‘Time is Money’ Leads to Stress

Do you think of time as money? That view may be damaging your health. Research by Jeffery Pfeffer and Dana R. Carney demonstrates that people who are keenly aware of the economic value of their time generally are more psychologically stressed.

The researchers were inspired by previous research on why lawyers often are unsatisfied with their careers. That study concluded that attorneys, whose time is accounted for in billable minutes, are hyperaware of the ticking clock that rules their work lives. Even when they’re not working, they’re thinking about how much income they’re forgoing during off hours, including time with friends and family.

To demonstrate the effects of time-money awareness, Pfeffer and Carney conducted an experiment in which half of the working subjects were asked to calculate their per-minute pay rate, while the other half were not. Even though both groups worked the same number of hours and got paid the same, the cortisol levels were almost 25% higher in the time-is-money group, whose members also seemed to find less pleasure during two breaks in the experiment.

Elevated cortisol is linked to many health problems, such as anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, headaches, sleep problems, decreased immunity, weight gain and cognitive impairment. “A rise of almost 25% is a serious health consequence,” says Pfeffer.

This phenomenon is particularly disturbing as more workers piece together incomes in the so-called “gig” economy. Rather than being on a full-time payroll, they’re more focused than ever on the economic value of time.

Overspending is “Jingle Bell Wrong”: Don’t Buy Your Way Into a New Year’s Mess

It’s amazing how it happens every year: All of a sudden, it’s the middle of December and Christmas is just a couple of short weeks away.

Because even though Christmas is always on December 25 (each and every year, guys), it seems that there is always financial stress at crunch time when you realize you are going to buy gifts for your family, the in-laws, your friends, your spouse and your children. (Notice I said “going to” and not “have to.”)

Have we not realized this was coming ALL YEAR LONG?

Why, then, do we continue to spend ourselves into a hole that we have to dig our way back out of at the beginning of the New Year? Do the happy holiday blinders go on and we just say, “Charge it!”?

Try just saying, “No.” Because, like my Papaw Kermit always said: “’No’ is a complete sentence.”

You don’t have to buy love with Christmas presents. But, if you enjoy giving and it makes your heart happy, go for it. Just start planning earlier than December 12. 

I’ve listened to a few financial planning “gurus” over the years. Just recently we had a visit from local financial smarty, "Pete the Planner" (as part of the Chamber’s internal wellness programming, our staff will be able to participate in a financial wellness program with Peter Dunn throughout 2013).

They’ve all pretty much said something similar: Start saving up your cash earlier in the year to pay for Christmas. Don’t touch the money unless you are using it for your Christmas shopping purposes (whether that’s in May or on Black Friday). And DON’T spend money you don’t have.

It’s time for Americans to start taking back control of the economy, which will start with each family getting in control of their finances. And no one can do it for you (not even the government). It’s not easy – sticking to a budget takes work, but financial strain and daily turmoil causes more work and stress than living within your means.

As it is only a few weeks away from Christmas and it’s a little late to start stockpiling your money for Christmas 2012, my advice is this if you are fretting and can’t afford gifts. There’s no shame in telling your friends and family that you are working to right your financial ship and that spending time together – or offering to clean their home or cook dinner for them or just listening when they need a shoulder – is a better gift than anything bought in a store. If they are truly your friends and family, they will be understanding and help you on your path to financial peace. 

And next year, you can start saving money early … unless you decide that offering your time and services is a much better gift anyway.

Ad War Winner is TV Stations in Key States

Combined television advertising spending in the presidential race is on pace to top $1 billion by Election Day. And while you might think you’re seeing more than a few attacks and the occasional "I have an idea" spot here in Hoosierland, we’re actually barely a blip on the radar screen.

Residents in the battleground states are being bombarded. Just last week, the tally came to an estimated $14.3 million in Florida, $13.9 million in Ohio and $9.3 million in Virginia. Colorado and Iowa have also been part of the mix since the summer.

In fact, before the campaign was even in full swing, here were the 10 media markets as defined by most gross rating points (an advertising measure that, in simplied terms, means  reach times frequency) for just July and August.

  1. Colorado Springs
  2. Roanoke-Lynchburg
  3. Richmond-Petersburg
  4. Denver
  5. Des Moines
  6. Columbus
  7. Cincinnati
  8. Cleveland
  9. Tampa-St. Pete
  10. Cedar Rapids

I guess one can always switch the channel, but there’s no guarantee you won’t be "attacked" there as well. Good luck and remember there are only two more weeks to go.

Ranking the Best to Invest for 2011 Around the Globe

Site Selection magazine is well known for its tracking of business projects and rankings of economic activity. One of its newest projects (in its fourth year) is Best to Invest ratings. Half of the evaluation is based on its comprehensive database of new and expanded facilities, with the other 50% an analysis of business environment, business risks, foreign direct investment and infrastructure.

Here are top countries in five global regions. The metro rankings in these regions are based on similar factors as above, but with a slightly different weighting formula.

Western Europe

  • Top five countries: Ireland, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria and (tie) Switzerland and Italy. Top five metros: Dublin, Ireland; Frankfurt, Germany; Edinburgh, Scotland; Birmingham, England; and (tie) Belfast, Northern Ireland and Paris, France.

Eastern Europe

  • Countries: Hungary, Poland, Slovak Republic and (tie) Estonia and Czech Republic. Metros: Budapest, Hungary; Moscow, Russia; Bucharest, Romania; Prague, Czech Republic; and Warsaw, Poland.

Asia-Pacific

  • Countries: Singapore, Australia, (tie) Malaysia and South Korea, Vietnam. Metros (first three in China and last two in India): (tie) Beijing and Shanghai; (tie) Chongqing and Chennai; and Bangalore.

Africa and the Middle East

  • Countries: South Africa, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Metros: Port Elizabeth, South Africa; (tie) Nairobi, Kenya; Cairo, Egypt; and Kinsasha, Congo; and Casablanca, Morocco.

Latin America

  • Countries: Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile and Argentina. Metros: Sao Paulo, Brazil; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Mexico City, Mexico; (tie) Guadalajara, Mexico and Monterrey, Mexico.

 

A Different Kind of Inheritance Tax?

We were proud to join many Hoosiers and legislators in the 2012 session in striking down Indiana’s inheritance tax.

While it’s not quite the same thing, this story from Minnesota raises interesting questions about the government’s role in monitoring monetary gifts from one person to another. Read the saga of the waitress/mother of five and her alleged "drug money" donation, and let us know in the comments section if you think the police did the right thing. The Duluth News Tribune has the story:

For the struggling waitress with five children, the $12,000 left at the table in a to-go box must have seemed too good to be true.

Moorhead police decided it was just that.

Now, the waitress is suing in Clay County District Court, claiming the cash was given to her and police shouldn’t have seized it as drug money.

“The thing that’s sad about it is here’s somebody who truly needs this gift … and now the government is getting in the way of it,” said the woman’s attorney, Craig Richie of Fargo.

Moorhead police Lt. Tory Jacobson said he couldn’t discuss the matter.

“We certainly have an ongoing investigation with it, with suspicion of narcotics or the involvement of narcotics investigators,” he said.

Assistant County Attorney Michelle Lawson also declined to discuss the pending lawsuit.

The Forum isn’t identifying the waitress in order to protect her in case the cash was part of a drug deal.

According to the lawsuit filed three weeks ago:

The waitress was working at the Moorhead Fryn’ Pan when she noticed that a woman had left a to-go box from another restaurant on the table.

The waitress picked it up, followed the woman to her car and tried to give her the box, but the woman replied, “No, I am good; you keep it.”

The waitress thought that was strange, but she agreed and went back inside the restaurant, the lawsuit states. The box felt too heavy to contain only leftovers, so she looked inside and found cash rolled up in rubber bands.

“Even though I desperately needed the money as my husband and I have 5 children, I feel I did the right thing by calling Moorhead Police,” she states in the lawsuit.

Police arrived and seized the money, which the woman was told amounted to roughly $12,000. She was first told the money would be hers if it wasn’t claimed within 60 days, the lawsuit states. Then she claims she was told to wait 90 days. Continue reading

NCAA Hoops: Shooting for Dollars

The Wall Street Journal has an intriguing piece today about the most monetarily valuable NCAA basketball programs (if they could be sold like a professional franchise). Surprisingly, Louisville tops the charts. Not surprisingly, Indiana is No. 3, and Purdue made the top 20 at No. 18.

Oh, and congrats to "that team from the SEC" for winning the championship last night.

While Kansas and Kentucky battle it out Monday night for the national championship, college basketball’s real No. 1 will be sitting back on the sideline, counting its considerable cash.

The Louisville men’s basketball team is far and away the most valuable program in the sport, according to a recent study. Despite not even being the most prestigious team in its own state—that would be Kentucky, which beat the Cardinals on Saturday for a spot in the national-title game—Louisville would be worth an estimated $211.5 million if it could be bought and sold like a professional franchise. Kansas ($146 million) is second, while Kentucky ($73.7 million) stands a distant 16th.
 
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, right, shakes hands with Kentucky head coach John Calipari before the first half of Saturday’s Final Four game.

Ryan Brewer, an assistant professor of finance at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, calculated the intrinsic valuations of 100 top Division I programs, including all 74 major-conference ones. Among other factors, the study examined each program’s revenues and expenses and made cash-flow adjustments, risk assessments and growth projections for every school.

Louisville blew away the field in part because of the massive revenues it has been making at the recently built KFC Yum! Center. The Cardinals, who began playing in the 22,000-seat arena in the fall of 2010, reported $40.9 million in revenue in the last fiscal year, according to government data—nearly $12 million more than any other team.

But conference-wise, the Big Ten came out on top. The Big Ten’s 12 schools have an average value of $68.3 million, followed by the Atlantic Coast ($58.2 million) and Big 12 ($50.2 million). The Big East ($40.3 million) is weighed down by its smaller members, while the Pac-12 ($35.0 million) and Southeastern Conferences ($30.7 million) are well behind.

Hat tip to Chamber staffer Ashton Eller for passing along the article.

IU Football Symbolizes Decisions Universities Must Make About Importance of Athletics

As an IU alum and football fan, this was obviously of great interest to me. The Indianapolis Business Journal’s recent article on the state of the school’s football program seems to highlight the risk vs. reward dilemma facing larger universities’ athletic budgets. When is it worth a major investment, and when should the pursuit of winning be scaled back?

Athletic Director Fred Glass has emphasized marketing, been the point man in radio and television commercials, and is leading the charge into a season that promises football financial gains not seen in Bloomington in a very long time.

While success on the field is not guaranteed, Glass is promising significant attendance increases and a continued rebirth of the football program that he believes will lead to critical fiscal gains for the school and its athletic department.

IU has a long way to go, and some critics wonder if it’s wise for the Hoosiers to chase the likes of Ohio State University … or even the University of Wisconsin. IU’s $55.7 million athletic department budget looks small compared with the Buckeyes’

“College athletics is a very dangerous investment for schools,” said David Ridpath, a professor of sports administration at Ohio University and past president of The Drake Group, a not-for-profit that bills itself as a watchdog for academic integrity in the face of big-time college sports.

“Schools can get caught up in chasing bigger programs with many more resources, and it becomes difficult to justify the expenses based on true return on investments.”

Twitter: It’s Time to Start Making $

It was only a matter of time, but Twitter has decided to delve into the world of advertising. While their user base has grown exponentially into the millions, their model wasn’t really a sustainable one, which was no secret to the company or its users. So here’s what’s going on, according to PC World:

Twitter will start testing a new advertising program that delivers contextually relevant ads in a user’s search results, the micro-blogging site announced on Tuesday. Called Promoted Tweets, the new ad program will post sponsored tweets at the top of your Twitter search results, based on the context of your search terms.

These sponsored search results, which are similar in some ways to Google’s AdSense program, are just the first step in Twitter’s new advertising plans; more changes will be considered after Twitter has had time to measure the success of Promoted Tweets.

Search Results

Twitter is hyping the "organic" nature of Promoted Tweets, where advertising will be based on tweets that Twitter’s advertising partners have already sent out in their regular Twitter streams. At launch, these advertising partners include Best Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony Pictures, Starbucks, and Virgin America.

If a business wants a particular message to reach a wider audience, that tweet will become a Promoted Tweet and will appear at the top of contextually relevant search results. "There is not a single ‘ad’ in our Promoted Tweets platform that isn’t already an organic part of Twitter," wrote Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone in a blog post announcing the program . "This is distinct from both traditional search advertising and more recent social advertising."

Twitter says the messages will be clearly labeled as "promoted" and will function just like any other tweet with the ability for users to retweet (repost), reply, or bookmark the message. In fact, what users do with these "Promoted Tweets" may be crucial to the success of Twitter’s new advertising program. The micro-blog says it will measure the success of particular tweets to make sure that only messages that "resonate with users" are included in Promoted Tweets. So if people don’t interact with a particular sponsored message by retweeting, replying, or bookmarking it, the company says the tweet will soon disappear from search results.