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By Eamon Murphy
A $100,000 signing bonus, a $1 million salary, a brand new netbook or tablet, and additional rewards depending on performance: That's the compensation package, if media reports are correct, awaiting a Russian counterterrorism officer specializing in the Caucasus region who's willing to spy for Uncle Sam.
By Molly McClusky
For some, having a friend or family member who's willing to co-sign for a loan can mean the difference between continuing to rent or buying a home, or between postponing school or furthering their education. For others, a co-signer can provide the chance to begin reestablishing good credit after a serious financial setback.
"For the person getting a co-signer, it serves a great purpose. It allows them to use someone else's credit standing to mitigate the risk for the [lender, so] they can get the loan, a better interest rate, or better terms," says David Pommerehn, the assistant vice president and senior counsel at Consumer Bankers Association.
For those who co-sign for a loan, however, the risks are plentiful.
Because co-signers will be responsible for the entire amount of the loan if the borrower defaults, Greg McBride, a CFA and senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com, has this blunt advice for people considering acting as co-signer: "Don't co-sign for any loan that you're not prepared to take on the responsibility of paying."
In early 2010, Nish Bhalla sat down at his computer with one objective: steal a huge amount of money from a bank.
It wasn't a typical heist. Bhalla is the chief executive of Security Compass, a company that tests security systems at banks, retailers, energy companies and other organizations with sensitive data. His clients -- including the bank branch in the United States that he targeted in his 2010 attack -- pay him to break into their systems.
It can be easier than most people think. The alleged thieves who made headlines last week for their $45 million bank heist used a similar type of attack that "created" money out of nowhere.
Bhalla talked CNNMoney through his caper. Here, in four easy steps, is how he made himself into a millionaire.
By Adam Widerman
Although the economic potential of echo boomers may not be as promising as some are expecting, there are several ways investors can actually profit from their behavior.
Echo boomers are the demographic group comprised of baby boomers' progeny. They're slightly larger as a group than their parents (80 million compared to just 77 million baby boomers) and better educated. But this is a generation that's saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in debt -- something that will likely stunt their economic growth as they age.
However, while echo boomers work their way through these challenges, savvy investors stand to make hefty sums by investing in their consumer behaviors.
This week, Angelina Jolie published an op-ed in the New York Time entitled "My Medical Choice," in which she explained her decision to undergo a preventive double mastectomy, having her breasts removed and replaced with implants over the course of three months of medical procedures. Jolie's mother had died of breast cancer at the age of 56, and she knew she had inherited the same risk: an 87% chance of developing breast cancer and a 50% risk of developing ovarian cancer. Her procedure reduced the risk of breast cancer to under 5%.
How did she know she was at risk? Jolie had been tested for the "faulty" gene BRCA1 and the test came back positive. By whom was she tested? The molecular diagnostic company Myriad Genetics (NASDAQ:MYGN). How do I know this? Because Myriad owns a patent for the BRCA1 gene (as well as the BRCA2 gene), and therefore, has exclusive rights to test for it (though the patents expire in about two years). Because of the patent and its protection of exclusivity, the company charges over $3,000 for the test.
Not surprisingly, Myriad's stock price saw a 4% increase yesterday. Jolie was drawing attention to breast cancer prevention and to this new and powerful tool that only one company holds the rights to. But in her op-ed, she writes, "It has got to be a priority to ensure that more woman can access gene testing and lifesaving, preventative treatment, whatever their means and background, wherever they live." If more companies are able to offer the test, then of course the price will go down, but only an invalidation of the patent law will allow other companies to offer the test. So continues the debate over whether companies should be able to patent human genes.
The following is a story I wrote in March about this debate: The Case of Myriad Genetics: Should Companies Own Patents on Human Genes?
For 30 years, companies have been patenting human genes. Yes, the very genetic material of our bodies, of our DNA, albeit in isolated forms. For longer than that, debates have been incessant -- in the scientific community, between businesses, and in the courts -- over whether or not this practice is legal, let alone ethical. Earlier this month, an Australian court heard yet another case about the legality of gene patenting, ultimately defending the practice. This spring, media attention over the controversy will shift back to the US as a similar case (originally heard in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York) will be heard by the Supreme Court.
Walmart reported weaker-than-expected sales figures Thursday morning, sending shares falling in early trading.
Total revenue in the first quarter came in at $114.2 billion, up just 1% over last year and short of analyst expectations. And the all-important comparable stores metric likewise holds bad news: Same-store sales actually fell 1.4% versus the same period last year.
The poor sales don't come as a complete shock. Last quarter's sales likewise came in a bit lower than expected, and same-store sales rose just 1%. Walmart predicted at the time that sales would remain flat through the remainder of the quarter, blaming the expiration of the payroll-tax holiday and delays in tax refunds for softening customer spending. This morning's report echoed that line, noting that "Comp sales performance was impacted by a delay in income tax refund checks, challenging weather conditions, less grocery inflation than expected and the payroll tax increase."
Filed under: Real Estate
So what does it take to claim victory over your competitors if you find yourself in a bidding war? Here are some helpful tips:
A 2012 Pew Research Center Report, "The Rise of Asian Americans," identified Asian Americans as "the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States." In addition, according to the report, Asian Americans are more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances, and the direction of the country, and they place more value than other Americans do on marriage, parenthood, hard work and career success.
YuKong Zhao (pictured), an expert in China business and strategic development at Siemens, believes the secret to the success of Asian Americans can be found in the enduring messages of Confucius.
Zhao, who grew up in a Confucianism-influenced family in China, moved to the U.S. in 1992. His bicultural experience and deep understanding of Confucianism has led him to conclude that Americans can learn from Confucian values to improve their lives in a variety of ways.
Most noteworthy in the differences between Asians and non-Asian Americans is their outlook on life. "Americans have a short-term view of life and Asians have a long-term view," says Zhao. "This impacts everything about their lives, but is particularly important when it comes to money management."
Filed under: Investing
By Dan Caplinger
It's easier than ever to keep track of your investments 24/7, with increasingly powerful tablets and smartphones bringing you instant access to your portfolio's minute-by-minute value. But do you really need to follow your portfolio all day, every day?
For most people, the answer is a resounding no.
Don't Be a Glutton for Punishment
As investing and personal finance expert Larry Swedroe has pointed out, checking your portfolio on a daily basis greatly increases the chances that you'll inflict painful bad news on yourself.
By Morgan Housel
Mostly by accident, I have never owned a home, and consider it one of the best financial moves I've ever made.
Not because suffering through one of the worst real estate downturns in history would have slammed my finances, although that's likely true. But because in the last four years, my wife and I have lived in four different locations in three different states on each side of the country. Each move was driven by work and school opportunities that would have been out of reach had we been tied down to one home.
Our story is hardly unique. In one of the most telling studies looking at the benefits of home ownership, economists Andrew Oswald and David Blanchflower ask, "does high home-ownership impair the labor market?"
Their answer is "yes."