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Harvard research indicates that the chasm between the rich and poor continues to grow and that there's no sign it will narrow anytime soon.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 1:54 PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News. 

 

Only part of the economy is prospering, and that’s going to end up hurting us all.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyThat's the finding of a new Harvard Business School study (.pdf file) on U.S. competitiveness. The study, based on interviews with 1,947 Harvard Business School alumni, said that although larger U.S. companies are showing good signs of recovery since the financial crisis, things don't look nearly as sunny for many American workers.


Businessman with cigar © Juice Images , SuperStock According to the study:

A truly competitive U.S. economy would lift both firms and citizens. But our survey findings and other evidence reveal that that is not happening today in America. Instead, our "recovering" economy is doing just half its job: The typical large or midsized firm in America is rallying or even prospering, as are highly skilled individuals. But many middle- and working-class citizens and small businesses are struggling.

The Boston Globe reported that while the average income rose 4 percent in the past three years, "most of that increase has been concentrated among the highest earners. Meantime, the income of a typical family has dropped 5 percent, to $46,700, from $49,000 in that period."


That ever-widening gap between America's rich and the middle- and lower-class is "unsustainable," the study said. It explains why, while offering a prescription for change:

 

Take these steps to make sure you're not paying more for a car loan than you really need to.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 1:50 PM
This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at partner site Money Talks News. 

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyCar loans are growing bigger and bigger. The average amounts auto buyers financed hit highs this year, according to Experian Automotive:

  • The average new-vehicle loan in the first quarter of 2014 was $27,612. That's $964 more than last year.
  • The average used-vehicle loan was $17,927 -- up $395 from 2013.

These are large loans. Before you speed into this kind of debt, why not pause to learn how to keep down your borrowing costs?

 

Some colleges and universities actually guarantee that their students will find jobs after they complete their degrees. Discover which institutions are going out on a limb.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 1:46 PM

This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News. 

 

Money Talks News on MSN Money Nearly 20 years ago, when I was preparing to graduate from high school, college was not a choice; it was an expectation. Time and time again, it was stressed that without a degree, my classmates and I would find ourselves flipping burgers for life.


College graduate (© Corbis)Over the years, as student debt has climbed and some graduates find they aren't getting their dream jobs, the tide seems to have turned. Today, we have former Secretary of Education William Bennett questioning the value of four-year degrees, while others are outright dismissing the importance of all formal higher education.


Perhaps to get students (and their checkbook-holding parents) back on board, some colleges and universities are now guaranteeing their degrees will translate into jobs after graduation.

 

By packing school lunches in your very own kitchen, you'll no longer have to trade nutritious for quick and easy.

By Cheapism.com Thu 10:54 AM
This post comes from Raechel Conover at partner site Cheapism.com.

Cheapism.com on MSN MoneyNow that the school year has finally started, you're no doubt facing the school lunch dilemma. You know, the one that goes something like this: the easy but costly and possibly unhealthy option of letting the kids buy lunch at school or the more complicated but cheaper and healthier option of packing school lunches every day yourself.

School lunch (© Stockbyte/SuperStock/SuperStockWith our five tips on how to save money by packing school lunches in your very own kitchen, you'll no longer have to trade nutritious for quick and easy. You'll have healthy school lunches and change in your pocket.
 

Experts say the value of a used iPhone drops up to 20 percent within weeks of a new release. Find out how to sell your old iPhone before the new iPhone 6 hits stores.

By Cheapism.com Thu 10:41 AM
This post comes from Louis DeNicola at partner site Cheapism.com.

Cheapism.com on MSN MoneyFor iPhone owners who plan to upgrade to the latest edition after Apple's Sept. 9 media event, time is running out to start looking at where and how to sell their current phones. Experts familiar with the resale market warn that the value of a current iPhones drops dramatically in the weeks following the latest model's release (sometimes in the weeks prior to the release as well).

Anyone who wishes to upgrade to the iPhone 5s or 5c, on the other hand, need only bide their time to get a bargain.

Portrait of various smartphones © Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty ImagesLast year, we spoke with Nik Ramen, chief operating officer and co-founder of uSell, a service that connects sellers to a network of professional buyers, to gather inside tips on selling an iPhone. His first point: Lock in a price right away. USell's data from the 2012 iPhone 5 releases showed that the existing version lost 5 percent of its value in the first week following the new edition's launch; 12 percent by the second week; and 20 percent by the third or fourth week.
 

Despite its reputation for high prices, the organic supermarket stocks many items that cost the same (or less) as at other stores.

By Money Staff Wed 4:26 PM

This post comes from Cameron Huddleston at partner site Kiplinger.


Kiplinger on MSN MoneyWhole Foods Market is often jokingly referred to as “Whole Paycheck” because this natural-foods chain sells higher-priced organic fare and specialty items. Check out with a cart of grass-fed, hormone-free ground beef, organic heirloom tomatoes and artisan-crafted cheese, and you could easily pay twice as much as you would spend for similar conventional items at a grocery store. But is the ritzy reputation always warranted?


Surprisingly, there are deals to be had at Whole Foods. You heard right: Even bargain-conscious shoppers can find well-priced goods at this high-end grocer.

 

Americans are not only paying more but the service may not be as good as it is in other countries.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 10, 2014 1:59PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News. 

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyWhen it comes to the quality and affordability of cellphone service, Americans seem to be getting the shaft.


Portrait of various smartphones © Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty Images

According to The New York Times, American cellphone service is expensive. In fact, it's among the most costly in the world.


If you compare a cellphone plan in the U.S. with a similar plan in Britain, there is a significant difference in cost. For instance, an iPhone 5S with 16 gigabytes of memory, 2 GB of data, unlimited voice and texting, and a two-year commitment costs about $109 per month in the U.S., according to the Times. A similar plan in the U.K. offers unlimited data and still comes in at just $68 per month.


So why the hefty price difference? The Times said:

Several factors are involved, but an important one is regulatory policy. Britain has forced companies to lease their networks to competitors at cost. The United States has not, allowing a formidable barrier against competitors.
"The United States lacks meaningful competition in its cellular market sector, which leads to higher cell plan prices than a growing list of other countries," said Sascha Meinrath, founder of the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation.
 

Slower-than-expected growth in Medicare spending -- and health care spending in general -- is good news for the federal budget.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 10, 2014 1:53PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News. 

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyYou often hear about the potential for Medicare spending to skyrocket now that a growing number of baby boomers are retiring. But the doom-and-gloom scenario for Medicare isn't nearly as bad as anticipated.


Pills © SuperStockAccording to The New York Times, the most recent report from the Congressional Budget Office (.pdf file) revealed a reduced estimate for Medicare spending in upcoming years.


So just how big is the anticipated savings in Medicare spending? If you compare the new estimate for Medicare expenditures in 2019 ($11,300 per person) with the spending anticipated for 2019 four years ago ($12,700 per person), the U.S. can expect to pocket about $95 billion in Medicare spending savings. Wow.


"That sum is greater than the government is expected to spend that year on unemployment insurance, welfare and Amtrak -- combined," the Times said.


Any savings in Medicare spending is good news for the federal budget. According to the Times:

 

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