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The Apple Watch 2 is water resistant — but you still probably shouldn't swim with it (AAPL)

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Apple Watch Series 2

On Wednesday, Apple rolled out the newest version of the Apple Watch.

Among other things, the Apple Watch Series 2 has a claimed water resistance of 50 meters, or about 160 feet. The video Apple created to celebrate the new version of the watch is an aquatic-palooza. Water, water, everywhere. 

A swimproof shell is suppose to ensure that the watch — which given its health-monitoring features is meant to be a sporty device, not a costly bangle — can survive a few laps doing the backstroke. During the presentation, we heard that the watch was surf-worthy. That would imply resistance to salt water.

But you'd have to be nuts to take a $370 watch with a depth rating of only 50 meters swimming. I wouldn't even take one in the shower. Salt water would be completely out of the question.

I used to go swimming in a Timex Ironman watch, but that utilitarian piece only cost around $50 and was rated to 100 meters. I heard at the time that sailors liked the watch because it was kinda-sorta waterproof and wouldn't cause any tears if it went into the drink.

Seiko Diver

The only hardcore dive watch I own — a Seiko Diver — is rated for 200 meters and has the requisite rubber seals and a "screw-down" crown that prevents water under pressure from getting into the case and damaging the movement. The point is, it's designed to keep water out. 

I wouldn't feel comfortable even swimming in a watch, let alone a pricey and fashionable wrist computer, that had less than a 100M rating. And even then, I'd prefer 200M.

Apple would clearly like buyers to believe they can now treat the Watch 2 as an indispensable, go-anywhere watch for an active lifestyle, on land and in water.

And the company says that it put the watch through water torture: hours upon hour, sloshing through fluids. 

But Apple also said that the new Apple Watch isn't full sealed: the speaker lets water in, and can later eject it, through some sort of sonic process. This might sound impressive, but it's just a system that's probably going to fail. Water kills all watches that aren't designed to handle H2o.

But this just goes to show how Apple keeps misunderstanding the longtime existence of the "tool" watch — a timepiece intended to perform a few basic functions under specifics types of stress. My Seiko is a tool watch: it tells time and will let you track how long you've been underwater, and it cost be $200. An $8,000 Rolex Submariner does the same stuff.

Complicated electronic circuitry and water have never mixed, not without serious effort being made to seal out the wet, as is the case with modern dive computers.

So as far as I'm concerned, it is not now suddenly safe to go into the water with your Apple Watch.

SEE ALSO: Apple is getting desperate to give customers a reason to buy the Apple Watch

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The newest Apple Watch is waterproof — and it has an innovative way to keep water out

A former San Francisco mayor wants to put the city's homeless on a Navy ship

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san francisco homelessness 1980s

A former San Francisco mayor is rocking the boat with a new proposed solution to the city's homeless crisis. Art Agnos, who led the city from 1988 to 1992, wants to create a temporary shelter aboard a retired Navy ship.

In an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday, Agnos suggested turning the USS Peleliu, a decommissioned assault ship that rests in a San Diego harbor, into a shelter capable of housing "most, if not all, of San Francisco's homeless living in tents on the streets."

There are some 6,500 homeless people living in San Francisco, which has the second highest homeless population in the US. Some surveys suggest that figure should be doubled.

"Our city desperately needs a humane, progressive game changer to house them until there is enough permanent housing," Agnos writes.

uss peleliu

The USS Peleliu has sleeping quarters, kitchens, medical clinics, offices, and recreation facilities, and once carried 5,000 military personnel on the open seas, according to Agnos. He proposes docking the ship at the Port of San Francisco, just steps from the city's tourist-packed Ferry Building, where the homeless populations can board at night.

His idea might not be as crazy as it sounds. After a 1989 earthquake leveled the Marina district and caused about $5 million in damages, people left homeless by the disaster sought shelter in the Moscone Convention Center. When the venue needed to reopen for business, a Navy admiral offered the USS Peleliu as a temporary dwelling.

"During the day, 300 homeless individuals kept their usual routines. At night, they came home to the ship," writes Agnos, who served as mayor at the time. "It was popular, because it was a safe, civilized shelter with good food."

san francisco homelessness 1980s

The ship departed two weeks later to continue with its mission.

It's unclear the costs or logistical challenges associated with Agnos' idea. In 1989, the US military ate the costs of housing and feeding the homeless aboard the USS Peleliu.

There will certainly be protests from city officials, who have long weighed the homeless populations' affect on tourism. Docking at the city's popular waterfront area is far from discreet, though it may be game-changing.

SEE ALSO: San Francisco's subway has a creative solution to stop its elevators from smelling like urine

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: One man is trying to end homelessness in Los Angeles by building tiny houses

Apple just killed its $10,000 gold watch (AAPL)

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apple watch gold edition

When the Apple Watch first launched last year, the most eye-popping version was a model made of 18-karat gold.

The high-end Apple Watch Edition started at $10,000 and was only available from certain retailers.

Now it appears that Apple is moving away from the ultra-luxury segment. It updated the Apple Watch internal hardware at an event on Wednesday. The new models are called "Series 2" and there's no gold version.

Instead, Apple has a new ceramic model, which it says is four times harder than steel. On Apple's website, that is now the updated "Apple Watch Edition." 

There's one big difference, though. The new ceramic models start at $1250 — a significant discount from last year's gold versions. There are other Apple Watch models that tackle luxury, though, including a Hermés watch that starts at $1149 and includes a Hermés band. 

Too bad for gold-crazed, Apple-loving millionaires. 

Here's how Apple breaks it down:

Apple Watch

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NOW WATCH: Amazon has an oddly efficient way of storing stuff in its warehouses

Apple's new iPhone 7 is water resistant, not water proof — and there's a big difference (AAPL)

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iphone 7 water resistant

The iPhone 7 is officially water-resistant, but make sure to note that it's not water PROOF.

That means you shouldn't take it into a pool or other body of water to try and take cool under-water shots with the iPhone 7's fancy new cameras.

During its iPhone event on Wednesday Apple said the iPhone 7 has IP67 water-resistance, which means it's technically capable of working down to one meter (about 3.3 feet) under water for up to 30 minutes.

That should be plenty for accidental drops in sinks and toilets, and you're probably fine if you want to read Business Insider in the shower or in the rain. However, you might want to keep the iPhone 7 somewhere safe when you're around a pool just in case someone decides to push you in.

Still, Apple won't cover water damage on the iPhone 7 under the warranty, so you're better off keeping it out of water when you can.

If it were water PROOF, the phone could potentially go a lot deeper and last a lot longer under water. But it's not, so don't take it diving.

SEE ALSO: How the iPhone 7 stacks up to its competition

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NOW WATCH: Apple got rid of the headphone jack — here’s how you’ll listen to music on the iPhone 7

Why it's nearly impossible for Apple to beat Rolex (AAPL)

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rolex

In Apple's keynote today announcing its new smartwatch, the company claimed that it was the number 2 watchmaker in the world for watch sales in 2015, right behind Rolex.

Apple touted this as a huge achievement — and it is. But many expected Apple to take the top spot with its irresistible gadgets that cost less than most of its Swiss and luxury watch competitors.

So how does Rolex keep a giant like Apple — which sells a much cheaper, hyped-up product — at bay?

"Ultimately, [Rolex is] the king of the watch world. In terms of mass produced luxury high-end watches, the only one that even comes close would be Omega," Ben Clymer, editor of Hodinkee, told us in April. "And they're really not that close at the end of the day."

 

Rolex is Rolex for a reason. And that reason is the status and reputation the brand has cultivated over its 100 years of existence. Rolex's cult of personality is no accident.

"Actual innovation in the watchmaking field is what propels Rolex to where they are now," Clymer said.

To cement its status, Rolex never stopped inventing. They came up with the first waterproof case, the first self-winding watch, the first watch with a date, and (arguably) one of the first driving chronographs, which is used to measure lap times. On top of these innovations in watchmaking in the first half of the 1900s, Rolex developed a reputation being reliable.

apple watch2 3up

Rolex now touts this history in its advertising, attempting to make customers feel as though they're buying into a legacy instead of just the hottest new thing.

This helps explain why earlier this year, even though a luxury brand report rated the Apple Watch the most talked about luxury watch, Rolex was still rated highest on the "passion index," which measured how favorable that talk was.

The future, however, remains to be seen. With the release of an entirely new watch line, the Apple Watch Series II contains a few much-asked for features, like water resistance and GPS. The Swiss watch industry as a whole is also facing headwinds, though it's tough to say how that is affecting Rolex specifically.

For now, though, the king of watches keeps its crown.

SEE ALSO: A small workshop in LA just hit a major milestone that US manufacturing hasn't seen for 40 years

DON'T FORGET: Follow Business Insider's lifestyle page on Facebook!

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NOW WATCH: WhatsApp is now sharing your data with Facebook — here's how to turn it off

London is building Europe's tallest residential skyscraper

This year's Craigslist 'Missed Connections' for Burning Man are hilariously absurd

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burning man

The legendary "Missed Connections" section on Craigslist is a beautiful mixture of absurdity, heartfelt longing, and wistfulness. And this is doubly true of those from Burning Man, the yearly festival in the middle of the desert whose very nature invites an intense nostalgia that keeps people coming back year after year.

And this year's Burning Man missed connections are delightful.

There are people who tossed pineapples back and forth only to have their blue-wigged potential soulmate melt into the desert. And there are those who just wanted to join in on the "snail crossing endeavors."

"You said how chill I was with my West Coast style ..."

Read on for this year's amazing Burning Man missed connections, and some of our favorites from last year as well:

Note: If you've never read a "Missed Connections" post before, Craigslist users often use tags like "m4w" (man looking for woman) to alert people to their own gender and the gender of the person they're looking for. Please also note some of the listings contain obscenities.

SEE ALSO: Here's what the inside of a 'fancy celebrity camp' at Burning Man looks like

'Tibetan Singing Bowls, Burning Man Temple — m4w'

"I gave you a Tibetan singing bowl session, you — girl from Palo Alto with beautiful eyes, at the Temple BM 2016 Saturday afernoon

"You said I 'put you under'

"I was distracted by so many things going on at the time and I could not remember your name, but you said you work with at risk youth and deliver energy healing in Palo Alto, you also mentioned you just bought your first bowl set. I just wanted to make friends.

— Patrick from San Diego"



'Burning Man: Freckled face — m4w'

"We met near 8:00 & G and your rode on my handle bars all the way to the restrooms at E. We sat and talked while I made you smile, you said how chill I was with my West Coast style. With freckles on your face and and my hair standing tall you gave me an address but I forgot to call. You kissed me once but I made you kiss me twice I was digging your body while my tattoos caught your eye. Hit me up when you get a chance I live in Denver now so I can be there in a flash."



'Burning Man: Rob w the voice from Boston via New Jersey via Greenpoint'

"You took care of me when I was sick and I never got to properly thank you. Your voice drew me in, with funny, sweet stories about your travels and your Polish parents. Even though I got sick it was an amazing trip because it brought me to you. You saved me and I wanted to explore the playa and you — but I was too out of it to articulate my true intentions. You're nonjudgmental, kind, with an open mind and hot...well you know — you're a SMF. I'll be in San Francisco next month or if you're still traveling come to Seattle and crash with me. I may have what you've been looking for and there is plenty of Metal in town.

Yours truly,
Oddy"



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 10 most affordable places to buy a home in the US

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Huntington Indiana

Buying a four-bedroom home and living in a major city are often considered mutually exclusive. But they don't have to be.

Coldwell Banker recently released its annual Home Listing Report, which tracks the most affordable real estate markets in the US. Each of the top 10 are either in major cities or within commuting distance of a major metropolis, including Detroit and Cleveland at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. 

To determine the most affordable cities, Coldwell Banker analyzed the average listing price of more than 50,000 four-bedroom, two-bathroom homes for the period between January 2016 and June 2016. The ranking covered 2,168 markets across the US, excluding any with fewer than 10 listings.

In Detroit, a four-bed, two-bathroom house only costs around $64,110. And despite the city's notorious decline — which led to it ultimately filing for bankruptcy in 2013 — it's on an upswing. Detroit's small business scene is booming, creating jobs and revitalizing the town.

Keep reading for the cheapest places to purchase a home in the US. 

SEE ALSO: The 25 US cities with the lowest cost of living

DON'T MISS: The best suburb in every state

10. Palatka, Florida

Population: 10,390

Average cost of a 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom house: $110,655

Median household income: $21,864



9. Augusta, Georgia

Population: 197,182

Average cost of a 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom house: $106,567

Median household income: $37,593



8. Huntington, Indiana

Population: 17,095

Average cost of a 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom house: $105,614

Median household income: $39,542



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 15 best restaurants in San Francisco

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tony's pizza sfThere's no shortage of amazing restaurants in San Francisco.

We consulted the dining experts at Zagat to find the very best the city has to offer.

While Zagat's list does feature many fine dining establishments, several pizzerias and bakeries also made the list. 

Food ratings are out of 5 on the Zagat scale.

SEE ALSO: 22 incredible works of art from this year's Burning Man

15. Tartine Bakery & Cafe

600 Guerrero Street

Food: 4.7 

This Mission bakery is "in a class by itself," with morning buns, quiche, and banana cream tarts that are to die for. 

Lines are long and prices are high, but loyal fans say the baked goods are worth the effort.



14. State Bird Provisions

1529 Fillmore Street

Food: 4.7

Husband-and-wife team Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski have created a "cutting-edge" restaurant with a "vibe as exciting as the food," Zagat diners rave.

If you can get a reservation, the quail (or "state bird," as it's labeled on the menu) is a must-try.



13. Frances

3870 17th Street

Food: 4.7

This cozy neighborhood spot in the Castro can get crowded, but its Californian creations are worth the wait.

Applewood-smoked bacon beignets and "lumberjack cakes" are diner favorites.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This 38-person commune shows the lengths millennials will go to live in San Francisco

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chateau ubuntu house commune san francisco

A 10-bedroom house in San Francisco's Alamo Square neighborhood might be the city's most affordable, if not strangest, rental for the millennial who doesn't mind cramped quarters.

The promotional video for Chateau Ubuntu (yes, there's a promotional video) goes a little something like this: Millennials hold jam sessions in the living room, flip into tidal pools, shop at the farmer's market, and twirl tiki torches around a fire while three dozen of their closest friends watch. It's like MTV "Real World," if the roommates were nice to each other.

The community, founded in 2015, operates out of a French Victorian mansion where some 38 residents eat, sleep, dance, and "realize his or her grandest potential."

Hey guys are you having fun??? #bayforbreakers #chateauubuntu

A photo posted by GOodM☕️rningUbuntu! (@goodmorningubuntu) on Jul 7, 2016 at 7:44pm PDT on

They live by a set of Burning Man-esque values that encourage living with intention and finding strength in community. According to the website, the group shares 1,330 hugs a week.

"We're not looking for bodies to fill a room; we're looking for dynamic, authentic, and all-around awesome people," the online application for Chateau Ubuntu reads.

Adalyn.

A photo posted by GOodM☕️rningUbuntu! (@goodmorningubuntu) on Oct 4, 2015 at 3:48pm PDT on

The 35-question application asks the typical questions — what's your move-in deadline and who's your current landlord — but also, "What does community mean to you?" They ask what traits and skills help make you and the people around you "more awesome."

Chateau Ubuntu posted an ad to Craigslist in June. The vacancy appears to be filled.

Rent starts at $650 for a bunk in a six-person bedroom and reaches $1,050 for a more private spot in a two-person room. All tenants pay an addition $350 monthly membership fee to help cover food, utilities, cleaning, and other community needs, according to the online application.

For comparison, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the Alamo Square neighborhood sets renters back about $3,695 a month, according to real-estate site Trulia.

#everydaychateauubuntu #photodiary

A photo posted by GOodM☕️rningUbuntu! (@goodmorningubuntu) on Sep 12, 2015 at 12:25pm PDT on

San Francisco remains the most expensive rental market in the US. Chateau Ubuntu shows the extremes that young people will go to live comfortably in this city.

So if "sharing with intention" and making veggie stew from produce rescued from dumpsters is your thing, Chateau Ubuntu might be the home for you.

Watch the promotional video below:

SEE ALSO: Inside the new 'co-living' space where San Franciscans pay $2,600 for maid service and new friends

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: No one wants to buy this bizarre house in a wealthy San Francisco suburb

How headphones work on the iPhone 7, explained (AAPL)

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Airpods

Apple has totally changed the way people plug headphones into the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

But it's not as drastic as some people online are making it out to be.

Apple included new earbuds with the iPhone 7 as well as an adapter to use your old headphones.

Still, there's a lot of confusion about the earbuds and the iPhone 7 — here are the questions we've been getting a lot.

I've heard Apple "killed" the headphone jack. What does that mean?

That's true. There is no headphone jack on the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, the new phones that Apple announced yesterday.

Here's a picture:

the home button is now pressure sensitive that means it doesnt physically press in instead the phone vibrates when you press down oh yeah and theres no headphone jack

Will my old headphones work with the iPhone 7?

The good news is that Apple includes new headphones in the iPhone 7 box — a pair of white earbuds, called EarPods, that plug into the iPhone 7 through the Lightning charging port.

Apple Airpods

But if you want to use your old headphones, Apple has also included an adapter along with the iPhone 7 that will allow your old headphones to plug into the iPhone 7's charging port. It looks like this:

Apple dongle

You can also buy those dongles for $9 from Apple.

Are all the headphone accessories I need included with the iPhone 7?

Yes. You get a 3.5 mm adapter and a pair of Lightning earbuds with the iPhone 7.

I use Bluetooth headphones. Will those work with the iPhone 7?

Yes, Bluetooth headphones will work the way they always have. But Apple wants you to buy a pair of AirPods headphones.

What are AirPods? Are AirPods different than earbuds and other headphones?

It's a new product from Apple that looks like those iconic white earbuds with the cords cut off.

They're wireless earbuds that pair with Apple products. They will go on sale in October for $159.

According to Apple, they have a five-hour battery life, but they charge through a case that provides 24 hours of battery. They're pretty nifty! Sensors detect when they are in your ears to save battery life.

Here's what they look like in your ear:

AirPods

Here's what the case looks like:

Airpods

How do I plug the AirPods into my iPhone 7?

They're wireless — you don't need to plug them in. But they'll be easier to pair than most Bluetooth headphones. Simply flip open the cover.

Here's what it looks like, courtesy of Jan Dawson:

The reason the AirPods pair so easily is that Apple has a new chip in these earbuds called the W1. They still use standard Bluetooth, but the chip enables the AirPods to pair without digging through settings. The W1 chip is just there for easy pairing, and for now only Apple and Beats are using it.

Any other cool AirPods tricks and functionality?

Users can summon Siri, Apple's voice assistant, simply by double-tapping either AirPod, and when you're talking to Siri, the AirPods cancel other noise. And when you switch from your iPhone to your Mac, the sound switches instantly.

Will the AirPods work with my Windows PC or Android phone?

Yes. According to Recode, AirPods don't require an iPhone 7 and will connect to non-Apple devices, but they'll require manual pairing.

They're just standard Bluetooth, with a little bit of "secret sauce" for easy pairing with Apple devices.

Will the AirPods work with my Mac?

Yes, according to Apple. However, your Mac will need to be updated to the most recent version of MacOS to play sound. If your laptop can't be updated to MacOS Sierra, it might not work with the AirPods, according to Apple's product page.

Will third-party headphones work with the iPhone 7?

Yes, either through the dongle or headphones that plug in through Apple's Lightning port, which several companies have already started making.

Here's a pair on sale on at Amazon right now:

Lightning Earbuds

What about Beats? How do Beats headphones work with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus?

Beats, the Apple-owned headphone company, released three new pairs of wireless headphones yesterday that are designed to work with the iPhone 7. They have the W1 chip too, so they'll pair seamlessly.

Will the AirPods fall out of my ears?

Maybe? Stay tuned for the Business Insider review in the next few weeks.

What if I lose or break an AirPod, does Apple have a replacement policy?

Apple says it'll sell single AirPods at the Apple Store to people who lose a single AirPod. The price hasn't been announced yet.

Will Lightning headphones work with older iPhones?

Yes, they will play music as long as your iPhone has a Lightning port.

Why ... why would Apple do this?

Courage.

SEE ALSO: How to charge and listen to music at the same time on the iPhone 7

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Apple is announcing a new iPhone on September 7 — here's what you're getting

Meet the crowdfunding site making it possible for everyone to invest in real estate

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RealtyMogulHero

Savvy investors know that commercial real estate can potentially make for an incredible investment, generally offering higher rental income, lower ownership costs, and longer leases than residential real estate.

And as a long-term investment, it can generate a steady cash flow, increase in value, and diversify a traditional portfolio. In fact, most asset allocation models suggest that people should invest a part of their portfolio in real estate. That said, investing in real estate can be risky and there is no guarantee of a return so it’s equally important for investors to stay well informed and conduct their own due diligence.

Historically, commercial property has been dominated by pension funds, insurance companies, and other institutional investors; average investors just haven't had the same type of access.

But now, RealtyMogul.com is cracking the market open. It's giving everyone the opportunity to get into the real-estate investing game — and it's all being done online.

In the past three years, the fast-growing real-estate crowdfunding marketplace has originated, underwritten, and financed more than $215 million in properties. And with the introduction of its new product — MogulREIT I— RealtyMogul.com is making the traditionally high barrier to entry for commercial real estate a possible thing of the past.

RM_billboard

Simplifying real-estate investment

Since its launch, RealtyMogul.com has set out to change the way real-estate investing and financing is viewed by connecting real-estate entrepreneurs and investors through technology.

Traditionally, investors had three options when it came to REITs: Invest in a REIT that is traded like a stock and therefore exposed to market volatility, one that is not traded but charges high up-front fees, or one that requires a massive minimum investment.

MogulREIT I lets people invest in private, low-cost options with an initial investment requirement of just $2,500. This investment sector that was once closed to most is now not only attainable, but realistic.

Getting more for your money

As a nontraded REIT, MogulREIT I isn't potentially subject to unpredictable market conditions.

Compared with publicly traded REITs, which generally have yields of 3%, nontraded REITs have yields closer to 6% and offer direct exposure to portfolio-diversifying real-estate assets with much lower volatility.

What's more, traditional nontraded REITs typically charge 10 to 15% in up-front costs and fees. MogulREIT I's fees are much lower, meaning more of your money goes into the investment from the start.

RealtyMogulFeesChartAnd thanks to the pooled-fund structure, MogulREIT I offers greater real-estate diversification between debt and equity than you might be able to afford by relying on your individual investments.

Full transparencyRM_busstop2

By working with professionals who have deep experience in their fields, RealtyMogul.com is able to "examine the local real-estate market, business plan, and demographic trends, and study each investment thoroughly," CEO Jilliene Helman says.

This attention to detail, and deep knowledge of a property and its surrounding area sets RealtyMogul.com apart, and it allows investors to track the REIT's operational and financial performance with full transparency while providing a steady stream of quarterly dividends.

"Our overall goal is to select investments at a good value, work with strong management teams, and deliver positive long-term performance," Helman says. "We're excited about MogulREIT I because it opens the door for more individual investors to become owners of valuable commercial real-estate assets."

Find out how you can get a piece of the commercial real-estate market.

This post is sponsored by RealtyMogul.com.


Disclaimer: Not an offering of securities. All investment involves risk of loss and past performance is not indicative of future results. Securities are available to qualified investors only through North Capital Private Securities, member FINRA, and SIPC.

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5 essential rules for spending and saving

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ChaseMoneySavingTipsLARGE

Chase has teamed up with The Players' Tribune and Business Insider to present "Letter to My Younger Self," a series where athletes reflect on their biggest lessons learned — from finance to relationships to careers. Readers will also discover how to apply specific financial learnings to their own lives.

By Mai Nguten

Employment is steady, hourly wages are up, and gas is ridiculously cheap. That extra money is likely to boost spending, says Anthony Chan, chief economist at Chase. And while it's good to feel financially confident, it's also good to keep your spending and saving in check.

If you're looking to boost your savings, be aware of what experts call your "spending triggers." They include shopping when you're stressed or sad, or being around spendthrift friends. Even the supermarket is designed to get you to spend more than you need to. "Don't trust your instinct," says financial psychologist Brad Klontz. "If you suddenly get an impulse to buy, ask yourself, 'Why am I feeling this?'"

Here are five rules to making smarter spending and saving decisions.

1. Know your money goals

The first step in setting up a budget is thinking about what you really want — buying a home, paying off a loan, or saving for something special. Once you do, tracking your spending gets easier. "Having a financial goal doesn't mean just saying it out loud," says Tiffany Aliche, who owns financial education firm The Budgetnista. "It means actually putting it into action."

To make saving easier, Aliche recommends setting three goals a year, each with different deadlines, and making one of them fun, like a vacation. Each should involve a specific amount and a plan. If you want to save $600 in five months for a new TV, for example, that means saving $120 each month, which could mean packing lunch a few times a week.

2. Break it down

A budget shows two things: where your money is going and how it can be managed better. To start, make a list of all your expenditures, down to the last latte, and include irregular costs like wedding gifts. Add up the monthly total of each spending category. If you're not sure about your spending patterns, get real estimates by tracking where your money goes for a few months, either on paper or a spreadsheet. "Then you can see where the unnecessary spending is," Aliche says.

Subtract your total expenses from your monthly take-home pay. If the number is negative, you'll need to make cuts; if it's positive, put the leftover money in your savings. If you don't have steady income, budgeting becomes especially important. New research from the JPMorgan Chase Institute looked at income volatility and found that 55% of Americans experienced a 30% change in their month-to-month income.

Use your budget to keep your spending in check. Get out your budget whenever a paycheck comes in and give every dollar a job, whether it's rent, savings, groceries, or upcoming bills. Aliche recommends having two checking accounts, one for spending and one for bills. Transfer money into the bills account each time you get a paycheck and try to keep at least one month of bill payments in this account.

3. Plan for the unexpected

No one wants to save money for a chipped tooth — let alone a layoff. But having an emergency savings fund lessens the likelihood you'll have to take out a loan or max out your credit cards. When Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, the author of Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom and her husband faced a $1,000 bill for an electrical problem with their car, it didn't wreck their budget because of their emergency savings. She suggests saving three months of expenses if you have a fulltime job and six months if you're a freelancer. Khalfani- Cox also recommends keeping this money in a separate account, to differentiate it from money set aside for other goals.

To start building up an emergency fund, be on the lookout for unexpected savings. If your friend paid for your $20 lunch or if the shirt you planned to buy turned out to be on sale, transfer the money you were going to spend into your emergency fund.

4. Save early and earnestly

Americans saved an average of $540 last year on gas. While most said they would put their windfall towards debt or savings, a report from the JPMorgan Chase Institute shows that they actually spent as much as 80% of those savings on things like restaurants, groceries, and movies. The data on how Americans spend and save is interesting: the U.S. personal savings rate increased to 5.2 %, up from 4.8 % a year ago — so even if people aren't putting away their gas savings, they are starting to save more.

S. Katherine Roy, chief retirement strategist for J.P. Morgan, suggests putting aside at least 15 % of your income every year. "A good way to do this is by paying yourself first, by having money automatically taken from your paycheck as early in your work life as possible," she says.

5. Use your spending power wisely

Consumer confidence is rising, and it's expected Americans will open up their wallets in the next few years, says Christine Kilton-Augustine, portfolio manager of the J.P. Morgan Consumer Recovery Strategy. New insight on U.S. consumer spending reveals consumers are starting to become more comfortable carrying credit card debt, and that they're most likely to use discretionary income on smaller purchases like a new cardigan or sushi takeout.

If you want to avoid going over budget, there are a few ways to maintain control. Pick a few spending categories that you can pay for primarily with cash. If it's restaurants, divide the total monthly cost by four. This is how much you'll spend eating out in a week. Withdraw that amount at the beginning of each week, put it in an envelope, and when it's gone, it's gone.

Emotions can also get the best of our wallets, so don't shop when you're feeling excited or bored or angry. Despite our best efforts, retailers have ways to hook us. For example, at a grocery store, vegetables are sprinkled with mist to make them appear more fresh, and gum and gossip magazines are placed at the checkout to make us feel like we have to buy them instantly. Knowing what kind of spender you are can help you understand your spending triggers. The best way to resist these ploys is to make a list of what you need and stick to it. "When people spend in alignment with their values," says Khalfani-Cox, "the frivolous stuff falls away quickly and they start making better choices."

For more tips and resources on mastering your finances, visit chase.com/financialfitness.

Mai Nguyen is a freelance writer in Toronto who covers business and personal finance.

This post is sponsored by Chase

SEE ALSO: More Letter to My Younger Self

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Here's why you should skip Cancun and go straight to this small beach town for your next vacation instead

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Tulum  Mexico 9645

If you've spent one too many vacations fighting the crowds at the beach in Cancun, it's definitely time to visit Tulum, Mexico, instead. An hour-and-a-half drive from Cancun International Airport, Tulum has become a destination thanks to its crystal-clear waters, white-sand beaches, and relaxed yet vibrant hippie culture.

The small, magical town has been gaining in popularity in recent years as celebrities and fashion moguls have declared it one of their favorite vacation spots — but the swarms of tourists still haven't yet descended on this slice of paradise. 

I visited Tulum with my family in July, and the best word I can use to describe the atmosphere is dreamlike. Tropical jungle foliage combined with picturesque beaches, historic Mayan culture, and fantastic food moved this town to the top of my vacation destinations list. Ahead, take a look at my favorite part of the summer.

SEE ALSO: How the 'Rich Kids of Instagram' spent their summer vacations

We rented a home in the Sian Ka'an Reserve for the week. At 1.3 million acres, it's the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean. The house had its own private beach access, and it ran partially off solar and wind power.



Driving to the house in Sian Ka'an included a bumpy 20-minute drive from Tulum's tourist strip, which runs along the coast on Quintana Roo 15.



Sian Ka'an is home to thousands of animals and a wide range of flora. 379 species of birds have been identified in the reserve, in addition to 115 species of mammals and 318 species of butterflies.



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The most active cities for Tinder users reveal something intriguing about who's using the app

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Happy Couple on Date at Restaurant

It only takes one person to make your online dating experience a runaway success.

But statistically speaking, your chances of meeting that one person go up as the number of potential matches increases.

Business Insider asked Tinder to pull data on its top cities — the locales with the greatest number of active users.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago were the top three.

The reason, however, is a little more intriguing.

Tinder's in-house sociologist, Jess Carbino, told us that it's not just because they're the most populous cities in the country — it's also because they're home to highly educated young professionals.

Carbino explained that highly educated people are generally more likely to use online dating services because they delay marriage and childbearing until they've achieved the "traditional markers of adulthood." Those markers include gaining independence from parents, completing an education, and establishing financial security.

"While you're in school, the opportunity to do that is diminished dramatically," she said. "Most individuals — mainly men — don't consider themselves to be marriageable until they have achieved a certain level of economic stability." (If the idea that Tinder users are thinking about marriage strikes you as weird, note that Tinder found that 80% of its users are looking for a meaningful relationship — presumably something that could lead to marriage.)

Here's the full list of the top cities for Tinder users:

  1. Los Angeles
  2. New York
  3. Chicago
  4. San Francisco/Bay Area
  5. Boston
  6. Phoenix
  7. San Diego
  8. Houston
  9. Seattle
  10. Dallas
  11. Miami
  12. Orlando
  13. Philadelphia
  14. Las Vegas
  15. Austin

What's more, Carbino said, highly educated people are more likely to rapidly adopt new technologies and new ways of meeting people.

But these findings come with a twist: In Provo, Utah, for example (population about 116,000), 51% of single people ages 18-24 have used Tinder. That's not too dissimilar to the 60% of single women and 80% of single men ages 18-24 who have used Tinder in New York City (population about 8 million).

In an email to Business Insider, Carbino said this phenomenon likely has to do with the "higher degree of embeddedness individuals have in their communities, institutions, and social circles" in cities like Provo.

In other words, using online dating is a way to widen the dating pool where it would otherwise be pretty small.

SEE ALSO: There's a key difference in how men and women use Tinder — and it makes the whole experience frustrating for everyone

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This tiny minimalist apartment has an 'origami wall' that creates different rooms

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origami apt

When you live in an apartment that measures less than 400 square feet, a multi-functional space is a necessity.

A new, 312-square-foot pad, called the "Biocombastic," takes multi-purpose design to a new level. Spotted by InHabitat, a video of the apartment shows a screen wall that can fold out to create different layouts inside the space. 

The moveable screen has three bendable wood-reinforced panels. Depending on the owner's needs, it can fold to separate a living room, bedroom, kitchen, or dining room, giving the apartment an origami-like flexibility.

The partition is secured to the wall with hinges, and can un-attach and move freely around the room. The lines on the floor and walls help the owner align the screen to create different formations. 

The Biocombastic apartment also features built-in furniture pieces that fold down from the wall, including a table (which doubles as an ironing board), washing machine, and bed.

Designed by Elli Architects, the minimalist apartment is located in Madrid. The firm has created similar built-in screens for a house and another tiny apartment in the city as well.

To take a tour, check out the Vimeo video below:

SEE ALSO: This stunning 'hotel room' in the Swiss Alps has no walls

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NOW WATCH: These tiny homes cost £52,000 and can be built in just 3 days

This Silicon Valley angel investor loves a drug that gave him hours of seizures

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tim ferriss

Most people would stop taking a drug if it caused them to have grand-mal seizures for hours and puke uncontrollably. But Tim Ferriss, the author of "The 4-Hour Workweek," said the drug ayahuasca vaporized his anger overnight.

"It's mind-boggling how much it can do in one or two nights," Ferriss, an early investor in tech startups such as Uber, Evernote, and Duolingo, told The New Yorker.

Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic drink made from boiling Amazonian plants. It's typically used in religious rituals throughout South America, but lately — at least, according to The New Yorker— it's been growing in popularity in Brooklyn and San Francisco.

It's supposed to be a crazy trip and detox for the mind and soul, but most people who take it end up vomiting or "purging." However, that doesn't stop people from preaching about how much they love it.

Even Ferriss stuck with it after what's described as an "harrowing early trip" because of the effects:

"'I felt like I was being torn apart and killed a thousand times a second for two hours.' This was followed by hours of grand-mal seizures; Ferriss had rug burns on his face the next day. 'I thought I had completely fried my motherboard,' he continued. 'I remember saying, "I will never do this again."'

"But in the next few months he realized that something astounding had happened to him. 'Ninety per cent of the anger I had held on to for decades, since I was a kid, was just gone. Absent.'"

He's not the only person praising ayahuasca. Some startup founders are going on retreats to Peru to experience the awakening.

In San Francisco, Ferriss is convinced everyone is doing it.

"Ayahuasca is like having a cup of coffee here," Ferriss told The New Yorker. "I have to avoid people at parties because I don't want to listen to their latest three-hour saga of kaleidoscopic colors."

Perhaps we hang out in different circles, but I still see more cups of coffee in San Francisco than people having violent trips.

Ferriss like his coffee too, though — he's also an investor in Blue Bottle Coffee.

SEE ALSO: Listening to 92 pitches taught me the frustrating truth about Silicon Valley 'innovation'

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A sommelier shares 10 words to look for to find high-quality wines under $25

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choosing wine bottles

Affordable wine doesn't have to taste cheap.

But how can you tell you have a good bottle before pouring that first glass?

"Many wine consumers in the US are still challenged by the abundance of language on a wine label," says Jörn Kleinhans, owner of the The Sommelier Company. "It's difficult enough with an English label, but adding the other languages and countries, it becomes very difficult."

Kleinhans explains that certain words, often those regulated by local government in the region a wine is produced, are reliable indicators of high-quality wine at any price point.

Here are ten words he recommends looking for on wines under $25, to guarantee you're getting the best bottle on the shelf.

SEE ALSO: A sommelier chooses his 10 favorite wines for $16 or less

'CLASSICO' on a Chianti

Chianti is a popular wine in the US, Kleinhans explains, because it was the first wine commercially exported from Italy in large amounts.

However, he says, "Wine that is only labeled Chianti is usually not very good. If you see 'Chianti Classico,' that is always a good wine."

"The term 'Classico' describes the local best core-growing regions of this type of wine," he continues. "The core vineyards in the center of the region that have the best terroir and the best orientation to the sun."

Other vineyards may also produce a wine called Chianti, but they aren't permitted to add "Classico." Kleinhans explains that the distinction is an important one when looking to experience "classical notes of tomato paste and vanilla" typical of the wine. 



'GRAN RESERVA' on a Rioja

Rioja, Kleinhans says, is the most important wine of Spain.

It can be labeled as either "Reserva" or "Gran Reserva," but "you're always looking for, without exception, the Gran Reserva," says Kleinhans. "It means this wine has a strong oak flavor, the hallmark flavor of Rioja. It also guarantees this wine has been aged in oak for two years or more, and an additional three years in the bottle."

Kleinhans says Rioja Gran Reserva is "probably one of the greatest high-end wines in the world that you can get at tremendous value."



'CRU BOURGEOIS' on a Bordeaux

The "Cru Bourgeois" distinction has to do with the French region of Bordeaux, where these wines are produced.

The greatest wines of the region are classified as "Grand Cru Classé," which Kleinhans explains has been so successful that prices went through the roof and bottles are no longer available for under $40 or $50.

"For the value lovers, 'Cru Bourgeois' is the back door to get outstanding Bordeaux for under $25," he says. "Those are the chateaus not allowed into the Grand Cru classification 150 years ago. Several outstanding chateaus were left aside, and nowadays these wines not labeled Grand Cru, but Cru Bourgeois, you can get at a great value. It's the level right under the Grand Cru level people are paying thousands for."



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A retail CEO reveals the simple work wardrobe rule she thinks everyone should follow

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MMLaFleur NYC 2007

Sarah LaFleur is the founder and CEO of MM.LaFleur, a clothing brand designed specifically for professional women. LaFleur, whose sold-out dresses have at times amassed a 1,600-person waitlist, has a great rule of thumb when it comes to shopping and purchasing clothes for work — and the rule can apply to both men and women in the office.

She calls it the 40/40/20 rule.

"Our 40/40/20 philosophy centers around the idea of building a balanced wardrobe," LaFleur told Business Insider. "As a general rule of thumb, we think an ideal work wardrobe is made up of 40% everyday pieces, 40% elevated pieces, and 20% showstoppers."

SEE ALSO: This new brand is a favorite with busy Wall Streeters who hate to shop for work clothes

40% everyday pieces

According to LaFleur, "everyday pieces" include your most comfortable clothes that are still appropriate for work. It's important that the clothes in this section of your wardrobe are machine-washable. For women, LaFleur suggests comfy cardigans, easy dresses, and simple pencil skirts. 

 



40% elevated pieces

The second 40% is what LaFleur calls "elevated pieces." These outfits transition easily from night to day, and "look a bit more sophisticated," she said. LaFleur suggests that an outfit from this portion of your wardrobe be something you could wear on a full day of back-to-back meetings, followed by a client dinner.  



20% showstoppers

"Showstoppers are those special pieces that make you feel unstoppable," LaFleur said. "They're perfect for big presentations, speaking gigs, or important events when you want to make an impression."  

"The 40/40/20 philosophy is a guideline, rather than a hard-and-fast rule," she added. "We developed it to help women achieve balance in their wardrobes so that they would always have the right mix of pieces to pull from in the morning — without having to think too hard about it."



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A look inside the New York office of Yelp, a $3 billion company that offers its 4,000 employees around the world some of the most incredible perks

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Yelp Offices NYC 24

When you think of an office, foosball tables, karaoke machines, beer kegs, and free snacks probably don't come to mind ... that is, unless you work at Yelp.

That's right — those are just a few of the enviable perks Yelp offers its 900 New York-based employees.

Founded in 2004 and headquartered in San Francisco, the $3 billion company that allows consumers to locate and review businesses on its mobile app and website now has seven offices around the US and Europe, including one in the heart of Manhattan that Business Insider recently visited.

We went inside the Madison Avenue office to get a clearer picture of what the Yelp culture is really like. Here's what we saw and learned:

SEE ALSO: This is the best restaurant in the US, according to Yelp

Upon arriving at Yelp's New York office on a Wednesday afternoon in August, we were greeted by Paul Reich, vice president of local sales, who would be our tour guide. Our first stop: the Yelp Café.



Reich said this is where Yelp's New York employees — most of whom work in sales — can enjoy a caffeine break Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.



The entire time we were there, loud, upbeat music was playing throughout the office. Reich told us that the playlists tend to be pretty eclectic: "We don't know whether we'll be hearing Brazilian or samba or even some heavy metal." When we arrived at the office, "Rock Lobster" by the B-52s was playing.



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