This Week in Financial Blunders

Like a cold breeze running up your spine on a brisk November day, financial blunders are hard not to notice. You try to ignore them like an impending winter, but they’re going to happen either way. They’re as natural as the sun setting, or someone setting up a poor debt management plan. Let’s take a look at what This Week in Financial Blunders has in store for us.

Bit Trouble in Little China

If you’re familiar with the decentralized digital currency known as Bitcoin, then you’re familiar with the ups and downs the young currency has had. The online funds were created in 2010 and have a finite amount that can be mined through computers solving super-complex math equations. Whether or not Bitcoins are a safe investment is still up for debate: For most of the currency’s lifespan, it’s been used for nefarious purchases like narcotics or illegal arms, but more online services (such as WordPress) and businesses are beginning to accept it as a credible currency. This trend has happened as more value has been added to Bitcoin – back in December it was selling for $20 a share (when many thought the bubble was going to burst for it) and recently it’s been shy of $400 a share, despite economist’s predictions.

Bitcoin’s popularity in China has sparked the recent rise in stock, but a sudden loss of 25 million Yen ($4.1 million USD) may shutter that. GBL was a prominent Bitcoin trading site that claimed residency in Hong Kong, although many users pointed out that its server was in Beijing. Inconsistencies grew from there, until on October 26,the site vanished altogether with all of the Bitcoins being traded with it. Reports from Hong Kong show 1,000 investors suffered from this long con, but it’s unsure how this will affect the reputation of Bitcoin.

Faculty Loans

One of America’s most prestigious universities saw its deficit grow four times larger this year. Harvard, the Ivy League university with alumni ranging from E. E. Cummings to George W. Bush, saw its deficit increase from $7.9 million to $34 million in one year. CNN Money listed a number of reasons for the increase of the school’s deficit: federal budget cuts on research grants, rising expenses, and servicing its continually rising debt. Half of Harvard’s operating expenses go towards salaries, wages and benefits, which rose this year too. It’s not all doom and gloom for the school though; donations grew this year and the school was quoted saying the debt would be “manageable.” Keeping college school rivalries alive in all forms, Yale had a $39 million dollar deficit this year, just $5 million more than what Harvard had.

If there are any financial blunders that we may have missed this week, please post them below.


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