — as far back as seven years ago. Dan Taylor, retail manager for Duchamp London, recalls seeing Oxford Street closed to traffic and pedestrians pouring in for an embryonic version of a Black Friday sale. “It was packaged as something quite different,” Taylor says, “as ‘Christmas Comes Early.'”

Black Friday has further seeped into the U.K.’s public consciousness through a blend of media events from across the pond, global trade and plain old competition. “Everyone knows that it happens,” says Taylor. “Everyone then expects it to happen.”

This year, the shopping day got a boost from unseasonably warm fall weather. Sales of autumn apparel slackened over previous years. With fall boots and jackets taking up valuable shelf space and winter merchandise rapidly approaching, retailers had to find a way to move product fast.

“Black Friday became this holy grail of, ‘It’s going to solve all of our problems,” says Camilleri, who warns that the sales could undercut profits in the U.K. After all, Britain has already conditioned shoppers for its own version of Black Friday: Boxing Day, which falls on December 26. If retailers bookend the shopping season with steep discounts, some say, shoppers may steer clear of stores in the intervening period.

Still, there are signs that Black Friday’s spread may end at Britain’s shoreline. Retailers in continental Europe have — so far — proven immune to its charms.

“We’ve seen no sign of it happening in France or Spain,” says Camilleri. A strict regulatory environment prevents retailers in some EU nations from dropping prices outside of designated windows. But Camilleri notes a deeper instinct to resist. When she asked a German retailer if they might consider a Black Friday sale, the retailer simply replied, “We are not Americans.”

TIME Retail

7 Black Friday Haggling Secrets You Need to Know

Early Black Friday Shopping At A Target Store
Customers pick up shopping carts containing Element Electronics 50-inch light-emitting diode (LED) high definition televisions at a Target Corp. store opening ahead of Black Friday in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Because paying full price is for suckers

If you’re chasing down a hot deal this week, your best bet is knowing the right way to haggle. Consumer Reports says almost nine out of 10 people who haggle over prices are at least somewhat successful.

The magazine surveyed 2,000 savvy shoppers to find out what tricks work best when you’re trying to score a steal. Here’s what they found out, along with some other insider secrets.

Comparison-shop. More than half of successful hagglers say they either tell a salesperson they’re going to check out the competition’s prices or just go ahead and scout different stores for better prices, and 42% arm themselves with circulars or coupons from competitors. With predictions about how well retailers will fare this holiday season all over the map, it’s obvious that stores will be paying very close attention to prices, and the customers who force merchants to compete on price will be the winners.

Be nice. More than four in 10 survey respondents found that friendliness is the ticket to a bargain-basement price, with 43% saying they chat up the salesperson and try to form a connection before hitting them up for a discount.

Find out what others paid. Using social media to your advantage can pay off. Almost 40% of hagglers say they scope out user reviews to find out what other people have paid for the items on their wish lists.

Don’t be bashful. Haggling isn’t just for car dealerships and furniture stores; here’s a list of situations when you should go into a transaction with the mindset that the list price is just a starting point.

Talk a good game. Consumer Reports says another way successful hagglers chip away at prices is by telling a story that turns the negotiation into a dialogue: Give them a sob story, show them how much you understand about what you’re buying, argue that a blemish lowers the item’s value or ask an open-ended question like, “How can you help me out?” That puts the ball in the salesperson’s court.

Know when to shut up. Talk about silence literally being golden: Negotiating expert Steven Cohen tells Consumer Reports a well-placed pause in the conversation can throw a salesperson off their game just a little bit and make them work harder to win your business.

Check out these tips. Negotiating experts tell TIME which tricks they keep up their sleeves when they want a better deal.

TIME Earnings

Uber Reportedly Valued at $40 Billion by Investors

Uber
Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Uber’s PR troubles are not scaring off investors

On-demand ride service Uber is raising new funding at a valuation of between $35 billion and $40 billion, according to a new report from Bloomberg. This would be one of the richest “venture capital” rounds in history (Facebook still holds the crown), and likely mean that investors expect Uber to eventually go public at a valuation of at least $100 billion.

T. Rowe Price reportedly is in talks to come aboard as a new investor, while existing shareholder Fidelity Investments also would participate.

There have been market rumors that the round would be structured as convertible debt rather than preferred equity, although those rumors also were married to a $25 billion valuation. If the price has changed, so might have the security type.

It also is unclear if the round — which Bloomberg reports is designed to raise at least $1 billion — would include any so-called secondary sales by Uber employees or early investors. Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick is on record as saying that, to date, he has never sold any of his stock in the company.

Uber last raised money earlier this year, when it secured around $1.2 billion at a $17 billion pre-money valuation. Since then, it has experienced massive growth and more than its fair share of controversy. Just last week, a company executive floated the idea of creating an opposition research arm to dig up dirt on critical reporters, while another Uber executive was accused of improperly accessing and displaying a specific user’s data.

In addition to Fidelity, existing Uber shareholders include Benchmark, First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, Menlo Ventures, Google Ventures, TPG Capital, Summit Partners, Wellington Management, BlackRock and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

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