MONEY Saving

This App May Let You Retire on Your Spare Change

Acorn App
Acorn

The new Acorns app rounds up card purchases and invests the difference for growth, with no minimums and low fees.

Americans spend $11 trillion a year while saving very little. So it makes sense to link the two, as a number of financial companies have tried to do over the past decade. The latest is the startup Acorns, which hopes to hook millennials on the merits of mobile micro investing over many decades.

Through the Acorns app, released for iPhone this week, you sock away “spare change” every time you use your linked credit or debit card. The app rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar, takes the difference from your checking account, and plunks it in a solid, no-frills investment portfolio. So when you spend, say, $1.29 for a song on iTunes, the app reads that as $2 and pushes 71¢ into your Acorns account. With a swipe, you can also contribute small or large sums separate from any spending.

The Acorns portfolio is purposely simple: Your money gets spread among six basic index funds. The weighting in each fund depends on your risk profile, which you can dial up or down on your iPhone. More aggressive settings put more money in stocks. But you always have some money in each fund, remaining diversified among large and small company stocks, emerging markets, real estate, government and corporate bonds. The app will be available for Android in a few weeks and through a website in a few months.

Why Millennials Are the Target

Micro investing via a mobile device clearly targets millennials, who show great interest in saving but have been largely ignored by financial advisers and large banks. Young people may not have enough assets to meet the minimum requirements of big financial houses like Fidelity, Vanguard, and Schwab. With Acorns, there are no minimums. There are also none of the commissions that can render investing in small doses prohibitively expensive. “We want small investors who can grow with us over time,” says Acorns co-founder Jeff Cruttenden.

This approach places Acorns in the middle a rash of low-fee, online financial firms geared at young adults—including Square, Betterment, Robinhood, and Wealthfront. Such firms hope to capitalize on young adults’ penchant for tech solutions and lingering mistrust of large financial institutions. Cruttenden says a third of Acorns users are under age 22. They like to save in dribs and drabs—and manage everything from a mobile device.

Acorns charges a flat $1 monthly fee and between 0.25% and 0.5% of assets each year. The typical mutual fund has fees of 1% or more. Yet many index fund fees run lower. The Vanguard S&P 500 ETF, which invests in large company stocks, charges just 0.05%. If you have a few thousand dollars to open an account, and the discipline to invest a set amount each month, you might do better there. But remember that is just one fund. With Acorns you get diversification across six asset classes—along with the rounding up feature, which seems to have appeal.

Acorns has been testing the app all summer and says the average account holder contributes $7 a day through lump sums and a total of 500,000 round ups. Cruttenden says he is a typical user and through rounding up his card purchases has added $521.63 to his account over three months.

A New Twist on an Old Concept

Mortgage experts tout rounding up as a way to pay off your mortgage quicker. On a $200,000 loan at 4.5% for 30 years your payment would be $1,013.38. Rounding up to the nearest $100, or to $1,100, would cut your payoff time by 52 months and save you $26,821.20 in interest. Rounding up your card purchases works much the same way—only you are accumulating savings, not cutting your interest expense.

Bank of America offers a Keep the Change program, which rounds up debit-card purchases to the nearest buck and then pushes the difference into a savings account. Upromise offers credit card holders rewards that help pay for college. But Acorns’ approach is different: the money goes into an actual investment account with solid long-term growth potential.

One possible drawback is that this is a taxable account, which means you fund the Acorns account with after-tax money. Young adults starting a career with a company that offers a tax-deferred 401(k) plan with a match would be better served putting money in that account, if they must choose. But if you are like millions of people who throw spare change in a drawer anyway, Acorns is a way to do it electronically and let those nickels, dimes, and pennies go to work for you in a more meaningful way.

Read more on getting a jump on saving and investing:

 

MONEY stocks

What the Financial Press Isn’t Telling Us About Google and Other Tech Companies

Google on iPhone 5
Iain Masterton—Alamy

The search engine's ongoing struggles in mobile highlight problems cropping up throughout the tech sector — yet you wouldn't know it by the reactions of investors and the media.

This was an awful week for tech, as many of the sector’s biggest names announced disappointing results that point to slowing growth and troubled strategies.

Yet you wouldn’t know it by how the markets — or the media — reacted this week.

Late Thursday, the search engine giant Google reported the amount of money that advertisers are willing to pay whenever someone clicks on an online ad continues to fall. So-called “average costs per click” for Google fell 6% in the quarter, compared with the same period a year earlier. This continues a trend that’s been going on for some time. In the first quarter, for example, costs per click sank 9%.

There are two explanations for why this is happening and neither is good news for Google. One is that online sites are increasingly being viewed through mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, and mobile ad platforms are not paying the premium that traditional web ads have. The other reason is that Google is no longer the only game in town when it comes to online advertising, and Facebook’s recent efforts to boost its mobile presence are clearly succeeding.

Yet instead, most news accounts focused on the rosier parts of Google’s quarterly results, such as the fact that overall revenues grew 22%.

The same thing happened all week throughout the sector:

* eBay

On Wednesday, the online auction site reported sales that fell short of the Street’s expectations. In fact, on a quarterly basis, revenues have been flat for several quarters. Instead, headlines focused on profits meeting consensus forecasts.

* Yahoo

The portal, which is making a huge push to try to be a big player in online advertising, reported on Tuesday that display ad revenues declined. Yet instead, many publications focused on how Yahoo’s mobile efforts were improving or that the company was going to sell a smaller-than-expected stake in Alibaba, the giant Chinese online retailer and auction site that is expected to go public later this summer.

* Intel

Intel shares hit a decade-high after releasing earnings results on Tuesday that showed better-than-expected PC sales expectations and overall revenue growth. As Reuters reported, chief financial officer Stacy Smith said “PC sales had stabilized, easing fears about the four-year decline in computer sales as consumers turn increasingly to tablets and smartphones.”

Great. That means the dying part of the industry is dying a little less rapidly than was previously thought. Meanwhile, investors glossed over the fact that revenues for the mobile and communications chip group sales were down 67% compared with the prior quarter and off 83% versus last year.

* Microsoft

The company announced the biggest layoffs in its history on Thursday, cutting its workforce by 18,000 — many of those coming from its recently acquired Nokia division. As MONEY’s Ian Salisbury reported, the historic cuts show how far this once-dominant tech company has fallen as it struggles to find its place in the sector. Yet many sites looked at the situation as glass-half-full, noting how the stock was rising on news that Microsoft was retrenching.

Of course, that’s what happens when investors fall in love with a particular group of stocks that have collectively posted a better-than-expected run. They start viewing those shares through rose-colored glasses.

TIME Video Games

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Suggests the Future of Xbox Could Be Mobile

Microsoft's CEO responds to concerns he might spin off the company's games division, doubling down on Microsoft's commitment to Xbox gaming.

Fresh-minted Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has a lot to say about the company in a mammoth missive released this morning that outlines his vision for Microsoft rolling forward, soup to nuts. I’m going to focus on just a portion of it, specifically the part about halfway through where he addresses the Xbox.

Speculation in recent months, driven by presumptive sideline analysts and echo chamber punditry, to be fair, was that Nadella might try to spin off the Xbox brand at some point. Why? Because, assumed said analysts and pundits, Nadella’s a software guy, not a hardware guy. And so naturally he’d want to divest himself of something he hadn’t had much to do with, at least directly, during his tenure with the company.

That, no surprise to me, is effectively the opposite of what Nadella’s saying in his publicly promoted “fiscal year 2015″ email to company employees.

How important is Xbox to Nadella’s Microsoft? Not the company’s core, which he defines elsewhere as a “productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world.” But he follows by stating, “It’s important to make smart choices on other businesses in which we can have fundamental impact and success.”

“The single biggest digital life category, measured in both time and money spent, in a mobile-first world is gaming,” writes Nadella in the letter, adding that Microsoft is “fortunate” to have the Xbox brand, and that the company “will continue to vigorously innovate and delight gamers with Xbox.”

And then he trumpets all the gaming-spawned technologies feeding other aspects of Microsoft’s platform-sphere: core graphics, NUI in Windows, Skype speech recognition, Kinect for Windows camera tech, GPU-related Azure cloud improvements and so forth. “Bottom line,” says Nadella, “We will continue to innovate and grow our fan base with Xbox while also creating additive business value for Microsoft.”

It’s as bold a line in the sand as you’d want from a CEO on strategic direction — as surely aimed at those wrongheaded analysts and nervous pundits as existing Xbox 360 owners and the company’s burgeoning Xbox One base.

Curiously, Nadella then shifts the conversation to mobile, noting we’re in the “infant stages” of a mobile-first world, saying that in the coming years, we’ll see significant category growth in mobile experiences “that span a variety of devices of all screen sizes.” I don’t think that statement’s proximity to Nadella’s confidence-bolstering paragraph about the Xbox is coincidental.

What Nadella must surely realize, though he doesn’t say or even allude to it here, is that Xbox is a pretty clunky-sounding brand name when you start thinking about it in terms of devices that aren’t actual boxes. The Xbox One isn’t just a box, it’s a 1990s-era desktop-computer-style boat. A phone obviously isn’t an Xbox, nor a watch, nor a pair of glasses, nor anything else you’re going to put on your person. People and mobile and things you’d describe as “boxes” don’t mix. So my bet is that whatever happens in the living room space with set-tops, there’s less an abandonment strategy in the offing for Microsoft’s highly visible and profitable gaming wing, so much as a rebranding one.

TIME Mobile

Lyft Is Finally Launching in New York, Will Take on Uber

Lyft Car
A Lyft car drives along Powell Street on June 12, 2014 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Just as Uber announced a price cut for its cheapest service

Ride-sharing service Lyft is about to enter its biggest market yet. The company announced Tuesday that it will launch in New York City on July 11, serving Brooklyn and Queens. The service, which allows people to hail short car rides from people in the area via an app, will start with more than 500 drivers in the city.

Lyft is framing the expansion as an opportunity to serve New Yorkers who can’t easily access traditional yellow cabs, which are mostly found in Manhattan. Only one of New York’s subway lines travels between boroughs without going through Manhattan, and Lyft says 95 percent of taxi pick-ups happen in Manhattan or at Queens’ airports. To entice new customers, users in New York will receive free rides for two weeks.

Lyft will enter a highly competitive market in New York. Uber announced Monday that it was temporarily slashing the prices for its most basic car-hailing service, UberX, to rates that it claims are lower than those of traditional taxis. Meanwhile, New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission last year rolled out a new line of green cars for the outer boroughs aimed at expanding cab service to more of the city’s eight million residents.

The taxi cab industry, which is heavily regulated by the TLC, is not likely to be happy about Lyft’s arrival. These new app-based startups threaten the value of medallions, licenses that New York taxis must have to operate (medallion prices have already slipped slightly this year). Sidecar, a ridesharing service similar to Lyft, suspended activities in New York last year after one of its drivers had her car impounded for operating an unlicensed vehicle for hire. Another service called RelayRides was also forced to shut down.

Erin Simpson, Lyft’s director of communications, says the company has ensured it meets the necessary safety requirements to operate in New York. Drivers, for instance, are subject to background checks and vehicle inspections, and they’re covered by $1 million in liability insurance.

“We’ve voluntarily reached out to engage with the TLC to explain how our peer-to-peer model works,” Simpson says. “We actually have more strict safety requirements than they currently require.”

Though Simpson says the company shouldn’t have to be regulated by the TLC because of its ridesharing model, Lyft is currently in “ongoing conversations” with the commission about its presence in New York. TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg offered an equally delicate response to Lyft’s launch. “Lyft has no license to operate in New York City,” Fromberg said in an email. “We are strongly encouraging them to work with us as we have worked together with so many other companies, like Uber, TaxiMagic, Hailo, Whisk and Gett, etc., to do the right thing. We have an impressive track record of embracing and welcoming new technology and new transportation options, and we hope they will ultimately do what’s right in the name of public safety and consumer rights.”

New York will be the sixty-eighth city where Lyft launches. Simpson said the service has processed millions of rides and enlisted thousands of drivers but declined to discuss the company’s financials. In December TechCrunch estimated that the company was generating more than $100 million per year in gross revenue.

TIME Mobile

Landline Phones Are Getting Closer to Extinction

Technological Waste
Pile of Old Cordless Style Landline Panasonic Telephones and Their Bases Julie Thurston Photography—Moment Editorial/Getty Images

41% of American homes are now wireless-only

It’s not just Millennials anymore—a growing number of older American adults are getting rid of their landlines and going cellphone-only. 41 percent of U.S. households were wireless-only by of the end of 2013, according to new data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Young adults are unsurprisingly the cohort the most likely to live in wireless-only homes, with 66 percent of people between 25 and 29 using cellphones exclusively. Americans between 30 and 34 were the next largest group of cord-cutters, with 60 percent of them living in wireless-only homes. 53% of people between 18 and 24 are now cellphone-only, while 48% of people aged 35 to 44 and 31% of people aged 45 to 64 have made the jump.

Just 14% of adults over 65 have dumped their landlines, though. Overall, more than half of wireless-only adults are now 35 or older, up from 47.6% in the second half of 2010.

People who live at or below the poverty level are also more likely to forego landlines. Fifty-six percent of people in that group live in wireless-only households, while 46% of of people who live near the poverty level and 36% of non-poor people are cellphone-only.

Americans’ growing reliance on cellphones helps explain the increasingly heated battle over consumers among the major wireless carriers. But these devices are hardly even being used in the same way landline phones are. Sixty-three percent of U.S. adults use their phones to go online, according to the Pew Research Center, and cellphone carriers now generate more revenue from data fees than from voice calls.

TIME Mobile

‘Cramming’ Suit Could Mean Big Trouble for T-Mobile

T-Mobile's John Legere
John Legere, chief executive officer of T-Mobile US Inc., holds an Apple Inc. iPhone as he speaks during an event in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Bloomberg/Getty Images

Allegations that T-Mobile made millions off scam text messages could tarnish its consumer-friendly 'Un-Carrier' image.

T-Mobile has spent the last year and a half telling us again and again that it’s not like the other wireless carriers. Stuck in fourth place in the market after a failed merger with AT&T, the company transformed into the “Un-Carrier” as a way to differentiate itself from rivals Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. The campaign is part disruptive business model, part slick marketing. T-Mobile has ended two-year contracts, eliminated automatic overage fees and prevented its customers from racking up huge data charges while traveling abroad. And T-Mobile CEO John Legere, once a buttoned-up executive at AT&T, now hurls vulgarities at his competitors and crashes their corporate parties, essentially trolling them the way we all wish we could when our phone bill comes in each month. It’s an effective one-two punch that instantly conveys that T-Mobile is a company run by real people that want to help the little guy.

The “Un-Carrier” image is now in peril, thanks to a lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission claiming that T-Mobile profited from bogus charges for unwanted premium text message services on customers’ bills. The annoying spam texts for things like flirting tips and horoscopes cost $9.99 per month and were charged to customers via third-party companies in a process known as “cramming.” T-Mobile kept as much as 40 percent of the money from these fees, generating hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the FTC. The Commission also claims T-Mobile buried these charges deep in users’ bills and refused to refund some customers’ money when they complained. T-Mobile could be on the hook for millions of dollars to repay customers for the charges, according to the FTC.

T-Mobile, however, says the allegations are without merit. In a statement, CEO John Legere said the company stopped billing for premium texting services last year and has already launched a program to refund customers for fraudulent charges. “T-Mobile is fighting harder than any of the carriers to change the way the wireless industry operates and we are disappointed that the FTC has chosen to file this action against the most pro-consumer company in the industry rather than the real bad actors,” he said.

Whatever punishment the courts might levy, the real cost to T-Mobile is in how this legal battle could affect its image. The company claims to be on a righteous campaign to save customers from petty charges from their cellphone carriers. Burying unwanted fees for daily horoscopes in customers’ bills is the antithesis of the “Un-Carrier” ethos.

“It does hurt T-Mobile’s brand because obviously it’s built around consumer-friendliness,” Chetan Sharma, a mobile industry analyst, says of the FTC complaint. “I was a bit surprised that T-Mobile didn’t just try to settle it.”

In Legere’s statement, the T-Mobile chief pointed out that deceptive charges from shady third parties have plagued the entire wireless industry for a long time. Last fall, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint all signed an agreement with 45 states to stop billing customers for premium text messages. Verizon did not sign the specific agreement but committed to the same principle. Meanwhile, the FTC is also pursuing non-carriers involved in cramming schemes, like companies that feed wireless carriers false phone numbers for billing, several of which it has already sued.

An FTC spokesman declined to comment on the cramming practices of other wireless carriers or whether the agency would file legal action against them as well.

It’s likely that T-Mobile’s actions regarding cramming were not out of the ordinary for the wireless industry—and the problem itself, a relic of the days when people bought digital goods through SMS rather than through online app stores, has mostly been eradicated. But this is supposed to be a company that’s about flouting the rules, not playing by them. A T-Mobile without the arrogant CEO and the customer-first mentality is just a fourth-place carrier with a wireless network that can’t stack up to AT&T’s or Verizon’s in many areas. Now that the company has been singled out by the FTC, it will be critical for T-Mobile that it proves it has customers’ best interest at heart.

“They should probably put out the data on [cramming] as to how big of an issue it is so people can understand the scale,” Sharma says. “The FTC’s lawsuit makes us believe that it’s a much bigger problem than it might be. Without the numbers, it’s very hard to say which way it is.”

TIME Companies

Feds: T-Mobile Charged Customers for Spam Text Frauds

T-Mobile
A T-Mobile store is seen at 7th Avenue and 49th Street on March 23, 2012 in New York City. Andrew Burton—Getty Images

The consumer watchdog says T-Mobile should have spotted text message scams hitting its customers

Update: July 1, 5:02 p.m. ET

The Federal Trade Commission accused wireless carrier T-Mobile on Tuesday of placing unauthorized charges on customers’ bills for unwanted premium SMS services such as flirting tips, horoscopes and celebrity gossip. T-Mobile generated hundreds of millions of dollars by taking a portion of the typical $9.99-a-month subscription fee charged for such services, according to the FTC.

Wireless carriers often agree to include third-party charges in customers’ monthly phone bills (AT&T customers, for instance, can pay for Beats Music as part of their cell phone plan). However, sometimes these charges are not authorized by customers and are hidden deep within their bills, a practice known as “cramming.” Several cramming companies targeted T-Mobile subscribers, but the wireless carrier continued to let them charge its customers even after there were indications of fraud, according to the FTC, which says up to 40 percent of the customers who were charged for these services asked for a refund. The FTC argues that figure should have indicated fraudulent activity.

Jessica Rich, the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said credit card companies typically investigate instances of potential fraud if at least one percent of customers claim they have been wrongly charged from a specific vendor.

“It’s wrong for a company like T-Mobile to profit from scams against its customers when there were clear warning signs the charges it was imposing were fraudulent,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez in a statement. “The FTC’s goal is to ensure that T-Mobile repays all its customers for these crammed charges.”

Beyond allowing the charges to occur, the FTC also claims that T-Mobile made it difficult for customers to discover the charges on their own phone bills. The carrier also refused refunds to some customers or told them to try to get their money back from the scammers, according to the FTC.

The FTC will seek refunds for customers who were the victims of fraudulent charges, an amount that Rich says could be hundreds of millions of dollars. The commission will also seek a court order to ban T-Mobile from allowing cramming in the future.

The accusation of subscriber-duping undercuts T-Mobile’s customer-friendly “Un-carrier” marketing campaign the carrier has pursued in the last year. As part of that strategy, the company has gotten rid of cellphone plan mainstays, like two-year contracts and overage charges, while constantly vilifying its competitors as overly greedy.

In a statement, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said the FTC complaint was without merit. “T-Mobile is fighting harder than any of the carriers to change the way the wireless industry operates and we are disappointed that the FTC has chosen to file this action against the most pro-consumer company in the industry rather than the real bad actors,” he said.

The company is hardly the only wireless carrier that has allowed cramming. Last fall Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint all agreed to stop billing customers for unwanted charges from third-party services in most states. Legere also pointed out that T-Mobile already has a program in place to provide refunds to customers who felt they were fraudulently charged via cramming.

TIME Mobile

Here’s More Proof That Apps Are Dominating Smartphones

Apple iPhone
A customer inspects the new iPhone inside Apple's store in Causeway Bay district on September 20, 2013 in Hong Kong, China. Lam Yik Fei—Getty Images

We're all using apps way more than we ever have before

Here’s a shocker: we’re all using mobile apps more than ever before. A new study from Nielsen shows that app usage among iPhone and Android users in the U.S. rose 65 percent from Q4 2012 to Q4 2013. Smartphone users spent a total of 30 hours and 15 minutes per month using apps in the last quarter of 2013, up from 23 hours and two minutes the year prior.

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Nielsen

Despite the increased time spent using apps, users aren’t downloading too many more programs. The number of apps used per month inched up only slightly, from 26.5 in Q4 2012 to 26.8 in Q4 2013, indicating that people are getting more mileage out of the apps already crowding their home screens — or people are swapping older apps for new ones that perform similar tasks.

People spend about third of their time in apps using search engines, web portals or social networks, per Nielsen. Entertainment apps are nearly as popular, with communications apps being the third most-used.

The growing popularity of apps indicates these dedicated programs have begun gaining the upper hand over the mobile web. Huge Internet companies like Facebook initially resisted focusing on apps, instead hoping to create dynamic websites designed with HTML5 that could adapt to a wide variety of operating systems and web browsers. But CEO Mark Zuckerberg later admitted this was a huge strategic mistake. The company has since spun off different Facebook functions into independent apps such as Messenger and Paper on top of the primary Facebook app.

TIME Mobile

Find Out Which New York Subway Line Has the Best Cell Phone Coverage

Update 5:52 p.m.

One of the travails of living in New York is spending lots of time in underground subway tunnels, where finding decent cell phone coverage can feel like sifting for gold. A new study by a company that benchmarks wireless networks reveals which subway lines in the city have the best coverage and which will turn your smartphone into a paperweight (or a Candy Crush machine).

According to Global Wireless Solutions, the 7 train has the most consistent mobile coverage in Manhattan, with phones being able to access their carriers’ data network 74 percent of the time on the subway line. On the other end of the scale, trying to use the Internet on the F train is pretty much impossible—phones can only get online about 8 percent of the time on that line.

To conduct the test, Global Wireless Solutions used a portable benchmarking system called a Freerider and four Samsung Galaxy S III and S IV smartphones to test the wireless networks of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. The test occurred from May 5 to May 8 and covered the area of Manhattan below Central Park. Check out the full results below:

  1. 7 train (Times Square to Grand Central) – 74 percent success rate
  2. E train (50th Street to Lexington Ave/53rd Street) – 52 percent success rate
  3. 6 train (28th St. to Grand Central) – 35 percent success rate
  4. B, D trains (Columbus Circle to Grand St.) – 23 percent success rates
  5. 1 train (Columbus Circle to South Ferry) – 20 percent success rate
  6. A, C trains (Columbus Circle to Fulton Street) – 16 percent success rates
  7. L train (8th Ave to 1st Ave) – 15 percent success rate
  8. 2, 3 trains (Chambers St. to Wall St.) – 14 percent success rates
  9. J, Z trains (Delancey St. to Broad St.) – 12 percent success rates
  10. (Tied) E train (Canal St. to World Trade Center) – 11 percent success rate; N, Q, R trains (Lexington Ave/59th St. to South Ferry) – 11 percent success rates
  11. F Train (Lafayette St. to East Broadway) – 8 percent success rate

In an emailed statement the Metropolitan Transportation Authority called into question the value of the study. “Recently, a Virginia company tried to measure the strength of wireless service in stations that don’t have wireless antennas installed yet – as well as in tunnels which have never been wired for service,” the agency said. “This says a lot about the company’s methodology, but it has nothing relevant to say about wireless service in the subway system. Any New Yorker who has called, texted, emailed or surfed the web while waiting for a train knows the value of this service and, and their opinions matter more than an out-of-state press release.”

The MTA has contracted a company called Transit Wireless to install wireless service in all the city’s subway stations by 2017. So far 47 stations have been equipped with wireless service, the MTA said in its statement.

TIME Shopping

Senior Citizens Are, Like, Totally Into Shopping and Gossiping on the Phone

Regional Economy In Coastal Town Ahead Of Second Quarter GDP Report
Elderly people sit with their shopping bags as they wait for transportation at a bus stop in Hastings, U.K., on Tuesday, July 23, 2013. Chris Ratcliffe—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Survey finds they're always hanging around the mall, bragging about their grandkids

Most adults think they’ve outgrown the days of endless hang outs at the mall and marathon chats over the phone. In fact, they haven’t quite grown into them.

A Bureau of Labor Statistics annual survey of how Americans spend their time, released Wednesday, reveals that the pasttimes typically associated with adolescence, shopping and gabbing, tend to peak in the golden years.

Calling, texting, e-mailing and snail mailing consumes roughly 12 minutes of an average teenager’s day. If that figure seems low, it’s partly because the survey only counts the moments when gabbing is a “primary activity,” outside of work and school for instance. It appears to be a primary activity of the golden years, however, steadily climbing to nearly 16 minutes a day.

Untitled
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Shopping tends to consume more and more waking minutes of Americans’ lives as they age, beginning at 30 minutes a day in adolescence and steadily climbing to a peak of 52 minutes for Americans 75 years and older.

Untitled3
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

 

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