But at the few remaining typewriter repair shops in the country, business is booming as a younger generation discovers the joy of the feel and sound of the typewriter — and older generations admit they never fell out of love with it.
“What’s surprising to me is that the younger generation is taking a liking to typewriters again,” says Paul Schweitzer, 80, owner and operator of the Gramercy Typewriter Co., founded by his father in 1932. He now works alongside his son, Jay Schweitzer, 50, and — this summer — a grandson, Jake.
Vintage typewriters are sent for repair and restoration daily from around the country, Schweitzer says. Demand is so great that early this year, the family finally opened their own store, in New York City. Other surviving shops include Berkeley Typewriter and California Typewriter, both in Berkeley, California, and also founded in the 1930s.
Two recent documentaries, “The Typewriter (In The 21st Century)” (2012) and “California Typewriter” (2016), featuring collector Tom Hanks, have helped popularize vintage typewriters among young people, who also have a soft spot for other analog technologies like vinyl records and fountain pens.
At one time, Schweitzer says, there were six pages of typewriter repair listings in the New York City phone book (which also hardly exists anymore).
Schweitzer, who also services HP laser printers, still packs up his leather typewriter-repair bag and heads out on jobs at offices around the city, seeing to sticky keys and shredded ribbons. But these days, he sees to just a handful of typewriters in any given office, as opposed to years ago, when he visited offices with as many as 700 typewriters, one at each desk.
“A lot of law firms and accounting firms still have typewriters in their offices. They have computers, too, but there are always times when typewriters come in handy,” he says. They are convenient for smaller jobs, like addressing envelopes, and there are times you just want something done quickly and in triplicate.
The American Writers Museum, in Chicago, features a popular section with seven manual typewriters and an electric typewriter that visitors can try out.
“Typing for the first time is exciting, especially for younger people,” says Carey Cranston, president of the museum, which now features an exhibit with 16 typewriters used by famous writers like Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, Maya Angelou and John Lennon.
“With a pen or pencil you can distract yourself by doodling, and of course on a computer it’s easy to find distractions. But a typewriter was invented specifically for writing. There are no distractions. It’s just you and the page,” Cranston says.
Students who visited the museum on a field trip were so enamored with the typewriters that they started their own typewriter club, and Cranston says he’ll never forget the reaction of one fifth-grader discovering typewriters for the first time.
Ellen Lupton, senior curator in contemporary design at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, which has an array of typewriters in its collection, says, “There’s an irresistible tactility to typing on a typewriter, a satisfying sound, a feeling of authentic authorship. No one can spy on you and there are no distractions,” she says.
The “shift” key, for instance, was originally meant to literally shift the position of a typewriter key, to a capital letter from a lower-case one. The return key (or lever, on manual typewriters) originally returned the carriage into position for the next line.
“And we’re still stuck with the QWERTY keyboard — even on phones — which was supposedly designed to prevent keys from sticking together when someone is typing quickly,” Lupton says.
While early typewriters of the late 19th century were designed purely for function, “by the ’20s and ’30s they’d become quite stylish,” Lupton says.
“We have quite a few very stylish Italian typewriters in our collection. They’re very chic, with wonderful geometry and unusual lines. Olivetti was a big producer of office equipment and they are really invested in design,” says Lupton. “Another reason for the appeal must surely be the beautiful and authentic appearance of a typewritten page.”
It’s common for typewriters to allow for typing in red and black, and to feature a “ribbon reverse” function to maximize use of the ink ribbon by running it in the opposite direction once it reaches the end of the spool.
And as with every tool, there are tricks to using a typewriter. To save on the number of keys, there is generally no number “1” on older keyboards (a lower case “L” suffices), and to make an exclamation point, a period is simply topped with an apostrophe.
NEW YORK — Using technology to run her practice lets defense attorney Susan Williams give clients the time and attention they need.
Williams decided years ago she didn’t want a large staff that would require her to increase her caseload simply to have the money to pay her employees. She has one part-time assistant and uses software for tasks like scheduling and sharing documents with clients.
“I never want to have a practice where people feel like their lawyer is being spread too thin,” says Williams, who is based in Charleston, South Carolina.
Small business owners who want or need to limit hiring have developed strategies that allow them to work more cheaply. Many have embraced software and apps that do administrative tasks, make manufacturing more efficient or provide quick customer service. Many owners use freelancers or independent contractors rather than employees; companies save money on employment costs, and also have more flexibility when they need specific talents or expertise for a project.
These trends have contributed to the often erratic pace of small business hiring since the Great Recession. Last week, payroll company ADP said its small business customers created 66,000 jobs in August. That was after adding just 1,000 in July and cutting 11,000 in June and 34,000 in May.
Williams uses technology to keep her overhead down, but her practice management software also makes communication with clients easier; it sends messages, shares documents and has a calendar that lets clients, witnesses and other attorneys know about court dates, meetings and other events.
Taking on more clients to pay for more staffers would detract from Williams’ ability to give each case the attention it needs.
“Clients are facing difficult, possibly life-altering scenarios with their case outcomes,” she says. “Quality is far more important than quantity when the stakes are this high.”
Expect small businesses to keep automating. A report from the Brookings Institution released in January said that approximately 36 million people, or a quarter of the current U.S. workforce, could see the majority of their work done by machines that use current technology.
The savings at any company depends on how much it pays staffers. Office workers, for example, earned a median salary of $32,730 last year, according to the Labor Department. Add in expenses including benefits, payroll taxes and state-mandated costs like workers compensation insurance, and it’s a considerable expense for a small business.
Money and efficiency aren’t the only factors when owners rely on technology rather than humans. Not all business owners have the time or inclination to be managers. Moreover, some find that with a larger staff they have less flexibility when it comes to saying yes or no to new business; they must bring in revenue so they can pay employees.
At some companies, the transition has occurred as technology has changed how society works. Tom Nardone’s company used to have two or three customer service people to answer the phones, take orders and field questions. But most customers now prefer to buy online and use email for questions and requests. Nardone, president of BulletSafe Bulletproof Vests, needs just one customer service staffer, and because technology has freed up his time, he can focus more on prospecting for new business.
“We do more trade shows. We went from six a year to now 13 or 14 a year,” says Nardone, whose company is based in Troy, Michigan. “I spend more time just talking to people.”
Relying more on freelancers rather than full or part-time employees is a trend that began during the recession. It has continued partly for financial reasons, but also because owners don’t want to risk having to lay off staffers if the economy weakens, which it has been showing signs of doing in recent months.
“We are careful not to hire as a knee jerk reaction to spikes in business,” says Matt Secrist, co-owner of BKA Content, a company that relies almost entirely on freelancers to create written material for websites.
“We may only need additional help for a few months at a time, which doesn’t always necessitate a new hire,” Secrist says.
There are also practical reasons for using freelancers — the work some companies need is so varied that it’s impossible to find a full-time staffer who can do everything.
“If we wanted to hire a full-time position, we’d struggle to find someone that can wear multiple hats,” says Shane Griffiths, co-owner of Clarity Online, a Seattle-based digital marketing company. Griffiths and his business partner, Trenton Erker, juggle tasks including web design, graphic design, social media, data analysis, copywriting and account managing, but know they can’t expect anyone else to have that kind of versatility.
Griffiths and Erker use technology for tasks like billing, scheduling appointments, tracking the time they spend on clients’ projects and putting together reports on visits to client websites.
At some companies, using technology or relying on freelancers allows owners to actually spend a little more, paying employees a higher wage or salary. At Chill-N Nitrogen Ice Cream, a chain of eight stores in South Florida, new technology helps employees produce and sell 120 cups of ice cream an hour, compared to 60 to 70 before the company upgraded its equipment. That allows the company to have one less staffer at each store.
“We can pay the people in the stores more because we don’t need as many,” co-owner Daniel Golik says.
Breaking up can be hard to do if the other party doesn’t want to let you go. People who move out of high-tax states may learn this the hard way — through a residency audit.
States such as New York, California and Illinois use the audits to claim that your recent interstate move was just a tax dodge and that you still owe their state income taxes. Proving you’ve actually moved and plan to make the new place your permanent home — yes, the burden of proof is on you in a residency audit — often requires far more than flashing your new driver’s license or spending a certain number of days outside the old state.
Technically, anyone who moves out of a high-tax state could face scrutiny, but tax experts say the residency audit risk increases if:
Wealthy people who move away from high-tax states are virtually certain to face a residency audit, says tax attorney Mark Klein, a partner at Hodgson Russ in New York. The stakes can be substantial: New York collected about $1 billion from residency audits from 2013 to 2017, according to Monaeo, a company that sells a location-tracking app for proving tax residency. More than half of the 3,000 or so people audited each year lose their cases, and the average amount collected per audit was $144,270, Monaeo calculated.
Auditors go where the money is. You’re unlikely to be audited if you’re already in a low tax bracket and cut all ties to your old state. But the more you have to gain from a move away from a high-tax state, the more careful you should be about making that move, tax experts say.
Many people mistakenly believe they need only spend 183 days of each year outside their former state to win a residency audit, Klein says. But if you spend more days in the high-tax state than you do elsewhere, you could still be considered a resident. That can be a particular problem for the “migratory rich” who own homes in multiple states, or even for more ordinary people who travel a lot. Klein advises his clients to spend at least twice as much time in their new home state as in their old one.
Auditors look at a wide range of factors for evidence of where your true home lies. Are you still seeing doctors and dentists in your old location? Does your family celebrate holidays there? Where do you keep your most treasured items — your photo albums, family heirlooms, pets? Where’s your safe deposit box?
Creating a substantial paper trail can be key to winning your case. Register to vote and get a driver’s license in your new state, but don’t stop there. You also should change vehicle registrations, update the address where you receive bank statements, bills and other mail and revise your estate-planning documents to reflect the laws of your new state.
People under residency audits typically need to prove where they were each day of the year in question, Klein says. Cell phone records — which can show where you were with each text or call — can be used by taxpayers to prove their case but also can be subpoenaed by the tax agency. Other potentially rich (and subpoenable) data sources include travel records, credit card receipts and toll collection devices, such as E-Z Pass.
You may need to maintain records indefinitely. Although most audits happen within a few years of the last tax return you filed, there’s often no statute of limitations if a state finds you should have filed a return but didn’t.
People at high risk of audit also should consult a tax professional who specializes in residency audits, especially if they’re keeping a home or business in their old state or if their move might not be their last. If you start in California and move to Nevada, but residency auditors don’t catch up to you until you’ve moved again to Arizona, your stay in Nevada could be deemed temporary and you could owe California taxes for that time period.
Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a certified financial planner and author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: lwestonnerdwallet.com. Twitter: lizweston.
Many college-bound students, whether it be a freshman leaving home for the first time or a grad student needing more reliable transportation, require the purchase of a vehicle. To help out, Edmunds has identified five common requirements for college drivers and recommended a slightly used vehicle for each.
Purchasing a vehicle that’s about 3 years old will save you perhaps 30%-40% off the purchase price compared to buying a new version of the same car. All of the recommended vehicles have top expert and consumer review scores on Edmunds. We also took fuel economy, value, safety and ease of parking into consideration. The prices shown are the average prices paid at a franchised car dealership in the second quarter of 2019.
When it comes to saving on gas, there’s not much that’s going to rival the Toyota Prius. Its efficient hybrid powertrain consistently gets more than 50 mpg regardless of your type of driving. The 2016 Prius kicked off the current-generation model. Compared to older versions, it benefits from sharper handling, higher fuel economy and greater comfort.
Indeed, you might be surprised by how the Prius serves as an agreeable companion for long drives. Its driver’s seat is supportive, and the suspension provides a smooth and composed ride quality. Toyota also offered advanced driver safety aids this year; look for a Prius Three Touring, Four or Four Touring to get them.
The Mazda 3 is a smart pick for a fun, small car. It starts with what’s under the hood. Either one of two available four-cylinder engines provides quick acceleration. Pick the 3s model, which has the larger 2.5-liter engine, for the best around-town punch. Fuel economy drops slightly compared to the smaller engine in the 3i model, but you’ll still have a relatively frugal vehicle.
The Mazda 3’s carefully tuned steering and suspension allows for nimble handling. Other advantages include an available sedan or hatchback body style and many premium features, including optional advanced driver safety aids, on the top Touring and Grand Touring trim levels.
Why do laundry at school when you can drive home on a weekend and have your mom or dad do it for you instead? The Volkswagen Golf’s boxy styling opens up plenty of interior space for laundry baskets or whatever else you might want to haul. Folding down the 60/40-split rear seats further expands the Golf’s versatility.
The Golf’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine provides a pleasing mix of power and fuel economy. Most Golf models are also respectably equipped with modern features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. Advanced driver safety aids were available as part of an optional package on the SE and SEL trim levels.
The Ford Edge possesses a well-rounded quality that makes it a standout choice for a used SUV. It’s comfortable and quiet, and the available Sync 3 infotainment system is easy to use and feature-packed. The Edge is bigger and roomier than many other common crossover SUVs. It’s perfect for getting you and your friends to a ski resort, but it’s not so bulky that it’s difficult to drive or park.
To maximize the Edge’s traction on wet or snowy roads, make sure to buy one with the optional all-wheel-drive system. Also, look for the heated front seats; they were optional on the SEL trim level and standard on the Titanium trim level. Ford also offered an optional heated steering wheel and all-weather floor mats.
The Acura RDX is an ideal pick for a used vehicle at a slightly higher price. It combines many qualities of the other vehicles, including sporty performance, a roomy interior and available all-wheel drive. We also recommend the RDX as a vehicle that you can keep for years to come. It’s versatile enough to handle many diverse tasks and upscale enough to look sharp on campus without being ostentatious.
Every RDX comes standard with a V6 engine and plenty of upscale features such as a power liftgate and a power-adjustable driver’s seat. We recommend finding an RDX that had the AcuraWatch Plus package, which added many advanced driver safety aids.
Edmunds says: Picking the best slightly used vehicle for your college driving needs will enhance the experience and save you money at the same time.
What you do with your paychecks in college can affect your financial life long after you toss your graduation cap. By saving money and repaying debt now, you’re doing Future You a huge favor.
Of course, you need to take care of Present You, too. Set aside what you’ve budgeted for this year’s expenses that aren’t covered by financial aid or family contributions. And give yourself a high-five for making money in the first place.
If you have money left over or come into extra cash — thanks for the birthday check, Grandma! — here are a few ideas of what to do next. Keep in mind that everyone’s financial situation is different, so some tips may be more relevant to you than others.
Stash some of your earnings in a high-yield savings account that should be tapped only to cover unexpected expenses, like a car repair. (In a high-yield savings account, your money will earn more interest than in a traditional account — and you’ll still be able to easily withdraw or transfer money when you have to pay for that new transmission.)
If you’ve earned a lot and can drop $500 into the account, you’re off to a solid start. Or if it’s more realistic to gradually build those savings — say, by automatically transferring $10 a month to it from your checking account — you’ll still be in better shape than if you had no fund at all.
Without an emergency fund, you’d likely have to borrow money to cover curveballs, says Lynn Ballou, certified financial planner and senior vice president and partner with EP Wealth Advisors in Lafayette, California. “Those who end up in financial trouble at whatever point in life are those that have no emergency savings,” she says.
Pay some of your extra earnings toward high-interest debts, like those that may come from credit cards or personal loans. You’ll save money on interest, and you’ll be headed toward a healthier credit score. Plus, as Ballou puts it, you don’t want to start your adult life digging out of a financial hole.
If you don’t have these kinds of debts, consider beginning to pay off student loans if you’re able, says Erin Lowry , author of “Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together.” As long as you’re enrolled in school, there’s no penalty for starting to pay your loans and then stopping. So it’s OK to pay a little bit every month or a single lump sum after a fruitful summer gig, Lowry says.
If you’re contributing to an emergency fund and still have money to save, keep it in a separate account. These savings will be useful after college. “When you graduate, you’ll probably need money immediately,” Lowry says. “There’s a lot of adult things that you suddenly have to do.”
For housing alone, these “adult things” could be paying a security deposit and first month’s rent, and perhaps a moving truck, renters insurance, furniture and utilities. Other expenses may include a car and a professional wardrobe.
To get a sense of how much to save, Lowry recommends researching the cost of living wherever you plan to live. (Make an educated guess if you’re not sure yet.)
Saving is important, but so is living life. As Lowry puts it: “Money is a tool that’s meant to be used, and you can’t constantly focus on the future.”
You’re about as free as you’re ever going to be if you don’t have kids, pets, mortgage payments or a salaried job. So Ballou suggests using this time and some of your earnings to travel. “You’ll never ever get an employer who will tell you, ‘You know what, I think you deserve a gap year,’” she says.
Certified financial planner Marguerita Cheng recommends using or saving up extra earnings for experiences, rather than things. “Instead of buying the latest and greatest iPhone … maybe you save that to go on a nice trip with your friends after you graduate,” says Cheng, who is the CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
If traveling is too expensive for you, spend some of your income on going out with friends, Lowry says, and otherwise “investing in the experiences of being in college.”
With a snip of the scissors Luzerne Mayor James Keller cut an orange ribbon Saturday morning and officially opened Reruns, a new consignment shop at 74 Main St. in the borough.
“This is a great place to be,” said Reruns owner Courtney Brenner, who relocated her 3-year-old business from Wyoming to Luzerne. “There’s more foot traffic here, and we’re on the street level rather than the second floor.”
Another advantage Brenner sees is that Main Street, Luzerne, already has several consignment shops, and she believes shoppers will take advantage of the proximity to visit them all.
Adding credence to her belief that consignment shop owners support each other, owner Karen Brown from the nearby shop My Sisters Closet visited later Saturday to wish Brenner well. There’s a photo of the two shop owners on Reruns’ Facebook page above a message Brown posted: “Welcome to Luzerne, Courtney! You have a great shop. We’re happy to have you here.”
“We’re very happy to have these stores,” Mayor Keller agreed. “We have these consignment shops in town and, I’ll tell you, they look like New York stores.”
Items on sale at Reruns on Saturday included clothes for women and men, boys and girls. There were onesies for babies — including an “I Love My Mummy” outfit celebrating Halloween — as well as purses, shoes, many tops, shorts and pants and some maternity clothes.
Early visitors who stopped in to check out the store were fascinated by the formal gowns and cocktail dresses, and started talking about them the way shoppers do:
By the time a reporter left, the green dress was still on the hanger. But who knows how long it will remain?
Brenner, who works full-time as a Realtor and is also an attorney, said she intends to hire someone to manage the day-to-day operations of her store. She also plans to split the profits on each item 50-50 with the consignee who brings it to her to sell. “Some shops split it 60-40 in favor of the store,” she said.
Besides a bargain, she said, you never know what kind of hard-to-find gem you might find in a consignment shop.
“Once I was in a store and saw a Susquehanna University (hoodie). You hardly ever see them around here,” she said. That’s where I got my undergraduate degree. How could I not buy it?”
Reruns, which opened in 2016 at its original location, was named the Best of Greater Pittston Readers’ Choice Best Consignment Shop in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
It was also named the 2019 “The Times Leader” Readers’ Choice Best Consignment Shop ; 2018 & 2017 Best Consignment Shop, Best Clothing Store, & Best Clothing Boutique; 2018 Best Consignment Shop & Best Children’s Clothing Store.
HARRISBURG — David E. Schwager, a partner in the Wilkes-Barre law firm of Chariton, Schwager & Malak, began a two-year term representing the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) in the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates at the conclusion of House of Delegates meeting at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco on Aug. 13.
As the policy-making body of the association, the ABA House of Delegates has the ultimate responsibility for establishing association policy on professional and public issues. The House meets twice each year, at ABA Annual and Midyear meetings.
Schwager, the president-elect of the PBA, will become the association’s 2020-21 president. He previously served as vice president and treasurer of the PBA and as chair of the PBA Finance Committee, PBA Investment Committee, PBA Planning Committee, PBA Bylaws Committee, PBA Statutory Law Committee, and the PBA Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, and was zone governor for Bradford, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties.
Schwager served on the boards of directors of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the PBA, and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the continuing legal education arm of the PBA.
Schwager is a past vice chair of the ABA Young Lawyers Division Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Committee.
He is a past chair of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Schwager served as chair of the Third Circuit Bankruptcy Judge Merit Selection Committee and was a member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Lawyers’ Assessment Committee and Investment Advisory Board and the Middle District Bankruptcy Court Rules Committee.
He is the treasurer of the Middle District (PA) Bankruptcy Bar Association and a past member of the executive committee of the Wilkes-Barre Law and Library Association where he is a past president of its Young Lawyers Division.
Schwager’s practice focuses on real estate transactions and litigation, title insurance, real estate taxation, zoning and land use, business law, commercial litigation, municipal law and creditors’ rights. Named a “Pennsylvania Super Lawyer” by Philadelphia Magazine every year since 2010 and “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell, he is a member of the Advisory Committee on Real Property Law of the Joint State Government Commission of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
Last year, Schwager was named a fellow of The American College of Real Estate Lawyers. Following a rigorous screening process, lawyers are elected to fellowship for outstanding legal ability, experience and high standards of professional and ethical conduct in the practice of real estate law.
A past assistant district attorney for Luzerne County, Schwager is chair of the Kingston Borough Zoning Hearing Board and an assistant Luzerne County solicitor and has represented various municipal authorities and municipalities.
Schwager serves as president of the S. J. Strauss Housing Foundation and treasurer of Ecumenical Enterprises Inc. He is a member of the board of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry, Greater Wilkes-Barre Growth Partnership, Greater Wilkes-Barre Industrial Fund and Martha Lloyd Community Services in Troy, Pa. He is a past president of the Jewish Community Center of Wyoming Valley, Temple Israel of Wilkes-Barre, the S.J. Strauss Lodge of B’nai B’rith and the Wyoming Seminary Alumni Association. He served as chair of the United Hebrew Institute School Board and the 2007 Jewish Federation campaign.
Schwager is a graduate of Lafayette College and Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University. He served on the executive committee of the Lafayette College Alumni Association and on the board of the General Alumni Association of The Dickinson School of Law of Pennsylvania State University.
Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access of legal services; and serve the lawyer members of the state’s largest organized bar association.
A bank or brokerage can’t just take your money when you die. If you don’t have a will or other estate plan, the laws of your state determine who gets the value in those accounts.
Your digital assets are a different story. Your online photos and videos, frequent flyer miles, cryptocurrency and other digitally stored files may well disappear without a trace if you don’t make a plan to pass them along.
Conversely, some stuff you may prefer to shut down or keep private — emails and texts, social media accounts, dating app profiles — could be shared or hacked unless you take steps to secure the information.
Estate planning experts recommend creating an inventory of your online accounts and digital files, along with your login ID, passwords, the answers to any security questions and what type of two-factor authentication, if any, is in use. (Two-factor authentication is often a code that’s texted or emailed to you or generated using a smartphone app.)
Start with a list of your devices — smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers — and their passwords, along with passwords to any important apps (such as that code generator). Then inventory the other electronic records you use, own or control. Here are some categories to consider, along with some examples to jog your memory:
Some assets can’t be passed down. When you buy a book or song online, for example, you’re typically only buying a license that expires when you do, says Ray Radigan, head of private trust at TD Bank in New York. One workaround is to set up a family account that allows you to share your digital bounty now and after you die.
Many travel providers also insist in their “terms and conditions” that rewards aren’t your property, but their actual policies vary. Many airlines, for example, will transfer frequent flyer miles to the appropriate heirs, says Karin Prangley , senior vice president at financial services firm Brown Brothers Harriman in Chicago.
Some companies, including Google and Facebook, allow you to designate someone to handle your account when you die. Others simply close or deactivate accounts when they learn of a death. Searching for the company name along with the phrase “what happens to my account when I die” can turn up its policies.
Once you decide what you want to happen with each type of account or digital asset, write down your wishes. You can leave these instructions and the relevant login credentials in a letter, stored with your other estate planning documents, which can be given to the person you want to carry out those wishes: your digital executor.
Your digital executor could be the same trusted person who settles the rest of your estate, or you might want to choose someone who is more tech-savvy. Talk to the person first to ensure they’re willing and then let them know how to access the documents they’ll need, says Jason Largey, senior estate planning strategist at Personal Capital in Denver.
Your digital executor should be named in your will or living trust, estate planning experts say. Depending on state law, your attorney may need to add additional language to your documents to address the disposition of your digital assets.
Tech evolves fast. Remember floppy disks and Myspace? If not, consider that 10 years ago, nobody had an iPad or an Instagram account. Meanwhile, biometrics, including fingerprint scans and facial recognition, are already replacing passwords and other login credentials.
Your digital assets, and how you access them, are likely to change even faster than your financial and physical property, Prangley says. She makes it a point to review and update her digital estate plan annually, at the same time she’s updating her passwords.
Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a certified financial planner and author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: lwestonnerdwallet.com. Twitter: lizweston.
Paul Hildreth peered at a display of dozens of images from security cameras surveying his Atlanta school district and settled on one showing a woman in a bright yellow shirt walking a hallway.
A mouse click instructed the artificial intelligence-equipped system to find other images of the woman, and it immediately stitched them into a video narrative of where she was currently, where she had been and where she was going.
There was no threat, but Hildreth’s demonstration showed what’s possible with AI-powered cameras. If a gunman were in one of his schools, the cameras could quickly identify the shooter’s location and movements, allowing police to end the threat as soon as possible, said Hildreth, emergency operations coordinator for the Fulton County School District.
AI is transforming surveillance cameras from passive sentries into active observers that can identify people, suspicious behavior and guns, amassing large amounts of data that help them learn over time to recognize mannerisms, gait and dress. If the cameras have a previously captured image of someone who is banned from a building, the system can immediately alert officials if the person returns.
At a time when the threat of a mass shooting is ever-present, schools are among the most enthusiastic adopters of the technology, known as real-time video analytics or intelligent video, even as civil liberties groups warn about a threat to privacy. Police, retailers, stadiums and Fortune 500 companies are also using intelligent video.
“What we’re really looking for are those things that help us to identify things either before they occur or maybe right as they occur so that we can react a little faster,” Hildreth said.
A year after an expelled student killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Broward County installed cameras from Canada-based Avigilon throughout the district in February. Hildreth’s Atlanta district will spend $16.5 million to put the cameras in its roughly 100 buildings in coming years.
In Greeley, Colorado, the school district has used Avigilon cameras for about five years, and the technology has advanced rapidly, said John Tait, security manager for Weld County School District 6.
Upcoming upgrades include the ability to identify guns and read people’s expressions, a capability not currently part of Avigilon’s systems.
“It’s almost kind of scary,” Tait said. “It will look at the expressions on people’s faces and their mannerisms and be able to tell if they look violent.”
Retailers can spot shoplifters in real time and alert security or warn of a potential shoplifter. One company, Athena-Security, has cameras that spot when someone has a weapon. And in a bid to help retailers, it recently expanded its capabilities to help identify big spenders when they visit a store.
It’s unknown how many schools have AI-equipped cameras because it’s not being tracked. But Michael Dorn, executive director of Safe Havens International , a nonprofit that advises schools on security, said “quite a few” use Avigilon and Sweden-based Axis Communications equipment “and the feedback has been very good.”
Schools are the largest market for video surveillance systems in the U.S., estimated at $450 million in 2018, according to London-based IHS Markit, a data and information services company. The overall market for real-time video analytics was estimated at $3.2 billion worldwide in 2018 — and it’s anticipated to grow to more than $9 billion by 2023, according to one estimate .
AI cameras have already been tested by some companies to evaluate consumers’ facial expressions to determine if they’re having a pleasant or unpleasant shopping experience and improve customer service, according to the Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington nonprofit that advocates for privacy protections. Policy counsel Joseph Jerome said companies may someday use the cameras to estimate someone’s age, which might be useful for liquor stores, or facial-expression analysis to aid in job interviews .
Police in New York, New Orleans and Atlanta all use cameras with AI. In Hartford, Connecticut, the police network of 500 cameras includes some AI-equipped units that can, for example, search hours of video to find people wearing certain clothes or search for places where a suspicious vehicle was seen.
“The issue is personal autonomy and whether you’ll be able to go around walking in the public square or a shopping mall without tens, hundreds, thousands of people, companies and entities learning things about you,” Jerome said.
“People haven’t really caught up to how broad and deep the technology can now go,” said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union who published a research paper in June about how the cameras are being used. “When I explain it, people are pretty amazed and spooked.”
When it comes to the potential for stemming violence that may be less of an issue. Shannon Flounnory, executive director for safety and security for the Fulton County School District, said no privacy concerns have been heard there.
“The events of Parkland kind of changed the game,” he said. “We have not had any arguments or any pushback right now.”
ZeroEyes, a Philadelphia-based company, is testing gun-detection software at Rancocas Valley Regional High School in New Jersey, but they’re not selling their product yet. When they do, they’ll also market to “stadiums, shopping malls — anywhere with a potential for a mass shooting,” said Rob Huberty, company co-founder.
Even supporters of these systems acknowledge the technology is not going to prevent all mass shootings — especially considering how quickly damage is done. But supporters argue they can at least help reduce the number of casualties by giving people more time to seek shelter and providing first responders with information sooner.
Both ZeroEyes and Austin-based Athena-Security claim their systems can detect weapons with more than 90 percent accuracy but acknowledge their products haven’t been tested in a real-life scenario. And both systems are unable to detect weapons if they’re covered — a limitation the companies say they are working to overcome.
Stanley, with the ACLU, said there’s reason to be skeptical about their capabilities because AI is still “pretty unreliable at recognizing the complexities of human life.”
Facial recognition is not infallible, and a study last year from Wake Forest University found that some facial-recognition software interprets black faces as appearing angrier than white faces.
But the seemingly endless cycle of mass shootings is compelling consumers to see technology — untested though it may be — as a possible solution to an intractable problem.
After a gunman killed 51 people in attacks at two mosques in New Zealand in March, Athena-Security installed gun-detection cameras at one of the mosques in June. Fahad A.B. Al-Ameri, a Qatari businessman with no affiliation to the mosque, paid for them because “all people should be secure going to their houses of worship,” he said.
Of the 50 clients Athena-Security has, about a fourth are schools, said company co-founder Chris Ciabarra.
NEW YORK — A nation already polarized finds itself divided once again, but this time politics isn’t at the heart of it: The blame lies squarely on a fried piece of poultry.
People are choosing sides and beefing over chicken, thanks to Popeyes’ release of its crispy chicken sandwich and the social media debate that has followed. With just one addition to a fast-food menu, the hierarchy of chicken sandwiches in America was rattled, and the supremacy of Chick-fil-A and others was threatened.
It’s been a trending topic on social media, fans have weighed in with YouTube commentaries and memes, and some have reported long lines just to get a taste of the new sandwich
“Our grandchildren will ask us where we were when the great Chicken War of 2019 began,” Twitter user MilesRodrigo1 declared.
While Popeyes has been selling chicken for a long time, the chain was a contender in the bone-in, skin-on, fried-chicken space, not the fried, boneless, skinless cutlet on a bun.
Popeyes announced the new sandwich on Twitter last week with hyperbole that would soon define the social media commotion to come: “Chicken. Brioche. Pickles. New. Sandwich. Popeyes. Nationwide. So. Good. Forgot. How. Speak. In. Complete. Sandwiches. I mean, sentences.”
And from that moment, it was ON. People began ardently advocating for their favorite sandwich, whether it be the new-kid-on-the-block Popeyes one, or the OG Wendy’s or Chick-fil-A versions.
And the social media managers for the companies reveled in the green light to talk smack to each other.
“We Didn’t Invent The Chicken, Just The Chicken Sandwich!” Chick-fil-A bragged on Twitter. “Bun + Chicken + Pickles = all the (heart emoji) for the original.”
To which Wendy’s responded: “Ya’ll out here talking about which of these fools has the second best chicken sandwich.”
Popeye’s quick retort: “Sounds like someone just ate one of our biscuits. Cause ya’ll looking thirsty.” (Which frankly seemed as if they were bragging about dry over-salted biscuits? Wendy’s thought so, too, tweeting, “lol, guess that means the food’s dry as the jokes.”)
And even though the topic was the chicken, there were political overtones, with some throwing their backing to Popeyes because they disagreed with Chick-fil-A’s opposition to LGBTQ rights and its chief executive’s derogatory comments about same-sex marriage. (Though the chain has insisted that it has “no political or social agenda.”)
Even the weighty New Yorker chimed in: Food writer Helen Rosner called Popeyes’ new edition “simply beautiful” in a commentary titled “The Popeyes Chicken Sandwich is Here To Save America.”
But why has the meager poultry sandwich riveted a nation so? Why do people have such intense feelings about a fried chicken cutlet on a bun?
Nancy Hopkins, former food director of Better Homes & Gardens magazine, and a veteran food editor for over 20 years, has this to say: “America loves anything crunchy, salty, crackly, and good. And Americans love chicken . just about any way.”
“But this sandwich is simple and straight to the point,” she said. “We love fried chicken, but we don’t make it at home and we love it as a splurge. The sandwich seems less guilty. The thought of it fitting nicely on a bun seems better for us. It is just simpler all the way around. Pressure fried chicken, a pickle, and a bun.”
In February Bon Appetit ran a story about why fried chicken sandwiches were so popular, and traced the answer to a creation in the 1960s by Chick-fil-A’s founder, Atlanta restaurateur S. Truett Cathy. In the ensuing years everyone from fast-food chains to renowned chefs started offering their version of the fried-chicken sandwich, with many garnering praise and a devoted following.
In 2011 David Chang opened cult-favorite Fuku in New York, a restaurant centered on the beauty of fried-chicken sandwiches. Shake Shack rolled out their super popular take on the sandwich nationally in summer 2016 to high acclaim.
Popeyes has certainly come out a winner in this latest debate, at least in terms of publicity. Some franchises reported being sold out of the sandwich as ardent fans endured long lines snaking into the street just to get a taste.
Tyler Manchuck of New Canaan, Connecticut, was one of those who tried the sandwich after hearing about the hype. “I figured it would be rude not to go check it out; it’s my obligation as an avid chicken sandwich connoisseur,” he said.
He decided to get the spicy (it also comes in classic). Once he bit into it, he said he “had an almost out of body experience. The new bun, that sauce gives it the edge. In the realm of fast food, Popeyes’ chicken sandwich definitely has the advantage.”
Still, Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s and other restaurants have their devoted fans, and the Great Chicken Debate is far from being settled.
Perhaps that’s fitting in this day and age. As Twitter user cHolidaydds said: “There’s nothing more American than being divided over something. This week it’s a chicken sandwich.”
Few issues unite millennials like the future of Social Security. Overwhelmingly, they’re convinced it doesn’t have one.
A recent Transamerica survey found that 80% of millennials, defined in the survey as people born between 1979 and 2000, worry that Social Security won’t be around when they need it. That’s not surprising — for years, they’ve heard that Social Security is about to “run out of money.”
The language doesn’t match the reality. Social Security benefits come from two sources: taxes collected from current workers’ paychecks and a trust fund of specially issued U.S. Treasury securities. This trust fund is scheduled to be depleted in 203 4, but the system will still collect hundreds of billions in payroll taxes and send out hundreds of billions in benefit checks. If Congress doesn’t intervene, the system can still pay 77% of projected benefits.
In any case, chances are good Congress will intervene, as it did in 1977 and 1983, to strengthen Social Security’s finances. Social Security is an enormously popular program with bipartisan support and influential lobbies, including the immensely powerful AARP, looking out for it.
Still, millennials who believe Social Security won’t be there for them could make bad choices about their retirement savings. The worst outcome would be if they didn’t save at all, convinced retirement was hopeless. But any of the following myths could cause problems.
Currently, the average Social Security benefit is just under $1,500 a month. You would need to save $400,000 to generate a similar amount. (That’s assuming you use the financial planners’ “4% rule,” which recommends taking no more than 4% of the portfolio in the first year of retirement and adjusting it for inflation after that.)
And that may be underestimating the value of Social Security. The Urban Institute estimates that many average-income single adults retiring between 2015 and 2020 will receive about $500,000 in benefits from the system while couples will receive roughly $1 million. Millennials, meanwhile, are projected to receive twice as much: about $1 million for an average-income single adult and $2 million for a couple.
Trying to save enough to replace 100% of your expected Social Security benefit might well be impossible, and could cause you to stint on other important goals such as saving for a child’s education or even having a little fun once in a while.
A more realistic yet still cautious approach would be to assume you’ll get 70% to 80% of what your Social Security statement projects, says Bill Meyer, founder of Social Security Solutions, a software tool for Social Security claiming strategies.
Your future Social Security check will be based on your 35 highest-earning years. To get what you’re owed, however, your earnings need to be reported accurately and that doesn’t always happen. Employers may not report the correct information to Social Security, or may not report your earnings at all. You can correct those errors if you catch them in time. Fixes could be difficult decades from now, when the employer may have gone out of business and needed documents may be unavailable.
Millennials may be more exposed to errors than previous generations because they tend to change jobs more, Meyer says. That makes it important for them to check their earnings records, which they can do by creating an account on the Social Security Administration’s website.
“Every two to three years, you should log on and make sure that your earnings are reflected correctly,” Hayes says.
Millions of Americans make this mistake every year, locking in permanently reduced payments and potentially costing themselves up to $250,000 in lost benefits by claiming too early. But Congress is highly unlikely to cut benefits for those in retirement or close to retirement age, Meyer notes.
Instead, there likely will continue to be incentives for delaying your Social Security claim. Currently, benefits increase by about 7% to 8% for each year you wait to apply after age 62 until benefits max out at 70.
Working an additional few years also can compensate for low- or no-earning years earlier in millennials’ careers, when incomes may have been depressed by recession or gig-to-gig work.
Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a certified financial planner and author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: lwestonnerdwallet.com. Twitter: lizweston.
NEW YORK — Tiffany & Co. is launching its first comprehensive jewelry collection for men in October as it seeks to diversify its traditional customer base.
The line announced Thursday is part of the Tiffany’s strategy to attract younger shoppers and pump up sales, which have been dampened by a decline in spending by tourists from China and elsewhere.
Tiffany has sold money clips, cuff links, rings other traditional jewelry for men. Now it’s seeking to put a more modern spin on what it offers men.
The new men’s collection includes nearly 100 designs ranging in price from about $200 to $15,000 for jewelry.
It will also begin selling home furnishings and accessories like cocktail shakers, ice tongs and beer mugs, with men in mind.
The new line of goods will get its own floor space in Tiffany’s 300 stores, rather than being sold side-by-side with other items, said Reed Krakoff, the company’s chief artistic director, who developed the collection.
High-end jewelry is popping up on men’s fashion runways at Gucci and other big luxury brands, said Robert Burke, an independent fashion consultant. He also pointed to the influential Dover Street Market stores in London, Tokyo and New York, which are highlighting men’s jewelry. Saks Fifth Avenue’s New York flagship this fall is also opening a jewelry area called The Vault that will showcase high-end men’s watches.
Global sales of men’s fine jewelry reached $5.8 billion last year, up 23% from 2013, according to Euromonitor International, a market research company. That’s still dwarfed by women’s fine jewelry, which reached $33.2 billion in sales, up 14% from in 2013, according to Euromonitor.
“Men all over the world are wearing jewelry and more accessories as part of a wardrobe,” said Krakoff in an interview with The Associated Press. “You started to see it on the runways, in social media.”
Krakoff said that the men’s business hasn’t been a big focus at Tiffany, but there’s a big opportunity given that half of the company’s global customers are men. The vast majority of them buy women’s jewelry, he says.
WASHINGTON — U.S. health officials are making a new attempt at adding graphic images to cigarette packets to discourage Americans from lighting up. If successful, it would be the first change to U.S. cigarette warnings in 35 years.
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday proposed 13 new warnings that would appear on all cigarettes, including images of cancerous neck tumors, diseased lungs and feet with amputated toes.
Other color illustrations would warn smokers that cigarettes can cause heart disease, impotence and diabetes. The labels would take up half of the front of cigarette packages and include text warnings, such as “Smoking causes head and neck cancer.” The labels would also appear on tobacco advertisements.
The current smaller text warnings on the side of U.S. cigarette packs have not been updated since 1984. They warn that smoking can cause lung cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. These warnings “go unnoticed” and are effectively “invisible,” the FDA said in its announcement.
The FDA’s previous attempt was defeated in court in 2012 on free speech grounds. A panel of judges later upheld the decision, siding with tobacco companies that the agency couldn’t force cigarettes to carry grisly images, including cadavers, diseased lungs and cancerous mouth sores.
FDA’s tobacco director Mitch Zeller said the new effort is supported by research documenting how the warnings will educate the public about lesser-known smoking harms, such as bladder cancer.
“While the public generally understands that cigarette smoking is dangerous, there are significant gaps in their understanding of all of the diseases and conditions associated with smoking,” said Zeller. If the agency is sued, he added, “we strongly believe this will hold up under any legal challenges.”
Reynolds American, maker of Camel and Newport cigarettes, said it supports public awareness efforts on tobacco, “but the manner in which those messages are delivered to the public cannot run afoul of the First Amendment.” Reynolds was one of five tobacco companies that challenged the FDA’s original warning labels.
The nation’s largest tobacco company, Altria, said it will “carefully review the proposed rule.” The company, which makes Marlboro cigarettes, was not part of the industry lawsuit.
Nearly 120 countries around the world have adopted the larger, graphic warning labels. Studies from those countries suggest the image-based labels are more effective than text warnings at publicizing smoking risks and encouraging smokers to quit.
Current U.S. cigarette labels don’t reflect the enormous toll of smoking, said Geoff Fong, who heads the International Tobacco Control Project.
“This is a deadly product,” said Fong, who studies anti-tobacco policies at Canada’s University of Waterloo. “We have more prominent warnings on many other products that don’t pose even a fraction of the risk that cigarettes do.”
Smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the U.S, even though smoking rates have been declining for decades. Approximately 14% of U.S. adults smoke, according to government figures. That’s down from the more than 40% of adults who smoked in the mid-1960s.
Under the 2009 law that first gave the FDA oversight of the tobacco industry, Congress ordered the agency to develop graphic warning labels that would cover the top half of cigarette packs. The FDA proposed nine graphic labels, including images of rotting teeth and a smoker wearing an oxygen mask.
But a three-judge panel ruled that the FDA’s plan violated companies’ right to free speech. The judges said the images were problematic because they were “crafted to evoke a strong emotional response,” rather than to educate or warn consumers.
The FDA said it would develop a new batch of labels, but when new ones didn’t appear, eight health groups sued the agency in 2016 for the “unreasonable delay.”
Under a court order earlier this year, the FDA was required to propose new labels by August, with final versions by next March.
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