TIME twitter

Twitter’s Dick Costolo: Wall Street ‘Accelerates Short-term Thinking’

Twitter CEO Costolo and Twitter co-founder Dorsey walk the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during Twitter's IPO in New York
© Lucas Jackson / Reuters—REUTERS Dick Costolo

Former Twitter leader discusses pressures of going public

Twitter going public proved to be a tougher task than former CEO Dick Costolo initially expected.

The exec, who finishes his post atop the popular social media service on Wednesday, said in an interview with The Guardian that the pressures of meeting Wall Street expectations were severe.

“When we took the company public, I had an expectation that the market would evaluate us based on our financial metrics first and foremost,” he told the publication. “I probably would frame the way we were thinking about the future of the company differently, understanding how we were in retrospect evaluated.”

Costolo added: “You always want to keep focused on the long-term vision, yet when you go public you’re on a 90-day cadence and there’s a very public voting machine of the stock price that accelerates that short-term thinking.”

There’s an ongoing search to find the next CEO of Twitter; co-founder Jack Dorsey will lead the company in the interim. Costolo stepped down from the top spot unexpectedly earlier this year.

Costolo spoke with Fortune’s Christopher Tkacyzk in April to about his thoughts on leadership and free speech in the workplace.

TIME Greece

Greeks Fear a ‘Haircut’ on Their Savings As Bailout Deal Expires

A Greek national flag flutters atop a building as dark clouds fill the sky in Athens on June 30, 2015.
Alkis Konstantinidis—Reuters A Greek national flag flutters atop a building as dark clouds fill the sky in Athens on June 30, 2015.

A Cyprus-style tax on deposits is one of the dwindling options the Greek government has left

The phones at Tax Solutions, an accounting firm in the south of Athens, began ringing non-stop early on Monday. On orders from the Greek government, the banks did not open that morning as harsh restrictions were imposed on the amount of money their clients could withdraw.

The accounting firm’s CEO, Vassilis Bagourdis, had been up since dawn, nervously puffing at cigarillos and trying to figure out what the capital controls could mean: Had Greek banks at last run out of money? How long would they stay solvent? And could the government now levy a tax on deposits like the one Cyprus imposed two years ago?

This scenario, which amounts to the seizure of money from private accounts, would be the latest in a fast succession of financial nightmares for Greece, but at this point, Bagourdis says, “There is no telling what tomorrow will bring.” As of midnight on Tuesday, the bailout program that has kept the Greek economy afloat officially expired, and Greece missed a $1.6 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund, meaning it has essentially defaulted on its debts. As a condition of any more assistance, Greece’s creditors have demanded more reforms and austerity measures, including tax hikes and pension cuts, which Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has repeatedly rejected.

His government is clearly getting desperate. As the midnight deadline approached, Tsipras appealed for another bailout from the 18 other European countries that use the euro as their currency. It would be the third bailout Greece has received in five years. The first two were worth a combined 240 billion euros, and the third one that Tsipras requested would need to extend at least another 30 billion euros over the next two years just so Greece can make payments on existing debts. After an emergency conference call on Tuesday, however, European finance ministers denied his request.

That pushed Greek banks closer to the brink. Over the weekend they had already been cut off from emergency cash injections from European Central Bank, prompting the government to limit withdrawals from each account to a mere 60 euros per day, barely enough for a family to go grocery shopping in Athens. On top of those restrictions, the banks will also remain closed for a “holiday” at least through July 5, which is the next day of reckoning on the Greek financial calendar.

That morning polls are scheduled to open for a national referendum on whether or not to accept the conditions of more assistance from the country’s creditors. It is a bizarre choice to put on a ballot, not least because the creditors formally withdrew their offer as of midnight on Tuesday, when Greece’s bailout program expired. So if the referendum goes ahead – and that is still a big “if” – the Greeks will be asked to vote on a deal that is no longer on the table. Still, the outcome of the vote would mark another step toward the dreaded deposit tax, sometimes called a “haircut” on deposits.

Innocuous as the euphemism seems, this measure would amount to the government seizing the money it needs from regular people’s accounts. “Depending on how the referendum goes, I’d say there is a 60-70% chance of a haircut,” says Bagourdis, whose clients include businesses that would be devastated by such a move.

Some opposition lawmakers put the odds even higher. If voters reject the terms of continued aid from Greece’s creditors on July 5, “the chances of a haircut would be certain,” says Haris Theoharis, a parliamentarian who until late last year was Greece’s top tax collector.

It would in some ways be a repeat of the 2013 crisis in Cyprus. In March of that year, the European Central Bank also stopped providing cash injections – known as emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) – to struggling Cypriot banks, much as it did to Greek banks over the weekend. The government in Cyprus complained that this was a form of blackmail from its European creditors, but in the end it was still forced limit cash withdrawals and impose a tax on deposits, shaving 10% off the value of uninsured accounts that were worth more than 100,000 euros.

In part because many of those accounts belonged to wealthy foreigners – primarily Russians who were using Cyprus as a tax haven – the country did not see any mass unrest after its haircut on deposits. “But here it would be different,” says Bagourdis, who also serves as a senior adviser to the opposition New Democracy party in Greece. “Here it would be regular families and businesses that suffer from this measure.”

Though the current government denied that it was considering such a move earlier this year, the possibility of such a stopgap measure has made many Greeks nervous. In May, the Guardian newspaper quoted an official from the Greek central bank warning that this could cause a violent public backlash. “We would see the revolt that this crisis has not yet produced,” the official was quoted as saying. “There would be blood in the streets. The Greeks are not like the Cypriots.”

It would then be very hard for Tsipras to maintain his base of support – and to stay in power – especially considering that he was elected in January on a promise to end austerity and reduce the tax burden on workaday Greeks. But the dramatic collapse of his negotiations with Greece’s creditors since then has left Tsipras with fewer and fewer options. As part of a new bailout deal, European financial institutions could even insist on a haircut on deposits, much as they did during the Cypriot crisis of 2013.

So even if Greeks vote on July 5 to accept the harsh terms of their country’s creditors – as European leaders have urged them to do – they would still not take the prospect of a deposit tax off the table. “We would still be moving in that direction,” says Bagourdis. As its options for emergency financing are whittled down, the Greek government could be left with no other choice.

TIME Greece

Greece Defaults on Debt After Five Years of Bailouts

A Greek national flag flutters atop a building as dark clouds fill the sky in Athens on June 30, 2015.
Alkis Konstantinidis—Reuters A Greek national flag flutters atop a building as dark clouds fill the sky in Athens on June 30, 2015.

The first developed country to fall into arrears on payments to the IMF since 2001

Greece slipped deeper into its financial abyss after the bailout program it has relied on for five years expired at midnight Tuesday and the country failed to repay a loan due to the International Monetary Fund.

With its failure to repay the roughly 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to the IMF, Greece became the first developed country to fall into arrears on payments to the fund. The last country to do so was Zimbabwe in 2001.

After Greece made a last-ditch effort to extend its bailout, eurozone finance ministers decided in a teleconference late Tuesday that there was no way they could reach a deal before the deadline.

“It would be crazy to extend the program,” said Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbleom, who heads the eurozone finance ministers’ body known as the eurogroup. “So that cannot happen and will not happen.”

“The program expires tonight,” Dijsselbleom said.

The brinkmanship that has characterized Greece’s bailout negotiations with its European creditors and the IMF rose several notches over the weekend, when Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced he would put a deal proposal by creditors to a referendum on Sunday and urged a “No” vote.

The move increased fears the country could soon fall out of the euro currency bloc and Greeks rushed to pull money out of ATMs, leading the government to shutter its banks and impose restrictions on banking transactions on Monday for at least a week.

But in a surprise move Tuesday night, Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis hinted that the government might be open to calling off the popular vote, saying it was a political decision.

The government decided on the referendum, he said on state television, “and it can make a decision on something else.”

It was unclear, however, how that would be possible legally as Parliament has already voted for it to go ahead.

Greece’s international bailout expires at midnight central European time, after which the country loses access to billions of euros in funds. At the same time, Greece has said it will not be able to make a payment of 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to the IMF.

With its economy teetering on the brink, Greece suffered its second sovereign downgrade in as many days when the Fitch ratings agency lowered it further into junk status, to just one notch above the level where it considers default inevitable.

The agency said the breakdown of negotiations “has significantly increased the risk that Greece will not be able to honor its debt obligations in the coming months, including bonds held by the private sector.”

Fitch said it now considered a default on privately-held debt “probable.”

Hopes for an 11th-hour deal were raised when the Greek side announced it had submitted a new proposal Tuesday afternoon, and the eurozone’s 19 finance ministers held a teleconference to discuss it.

But those hopes were quickly dashed.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she ruled out further negotiations with Greece before Sunday’s popular vote on whether to accept creditors’ demands for budget reforms.

“Before the planned referendum is carried out, we will not negotiate over anything new,” the dpa news agency quoted Merkel as saying.

Greece’s latest offer involves a proposal to tap Europe’s bailout fund — the so-called European Stability Mechanism, a pot of money set up after Greece’s rescue programs to help countries in need.

Tsipras’ office said the proposal was “for the full coverage of (Greece’s) financing needs with the simultaneous restructuring of the debt.”

Dijsselbloem said the finance ministers would “study that request as we should” and that they would hold another conference call Wednesday, as they had also received a second letter from Athens that they had not had time to read.

Dragasakis said the new letter “narrows the differences further.”

“We are making an additional effort. There are six points where this effort can be made. I don’t want to get into specifics. But it includes pensions and labor issues,” he said.

European officials and Greek opposition parties have been adamant that a “No” vote on Sunday will mean Greece will leave the euro and possibly even the EU.

The government says this is scaremongering, and that a rejection of creditor demands will mean the country is in a better negotiating position.

In Athens, more than 10,000 “Yes” vote supporters gathered outside parliament despite a thunderstorm, chanting “Europe! Europe!”

Most huddled under umbrellas, including Athens resident Sofia Matthaiou.

“I don’t know if we’ll get a deal. But we have to press them to see reason,” she said, referring to the government. “The creditors need to water down their positions, too.”

The protest came a day after thousands of government supporters advocating a “No” vote held a similar demonstration.

On Monday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made a new offer to Greece. Under that proposal, Tsipras would need to accept the creditors’ proposal that was on the table last weekend. He would also have to change his position on Sunday’s referendum.

Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said the offer would also involve unspecified discussions on Athens’s massive debt load of over 300 billion euros, or around 180 percent of GDP. The Greek side has long called for debt relief, saying its mountainous debt is unsustainable.

A Greek government official said Tsipras had spoken earlier in the day with Juncker, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi and European Parliament president Martin Schulz.

Meanwhile, missing the IMF payment will cut Greece off from new loans from the organization.

And with its bailout program expiring, Greece will lose access to more than 16 billion euros ($18 billion) in financial support it has not yet tapped, officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because talks about the program were still ongoing.

On the streets of Athens, long lines formed again at ATM machines as Greeks struggled with the new restrictions on banking transactions. Under credit controls imposed Monday, Greeks are now limited to ATM withdrawals of 60 euros ($67) a day and cannot send money abroad or make international payments without special permission.

The elderly have been hit particularly hard, with tens of thousands of pensions unpaid as of Tuesday afternoon. Many also found themselves completely cut off from any cash as they do not have bank cards.

The finance ministry said it would open about 1,000 bank branches across the country for three days beginning Wednesday to allow pensioners without bank cards to make withdrawals. But the limit would be set at 120 euros for the whole week.

TIME Money

These 3 Decisions Will Change Your Financial Life

Make these decisions consciously

There’s nothing worse than a rich person who’s chronically angry or unhappy. There’s really no excuse for it, yet I see this phenomenon every day. It results from an extremely unbalanced life, one with too much expectation and not enough appreciation for what’s there.

Without gratitude and appreciation for what you already have, you’ll never know true fulfillment. But how do you cultivate balance in life? What’s the point of achievement if your life has no balance?

For nearly four decades, I’ve had the privilege of coaching people from every walk of life, including some of the most powerful men and women on the planet. I’ve worked with presidents of the United States as well as owners of small businesses.

Across the board, I’ve found that virtually every moment people make three key decisions that dictate the quality of their lives.

If you make these decisions unconsciously, you’ll end up like majority of people who tend to be out of shape physically, exhausted emotionally and often financially stressed. But if you make these decisions consciously, you can literally change the course of your life today.

Decision 1: Carefully choose what to focus on.

At every moment, millions of things compete for your attention. You can focus on things that are happening right here and now or on what you want to create in the future. Or you can focus on the past.

Where focus goes, energy flows. What you focus on and your pattern for doing so shapes your entire life.

Which area do you tend to focus on more: what you have or what’s missing from your life?

I’m sure you think about both sides of this coin. But if you examine your habitual thoughts, what do you tend to spend most of your time dwelling on?

Rather than focusing on what you don’t have and begrudging those who are better off than you financially, perhaps you should acknowledge that you have much to be grateful for and some of it has nothing to do with money. You can be grateful for your health, family, friends, opportunities and mind.

Developing a habit of appreciating what you have can create a new level of emotional well-being and wealth. But the real question is, do you take time to deeply feel grateful with your mind, body, heart and soul? That’s where the joy, happiness and fulfillment can be found.

Consider a second pattern of focus that affects the quality of your life: Do you tend to focus more on what you can control or what you can’t?

If you focus on what you can’t control, you’ll have more stress in life. You can influence many aspects of your life but you usually can’t control them.

When you adopt this pattern of focus, your brain has to make another decision:

Decision 2: Figure out, What does this all mean?

Ultimately, how you feel about your life has nothing to do with the events in it or with your financial condition or what has (or hasn’t) happened to you. The quality of your life is controlled by the meaning you give these things.

Most of the time you may be unaware of the effect of your unconscious mind in assigning meaning to life’s events.

When something happens that disrupts your life (a car accident, a health issue, a job loss), do you tend to think that this is the end or the beginning?

If someone confronts you, is that person insulting you, coaching you or truly caring for you?

Does a devastating problem mean that God is punishing you or challenging you? Or is it possible that this problem is a gift from God?

Your life takes on whatever meaning you give it. With each meaning comes a unique feeling or emotion and the quality of your life involves where you live emotionally.

I always ask during my seminars, “How many of you know someone who is on antidepressants and still depressed?” Typically 85 percent to 90 percent of those assembled raise their hands.

How is this possible? The drugs should make people feel better. It’s true that antidepressants do come with labels warning that suicidal thoughts are a possible side effect.

But no matter how much a person drugs himself, if he constantly focuses on what he can’t control in life and what’s missing, he won’t find it hard to despair. If he adds to that a meaning like “life is not worth living,” that’s an emotional cocktail that no antidepressant can consistently overcome.

Yet if that same person can arrive at a new meaning, a reason to live or a belief that all this was meant to be, then he will be stronger than anything that ever happened to him.

When people shift their habitual focus and meanings, there’s no limit on what life can become. A change of focus and a shift in meaning can literally alter someone’s biochemistry in minutes.

So take control and always remember: Meaning equals emotion and emotion equals life. Choose consciously and wisely. Find an empowering meaning in any event, and wealth in its deepest sense will be yours today.

Once you create a meaning in your mind, it creates an emotion, and that emotion leads to a state for making your third decision:

Decision 3: What will you do?

The actions you take are powerfully shaped by the emotional state you’re in. If you’re angry, you’re going to behave quite differently than if you’re feeling playful or outrageous.

If you want to shape your actions, the fastest way is to change what you focus on and shift the meaning to be something more empowering.

Two people who are angry will behave differently. Some pull back. Others push through.

Some individuals express anger quietly. Others do so loudly or violently. Yet others suppress it only to look for a passive-aggressive opportunity to regain the upper hand or even exact revenge.

Where do these patterns come from? People tend to model their behavior on those they respect, enjoy and love.

The people who frustrated or angered you? You often reject their approaches.

Yet far too often you may find yourself falling back into patterns you witnessed over and over again in your youth and were displeased by.

It’s very useful for you to become aware of your patterns when you are frustrated, angry or sad or feel lonely. You can’t change your patterns if you’re not aware of them.

Now that you’re aware of the power of these three decisions, start looking for role models who are experiencing what you want out of life. I promise you that those who have passionate relationships have a totally different focus and arrive at totally different meanings for the challenges in relationships than people who are constantly bickering or fighting.

It’s not rocket science. If you become aware of the differences in how people approach these three decisions, you’ll have a pathway to help you create a permanent positive change in any area of life.

This piece was adapted from Tony Robbins’ new book, Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom.

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com

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TIME China

China-Backed Development Bank Holds Signing Ceremony in Beijing

China-led AIIB members ink accord for its inception by year's end
AP—Kyodo Delegates from more than 50 countries gathered to sign the articles of agreement that specifies the new lender's initial capital and other details of its structure.

Conspicuously absent from the ceremony was the U.S., which declined to join the bank

Delegates from 57 founding member states gathered in Beijing on Monday to finalize and ratify the terms of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the China-backed multilateral development bank seen by some as a strategic rival to the World Bank and similar international financial institutions.

The signing ceremony comes eight months after Beijing officially launched AIIB, which intends to “focus on the development of infrastructure and other productive sectors in Asia” and “promote interconnectivity and economic integration in the region,” according to its mission statement. It will begin with a $50 billion capital base, the BBC reports.

Of its founding members — which include Australia, Russia and Germany — China will be the largest shareholder, with 25% to 30% of all votes. Conspicuously absent from the roster is the U.S., which in October expressed concern over the bank proposal’s “ambiguous nature.” While World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has praised the new institution, citing the “massive need” for fresh investments in Asia, some critics see its establishment as a self-serving exercise in Chinese soft power.

TIME Money

Paying Off My Student Loan in a Year Was Miserable

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xoJane.com is where women go to be their unabashed selves, and where their unabashed selves are applauded

How far should you go to get debt-free?

xojane

When I have a goal, I attack it with a single-minded focus. I disregard all common sense, personal inconveniences and even my own happiness until The Job gets done.

Case in point: I paid off all my student loans in the year after graduation. While I’m grateful they’re out of the way, my methods to meet that goal saddened me in the process.

But let me back up: I decided as a freshman at the University of Montana that I wouldn’t be slave to student debt after college. I graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism in three years after transferring most of my general education requirements in from high school.

I worked voraciously—briefly, I had up to four jobs at once—during the summers, staying at home with my parents for free rent. (They weren’t paying my tuition.) I took out few loans as a result, allowing me to owe about a third of what other graduates from that university owed, but the ones that I did take offered a challenge to eliminate them as soon as possible.

Debt symbolized dependence to me. I didn’t want to be beholden to anyone and felt I couldn’t call myself responsible if I ignored them or put off their repayment. With only two international trips to Canada under my belt—I always wanted to study abroad but didn’t so I could graduate college early—I wanted to travel the world without any material obligations holding me back.

Because once I stopped roaming, I couldn’t fool myself about my lack of freedom because my debt would still be there.

Maybe I just needed a goal to work toward. As a child and teen, I’d gotten used to making honor roll and lettering in varsity sports; in college, I had graduating early with honors and doing extracurricular activities to aim for.

After graduation, I’d dreamed my goal would be developing the skills that I would need to be a successful freelance writer for regional and international magazines, maybe by working as a staff writer at an alternative-weekly paper. I think I made my goal about the money because I didn’t think I was good enough to do that.

I dug my first hole for myself when I took the first job I was offered out of college. As a fresh grad specializing in print journalism, I wanted a position that would allow me to write regularly—even it was as rote as reporting on city council meetings. Instead, I took a position as a copy editor at a New Mexico paper, where the most routine writing I’d do would be one-sentence descriptions for the events calendar.

I took the position because I thought it was my only option. Living with my parents that month after graduation while job-searching made me fear that I would never leave my hometown in Idaho, that I wasn’t qualified for the entry-level job that I actually wanted, that I would be stuck with student debt into oblivion like many of my peers. (My obsession with becoming debt-free pushed me into melodrama.)

Funnily enough, although I took the job mainly for money, I didn’t think to negotiate my wages, but decided to send three-quarters of my paltry salary to loans and housing costs anyway.

My faux pas continued when I moved into a two-bedroom house with eight roommates to save money on rent. For $235 a month, I slept on a borrowed mattress on the floor in a windowless basement I shared with two other people. I was too cheap for a bed, and privacy was nonexistent. I got used to being woken up by housemates’ sex noises at 6 in the morning.

Plus, I refused to buy a car to find solitude. So, mornings were often filled with frantic bike rides to work, or runs when my bike tires inevitably popped because I ran over a goathead.

As the year passed, I worked myself into a misery. I avoided calling my sister and friends because I was embarrassed about how empty my routine felt. I had stopped doing activities I enjoyed like going running and dancing downtown.

I felt micromanaged by a hot-tempered co-worker at my job, and I started to hate how he would approach my desk each week and point out copy errors that had slipped into the published paper.

I came home to a house buzzing with emotions and activity, and I would shut myself in my room to stare at my Facebook feed for hours.

Conversations with my live-in partner often regressed to complaining about work or my housemates.

Not once did I think that I should reevaluate the steps that I was using to pay off my student loans—or at least the attitudes I had toward them. Looking back, I probably should have. I had reached the point where delaying gratification to reach my goal was hurting myself. I was using that goal as justification for being miserable, turning myself into my own personal martyr to look at all the sacrifices I was making.

To be fair, those quote-unquote sacrifices weren’t even that bad, in the scheme of things. I was choosing to think negatively and that was ruining my perspective.

My insular thinking pushed me away from other opportunities as I tried to achieve my goal. When I finally pressed the button to pay off my loans’ remaining balance online, I took a few days to tell my family and friends because I had gotten so used to disappointing myself that I couldn’t believe that the payment would actually go through.

But it did, and I pulled through too. A week later, I left my job and started pitching stories to magazines and training to be a raft guide. I know I can find success. Here’s to learning that I don’t need to be miserable to do that.

Emily Zak wrote this article for xoJane.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Money

4 Money Habits to Help Earn Your First Million Dollars

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Avoid emotional spending

So, you want to be a millionaire? Conventional wisdom dictates that to save money, you need to squirrel away as much as possible while drastically reducing your spending, period. While there is some merit to that strategy, the smarter way to grow your wealth is to cultivate careful spending habits that will allow you to maximize your savings without cramping your style.

Here are four smart spending habits to help you save your first million dollars.

1. Categorize your expenses and monitor your spending.

One easy way to keep your finger on the pulse of your spending habits is to break down your expenses into categories. Garrett Gunderson, CEO of WealthFactory.com suggests a framework consisting of four expense categories: destructive, productive, protective, and lifestyle.

Destructive expenses refer to, “Overdraft fees, using credit to consume, spending on vices, or products or services you don’t use or that don’t add value to your life,” according to Gunderson. These are financial sinkholes that do not offer any benefits to you.

Productive expenses are those that will make you money, like hiring the ideal employee or being an early investor in a company or product that goes viral. These expenditures are also ones that can improve your overall well-being like education, nutritious food and fitness classes.

Protective expenses, like health, life and auto insurance, are associated with preserving yourself and your family.

Last, lifestyle expenses are comprised of the fun things in life like vacations, the latest technology and new clothes.

By categorizing your expenses, you can easily see how to cut destructive expenses, splurge on productive and protective expenses, and spend conservatively on lifestyle expenses. If you make the right choices in setting limits on your spending, your productive expenses will pay for themselves and then some. Make sure to monitor your spending carefully and, soon, good habits (and savings!) will emerge.

2. Avoid emotional spending.

We all have those days where we feel down in the dumps, and we rationalize that we will surely feel better after buying a new pair of shoes or some gourmet chocolate.

However, Kevin O’Leary of ABC’s Shark Tank and O’Leary Financial group urges, “Don’t go shopping to change your mood. It might make you feel better in the short term, but I promise: the long-term fulfillment of saving and growing your money far outweighs the temporary satisfaction of retail therapy.”

Instead, try to regulate your emotions by talking with friends and family, exercising, watching a documentary, or reading. Or, for a more harm-reductionist approach, try planning small, regular outings for yourself using your lifestyle expense budget. For example, plan to get a fancy massage at the spa or indulge in a lavish meal once a month instead of every time you feel stressed. Developing good coping strategies will eliminate bad spending habits and help you save money quickly.

3. Choose and pay off your loans strategically.

Loans can be terrifying. Before becoming anxious about how to pay off your personal or business loans once you get them, take the time to research the different types of loans out there. Entrepreneur offers a great step-by-step guide on how to navigate the loan process and weigh the pros and cons of several loan options.

If you are already in the throes of debt, Diana Ransom from The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money magazine proposes prioritizing debt repayment for the loan with the highest interest rate first and then consider consolidating your loans into one longer-term package. Paying off one larger loan will allow you to avoid wasting money on costs accrued on many smaller loans.

In more dire situations, call your creditors and seek help from legitimate debt-relief agencies. Finding the right strategy for paying off your loans can enable you to save thousands on interest rates and possible legal fees. Whether your loans are business or personal, be intentional and deliberate when planning your approach to getting out of debt.

4. Invest wisely.

Neil McCarthy, a research chemist, made his first million dollars solely by investing in the stock market in the 1990s. Paul Glandorf, a pipe fitter and construction worker, took investing seriously as a retiree and is now sitting on a huge pile of money. The lesson here is clear: know how the stock market works.

After you do your homework and have a good grasp of the stock market, start monitoring stocks for yourself and experiment with making investments. Robinhood is a neat app that allows you to trade stocks for free and makes it easy to keep track of companies you are interested in but haven’t put money into yet.

Once you get a hang of trading, sales expert Grant Cardone advocates diversifying carefully and committing fully to your causes. In an interview with Entrepreneur, he said, “You want to find one or two spaces you completely understand, that can’t be destroyed, and go all in. That’s how people get rich. People don’t get rich by tip-toeing in with $100 investments all over the place.” By spending wisely in the stock market, you can strategically multiply your initial investments and be well on your way to becoming a millionaire.

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

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TIME Economy

The Real Way to Fix Finance Once and for All

Bull statue on Wall Street
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Changing the way financial institutions operate will require more than calculations and complex regulation

We live in an age of big data and hot and cold running metrics. Everywhere, at all times, we are counting things—our productivity, our friends and followers on social media, how many steps we take per day. But is it all getting us closer to truth and real understanding? I have been thinking about this a lot in the wake of a terrific conference I attended this week on “finance and society” co-sponsored by the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

There was plenty of new and creative thinking. On a panel I moderated in which Margaret Heffernan, a business consultant and author of the book Willful Blindness, made some really important points about why culture is just as important as numbers, particularly when it comes to issues like financial reform and corporate governance. As Heffernan sums it up quite aptly in her new book on the topic of corporate culture, Beyond Measure, “numbers are comforting…but when we’re confronted by spectacular success or failure, everyone from the CEO to the janitor points in the same direction: the culture.”

That’s at the core of a big debate in Washington and on Wall Street right now about how to change the financial system and ensure that it’s a help, rather than a hindrance, to the real economy. Everyone from Fed chair Janet Yellen to IMF head Christine Lagarde to Senator Elizabeth Warren—all of whom spoke at the INET conference; other big wigs like Fed vice chair Stanley Fischer and FDIC vice-chair Tom Hoenig were in the audience—agree more needs to be done to put banking back in service to society.

MORE: What Apple’s Gargantuan Cash Giveaway Really Means

But a lot of the discussion about how to do that hinges on complex and technocratic debates about incomprehensible (to most people anyway) things like “tier-1 capital” and “risk-weighted asset calculations.” Not only does that quickly narrow the discussion to one in which only “insiders,” many of whom are beholden to finance or political interests, can participate, but it also leaves regulators and policy makers trying to fight the last war. No matter how clever the metrics are that we apply to regulation, the only thing we know for sure is that the next financial crisis won’t look at all like the last one. And, it will probably come from some unexpected area of the industry, an increasing part of which falls into the unregulated “shadow banking” area.

That’s why changing the culture of finance and of business is general is so important. There’s a long way to go there: In one telling survey by the whistle blower’s law firm Labaton Sucharow, which interviewed 500 senior financial executives in the United States and the UK, 26% of respondents said they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace, while 24% said they believed they might need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct to be successful. Sixteen percent of respondents said they would commit insider trading if they could get away with it, and 30% said their compensation plans created pressure to compromise ethical standards or violate the law.

How to change this? For starters, more collaboration–as Heffernan points out, economic research shows that successful organizations are almost always those that empower teams, rather than individuals. Yet in finance, as in much of corporate America, the mythology of the heroic individual lingers. Star traders or CEOs get huge salaries (and often take huge risks), while their success is inevitably a team effort. Indeed, the argument that individuals, rather than teams, should get all the glory or blame is often used perversely by the financial industry itself to get around rules and regulations. SEC Commissioner Kara Stein has been waging a one-woman war to try to prevent big banks that have already been found guilty of various kinds of malfeasance to get “waiver” exceptions from various filing rules by claiming that only a few individuals in the organization were responsible for bad behavior. Check out some of her very smart comments on that in our panel entitled “Other People’s Money.”

MORE: The Real (and Troubling) Reason Behind Lower Oil Prices

Getting more “outsiders” involved in the conversation will help change culture too. In fact, that’s one reason INET president Rob Johnson wanted to invite all women to the Finance and Society panel. “When society is set up around men’s power and control, women are cast as outsiders whether you like it or not,” he says. Research shows, of course, that outsiders are much more likely to call attention to problems within organizations, since not being invited to the power party means they aren’t as vulnerable to cognitive capture by powerful interests. (On that note, see a very powerful 3 minute video by Elizabeth Warren, who has always supported average consumers and not been cowed by the banking lobby, here.)

For more on the conference and the debate over how to reform banking, check out the latest episode of WNYC’s Money Talking, where I debated the issue on the fifth anniversary of the “Flash Crash,” with Charlie Herman and Mashable business editor, Heidi Moore.

TIME Careers & Workplace

10 Personal Finance Books Every Professional Should Read

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If you’re not sure where to start, these books will really help out

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Question: What is a great personal finance book to read for a young entrepreneur trying to get better at managing their money while launching a startup?

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

“I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad in high school, and it started me on a personal journey to learn about personal finance and entrepreneurship. Whether or not you agree with all of the principles, it’s a great jumping-off point.” — Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40 / Finance Whiz Kids

Accounting Made Simple: Accounting Explained in 100 Pages or Less

Accounting Made Simple: Accounting Explained in 100 Pages or Less is a solid introduction to accounting principles, including GAAP compliance, cash versus accrual methods, and financial ratios. It’s a good foundation for young entrepreneurs and a good resource for the early stages when you want to set up a clean accounting system but don’t have the resources to hire a professional.” — David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

Solving the Money Puzzle: Personal Finance Made Simple

“I recommend Solving the Money Puzzle: Personal Finance Made Simple because it’s crucial for young entrepreneurs to properly manage their personal finances before being endowed with startup capital. If you can straighten out your own house, the pressures of being responsible for vast capital will diminish, and your positive habits will carry over.” — Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net

Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance In Your Twenties and Thirties

Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance In Your Twenties and Thirties is a great primer on the basics of personal finance and money management. A lot of the tips and advice in the book are invaluable.” — Josh Weiss, Bluegala

The Richest Man in Babylon

The Richest Man in Babylon is 100 pages, was written in the 1920s and has stood the test of time with simple personal finance lessons such as “Pay yourself first.” Head into a bookstore one afternoon for some nuggets of financial wisdom.” — Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

I Will Teach You To Be Rich is a great book on how to automate your savings by creating a sound system. The author has personally gone to businesses like Google to speak about his systems that are simple and effective.” — Eric Siu, Single Grain

The Lean Startup

The Lean Startup is a phenomenal piece of work that inspired me in how I operate my own business. Managing finances is an important aspect of the book, and it will definitely help readers lay some necessary cornerstones for their company.” — Daniel Wesley, Quote.com

Predictable Revenue

Predictable Revenue is a fantastic book for startups with a B2B sales process that want a more modern perspective on consistent quality lead generation and more predictable revenue.” — Ryan Stoner, Publicis

Financially Fearless: The LearnVest Program for Taking Control of Your Money

Financially Fearless: The LearnVest Program for Taking Control of Your Money has some unique tips such as always saving a $5 bill instead of spending it. The book is a fast read, comes with a strong website portal and has beneficial information.” — Raoul Davis, Ascendant Group

Destroy Student Debt: A Combat Guide to Freedom

“An employee of mine recently recommended Destroy Student Debt: A Combat Guide to Freedom. He said the most valuable advice in the book was that we often aren’t aware of the influence of consumerism in our lives. We buy things because that’s what we do. Being thoughtful consumers — or, as the author suggests, questioning why we purchase things at all — is helpful.” — Mike Seiman, CPXi

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

This article was originally published on StartupCollective.

MONEY financial literacy

Most 20-Somethings Can’t Answer These 3 Financial Questions. Can You?

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A new study finds that young Americans could use some help when it comes to managing their money.

Just in time for financial literacy month, a new San Diego State University study of young Americans has found that they are lacking when it comes to financial knowledge and behavior.

Out of these three questions measuring basic financial knowledge, the average respondent could answer only 1.8 correctly—and only a quarter got all three right. (Answers are at the bottom of this story.)

(1) Do you think that the following statement is true or false? Buying a single company stock usually provides a safer return than a stock mutual fund.

(2) Suppose you had $100 in a savings account and the interest rate was 2% per year. After 5 years, how much do you think you would have in the account if you left the money to grow: More than $102, exactly $102, or less than $102?

(3) Imagine that the interest rate on your savings account was 1% per year and inflation was 2% per year. After 1 year, would you be able to buy more than, exactly the same as, or less than today with the money in this account?

Perhaps most troubling was what the research showed about how respondents have actually been managing their money. The average young person surveyed showed responsible behavior in only one of three categories: Paying off debts on time, budgeting and living within one’s means, and having any retirement savings at all. Only 2% of all respondents showed responsible behavior in all three categories.

Furthermore, the study—led by SDSU professors Ning Tang, Andrew Baker, and Paula Peter—found that there was little to no effect of financial knowledge on financial behavior. That is, young people manage money poorly, even when they know better.

But there is hope for America’s youth, says Tang.

“Our findings suggest that if you want to improve your own financial behavior, the best thing you can do is be open to the influences of others,” says Tang.

Though the study did not examine the influence of peers, its results suggest both family and financial professionals could play an important role in improving young people’s financial habits. The researchers found that being close with parents was correlated with better money management among women—and that higher self-reported levels of being “thorough” and “careful” was correlated with better financial behavior among men. Among both sexes, higher self-reported levels of being “self-disciplined” was correlated with better money habits.

That suggests educators and financial planners should focus on getting young people to be more self-aware in general and more motivated to improve their organizational habits across the board—not just when it comes to finances, says Tang.

“It can be helpful just to be more aware of your own psychological barriers,” she says.

One thing the study did not explore much is the cause of gender differences in the results. For example, the authors did not control for whether parents tend to treat daughters differently than sons.

And the answers to the questions above? They are: (1) false; (2) more than $102; and (3) less than today.

Read Next: This One Question Can Show If You’re Smarter Than Most U.S. Millennials

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