Fast-growing web of doorbell cams raises privacy fears

In this Tuesday, July 16, 2019, photo, Ernie Field poses for a photograph next to a Ring doorbell camera at his home in Wolcott, Conn. Field won a free Ring camera and said he had to register for the app to qualify for the raffle. Now he gets alerts on his phone when a car drives by and a 30-second video when his daughter gets home from school. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Jessica Hill
In this Friday, June 28, 2019, photo, Vicki and Larry Eklund pose with their 7-foot-tall bald eagle carving at their home in Coon Rapids, Minn. When the Eklund’s 150-pound bald eagle carving was stolen from their yard earlier this year, police in the Minneapolis suburb of Coon Rapids had a key piece of evidence: an image of the suspect looking directly into Eklund’s doorbell camera. Police posted the Ring doorbell video on social media, and hours later the Army veteran’s valued carving was returned. (AP Photo/Jeff Baenen)
Jeff Baenen
In this Saturday, March 23, 2019, image made from video, a man tries to leave with an bald eagle carving at the Coon Rapids, Minn., home …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News

      

A 401(k) for the self-employed

Here are three of the week’s top pieces of financial advice, gathered from around the web:

A 401(k) for sole proprietors
If you are your own boss and have no other employees, a little-known retirement-savings vehicle called an “individual” or “solo” 401(k) may be for you, said Jeff Brown at The Wall Street Journal. “Solo Ks, as some call them, allow participants to avoid the complex rules covering corporate 401(k)s” and offer sole proprietors the flexibility to “choose between making traditional tax-deductible contributions or after-tax Roth contributions,” which is why some advisers have begun recommending them over other options for people who work on their own, such as the SEP-IRA. But business owners should be aware that hiring just a single employee could force the plan “to meet a tricky nondiscrimination test” designed to “make sure executives don’t get a better deal than employees.” In that situation, it might make more sense to stick with the SEP-IRA.

Amazon’s confusing aisles
Amazon is a great place to shop if you know what you’re looking for, said Shira Ovide at Bloomberg, but it “can be clueless about guiding people who aren’t sure what they want.” I recently went clicking through Amazon’s beauty products section to look for foundation, a staple of any makeup line. It’s also a “notoriously tricky item to buy online or in stores because people must match the shade to their skin tone.” But I found Amazon’s search results to be comical: Two-hundred pages of randomly organized products with no filter for powder vs. liquid or even for shade. “Amazon users can search for underwear by color but can’t apparently do the same for lipstick — a product defined by color.” This is all too emblematic of “one of Amazon’s greatest weaknesses.”

Getting better returns on cash
“It’s getting harder to generate a good return on your cash,” said Jacob Passy at MarketWatch. Rates for certificates of deposit (CDs) are “falling across the board for the first time in five years,” and annual percentage yields on most savings accounts have also been dropping. Blame the falling yields on Treasury bonds, which tend to dictate “the interest rates banks charge on loans and pay out on deposits and savings.” Now “could be an ideal time to lock in a strong interest rate on cash.” It might also be sensible to plant your money in an online bank, …read more

Source:: The Week – Business

      

The pros and cons of a $15 minimum wage

The smartest insight and analysis, from all perspectives, rounded up from around the web:

A Congressional Budget Office analysis released last week “makes clear that the benefits of a $15-an-hour minimum wage would heavily outweigh the downside,” said Michael Hiltzik at the Los Angeles Times. The agency found that as many as 1.3 million people could be lifted out of poverty if the federal minimum wage rose from $7.25 in stages over five years, boosting the wages of 27 million Americans. The CBO said the change might also lead to the loss of 1.3 million jobs. Opponents have seized on that point, but the agency acknowledges it is “manifestly more uncertain than most of the rest” of the analysis. This uncertainty sounds familiar, said Noah Smith at Bloomberg. Many CBO studies rely on sifting through a large and often contradictory body of research. The most recent studies, however, tend “to find very small job losses from raising pay floors.” In many places and industries, companies “hold wages below what a competitive market would offer.” A higher minimum could just restore the competitive balance between workers and employers.

Tell that to the small businesses that are particularly vulnerable to cost increases, said Tiana Lowe in the Washington Examiner. Big businesses, meanwhile, will simply automate the jobs. “Just go to your local McDonald’s and order from the kiosk to see this in action.” Some companies in places that have raised the minimum wage are already blaming wage laws for driving them out of business, said Jeremy Hill at Bloomberg. Restaurants Unlimited, a West Coast chain of 35 fine-dining and casual eateries, filed for bankruptcy protection last week. It said “progressive wage laws” in Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland had inflated “wage expenses by a total of $10.6 million” — more than the midsize chain, with total revenue of $176 million in a year, could afford.

Don’t base your opinion on one example, said economists Anna Godoey and Michael Reich at CNN. We’ve done the research on 51 minimum-wage increases in 45 states and found that “higher minimum wages do not have adverse effects on employment.” We also found that in low-wage areas “where the highest proportion of workers received pay increases,” there were wage increases across the board. That matches other research that “wage increases ripple upward,” said Andrew Van Dam at …read more

Source:: The Week – Business