This Week in Financial Blunders

The world of finances has not stopped moving since the last This Week in Financial Blunders; the blog just took a little siesta. While Citibank paid off fines, we were deep in a slumber. As Time Warner told Rupert Murdoch they were not interested in being bought out, we were having one of those crazy dream-within-a-dreams. Just as the ice bucket challenge began to raise millions of dollars, we began to wake up and rub our weary eyes. Now that the power nap is completed, let’s look at some financial news that ranges from feel-good to cringe-worthy.

The Kids Are Alright?

Most aspire to have a full family one day, but a recent report from CNN Money shows that kids can be quite the financial investment. Raising a kid born in 2013 to the age of 18 can cost you approximately $245,000, excluding the cost of college. Overall, it’s bad news for anyone who’s looking to have a kid these days, but it’s very tough for lower- and middle-class families considering the nation’s median income still sits 8% below where it was before the recession.

Some interesting variables affect how much a family can end up spending on their child. A big factor is geography and income, according to the article: “High-income families who live in the urban Northeast, for example, are projected to spend nearly $455,000 to raise their child to the age of 18, while low-income rural families will spend much less, an estimated $145,500.” The overall estimate that this report is based on includes many things: “Housing, food, transportation, clothing, health care, education, child care and miscellaneous expenses, like haircuts and cell phones.”

Lions and Tigers and Denim

Some say you should “suffer for fashion”; it’s rare that fashion suffers for you. A fundraising group known as the Mineko Club has developed a strange way to raise funds for a zoo in Hitachi City, Japan. The group has been throwing jeans into the spaces for the lions, bears and tigers and selling their chewed-up remains. You can see in the article that the lion bite marks make for a good story and an arguably “high-fashion” look, and it’s been working for its fundraising purposes. The Mineko Club raised $3,500 last month after selling three pairs of chewed-up jeans.

There is some concern from the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) because they’re not too excited about animals being exploited for any reason, even if it is to raise funds for a zoo. Akiko Ishihara, director of communications for the WWF Japan, said, “In principle, we don’t raise money by using animals in this way.” Regardless of their concern, the Mineko Club sold a pair of jeans with lion scratches and bites on it for $1,500, donating it to the zoo and the WWF.

$uper Bowl

For those who don’t care about football, the halftime show at the Super Bowl is a much-needed oasis in the desert. However, the finer notes around the halftime show might change soon, according to Slate. Some might be surprised to learn that performers at the halftime show do not get paid to perform; it’s one part honor and one part promotional tour (Slate notes that Beyonce’s halftime show was conveniently right before her tour). The National Football League is now asking the top three contenders for this year’s halftime show (Coldplay, Rihanna and Katy Perry) “if they would be willing to contribute a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour income to the league, or if they would make some other type of financial contribution, in exchange for the halftime gig.”

Now, is anyone truly surprised that the NFL is trying to make the most out of their biggest money-making day? Or are we sympathetic to multi-million dollar recording artists paying a little extra cash to do one of the biggest concerts of the year? Not really, as the article points out. Author Jordan Weismann does bring up a compelling argument against it for the sake of getting good acts there: “What bugs me is that, if the NFL really does make this a policy, it’s going to end up with acts that need the advertising, as opposed to the kinds of stars who’ve actually made the whole production watchable . . . Would Destiny’s Child have ever reunited for a live audience if Beyoncé had to pay for the privilege? . . . Would Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake have conspired to give us the phrase ‘wardrobe malfunction’? I’m not confident the answer is yes. And at some point, culture ought to come before commerce. Even on Super Bowl Sunday.”

Those are all the financial blunders we have for this week. Please comment below if you have any we may have missed!


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