As goes Goldman Sachs, so goes Wall Street. When a memo went out last year from CEO David Solomon telling staff that formal business attire was no longer an everyday requirement, it confirmed that casualwear had finally come to Wall Street.

And, when the venerated investment bank started slashing bonuses in the decade after the 2008 mortgage-bond meltdown, the financial services industries knew the golden age of multi-million-dollar bonuses that incentivized risk-taking was waning.

Now, Goldman Sachs is taking a stand against “bro culture” on startup boards. Speaking on Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Solomon said Goldman Sachs will refuse to take a company public unless it had at least one “diverse” board member.

The new rule goes into effect on July 1 in the United States and Europe, and the initial push for diversity will start with a focus on women, Solomon said. By 2021, the bank will look for two diverse board members, he said.

In a CNBC interview, Solomon said public offerings of U.S. companies with at least one female director over the past four years performed “significantly better” than those without.

“We might lose some business but in the long run this is the best advice for companies that want to drive premium returns for their shareholders,” Solomon said. “I look back at IPOs over the last four years and the performance of IPOs where there has been a woman on the board in the U.S. is significantly better than the performance of IPOs where there hasn’t been a woman on the board.”

Goldman Sachs has an 11-member board that includes four women.

“I really value the diverse perspectives that I’m getting that help me to run the company,” Solomon said.

Solomon didn’t cite proptech startup WeWorks, but it was the elephant – or the unicorn, to use the nickname for private companies valued at more than $1 billion – in the room. It went from an initial $47 billion valuation to bankruptcy in the second half of 2019.

Goldman was one of the investment banks slated to lead WeWork’s IPO, if it hadn’t been pulled because of questions about governance and valuation. WeWork’s initial IPO filing named a seven-member board that was all men.



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TransUnion recently reported that there will be a flood of first-time homebuyers in the market over the course of the next three years.

Now, it looks like that flood may be ready to start, but the news isn’t all good.

The latest Housing Trends Report for the National Association of Home Builders, which surveys prospective homebuyers for their sentiments on buying a home, revealed that the fourth quarter of 2019 saw the fifth consecutive year-over-year drop in the share of American adults who said they plan to buy a home in the next year.

According to the report, Q4’s report showed that only 11% of adults said they want to purchase a home in the coming year, down 2% from 2018’s 13%.

But, despite this number inching down, the report holds some positive news as well.

In fact, 63% of those who said they plan to buy a house are first-time homebuyers. This is much larger than a year earlier, when 53% of prospective homebuyers were first-timers.

Broken down by age group, it’s Millennials who are most likely to make a home purchase, with 19% of the overall share. Following not too far behind is Gen Z, with 13% and Gen X, with 12%, the report said.

Those prospective buyers in the two younger generations are, for the most part, first-time buyers.

Of the Gen Z prospective buyers, 88% would be first-time buyers, while 78% of Millennials would be first-time buyers. Interestingly, 57% of Gen X buyers would be first-timers and 20% of Boomers said they would be first-timers, too.

To no surprise, only 5% of Boomers said they have plans to purchase a home. Lately, there has been an “aging in place” trend, which may provide a reason for this small percentage.

Geographically, 12% of those surveyed were prospective homebuyers in the South and West, in front of the 10% in the Northeast and 9% in the Midwest.



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First U.S. Mother’s Day Was Born Out of Heartsick Regret

I went through most of my life without suspecting any controversy about Mother’s Day. Other than Woody Allen, I didn’t know of anybody who didn’t love his mother.

It’s the fifth commandment for Protestants, and the fourth for Catholics, to honor our mothers. And the Book of Proverbs tells Protestant, Catholic and Jew alike not to depart from her teaching. It can get a little dicey if your mother has departed from her own mother’s teaching, but I assume you’re still supposed to honor her.

The Judeo-Christian faiths aren’t the only ones that honor mothers. The Confucian concept of “filial piety” mandated respect for parents in that tradition. This was a major sticking point when when missionaries tried to export Buddhism to China. It was difficult for them to explain how celibacy (no grandchildren), voluntary disengagement from the material world (uselessness) and a mendicant priesthood (begging) wouldn’t dishonor Chinese mothers.

Modern observances of Mother’s Day vary from country to country. I remember that, when I was stationed in the Panama Canal Zone 40 years ago, the adjoining Latin American republic celebrated Mother’s Day on December 8, which is the (Catholic) Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

It’s true that Panama was heavily Catholic, but that doesn’t fully explain its celebration of Mother’s Day on December 8, because they could have chosen the Feast of the Nativity (Mary’s birth) in September, or Christmas (when Mary first gave birth). By choosing December 8, Panama acknowledged that Mary became a mother at the moment of conception.

The origins of our own annual observance on the second Sunday in May are in dispute.

Henderson, Kentucky educator Mary Towles Sasseen copyrighted a book in 1893 that guided teachers in how to conduct Mother’s Day celebrations in school. Along with her sister, she helped organize the first documented Mother’s Day observance six years earlier in Springfield, Ohio schools.

On Feb. 7, 1904, retired Notre Dame football coach Frank Hering spoke to a national convention of the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Indianapolis. His topic was “Our Mothers and Their Importance in Our Lives.” His supporters claim that this was the “first-ever public address on behalf of making Mother’s Day a national holiday.” Hering reportedly continued to speak on behalf of a national observance over the next decade.”

Sasseen, too, traveled extensively to promote the idea, but died in 1906 before she could win its approval.

Enter the Jarvis women of Grafton, West Virginia. Ann Reeves Jarvis organized mothers’ work days in the 1850’s to attend to community sanitation and public health issues, with special emphasis on infant and maternal mortality. In the 1860s, the Grafton mothers gathered to tend to the wounds of Civil War soldiers from both armies.

The men of West Virginia were badly divided before, during and after the Civil War. Reconciliation between the male victors and vanquished appeared unlikely.

But Ann organized Mothers’ Friendship Day picnics and other events after the war to promote peace among the antagonistic neighbors.

Ann raised a modern daughter, Anna, who left her small hometown to seek her fortune in a big city (Philadelphia). Think of the Mary Richards character in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, or Ann Marie in That Girl. She never married, never bore children of her own. But when Ann died in 1905, daughter Anna became very nostalgic about the mom she had left behind.

Two years later, her grief led her to campaign for the creation of a national Mother’s Day. On May 10, 1908, Mother’s Day celebrations debuted at the Grafton church where Ann had taught Sunday School, and at the Wanamaker’s department store auditorium in Philadelphia.

Anna did not make the trip back to her home town, but she sent 500 white carnations, her mother’s favorite flower, with instructions that Grafton sons and daughters were to wear them to honor their own mothers, and to represent the purity of a mother’s love.

Anna was able to go full-time in her campaign, with the patronage of H. J. Heinz and John Wanamaker. There was resistance in the U.S. Senate. But Anna won the endorsement of the World Sunday School Association. She spoke at florists’ conventions, and accepted their donations.

Eventually, Congress approved the national observance, and President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law. The first national observance came the second Sunday in May, 1914. The observance caught on, and it was a good time to be in the carnation business.

Business was so good, in fact, that Anna began to have second thoughts. The commercialization of her high-minded gesture began to sicken her stomach. She turned against her erstwhile allies and patrons.

She denounced candy makers, florists and greeting card manufacturers as “charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers and termites that would undermine with their greed one of the finest, noblest and truest movements and celebrations.”

When she attempted to trademark the white carnation with “Mother’s Day” text, the Florists Telegraph Delivery association concluded that she just felt cheated of her cut. They offered her a commission on white carnations, but this just further enraged her.

She wrote that she wanted Mother’s Day to be a “day of sentiment, not profit.”

She was angry when a commemorative Postal Service stamp included a vase of carnations in the frame with the famed Whistler’s Mother painting, because she viewed it as a sly advertisement for the floral industry.

Greeting cards rated no higher than carnations in Anna’s book. “A maudlin, insincere printed card or ready-made telegram means nothing,” she wrote, “except that you’re too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone else in the world.” She observed that “Any mother would rather have a line of the worst scribble from her son or daughter than any fancy greeting card.”

She was fierce in her personal claim to the holiday. When a Henderson group planned a ceremony to recognize her along with Sasseen and Hering, Jarvis attacked the two others and threatened legal action against any rival who used the Mother’s Day name or created any activities related to Mother’s Day. I doubt that Ann would have felt honored by Anna’s attitude at this point.

Anna went on to disrupt charity events in which carnations were sold, and was arrested for disorderly conduct. She lambasted Eleanor Roosevelt for participating in Mother’s Day fundraising events for charities that sought to reduce infant and maternal mortality, a cause near and dear to Ann’s heart.

Anna eventually went door-to-door in Philadelphia gathering signatures on a petition to rescind Mother’s Day. A penniless, embittered, childless and unmarried old woman, she became a recluse and a hoarder. It was a long process, but she had obviously and finally lost her mind.

She spent her final years in a Pennsylvania insane asylum, where she may have thought herself friendless, but she wasn’t. Thick-skinned but grateful florists subsidized her stay at the asylum til she died in 1948.

There is much to learn from Anna Jarvis. Her criticisms of commercialization deserve our serious consideration, not only regarding Mother’s Day, but Father’s Day, 4th of July, Memorial Day, and especially Christmas.

She was right that mothers don’t crave Hallmark Cards or telegrams or even carnations, but the companionship and affection of their own children and grandchildren. Time, they want. And that, few of us are willing to bestow. Posthumous rhetorical flourishes and sentimental gestures can be appropriated by others. Quality time with your mom while she’s still kicking? Nobody can take that away from you.

It doesn’t have to be on the second Sunday in May. Mom will be happy to see you on the other 364 days of the year. But don’t put it off. Later can slide into never, as it did for Ann and Anna Jarvis. Count yourself lucky every day that you get to visit with her.

After she’s gone and you can’t visit anymore, the Ten Commandments don’t expire. You still need to honor your mother, that you may live long in the land God has given you. It’s shameful if your kids know more about Beyonce and Rihanna than they know about their own grandmother. And that shame rests on you. Honor your mother.

Tell and re-tell her story within your family, during car rides, at fast food tables. Eyes can roll. Your kids will survive annoyance, impatience. They may not survive rootlessness and abandonment to a hostile, toxic youth culture. They need to know that they came from somewhere. They came from somebody. They do not belong to their peers, nor do their peers belong to them. This is the lesson Anna Jarvis learned too late.

by Bart Stinson



Source by Bart J Stinson


For many years, I have been adamant that following the Mortgage Bankers Association‘s purchase application data is critical for predicting what will happen in the housing market in the coming year. 

Logan Mohtashami
Logan Mohtashami,
Columnist

Housing market news can be over-hyped depending on the source, and this is especially true since the housing crash. Now it seems every soft print is thought to be a harbinger of another imminent collapse of the market.  

To help you navigate the sea of both positive and negative hyperbole that can make up the housing market commentary, last year, I started a weekly purchase application tracker on Twitter.

The context for this metric, however, is even more important than the nominal value.  Here are some guidelines on how to interpret this data line.

1. Seasonality: The second week of January to the first week of May is the period that makes up the bulk of the upfront housing demand.  

Purchase application numbers during these “heat months” should be viewed as the most crucial for the calendar year. By the end of February, we have a pretty good idea of how the year will shape up. 

2. The trend is your friend: The year over year comparison data is a more important predictor of future demand than the week to week data lines. 

While the week to week variations in the data can make for sexy headlines, they are not the most meaningful predictors of where the market is headed for the year. Trust only the year over year data.

3. Total mortgage application headlines need context: If you’re looking for direction just on spring season year over year demand trends, be mindful that the total application headline counts refinancing in it. 

You can have big swings on the year over year data on the entire mortgage application side and not have it mean much to the spring selling season. I have seen this mistake happen a lot because people forget about the refinancing aspect of the data.

Last year, we had a mini refinancing boom from buyers of homes in 2017, 2018 and 2019, as they had bought houses with higher rates. Now that a lot of them have refinanced, the whole headline year over year data – especially past April – may look bad, but it doesn’t mean home demand is falling. 

4.  Don’t assume: The percentage of growth or decline in purchase applications does not predict if sales will rise or fall by the same percentage. 

We can have 5-7% growth year over year, in purchase application data, and existing home sales can still be down for the year.

In the last two years, we have had slightly negative growth and an increase in inventory with positive purchase applications for the majority of the years.

We did have some negative prints during the heat months of 2019, something that hadn’t happened since 2014 when sales were down year over year. Remember this is a survey. The survey is suitable for trend direction, not exact sales.

The purchase application index in 2014 was at an all-time low when adjusted to the population. The index has been rising ever since. The best growth year was 2016 when we had over 25% growth year over year in the heat months. We didn’t have a 25% growth in sales that year.

Last year, due to the negative prints during the heat months, overall growth was only 3.7% year over year. The purchase application data from 2014-2020 doesn’t look anything like 2002-2005.  From this, we know that we don’t have an overheating housing cycle. Slow and steady wins this race.

MBAJan152019

For more on how the purchase application data is shaping the market in 2020, join me every Wednesday morning on Twitter.





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I have lived and vacationed in a number of countries with the Lonely Planet guides, and always found them extremely helpful. With this new guide, “Lonely Planet’s Best In Travel 2009: 850 Trends, Destinations, Journeys & Experiences For The Year Ahead” I found it to be very enjoyable for different reasons.

I always liked how the Lonely Planet guides had a ton of information about the places I was living or visiting. However, I sometimes wished they had more color photos such as some of the other travel guides available. With this “Best In Travel 2009” guide, there isn’t the depth for each country like the country specific guides, but rather interesting places around the entire world. And this book is full of colorful pictures.

It is a beautifully laid out book with scores of magnificent photographs. Combine the photos with the brief descriptions of places around the entire globe and you have a great coffee table book and a text that will inspire you to plan your next travel adventure. What I enjoy most about this book is it helps generate ideas of places to go and things I want to do.

The book is chalk full of lists. Top 10 Countries, Top 10 Regions, Top 10 Cities and so on. I don’t know if I agree with the top 10 in each of these categories, and you might not either, but that does not matter. Use the book to inspire you to travel to new places and to generate ideas and possibilities. Even if you don’t travel to the places listed, you will be more aware of what’s out there and places that are available to explore. If you enjoy traveling, you’ll enjoy looking through this book for ideas.



Source by Alain Burrese


Homeowners may want to tap the breaks on those trendy white Carrara marble countertops if they’re looking to get a return on investment for home renovations.

That’s according to a recent report from NerdWallet, which pulls from Remodeling magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value report when stating, “An upscale kitchen renovation recoups just 59% of its cost in added value.”

Next on the list is one that’s more likely for the average home seller: DIY painting. The report cites data from Opendoor asserting that a low-quality paint job can result in the seller losing out on as much as $1,700. This may be bad news for the 47% of homeowners who stated at the beginning of last year that they were more likely to take on a project than hire it done. 

And while various HGTV shows may have homeowners ready to bust down some walls, the NerdWallet report advises against it in regard to an expanded master suite. If the renovation results in the loss of another bedroom, sellers could end up with their home listed at a lower price point. 

The last two items on the list may not be as surprising. Plush wall-to-wall carpeting and the addition of a swimming pool could end up costing homeowners. According to the report, carpet as the main flooring in a home drops its value by almost $4,000. A swimming pool, on the other hand, may deter buyers who are turned off by the potential maintenance. 

However, these warnings may be needless in 2020, as a recent report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies stated that U.S. homeowners are expected to spend less on renovations and repairs over the next year. 

That said, Arizona-based iBuyer Offerpad recently released a feature that allows homebuyers to customize their homes before moving in. Let’s just hope those homebuyers take a look at this list first.



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The 2019 multifamily and single-family market proved to be hot, and 2020 will only get hotter.

According to a new survey from TurboTenant, there were 31 cities from 20 states that were featured in the best place to buy a rental investment property report for 2020.

(Image courtesy of TurboTenant. Click to enlarge.)

New York and Ohio tied for the most cities represented, at three each, including Buffalo and Rochester, New York, as well as Akron and Columbia, Ohio. Seven states had double representation, including Iowa, Missouri, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. Cities from Florida, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Delaware also made the list.

To determine the top cities, the report compared the average rent with the monthly mortgage payment. The terms were set at 30 years, with a 20% down payment, and a 4.1% interest rate, which is the current national average. If positive numbers were reported in all categories, the location made the list.

Overall, the results found that the best places to invest in are in the Midwest and the East Coast.

In November, TurboTenant also showed that New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire were standouts, which is no big change from January’s report.

No. 1 on the list was Reading, Pennsylvania, which TurboTenant said has positive growth across the board. The number of leads per property in this town is its highest, at 271, with an average of eight days on the market. Home values here are increasing 11.1% year over year, with a median sale price of $140,000.

At the bottom of the list, No. 31, Auburn, Alabama actually is second place for the highest population growth and first place for employment growth. The median sale price of a home is $169,000, and the average two-bedroom rent is $919. Properties here spend an average of 14 days on the market.

Check out the rest of the list here.



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Nobody wants to talk anymore and it’s something we’ve become all too comfortable with avoiding. Part of adulting is knowing how to communicate effectively. The question is why don’t we want to?

When we were children we were accustomed to having our parents as the safety net; there to catch us when we fall. They corrected us when we mess up. They held us when we cried. It’s why so many people love social media so much. It allows us to throw tantrums and scream whenever we aren’t getting our way because for so many of us it a substitute parent. A place to project all of our insecurities in exchange for the attention and affection the real parent never supplied.

Children throw tantrums for various reasons. They are usually tired, hungry, or uncomfortable. It is common during the second and third year of life, when language skills are starting to develop. Because toddlers can’t yet say what they want, feel, or need, the expectation is for the parent to understand what it is they are trying to communicate and be complicit. Much like the tantrums kids throw adults do the same thing. It’s called complaining. Many grown ups don’t view adulting as actual responsibility but rather a hobby instead. It is why one of the biggest struggles for adults is how we communicate. Instead of stating a desire or thought overtly, we nudge or throw signals in the right direction leaving it up to the other person to figure out for themselves. We don’t discuss the things that upsets us, and instead opt to find small passive aggressive and petty ways to piss people off so we feel justified in our complaints to them.

Here’s why it’s toxic: We struggle to behave as adults should without a care only to cry foul when we are confronted with the consequence that is the result of this kind of carelessness and irresponsibility. We don’t want to do things as our parents did them because we feel like we’re not only smarter than they were but are happier doing things our way. We’ve been on this ego trip since we were kids. We like to pride ourselves on the things that indicate that we’re in line with where we ‘should be’ in life. Behaving this way has not only made us more stubborn and lazy but we are also regressing because of it. In this digital era, we avoid direct communication at all costs. No one wants to be the first person to pick up the phone. We’d rather text or send an email than to hold an in-person conversation. It’s why there are countless internet memes. It’s become easier to communicate how we feel about a certain something by way of passive aggressively posting pictures that hold text captions. It’s created this boxed fragmented way of thinking; we’re really not interested in getting anything right; we just want to be right without any objection.

But, no matter how valid our feelings may be concerning certain situations this kind of behavior encourages lack of personal accountability. While our adult insecurities drive us into defensiveness and self-justification, everyone involved in a communication problem bears some degree of responsibility. So, no matter how much adulting mayannoy you–effective communication is extremely important. Conversations are not an act of war, therefore, they pose no threat to you. A conversation is a two-way street where the course of direction is listening and understanding as much as you speak. Whether personal or professional they are a must-have. You should be clear and intentional when speaking and express yourself without any scope of doubt or misunderstanding, making sure to listen and address the concerns of the other person. It is an art that develops over time but is necessary and doable.

The responsibility of accountability that comes with this is owning the results of what gets communicated. Failure to do so hardly ever generates the results you are looking for and nobody wins. Not even you.

In order to understand the world around us meaningful conversation is necessary. It’s not only fun and infectious but it empowers you to become the kind of adult you need to be.



Source by Faye Bishop


With a lack of new construction plaguing the housing market, many people are left to rely on the rental market, which saw record-low vacancies in 2019.

Add that up and that means it’s getting more expensive to live in the city, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t affordable options.

To that end, realtor.com found some cities that have affordable surrounding neighborhoods.

“I expect affordability to very much remain a main challenge for the housing market in 2020 for both buyers and renters, partly because there’s very limited new-housing supply,” says George Ratiu, senior economist for realtor.com, in a release.

Realtor.com uncovered the highest city to rent in is San Francisco, where a one-bedroom goes for $3,473. In the San Francisco metro, the Sunset District, located just about five miles outside of town, it was found to be the most affordable surrounding city, with one-bedroom rent going at $2,380.

Fellow California city Los Angeles was also ranked among the top of the list. With median one-bedroom rent at $2,199, the neighboring city of Windsor Hills had median one-bedroom rent at $1,657.

And the lowest? Median one-bedroom rent in Houston is at $1,035. Meanwhile in its most affordable neighborhood, in Mission Bend, located about 20 miles West of the Texas metro, the median one-bedroom rent is $700.

Another Texas metro, Dallas, also sits on the lower end of the list. There, the median one-bedroom rent is $1,180. In its most affordable neighborhood, Northwest Dallas, the median one-bedroom rent is $747.

“For young professionals looking for a place to rent, the major trade-offs center around location, proximity to public transit and amenities, as well as building features,” Ratiu said.

From New York to San Francisco, here are more affordable neighborhoods to live outside of the country’s largest cities:

Philadelphia, PA
Median one-bedroom rent: $1,495
Most affordable neighborhood: Somerton
Median one-bedroom rent in Somerton: $800

Atlanta, GA
Median one-bedroom rent: $1,425
Most affordable neighborhood: Dunwoody
Median one-bedroom rent in Dunwoody: $871

Chicago, IL
Median one-bedroom rent: $1,450
Most affordable neighborhood: Elmwood Park
Median one-bedroom rent: $1,150

Miami, FL
Median one-bedroom rent: $1,700
Most affordable neighborhood: Kendall West
Median one-bedroom rent in Kendall West: $1,251

New York, NY
Median one-bedroom rent: $2,960
Most affordable neighborhood: East Elmhurst
Median one-bedroom rent in East Elmhurst: $1,755

Washington, DC
Median one-bedroom rent: $2,200
Most affordable neighborhood: Chevy Chase
Median one-bedroom rent: $1,838

Boston, MA
Median one-bedroom rent: $2,500
Most affordable neighborhood: West Roxbury
Median one-bedroom rent in West Roxbury: $2,186



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