TIME Illinois

Illinois Says It Can’t Pay Big Lottery Winners

Michael Jones
M. Spencer Green—AP Illinois Lottery Mega Millions lottery ticket.

Why you need to win small in the Prairie State

(SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) — Big-time Illinois Lottery winners aren’t getting the largesse. They’re getting left out.

Without a state budget agreement two months into the new fiscal year, there’s no authority for the state comptroller to cut checks over $25,000. That means smaller winnings can be paid out, but not the larger lottery wins.

Susan Rick, who lives in Oglesby, Illinois, planned home fix-ups and a visit to her daughter after her boyfriend won $250,000 last month. But they were told to wait.

Rick tells the Chicago Tribune that if the situation were reversed, the state would “come take it, and they don’t care whether we have a roof over our head.”

Lottery spokesman Steve Rossi says state lottery, like every other state agency, is “affected by the budget situation.”

TIME cities

How Much It Costs for a Family to Live in 20 Major U.S. Cities

From Houston to New York

It will only cost you about $49,114 a year to raise a family in Morristown, Tennessee, but if you move to Washington, DC, that expense more that doubles, to $106,493.

That’s according to the Economic Policy Institute‘s 2015 Family Budget Calculator, which measures the annual cost of necessities for a family to live a secure yet modest lifestyle by estimating the costs of housing, food, child care, transportation, healthcare, other necessities, and taxes.

(Read the EPI’s full methodology for the budget calculator here.)

The EPI gathered data in 618 metro areas throughout the US for several different family types. Here, we’ve highlighted the cost of living for a four-person family (two adults, two children) in 20 major US cities.

If you’re looking to start a family in an urban area, consider the annual and monthly cost of necessities, and remember, these numbers do not include savings or discretionary spending.

  • Houston, Texas

    Houston Scenics
    Scott Halleran—Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $60,608

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $5,051

  • Cleveland, Ohio

    Cleveland Cityscapes And City Views
    Raymond Boyd—Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $60,900

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $5,075

  • Dallas, Texas

    America's Ninth Largest City Ahead Of GDP Figures
    Bloomberg/Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $61,150

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $5,096

  • St. Louis, Missouri

    Gateway Arch
    G. Sioen—De Agostini/Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $63,100

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $5,258

  • Atlanta, Georgia

    Atlanta skyline Georgia USA
    Ullstein Bild/Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $63,888

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $5,324

  • Charlotte, North Carolina

    Democratic National Convention Committee Unveils Stage For DNC
    Streeter Lecka—Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $65,492

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $5,458

  • Portland, Oregon

    Santi Visalli—Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $67,802

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $5,650

  • Miami, Florida

    U.S. Travel, Tourism Exports In 2012 Reach $168 Billion
    Bloomberg/Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $68,503

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $5,709

  • Sacramento, California

    George Rose—Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $69,296

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $5,775

  • Denver, Colorado

    DENVER, CO - APRIL 30: Denver Skyline as seen from the Cherry Creek Dam road in Denver, Colorado on April 30, 2015.  (Photo By Helen H. Richardson/ The Denver Post)
    Helen H. Richardson—The Denver Post/Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $71,104

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $5,925

  • Chicago, Illinois

    Chicago Cityscapes And City Views
    Raymond Boyd—Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $71,995

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $6,000

  • Seattle, Washington

    Space Needle
    G. Sioen—De Agostini/Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $72,274

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $6,023

  • Los Angeles, California

    Siqui Sanchez—Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $73,887

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $6,157

  • San Diego, California

    Scenic San Diego skyline, sailboat and waterfront, Pacific Ocean at sunset, California
    Education Images/UIG/Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $74,425

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $6,202

  • Baltimore, Maryland

    US Coast Guard sailing ship Eagle departs Baltimore harbor, Maryland
    Education Images/UIG/Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $74,427

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $6,202

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Views Of Pennsylvania's Largest City
    Bloomberg/Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $76,393

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $6,366

  • Boston, Massachusetts

    Colorful docked sailboats and Boston Skyline in winter on half frozen Charles River, Massachusetts
    Education Images/UIG/Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $85,793

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $7,149

  • San Francisco, California

    Residential Real Estate As City Becomes The Least Affordable U.S. Housing Market
    Bloomberg/Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $91,785

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $7,649

  • New York, New York

    NY Skyline, Freedom Tower
    Education Images/UIG/Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $98,722

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $8,227

  • Washington, D.C.

    Karen Bleier—AFP/Getty Images

    Estimated cost of annual necessities: $106,493

    Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $8,874

    This article originally appeared on Business Insider

    More from Business Insider:

TIME politics

Hamilton Is the Broadway Hip-Hop Musical Every Political Leader Should See

Painting of Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), American politician, by John Trumbull.
DeAgostini/Getty Images Painting of Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), American politician, by John Trumbull.

It reminds us once again of the power of reason and of words in the political realm

What do the new Broadway hip-hop musical “Hamilton” and Europe’s debt crisis have in common? A great deal, actually.

“Hamilton,” which opened on Aug. 6, celebrates the life and public career of one of our nation’s greatest statesmen, Alexander Hamilton, our first Secretary of the Treasury under President George Washington and the lead author of the most important and influential commentary on the Constitution, The Federalist.

European leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minster Alexis Tsipras, who squared off recently over the latter’s desperate need for another bailout, should book front-row seats, because “Hamilton” has important lessons for them about debt and government.

Hamilton’s stroke of genius

Hamilton was instrumental in transforming the United States into a true nation, in particular by his policies and actions as treasury secretary, and the musical conveys the scope and drama of his achievement.

One of Hamilton’s most brilliant and successful policies was to have the federal government assume the Revolutionary War debts of the states, which it did in 1790.

Hamilton recognized that the United States would be better able than individual states to make regular payments on those debts and ultimately to retire them. Further, he recognized that the government could use the debt as a means to stimulate economic growth, bolster the strength of the new nation’s currency and shore up its honor in the community of nations – by showing that the U.S. would meet its obligations.

One key insight also drove Hamilton’s policy. He saw that consolidating state debts into a single national pool would require a single national policy. No longer would the United States be plagued by divergent or conflicting state policies. Hamilton ensured that his plan would promote national unity.

To this day, scholars of American constitutional and legal history like us, who try hard to maintain their objectivity in interpreting the past, find it difficult not to admire Hamilton’s constitutional, legal, economic and political creativity. And rarely have Hamilton and his policies seemed more relevant than today, particularly for Europe as it struggles to prevent Greece’s debt crisis from ripping apart the eurozone and potentially the European Union.

A clash of nations

In this crisis, we see individual European nations clashing with one another.

Germany and its supporters have insisted on imposing strict austerity measures on Greece in exchange for a third bailout needed to prevent the collapse of the Greek economy – even at the price of stripping Greece of its sovereign power to determine the structure and workings of its economy and society.

Some even charge Merkel with seeking to turn Greece into a colonial satellite by means of Germany’s economic clout, as it did with its military might during World War II.

Nor have Greece’s political leaders played innocent roles. By holding a referendum on the E.U.’s proposed bailout for Greece, Tsipras and his government sought to blackmail Merkel into abandoning her demands for austerity by asking for reparations for the Nazis’ occupation of Greece and implying current leaders are bent on ignoring Greek democracy and the democratically expressed wishes of the Greek people.

Tsipras refused to follow the consensus-building rules by which the E.U. has governed itself. In our view, his embrace of populist, hardball politics has done serious harm to the mechanisms of European governance, risking destroying them.

Preventing destructive political conflicts

In the 1790s, by contrast, the federal government’s assumption of state debts under Hamilton’s guidance prevented similar destructive political conflicts in the early United States.

When Hamilton proposed his plan to bolster the nation’s public credit, he did so within the context of a constitutional system in which there was a general government, at least arguably supreme in certain spheres of activity over the states. In addition, it was within the context of a union that many Americans saw as necessary to their new independence and ability to create a nation and maintain their liberties.

Vigorous, contentious debates within Congress and the public could thus unfold without threatening to burst the Union or the Constitution – even though some states, which had already paid their Revolutionary War debts, resented that the federal government would relieve other states of their burdens.

Lessons for Europe

Did Hamilton and other founding fathers of the United States behave better than Europeans today?

To be sure, political leaders at all times and in all places will do what they must to please supporters and constituents who place their selfish fears and interests ahead of the need to maintain rational government. By contrast with most of his contemporaries, Hamilton’s defiant candor, which sometimes amounted to tactlessness, often made him and his policies more enemies than friends.

Even so, Hamilton understood, as did most politicians of his time, that the way to avoid irrational politics was to create governmental structures for a federal republic that channeled decision-making in productive directions.

In helping to create the first system of national politics, Hamilton and other founding fathers devised a system that forced voters who wanted to make effective and constructive political choices to unite behind centrist candidates and to make binary choices between partisan alternatives.

A case in point is the election of 1800, when voters rejected many of Hamilton’s domestic and foreign policies, elected his archrival Thomas Jefferson to the presidency and gave the Jeffersonian Republicans control of Congress. This result testifies further to the wisdom of the system that Hamilton helped create in Philadelphia in 1787. That system often showed its ability to contain and damp down heated disagreement over major policy issues.

Indeed, one aspect of the 1800 election that showed the Constitution’s strength and resiliency was the peaceful transfer of power from the Federalists to the Republicans, when President John Adams stepped down from office after losing, making way for Jefferson to become the third president. Behind the scenes, Hamilton urged his fellow Federalists not to block Jefferson’s election, though he admitted his dislike of Jefferson and his political views.

An end to blackmail and conquest

The Greek debt crisis is only the latest problem demonstrating the need to create European political structures that can prevent games of blackmail and conquest and give citizens the political power to attain the economy and society they desire.

Europeans themselves are aware of the need for such strengthening and reform. As the European Commission’s 2015 report “Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union” (EMU) notes:

A complete EMU is not an end in itself. It is a means to create a better and fairer life for all citizens, to prepare the Union for future global challenges and to enable each of its members to prosper.

Hamilton’s career, and the American founding experience in general, offer insight as to how those structures might be built.

Statesmen such as the late Jean Monnet – considered the founding father of the European Union – and modern scholars such as British political philosopher Larry Siedentop have often invoked the American example as a model for a United States of Europe, or of a European Union beyond what we see today.

While recognizing that ethnicity, religion and national heritage may serve as barriers to such a union, these scholars and statesmen have argued for a rational recognition among Europeans of their many shared interests. That step would help to replace self-interested and bitter squabbling among nation-states with a rational means of controlling nationalist resentments, emotions and suspicions.

In the U.S. founding era (comprising the years from the 1760s through the 1830s), even though the early states had few sensible reasons to remain separate and many good reasons to coalesce, suspicions, jealousies and resentments comparable to those plaguing Europe today reigned.

These suspicions and resentments, and Americans’ fears of a too-powerful general government, were so strong that, during the framing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787, the delegates to the Federal Convention specifically crossed out the words “nation” or “national” from the working draft. Even so, they created a government strong enough to protect national interests while checked and balanced enough to safeguard democratic governance and individual rights.

Lessons for the U.S.

Not only Europeans could learn a thing or two about rational political decision-making from the new musical “Hamilton.” Americans, also plagued today by a vicious, bitter, either/or form of political conflict, could benefit from the lessons of Hamilton and the other founding fathers.

Those who see “Hamilton” will gain a renewed appreciation for the need to preserve rationality in American politics. The musical’s presentation of complex and difficult policy disputes between Hamilton and Jefferson as well-staged, well-written rap battles shows how words and arguments matter. The show’s author, Lin-Manuel Miranda, recognizes the power of words not only in his use of hip-hop and rap forms but in his close attention to getting the substance of his rap lyrics right.

The play is pervaded by one great insight: the power of language and reason. That power not only enables Miranda’s Hamilton to transcend his humble roots and vault into political leadership of the Revolution and of the creation of an American constitutional republic, it also enables all the founding fathers who appear in the show – Hamilton, Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Burr – to order the American political world with words.

“Hamilton” reminds us once again of the power of reason and of words in the political realm, and of the need for reason to anchor that political world and to direct its course.

Perhaps “Hamilton” might persuade Americans who see it, whether conservative or progressive, of the foolishness of hardball politics and of the need to nurture institutions that promote compromise and to accept it as a legitimate means of getting political things done.

It may convince people that their leaders cannot satisfy every interest demanding satisfaction, and it also may emphasize the need to show respect to their opponents as well as to the values by which those opponents live.

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

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

What 11 Successful People Wish They Knew About Money in Their 20s

TIME.com stock photos Money Dollar Bills
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Learn to manage the money you have now, no matter how little

Even the wealthiest, most successful people are prone to making money mistakes.

Billionaire and investor Mark Cuban misused his credit cards at a young age, while personal finance guru Suze Orman once found herself deep in debt after overspending on fancy clothes and cars.

We asked several successful people what money advice they wish they had been given in their 20s and drew insight from LinkedIn’s “If I Were 22” series, in which top minds share what they wish they had known at 22.

Here’s what they had to say:

Learn to manage your credit cards.

Mark Cuban, billionaire entrepreneur, investor:

“That credit cards are the worst investment that you can make. That the money I save on interest by not having debt is better than any return I could possibly get by investing that money in the stock market. I thought I would be a stock-market genius. Until I wasn’t.

“I should have paid off my cards every 30 days.”

Skills are worth more than a job.

Tim Ferriss, angel investor, best-selling author of “The 4-Hour Workweek“:

“In your 20s, optimize for learning, not earning. Work directly under or with master dealmakers and acquire skills. This is particularly true for negotiating and hard skills, like coding.

“What would you rather have: $20,000 more per year in your 20s, leading to making $100,000 to $200,000 a year in your 30s, or a lower-paying job from 20 to 25 — but one like a real-world MBA you’re paid for — leading to making millions in your 30s?

“It often comes down to prioritizing skill acquisition over immediate, post-college earning. McKinsey or Goldman can be seductive, but it’s easy to get trapped in a 20-plus-year path of paying for a bloated lifestyle that is always a bit more expensive than the year before. Serfs can become self-made kings, but consultants tend to remain consultants. The only true job security is a superior skill set.”

You need a plan for your money.

Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest.com, author of “Financially Fearless“:

“Not having a financial plan is a plan — just a really bad one! Given what I see as a general lack of personal-finance education, it can be all too easy to wing it with your money.

“I was lucky enough to learn this lesson while still in my 20s, so I had time to put a financial plan into place for myself — and start LearnVest to help people nationwide do the same!”

Do something you love instead of chasing money.

Blake Mycoskie, founder, chief shoe giver of TOMS:

“In my 20s I wish I knew that the best advice for any person is to follow their passion as opposed to chasing money. I’ve seen time and time again that the people who foster their true passions and true callings are the ones that end up the most successful.

“It’s hard in your 20s not to worry about money, but to focus on making sure you do something you love. Today, I feel like every time I’ve made a decision at TOMS that I’m passionate about and improves someone’s life, the company grows and makes more money.”

Buy high quality.

Kate White, former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, author of “I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This“:

“I was a great saver in my 20s — my dad had persuaded me to save for retirement, which seemed insane at the time, but I’m eternally grateful. But what I didn’t know and wish I had is that it’s so much smarter to buy a few great quality items — in terms of clothes, furniture, accessories — rather than a bunch of cheaper stuff.

“Oh, sometimes you get a great bargain — I have two Pier 1 prints hanging in my living room that look like antiques but cost $25 — but so often cheap stuff is poorly made and falls apart in no time.

“But the right quality goods last forever and are often timeless in design, something I discovered much later when I could afford better things. I wore a Prada dress the other night that I bought 16 years ago and it still looks good. If you can swing it, go for quality and you’ll save in the long run.”

Understand the power of investing.

Kevin Cleary, CEO, Clif Bar & Company:

“In my 20s, I wish I better understood the power of investing. At the time, I had fewer expenses, more free time, and a long investment horizon — it would have been the perfect time to learn about investing.

“While I was disciplined about saving money, I missed the opportunity to leverage my money over the long haul.”

Your company is more important than your role.

Adam Nash, president and CEO of Wealthfront:

“I was fairly fortunate to have been raised with a strong sense of the importance of saving and living below your means.

“However, it wasn’t until later that I learned just how much of your long-term economic success depends on your professional career.

“I’m a huge believer that people in their 20s should seek out opportunities at later-stage, hypergrowth companies. When you think long term, the company you join is far more important in your 20s than the specific compensation or role.”

Money doesn’t make you happy.

Matt Maloney, CEO, GrubHub:

“Money does not define success or happiness. In fact, if you are truly effective at what you enjoy, money usually follows your passion. Passion drives interest, which in turn drives focus and commitment. Both qualities are requirements for success.

“When given a choice between ambiguous paths, choose the course that will bring you the most emotional and intellectual satisfaction — not the most direct path to riches. Don’t be afraid, you can live a very full life earning far less than you think you need.”

Learn to manage the money you have now, no matter how little.

Debbi Fields, founder, Mrs. Fields:

“Looking back now, I know that I would have greatly benefited had I initiated an investment strategy as a young adult. I was so busy trying to save every dollar and living paycheck to paycheck that the idea of wealth creation was never really a consideration.

“Not thinking bigger than my bank account was my error — I could have set up a simulated investment account, joined a club, or learned about the buying and selling of securities.

“The key to managing money and building a nest egg is learning how to manage small amounts and grow them wisely over time. It can start with pocket change and grow beyond anything you imagined! The key word here is imagined … You have to add a zero or two to your net worth and direct your attitude and financial strategy toward getting there.”

Spending money to impress other people is a bad idea.

Suze Orman, author, television host, motivational speaker:

“When you are starting out in your 20s, it is natural to think about all that you will have and do once you start making money, and making more money. That gives money way too much power over your life. It’s not about how much you make, but the life that you make with the money you have,” she writes for LinkedIn’s “If I Were 22” series.

“I built a successful financial-planning practice and was making more in a month than I used to make in a year. But here was the problem: The more money I made, the more I wanted other people to see how great I was doing, financially speaking.

“I spent so much money — on fancy cars, watches and clothes simply to impress other people — that I got myself heavily into debt. If I were a guest on my CNBC show today, I would have given myself one serious smackdown.

“My finances were a mess, but more importantly, my money was a mess because I was a mess. I had it all wrong — all the things I was spending my money on added nothing to my self-worth.”

Chasing money will cripple your career.

Marc Lore, founder and CEO, Jet.com:

“In banking, the core motivational driver was personal financial gain, cultivating a fiercely competitive environment,” he writes in LinkedIn’s “If I Were 22” editorial package.

“Over my six years in finance, I learned to approach my career as an individual sport, where I was judged by the size of my bonus and how quickly I was promoted. One morning I fell to the floor of my office, feeling an electric jolt in my chest as a result of stress. Although it was not a heart attack, the message was clear. I had worked incredibly hard to get to the top but I was there alone — and it was un-fulfilling.

“At 22, I evaluated my first job based on what I could get out of it. But I have since learned that you can achieve much greater success if you focus on what you can give. Ultimately, I have realized that success is not a measure of your salary, title, or degree, but the impact you have others and the collective happiness of the people you touch.”

This article originally appeared on Business Insider

More from Business Insider:

Read next: 5 Dumb Ways You’re Wasting Money Without Realizing It

Download TIME’s mobile app for iOS to have your world explained wherever you go

TIME advice

10 Ways to Save Money on the Electric Bill

Getty Images

Unplug electronics

No matter what your financial situation looks like, paying bills is about as much fun as a root canal. If saving money sparks your interest, read on for simple ways to lower your electric bill.

1. Close the curtains

During the summer, close curtains on the sunny side of your house during the day. Alternately, leave them open during a sunny day in the winter.

2. Don’t forget annual heating and A/C maintenance

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling your home uses more energy than any other system, typically making up 54 percent of your electric bill. Ensure your systems are running at their highest efficiency by hiring highly rated heating and A/C technicians to perform annual cleanings and checkups. Also, be sure to change out your air filters.

3. Consider unplugging

You might think your appliances aren’t using energy since they’re turned off, but this isn’t always the case. To avoid using what’s called vampire power, unplug devices when not in use. If the outlets aren’t easily accessible, plug devices into a power strip that you can switch off and on when needed.

4. Upgrade outdated appliances

If your systems are old, consider updating to more energy efficient products. The energy savings and tax rebates available prove the investment’s worth.

5. Change your light bulbs

Switching to compact fluorescent or light-emitting diode bulbs provides drastic energy savings. In fact, LED bulbs are 80 percent more efficient than incandescent lighting, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

6. Program your thermostat

Set your thermostat at a comfortable temperature in the winter and summer, but program it to raise and lower the temperature when you’re away from your home or sleeping to save on heating and cooling costs.

7. Keep your HVAC unit clear of debris

Shrubbery, branches or debris on or near the system can hinder its overall performance. However, an awning or tree over the unit provides shade, which cuts energy consumption.

8. Plant a tree

Not only are you helping save the planet, but the shade can provide relief on cooling costs.

9. Check for air leaks

Make sure no air is getting through the weatherstripping around the windows, doors or attic. Seal any areas where you find leaks.

10. Turn down the heat

Lower your water heater base temperature to 120 degrees. Wash your clothes in cold or warm water when possible, and only wash when you have a full load. Turn off the heat dry on your dishwasher.

Consult a highly rated, licensed electrician if you have questions about reducing your electric bill. You may also want to consider an energy efficiency home audit to see if additional home maintenance might be needed to save on future energy bills.

This article originally appeared on Angie’s List

More from Angie’s List:

TIME energy

How Low Oil Prices Have Affected Energy World So Far in 2015

Getty Images

Energy as a group and as individuals have collapsed in value

It has been a rough ride for energy stocks this year as almost all investors in the sector know. There are always extreme winners and losers among the thousands of publicly traded companies in the stock market, but broadly speaking stocks as a whole generally rise over time. This year has been an exception for energy stocks though.

Not only has energy as a group generally fallen, but the vast majority of individual energy stocks themselves have also collapsed in value. In fact, since the start of 2015, only 1 out of every 6 newly issued stocks or bonds in the energy space has appreciated in value. Most of the top performing energy stocks this year have still only managed to eke out modest gains on the order of 5-10 percent Year-to-date (YTD). Year to date returns are always a little odd though, since it’s hard to compare them to the typical mean annualized return of around 10 percent that has held for the broader market over the last 50 years. Because of that, it’s actually more useful to look at returns over the last year.

The list of the top performing U.S. energy companies with a market cap of at least $300 million is below.


* ALDW would also make the list, but is excluded here due to relationship with ALJ.

The notable point here is how low the returns are to make the Top 10 performers list. Most of the firms on the list are actually energy sector intermediaries involved in processing or transporting the product rather than drilling for it or servicing firms that do drill. Also, notably absent on the list are most of the well-known high growth names in the energy sector. That includes all the major frackers from Pioneer to Continental.

The best performing firms over the last month show a similar trend.


Stocks like Flotek and TETRA are bouncing after substantial declines all year, largely on investors finding good news after dissecting earnings season reports. PDCE is one of the few pure-play E&P firms that has truly been holding its own for most of the year and at least tread water. The success stories of the year are in refiners like PBF, HFC, and ALJ. The point here is that a lack of stock picking ability is not what has hurt E&P investors this year – no amount of stock picking ability would have helped as virtually no E&P firms have managed to stay above the water!

The list of worst performing stocks emphasizes that point and reveals how deep the carnage has been for investors.


With declines of this magnitude, it is clear that the macro-environment has exposed a lot of energy companies. This makes it extraordinarily difficult for investors to find and select companies with great growth prospects.

This article originally appeared on Oilprice.com

More from Oilprice.com:

TIME Money

The 8 Smartest Things To Do With Your Money in Your 30s

Getty Images

Buy the insurance you need

After a decade of experimenting, failing, learning from those failures, and “figuring things out,” you might find yourself in a more secure financial position once you hit your 30s.

What do you do with excess money when you’re no longer living paycheck to paycheck? And how do you prepare for big expenses you’re bound to face in your 30s?

We spoke to Michael Solari, a certified financial planner at Solari Financial Planning, about the smartest things 30-somethings can do with their money to set themselves up for a prosperous future.

Here are eight smart places to start:

1. Increase your 401(k) contributions

“In your 30s, the most important thing that you have is time, and the more money you can save now is going to pay huge dividends down the road,” says Solari.

You should already be contributing towards your employer’s 401(k) retirement account, but if you get a pay raise, increase that contribution, Solari says.

Also, get in the habit of upping your contribution at the end of each year, even if it’s just 0.5%, he advises. Check online to see if you can set up “auto-increase,” which will automatically increase your contributions every year.

2. Make a contribution to a Roth IRA

If you’re maxing out your 401(k) plan, the next step is to put money towards a Roth IRA, a retirement savings vehicle that offers tax benefits and is particularly well-suited to younger people who earn less than the income cap ($116,000 a year or less for individuals; $183,000 or less for married couples filing jointly).

Contributions to this type of fund are taxed when they’re made, so you can withdraw the contributions and earnings tax-free once you reach age 59 1/2.

Solari recommends directing your tax refund, bonuses, or any other extra money to a Roth IRA.

3. Contribute to a dependent care flexible spending account

This applies to those with younger children looking to save on child care. Typically, larger companies will offer a slew of benefits, one of them being dependent care flexible spending accounts (also known as FSAs) into which you can put pre-tax money. In some cases, you’ll receive a debit card from the company to use towards services such as daycare and summer camp. If you’re paying a nanny or babysitter, you can pay them with cash and then apply for reimbursement from the FSA.

“If you have children in daycare and your company offers a flexible spending account, contribute to it,” Solari says. “The tax deduction will give you a 15 to 30% discount on your daycare. It’s a great way to save money.”

Check with your human resources department to see if you’re offered this benefit.

4. Create a health savings account if you have a high-deductible health care plan

Another employee benefit to tap into is the health savings account (HSA) into which you can put pre-tax money and use towards medical costs whenever you want. You can also grow that money in an investment brokerage account, Solari explains.

To qualify for a HSA, the IRS requires you to be on a high-deductible health care plan (HDHP) — a plan that offers a lower health insurance premium and a high deductible. “They are encouraging people who have high deductibles to save money into these accounts,” explains Solari.

“I usually recommend my clients to have their total out-of-pocket expense saved in a savings account portion, and then the remaining in a mutual fund,” he tells us. “The savings can be withdrawn for immediate health care, and the mutual funds can be left alone and invested for a long time. ”

This option is particularly advantageous for those who are generally healthy and don’t have to go to the doctor’s office or hospital that often, such as 30-somes without children who are looking to save for future health care expenses.

5. Buy the insurance you need

Insurance in general — health, life, home, and disability — often gets put on the back burner, but it’s important to put in time to research insurance plans, or talk to a trusted adviser, and purchase the right insurance for you.

One type of insurance that gets neglected more so than others is long-term disability insurance, but not having it can be extremely risky. Disability insurance is meant to provide income should you be disabled and unable to work, which is more likely to happen that many of us may think. It’s estimated by the Social Security Administration that over 25% of today’s 20-year-olds will be disabled before retirement.

Take a look at the types of insurance you should buy at every age.

6. Set savings goals

You can’t just go through the motions. “If there are no savings goals, then there won’t be any progress,” says Solari, and your 30s are bound to be filled with bigger expenses — such as a home, car, and children — that require diligent saving.

Mint and You Need A Budget are online tools that allow you to create savings goals and see your progress.

7. Save for a home

If you plan to buy a home, it should be one of your savings goals. Ideally, you’ll want to have saved enough to make a 20% down payment — anything lower and you will have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI), which is a safety net for the bank in case you fail to make your payments.

If you’re thinking about purchasing a home in a major metro area, take a look at how much you need to save per day to put 20% down on a house in major US cities, and see how to make sure you’re buying a home you can afford.

8. Save for children

Kids are pricey. The average cost to raise a child is about $245,000, and that doesn’t include college expenses. If you plan to have children, it’s time to start saving. To get an idea of what you might need to cover, read about the costs new parents didn’t see coming.

The best way to prepare for these expenses is to start setting aside money as early as possible. The dependent care flexible savings account could help with daycare; as for the additional costs of college, start by looking into a 529 savings plan.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider

More from Business Insider:

TIME europe

Greece Gets Green Light for Fresh Bailout to Help Rebuild Economy

From left, European Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, Dutch Finance Minister and Chairman of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem, and Managing Director of the European Stability Mechanism Klaus Regling attend a media conference after a meeting of Eurozone finance ministers at the EU Council building in Brussels, Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Francois Walschaerts)
Francois Walschaerts—AP From left: European Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, Dutch Finance Minister and Chairman of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem, and Managing Director of the European Stability Mechanism Klaus Regling at a media conference at the EU Council building in Brussels on Aug. 14, 2015.

Europe's finance ministers voted to approve $29 billion in loans

(BRUSSELS) — Finance ministers of the 19-nation euro single currency group on Friday approved the first 26 billion euros ($29 billion) of a vast new bailout package to help rebuild Greece’s shattered economy.

“Of course there were differences but we have managed to solve the last issues,” Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Djisselbloem told reporters in Brussels. “All the intense work of the past week has paid off.”

Ten billion euros will be available to recapitalize Greece banks, while a second slice of 16 billion euros will be paid in installments, starting with 13 billion euros by Aug. 20 when Greece must make a new debt payment to the European Central Bank.

“On this basis, Greece is and will irreversibly remain a member of the Euro area,” said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker after the deal was sealed.

The final rescue package would eventually give Greece up to 86 billion euros ($93 billion) in loans over three years in exchange for harsh spending cuts and tax hikes.

The deal must still be approved by some national parliaments, including Germany, but that is largely considered to be a formality. Some nations, such as Finland, have already given their approval.

The move saves Greece from a disorderly default on its debts which could have come as soon as next week and helps end months of uncertainty that has shaken world markets, but it means more hardship for ordinary Greeks.

A key sticking point has been whether to forgive some of Greece’s debts.

The International Monetary Fund has insisted that Greece must be given some form of debt relief before it will participate in any new bailout, but a number of the country’s euro partners oppose such a move.

“It is equally critical for medium and long-term debt sustainability that Greece’s European partners make concrete commitments … to provide significant debt relief, well beyond what has been considered so far,” IMF chief Christine Lagarde said in a statement.

Keen to have the IMF on board, the finance ministers said the eurogroup “stands ready to consider, if necessary, possible additional measures” such as longer grace and repayment periods.

But this would only take place in October, once a review has been made of whether Greece is fully respecting the bailout terms.

The approval came after Greece’s parliament passed a slew of painful reforms and spending cuts after a marathon overnight session that divided the governing party, raising the specter of early elections.

The bailout bill passed through the parliament thanks to support from opposition parties, with 222 votes in favor, 64 against, 11 abstentions and three absent in the 300-member parliament.

Although approved by a comfortable majority, the result was a blow to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who saw more than 40 of his 149 radical left Syriza party lawmakers vote against him. He has come under intense criticism from party hardliners for capitulating to the creditors’ demands for budget cuts – austerity measures he had promised to oppose when he won elections in January.

The bill includes reforms increasing personal, company and shipping taxes, reducing some pensions, abolishing tax breaks for some groups considered vulnerable and implementing deep spending cuts, including to the armed forces.

State television said Tsipras was expected to call a vote of confidence in his government, but that was not confirmed. Government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili said any action would come after Aug. 20.

Tsipras has maintained his public popularity in Greece despite his U-turn on austerity policies, and consistently leads opposition parties in opinion polls. An election would allow him to remove the hard line elements from his party, but it is not a risk-free option.

“An election in the next few months would create more political uncertainty, delay economic recovery and impede reform implementation and the possibility of opening talks on debt relief as desired by the (International Monetary Fund) as a condition of its involvement in funding the program,” said Joan Hoey, analyst for Europe at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“However, it appears to be unavoidable if Greece is to have a government capable of implementing the agreement.”

Syriza dissenters angrily challenged the government during the all-night parliamentary session.

“I feel ashamed for you. We no longer have a democracy … but a eurozone dictatorship,” prominent party member and former energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis said before the vote. Lafazanis signed a declaration with another 12 left-wing politicians Thursday saying they would start a new anti-austerity movement. He stopped short of quitting Syriza.

The terms of the new bailout were agreed earlier this week with creditor negotiators from the European Central Bank, European Commission and IMF.

“We took a painful decision of responsibility, and took a step back,” Tsipras said in his defense of the bailout.

France, a key Greece ally, welcomed the move, with Finance Minister Michel Sapin saying he hopes the agreement will help Greece “again have confidence in itself.”

“Too much time was wasted for too long,” he said.


Elena Becatoros and Derek Gatopoulos in Athens, and Geir Moulson and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.

TIME world affairs

The U.S. Shouldn’t Fret Over Cheaper Yuan

Yuan And Dollar Banknotes Ahead Of Tenth Anniversary Of China's Yuan Reform
Xaume Olleros—Bloomberg/Getty Images

China’s growing middle class will keep buying ‘Made in America’

News that the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, changed its formula for calculating the reference rate of the yuan (RMB) prompted the currency to fall to a four-year low.

Essentially, the People’s Bank of China is now calculating the reference rate on a daily basis and incorporating market forces. Some financial experts argue that allowing market forces to help determine the value of the yuan is logical, while others assert that China is merely trying to boost its own exporters – at the expense of foreign companies – by making their products relatively cheaper in the global marketplace.

Many in the U.S. are concerned that our businesses will be hurt, with some accusing China of currency manipulation.

The truth is, however, the value of the yuan doesn’t matter that much: China’s swelling middle class and its insatiable demand for foreign (and U.S.) products and services will easily offset the impact from a cheaper yuan. For now, anyway.

Growth in trade

Having been a professor and director of the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) in the Eli Broad College of Business since 2001, I am always intrigued by dynamics and influences in international business, trade and global competitiveness.

Much of what we do as a federally funded CIBER – one of only 17 in the country – is to strive to make US companies as competitive globally as possible.

Research I conducted this year shows that customers expect companies to sell 49% more in global markets in the next two decades.

Historically, this anticipated increase is primarily related to exporting more products to China. U.S. companies have boosted their exports to China by more than 500% in the last decade, compared with an average of only a little over a 100% increase to the rest of the world.

On the other side of the equation, U.S. imports from China seemed to have stabilized (not growing as much) before the devaluation of the yuan. A cheaper RMB will destabilize the export-import dynamics, but mostly in the short run.

Regardless of China’s motive (whether an intentional devaluing of the yuan to spur exports and economic growth or a competitive-based market adjustment), a weaker currency generally leads to a decrease in imports because it is more expensive to buy foreign products.

The rise of the ‘mainstream’

In the case of U.S. products and services, the likelihood is that the trend of annual increases of exports to China will slow down but that we will see overall increases nevertheless, just not as significant, perhaps, as in the past decade.

This will hurt the top exporting industries from the U.S. to China, such as crop production, computers and electronics, and chemicals, but, importantly, at the same time we expect to see a pretty drastic increase in the so-called Chinese mainstream consumers.

That is, we expect that this population in China (read: middle class) will go from about 20 million to 200 million people in the next five years.

In other words, in all likelihood, even though the yuan may weaken the purchasing power of Chinese consumers, we can expect the overall increase in mainstream (and affluent) shoppers to more than offset this decrease in the value of the yuan.

By extension, urbanization in China has a chance to divide the country’s people in a more marked way due to the yuan devaluation.

Specifically, while the top 100 Chinese cities (advanced and developing cities) will soon be made up of a vast majority of affluent and mainstream customers, the other parts of the country will be financially much weaker. And while the yuan trading at a lower value might benefit the advanced and developing cities in China, the emerging and lagging cities will not see the same benefit.

China’s conundrum

Perhaps the People’s Bank of China realized this conundrum already when, almost immediately after devaluing the yuan, it reversed course by selling off US dollars to stabilize its currency.

It also put out statements basically saying that there is no practical basis to expect that the trend of a depreciating yuan will be a long-term phenomenon.

The opposite view is interesting though.

The reality is that the yuan has been appreciating for the last decade, many say intentionally so, at the hands of the central bank. This appreciation has helped slow the economy from double-digit growth to just single digits. It has also meant that strategically, China has opted to focus on social stability, steady growth and maintaining the Chinese market as an attractive investment instead of the long run of unprecedented growth.

Whether these stabilizing mechanisms will be viewed by the U.S. and the rest of the world as currency manipulations or as more market-based financial strategy remains to be seen.

What we do know is that China remains an incredibly important market to trade into and buy from, and the expected drastic increase in the total number of mainstream individuals there is an important part of developing a long-term strategy for selling into China regardless of the relatively small fluctuations in the yuan.

This could change, though, if the yuan is pushed a lot lower and U.S. consumers end up snapping up far more Chinese products. But so far, that doesn’t appear to be the case.The Conversation

Tomas Hult is Byington Endowed Chair and Professor of International Business at Michigan State University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.The Conversation

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.


This Is the Woman Most Americans Are Hoping to See on the New $10 Bill

No, it's not Beyonce

Of the women being considered to replace Alexander Hamilton on the redesigned $10 bill, Eleanor Roosevelt is the favorite by far with more than one in four Americans favoring her over the other contenders.

The former first lady came in first place with 27% of the 1,249 votes counted in a McClatchy Marist poll that was released on Wednesday. Harriet Tubman and Sacagawea followed at second and third place, with 17% and 13% of the vote, respectively.

Martha Washington’s portrait was printed on money in the 19th century, but this will be the first time that a female figure is featured on U.S. currency in over a century. The new $10 bill will appropriately be released in 2020, the 100th anniversary celebration of the ratification of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

After Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced the decision to replace Hamilton with a woman, the Treasury created a social media campaign dubbed #TheNew10 so that everyone could weigh in with their opinion. Aside from those named in the poll, suggestions included Rosa Parks and Amelia Earhart.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com