Sommer Johnson thought everything was finally coming together for her last year. She was engaged, working full time and doing well in online college classes when her fiance's mother died a week before their wedding day - triggering a series of large and unexpected expenses that left her struggling to pay her bills and brought her to the verge of bankruptcy. "I keep hearing this is one of the best economies we've ever had and unemployment is down, especially among African-Americans, which I am," said Johnson, 39, who lives in Douglasville, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb. "I'm looking around going, 'Where is this boom?' From where I sit, this doesn't look like the best economy ever." The economic expansion this week became the longest in U.S. history, surpassing the 1990s boom, which lasted exactly a decade. The stock market is at record levels, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing at a new high Wednesday ahead of the July 4 holiday, and President Donald Trump has made the economy's … [Read more...] about As economy booms, many a crisis away from bust
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Festivals are an ideal setting for casual sex but how much do revellers know about sexually transmitted infections, asks Áilín Quinlan.THE freedom of open-air, all-night summer festivals offers the perfect opportunity for hook-up sex.But, fuelled by alcohol, or drugs, it can be all too easy to throw caution — and crucial sexual protection — to the wind. Be warned: The risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in this country has rarely, if ever, been higher.In the first five months of this year, the health service registered an increase of 70% in syphilis, 40% in gonorrhoea and 21% in chlamydia.In May, the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre said it had recorded 1,116 new cases of gonorrhoea in 2019, nearly 40% more than in the first 20 weeks of 2018, while 291 cases of the potentially fatal disease of syphilis compares with 171 in the same period in 2018, a rise of 70%.Longer-term analysis, which compared the latest situation with … [Read more...] about Summer lovin’: Danger of getting an STI during festival season
You’re not sure what to prioritise — your pension, mortgage or your Isa. You’re starting to lose sleep over whether you’re saving enough for your children’s education. And you can’t quite recall whether you have accumulated four, five — or was it six? — pension pots from previous jobs. Now may be time to consider a mid-life financial MOT.Savers and investors reaching their fifth decade face a series of choices about the right balance of spending and saving to strike as their earnings and expenditure typically peak and retirement planning picks up pace. Thorny questions include the suitable trade-offs between mortgage payments and pension contributions, savings and investments, the correct level of risk in an investment portfolio and the potential for breaching tax relief limits on pension contributions. Advisers say this time of life is precisely when people should consider conducting a thorough assessment of their finances in the round … [Read more...] about Your financial mid-life MOT: is it time for a tune-up?
BRAD HOOPER quit his previous job at a grocery in Madison because his boss was “a little crazy”. The manager threatened to sack him and other cashiers for refusing orders to work longer than their agreed hours. Not long ago, Mr Hooper’s decision to walk out might have looked foolhardy. A long-haired navy veteran, he suffers from recurrent ill-health, including insomnia. He has no education beyond high school. Early this decade he was jobless for a year and recalls how back then, there were “a thousand people applying for every McDonald’s job”. This time he struck lucky, finding much better work. Today he sells tobacco and cigarettes in a chain store for 32 hours a week. That leaves plenty of time for his passion, reading science fiction. And after years of low earnings he collects $13.90 an hour, almost double the state’s minimum rate and better than the grocer’s pay. His new employer has already bumped up his wages twice in 18 months. … [Read more...] about American life is improving for the lowest paid
One of the big criticisms of the EU is that it has shifted the focus over the past 30 years from social protection and solidarity towards growth and globalisation. The upshot has been rising inequality and mounting precariousness for a tier of people who find that work can be insecure, sporadic and so low paid that it doesn’t even cover the bills. A survey published this week by the European Council on Foreign Relations found that only a third of Germans and a quarter of Italians and French typically had money left over at month-end for discretionary spending. Recent work by French economists meanwhile found that the average income of the richest 1% of Europeans has grown twice as fast as that of the bottom 50%. The poverty rate remains 21%, the same as it was in the mid-2000s. “This rise in inequality, visible in almost all the countries in Europe, has taken place in a context of growing fiscal competition between European states which has undermined the progressiveness of … [Read more...] about Cash, credits and crisis: life in the new European ‘precariat’