5 Reasons Budgeting Apps Don’t Work For Most People

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Can we all agree that one of the secrets to achieving financial independence is figuring out a way to spend less than you make? OK, good. Then why aren’t more of us better at it? Credit card debt levels are the highest they’ve ever been. Clearly, finding a way to budget is a bit of a holy grail for many people.

The thing is, there is no perfect way to track or control spending. The way people make spending decisions varies as much as the number of ways to order at Starbucks so as a financial coach, I’m always on the look-out for new ways to make it simple and painless. In other words, I’m in search of the My Fitness Pal for money.

However, I’m not so sure an app is what’s going to move the needle. In fact, using a screen to make financial decisions may actually promote bad behavior. How many times has a notification popped up that lead to you filling a digital cart? Here’s why I think we need to stop trying to find the perfect app and instead master the pen and paper or spreadsheet way of tracking money:

1. It’s too easy to ignore. If I had a dollar for every person that confessed that they tried Mint, but eventually the text alerts and notifications started driving them crazy, I could afford a personal chef. Yes, money apps can help you set alerts to notify you when you’re coming close to overspending, but they can easily get lost in the myriad of more fun notifications that already flood your screen. Just nagging isn’t enough to actually keep money in your account.

2. You still have to actually maintain it. No software is perfect. So even if you are able to effectively link your apps to all of your accounts for an accurate look at where you are, you still need to log in regularly to make sure it is categorizing correctly.

If you’re trying to track spending on dining out and booze, you have to go in and make sure it doesn’t think your liquor store is a grocery store (that happened), and what happens when you buy wine while grocery shopping or if your restaurant lunch is actually reimbursed by work? You have to manually fix that stuff, and if you don’t do it regularly, it will become too much. You might as well use that time maintaining a spreadsheet.

3. My Fitness Pal doesn’t actually stop the chips from going in my mouth. You can have your phone tell you six ways ‘til Sunday that you’ve blown your calorie allotment for the day before you even get to dinner, but unless I’m in the first four days or so of tracking, I’m probably still going to eat before I go to bed. Financial apps work the same way. They give you the data, but only you can take that next step of keeping the money in your account.

4. My brain is changing and I don’t like it. I do think I’m addicted to my iPhone. My compulsion to check email when I’m already feeling overwhelmed with tasks is constant, even when I don’t actually want to be working.

I’ve also noticed that it’s become totally socially acceptable to be texting, Facebooking, Instagramming, Snapchatting, etc. while hanging out with friends. I hate that! Adding financial management to my phone just exacerbates the problem. So I’m putting the phone down and I think you should too.

5. We notice what we pay attention to. When I purchased my Mini Cooper, “Sheldon”, I was excited about the white racing stripes that I thought made him unique. Then I started to notice how many other electric blue Mini Coopers had white racing stripes.

Was there a sudden surge in the popularity of this style? No. I just started noticing it.

The same thing goes for your money. I started tracking my net worth on a monthly basis a couple of years ago. Nothing complicated – I just list all my accounts and about the same time each month, I add a new column with their current balances.

I love watching the amount grow in my 401(k) while seeing the value decrease on my car loan. And I LOVE putting a big fat zero down in the student loan line these days! This is a great way for me to make sure I’m checking in on my money at least monthly and it is fun to watch my net worth slowly but steadily increase. Try it and see if it doesn’t also get you starting to track other things like how much you spent the previous month on carry-out dinners.

There is one thing I think you can use your phone to help with and that’s checking your bank account daily. Every morning when you’re doing that first check to see what you missed on social media, add in a quick check of your bank account to see if anything funky posted overnight. This can save you from expensive overdrafts and help you catch fraud much sooner.

[“Source-forbes”]

Infected apps are secretly stealing money from millions of people

android

A 3D printed Android logo is seen in front of a displayed cyber code in this illustration taken March 22, 2016 / REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

‘All of this illicit activity takes place without the victim’s knowledge’

Malware that secretly charges users for fake services has been downloaded by millions of people, a new report says.

“ExpensiveWall”, software designed to cheat users out of their money without them realising, was hidden in at least 50 apps in the Google Play store. A list of apps can be found further down this page.

According to the Check Point researchers who discovered it, ExpensiveWall has been downloaded between one million and 4.2 million times.

“The malware registers victims to premium services without their knowledge and sends fraudulent premium SMS messages, charging their accounts for fake services,” the researchers said.

“In some cases, the SMS activity takes place without giving the user any notice. In other cases, the malware presents the user with a button called ‘Continue’, and once the user clicks the button, the malware sends a premium SMS on [their] behalf.”

A number of people who installed ExpensiveWall-infected apps tried to warn other users off downloading them by leaving negative reviews on Google Play. Some of these read:

“The comments indicate that the app is promoted on several social networks including Instagram, which might explain how it came to be downloaded so many times,” said Check Point.

The ExpensiveWall apps were reported to Google on 7 August and removed from the Play store.

However, Check Point says more infected apps were made available to download on Google Play “within days”. These were taken down four days later.

The ExpensiveWall apps requested a number of permissions from users after being downloaded, including internet and SMS access.

These are fairly common permissions that most users wouldn’t think twice about granting, but allowed ExpensiveWall to operate.

However, Check Point says it could have caused a lot more damage.

“While ExpensiveWall is currently designed only to generate profit from its victims, a similar malware could be easily modified to use the same infrastructure in order to capture pictures, record audio, and even steal sensitive data and send the data to a command and control (C&C) server,” it said.

“Since the malware is capable of operating silently, all of this illicit activity takes place without the victim’s knowledge, turning it into the ultimate spying tool.”

Check Point says ExpensiveWall is a new variant of a malware found on Google Play earlier this year by McAfee, and says “the entire malware family” has been downloaded between 5.9 million and 21.1 million times.

If you downloaded an ExpensiveWall-infected app, you should delete it immediately. Check Point has listed the following apps online:

  • I Love Fliter
  • Tool Box Pro
  • X WALLPAPER
  • Horoscope
  • X Wallpaper Pro
  • Beautiful Camera
  • Color Camera
  • Love Photo
  • Tide Camera
  • Charming Camera
  • Horoscope
  • DIY Your Screen
  • Ringtone
  • ดวง 12 ราศี Lite
  • Safe locker
  • Wifi Booster
  • Cool Desktop
  • useful cube
  • Tool Box Pro
  • Useful Desktop
  • ดวง 12 ราศี Lite
  • Horoscope2.0
  • Yes Star
  • Shiny Camera
  • Simple Camera
  • Smiling Camera
  • Universal Camera
  • Amazing Toolbox
  • Easy capture
  • Memory Doctor
  • Tool Box Pro
  • Reborn Beauty
  • Joy Photo
  • Fancy Camera
  • Amazing Photo
  • Amazing Camera
  • Super Wallpaper
  • DD Player
  • Fascinating Camera
  • Universal Camera
  • Cream Camera
  • Looking Camera
  • DD Weather
  • Global Weather
  • Love Fitness
  • Pretty Pictures
  • Cool Wallpapers
  • Beauty Camera
  • Love locker
  • Real Star
  • Magic Camera
  • Wonder Camera
  • Funny Camera
  • Easy Camera
  • Smart Keyboard
  • Travel Camera
  • Photo Warp
  • Lovely Wallpaper
  • Lattice Camera
  • Quick Charger
  • Up Camera
  • Photo Power
  • HDwallpaper
  • Wonderful Games
  • BI File Manager
  • Wallpapers HD
  • Beautiful Video-Edit your Memory
  • Wonderful Cam
  • useful cube
  • Ringtone
  • Exciting Games
  • Replica Adventure
  • GG Player
  • Love Camera
  • Oneshot Beautify
  • Pretty Camera
  • CuteCamera
  • Cartoon Camera-stylish, clean
  • Art Camera
  • Amazing Video
  • Fine Photo
  • Infinity safe
  • Magical Horoscope
  • Toolbox
  • Cute Belle
  • CartoonWallpaper
  • Ringtone
  • Best Camera
  • Colorful Locker
  • Light Keyboard
  • Safe Privacy
  • Enjoy Wallpaper
  • File Manager
  • Fancy locker
  • Cute Puzzle
  • Smile Keyboard
  • Vitality Camera
  • Lock Now
  • Fancy Camera
  • Useful Camera
  • Vitality Camera
  • Sec Transfer
  • Lock Now
  • Magic Filter
  • Funny Video
  • Amazing Gamebox
  • Super locker
  • Music Player

[“Source-independent”]

Aziz Ansari has great advice for people in creative slumps

A palette of paints is shown at Chelsea Restoration Associates, Inc. Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009 in New York.

Learning to accept uninspired periods in our lives is critical to future success. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

When you’re a creatively successful person, people always want to know what you’re working on. The problem is that sometimes the answer is: Nothing much.

Actor and filmmaker Aziz Ansari recently offered a refreshing take on the pressure that creative types feel to produce. In an interview with GQ‘s Mark Anthony, he explains that he’s not feeling particularly inspired right now—and he’s trying to be all right with that. He says:

“I’m not gonna make stuff just for the sake of making stuff. I want to make stuff ’cause I’m inspired. Right now I don’t really feel inspired …

… I hope more people get very successful and then quit. Shouldn’t that be the game? That you make a bunch of money and just move to Italy and live a quiet life? No one does it! You do a bunch of shit and you just want to do more shit. Tom Cruise! Look at that guy! He will not stop. He’s still making these fucking movies. No one who does what I do—or anywhere related in my world—is ever like, I’m done.That’s why I travel so much. I always think about this thing someone once told me. They said, Patterns are the work of the devil. For some reason that stuck in my head.”

Of course, Ansari is speaking from a position of tremendous wealth and privilege. Most people don’t have the option of quitting work and embracing the European lifestyle of our choice. But his skepticism about the idea that successful professionals must always be creating is a useful thing for all of us to consider—because it uproots a very common misunderstanding about creativity.

No one, including the most acclaimed artist, is always inspired, says Scott Barry Kaufman, scientific director of the Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. What’s more, learning to accept uninspired periods in our lives is critical to future success.

“Creativity isn’t a singular personality trait,” says Kaufman. “It’s a way of being that requires being constantly open to spotting and engaging in new ideas and experiences, without the expectation that these experiences will lead to inspiration or immediate creative outcome.”

The most common characteristics of people across all creative fields, as Kaufman previously explained in Quartz, include “an openness to one’s inner life; a preference for complexity and ambiguity; an unusually high tolerance for disorder and disarray; the ability to extract order from chaos; independence; unconventionality; and a willingness to take risks.” All of these characteristics suggest that true creativity is born out of a drive to relish—or, in Ansari’s case, “chill”—in the unknown.

Acknowledging when the process is not going well can be the difference between a forced (and failed) creative endeavor, and an opportunity for learning and resetting, says Kaufman. This is a reality that prolific creators like Lena Dunham, writer and star of the six-season HBO series Girls, have long internalized:

To become more creative, you should be actively trying to find meaning in things that aren’t going as expected or desired, says Kauffman. “Creativity emerges when you are open to detours, not when you approach life, or a job, or an single experience with a set goal in mind.” Only on such detours—like Ansari’s seemingly aimless travel, or a Saturday spent meandering around your neighborhood—can you recognize the paradoxes worth reconciling and the subtleties overlooked by those too busy, or “inspired” to slow down.

[“Source-qz”]

Is it good that young people are staying on in education?

Pupils writing

On exam results day, education correspondent Jamie McIvor asks a fundamental and unfashionable question: is it a good thing that more youngsters than ever before stay on at school or go to college and university?

Exam passes are high by historic standards, more youngsters are staying on at school and going to college or university.

Is this a good thing in itself? Or is the education system simply having to adapt to the fact that in the modern world there are fewer good jobs for young people, and that unskilled jobs are disappearing?

It is an interesting philosophical question to contemplate – one quite distinct from the question of ensuring all young people can achieve their potential in education, regardless of wealth or family background.

  • Where to go for help on exam results day

The suspicion of some has always been that the education system has had to soak up youngsters who might otherwise have been unemployed – either because of economic problems or the gradual disappearance of some unskilled jobs.

In the 1970s the school leaving age was raised from 15 to 16 but it took a further 10 years for a qualifications system which had been designed with the more academically-able in mind to evolve.

For many years, youngsters who were not able to study for a full suite of O grades filled their third and fourth year timetables with “non certificate” courses – seen by some as a waste of effort. The boredom these students experienced was blamed by some teachers for indiscipline.

Standard grades were designed to make sure all youngsters could get a meaningful qualification. This underlying ethos has been carried into the current National qualifications.

But in the 1980s it was still unusual for a youngster who was not studying for Highers to stay on until S5. When someone who was not doing Highers stayed on past their statutory leaving age, again the suspicion of some was that the youngster was only at school to “stay off the dole”.

In Scotland the official school leaving age is still 16, but the majority of pupils, regardless of their academic ability, stay on until S6. It is now unusual to leave at the end of S4 and schools would be genuinely concerned if a youngster wanted to leave early without a good reason for doing so.

Positive outcomes

S4, S5 and S6 are now classed as the “senior phase”. The emphasis is on the qualifications a youngster has at the time they leave – not on what they have achieved by a particular stage.

The number of so-called Neets – youngsters who are not in education, employment or training – is at a very low level by historic standards.

The Scottish government guarantees youngsters who are not in a job a place in education or training. It is often the case that a pupil classed as a Neet has a long back story which helps explains the situation.

If a pupil leaves school before the end of S6 because they have secured an apprenticeship or a place at college or university it would be deemed to be a “positive outcome”; if a youngster simply wanted to leave school for a dead-end job a school might worry this was a failure on their part as the pupil may not have been enjoying their education.

Student celebrating exam successImage copyrightAFP/GETTY

The senior phase is designed to offer a flexible system where any youngster can achieve something of value.

For the most academically-able, the question may be what Highers or Advanced Highers they leave school with. For others, it might be about the number of National 4s and 5s they obtain – even one Higher might represent a big personal achievement.

Colleges have been through a huge shake-up in recent years and now concentrate primarily on full-time courses which lead to a recognised qualification – these are mostly taken by students in their teens or early 20s.

Drop-out rate

Privately, some in the college system warn that colleges are having to accommodate youngsters who might otherwise have been unemployed, as well as those who positively want to be studying a subject. This may be reflected in the drop-out rate for some courses.

So we return to the question: is a school system where it is unusual for a youngster to leave early and a college system which has to find places for those who would otherwise be unemployed achieving something positive in itself?

Or is it merely parking the youth unemployment problem, just like non certificate S4 classes in the 1970s?

Boy doing exam paper

Few in the mainstream would seriously argue that educational opportunities should not be as widely available as possible.

But the issue touches on an intriguing question. Once, it was possible to leave school with O grades and get a job with prospects. Not so long ago, many good jobs were available to youngsters with good Highers.

Today, other than modern apprenticeships, most good jobs for young people require a college or university qualification first.

So is the education system having to deal with the practical effect of economic change?

De-industrialisation and automation mean many of the unskilled, entry level jobs once filled by school-leavers no longer exist.

Or are the changes positively helping to provide the workforce the economy needs?

Skilled workforce

The argument is that Scotland, like every advanced country, needs as skilled a workforce as possible to compete internationally and fulfil its potential.

A skilled workforce does not just mean turning out scientists and surgeons – it means hairdressers and staff for the hospitality industry too.

Once, fewer people in those industries would have received any formal college training and might simply have learned on the job or served a traditional apprenticeship. But the argument is that a proper course and training raises standards and allows the best to shine.

Anecdotally, of course, many of the genuinely unskilled jobs which those with few qualifications may once have done – say stacking shelves in the supermarket – are now done by students or those with college or university qualifications who find themselves “underemployed” .

Indeed, while the number of young people at university is close to a historic high, a significant proportion of graduates do not secure what would be seen as graduate-level jobs even if few would do unskilled work for long.

None of this is to suggest a good education is not of value in itself – even if it does not lead to someone getting a better job than they may have got otherwise.

But perhaps it is interesting to reflect on how in the space of barely 40 years, the time someone routinely spends in education has increased. Once, a basic education ended at 15; now few teenagers are completely out of the system.

Source:-BBC