Channel: Business Insider
Viewing all 52010 articles
Browse latest View live

Trump's trade war is starting to whack car companies like Ford, Honda, and BMW


trump car wave

  • President Donald Trump's tariffs are starting to weigh on the the world's largest automakers.
  • BMW, Ford, and Honda have all issued warnings about the tariffs' impact on their businesses over the last few days.
  • The pain could get worse, as the Trump administration is still mulling tariffs on imported cars.

Evidence is mounting that automakers are taking a hit from President Donald Trump's tariffs, and the car companies say the worst may be yet to come.

Large automakers including Ford, Honda, and BMW say they are all reeling from the effects of the tit-for-tat tariffs between the US and China, as well as Trump's tariffs on all steel and aluminum tariffs coming into the US.

The latest example came from Ford, which announced last week that it would be forced to lay off employees as it cuts costs. Some of the impetus for the layoffs is a restructuring program the company is undertaking, but recent sales woes in China and increased material costs are also driving some of the automaker's pain.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett told an audience at a Bloomberg conference that the steel and aluminum tariffs will cost the company $1 billion in 2018 and 2019.

"From Ford’s perspective the metals tariffs took about $1 billion in profit from us," Hackett said. "The irony of which is we source most of that in the US today anyway. If it goes on any longer, it will do more damage."

Sales of Ford cars in China have also tanked in 2018 — the company reported a 43% decline for the month of September compared to the same month in 2017, as well as a 30% fall during the first nine months of the year compared to the same time period in 2017.

BMW is facing similar problems

BMW, which produces its X3 and X5 SUVs at a plant in Greer, South Carolina, is dealing with similar Chinese sales woes because of the trade war.

The South Carolina-made BMW models are hugely popular in China but are also now subject to retaliatory tariffs from the Chinese government that came in response to Trump's duties on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods.

It appears the tariffs are slowing down BMW's exports, according to the Charleston Post and Courier.  Auto exports from the Port of Charleston dived roughly 35% in August compared to the same month in 2017, according to the Post and Courier. And auto exports are down over 30% from the port in the first two months of the trade war kicking off in earnest.

Much of the auto exports from South Carolina are the BMWs and $2.4 billion of the $6.3 billion shipped from Charleston to China in 2017 were BMWs.

"The continuing international trade conflicts are aggravating the market situation and feeding uncertainty," BMW told The Post and Courier.

Other factors contributed to the decrease, such as BMW's shift to a new generation of its X5 — one of the most popular models from the South Carolina plant —  but the company said the tariffs were a significant reason for the slowdown in sales to China.

'Hundreds of millions of dollars in new, unplanned cost'

Rick Schostek, executive vice president for Honda North America, expressed similar concerns about the steel tariffs during a Senate Finance Committee hearing in late September.

"So, while we’re paying relatively little in the way of tariffs on steel, the price of domestic steel has increased as a result of the tariff, saddling us with hundreds of millions of dollars in new, unplanned cost," Schostek said.

In both cases, the increased costs are due to the tariffs but also their second-order effects. Schostek told the committee that 90% of Honda's steel used in US cars is domestic. But as the tariffs have pushed up prices for imported steel, domestic steel producers have increased their prices.

In the background of these losses is the looming threat of an even bigger hit to automakers. The Trump administration is researching the possibility of imposing tariffs on imported autos and auto parts, a move almost every single automaker has warned would wreck the industry.

SEE ALSO: China's latest move shows it's committed to fighting Trump in the trade war for the long haul

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory

The 8 best new fall TV shows, according to critics


single parents

This fall TV season already has a few standout shows that are good now, and have the potential to get into a great groove. So they're worth investing in now before you have dozens of episodes to catch up on.  

While the networks certainly have some stinkers this season, some also have new shows with a lot of potential, like ABC's "Single Parents" and CBS' "God Friended Me."

If you've run out of good TV to watch, or just want to be up on new shows people are talking about, we took to ratings aggregator Rotten Tomatoes to rank the best shows of fall 2018. Along with the critic ranking, we included the Rotten Tomatoes audience ranking, a sample of what critics have said so far, and show descriptions courtesy of IMDB

Here are the best TV shows of fall 2018 (so far), ranked according to critics:

SEE ALSO: The 8 worst new network TV shows this fall, from 'FBI' to 'New Amsterdam'

No 8. — "Happy Together" (CBS)

Description: Claire and Jake's married life is mired in routine, but when megastar Cooper shows up at their door, they get dragged into his life of fame.

Critic Score: 60%

Audience Score: 57%

"Given the opportunity to sing, dance and flail around ridiculously in the pilot, Wayans and West try hard and I smiled frequently at their effort." -The Hollywood Reporter 

No. 7 — "God Friended Me" (CBS)

Description: An atheist's life is turned upside down when God adds him as a friend on Facebook.

Critic Score: 63%

Audience Score: 81%

"It's definitely not the worst drama you could find on network TV, and Hall is a likable, charismatic actor. Give it a one-episode trial and see how you feel." -The Ringer

No. 6 — "Charmed" (The CW)

Description:Follows the lives of three sisters who, after the tragic death of their mother, discover they are powerful witches.

Critic Score: 64%

Audience Score: 33%

"The pilot has more of a balance of heavy emotion and lightness than I expected, and the most surprising thing about the new Charmed... is how it doesn't forget to be fun within a contemporary, #MeToo/#TimesUp context." -Paste

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

8 myths about prenups you should stop believing


wedding couple married

When you're planning a wedding to the love of your life — especially if you're a romantic — a prenuptial agreement is probably not your highest priority. But maybe it should be.

"A lot of issues come up in the course of a marriage," Leslie J. Wilsher, an attorney who specializes in premarital and marital agreements, told Business Insider. "Should the worst happen, it's better to have worked through everything while you're still speaking to each other and care about each other."

Prenups have gotten such a terrible rap in pop culture that it's no wonder people get cold feet just talking about them. Why would someone want to sign a legal document sealing their fate to get divorced?

It's this very mentality that invites misunderstanding. Here, we took eight of the most common myths associated with prenups and married them to the facts.

1. Prenups aren't necessary unless at least one spouse is wealthy

Contrary to widespread misinformation, prenuptial agreements do not exist solely to protect piles and piles of cash. They're contracts designed to prevent disputes about all marital assets, according to Nolo. This can include anything from a house to a pet. The prenup can determine things like future alimony payments (if any), division of assets among kids, and even which debt belongs to whom.

2. You can include anything you want in your prenup

Well, you can include anything you want in your prenup, but that doesn't mean it will all be enforced. If a judge decides your contract is too one-sided or too unreasonable— for instance, it includes no provisions about child support, or it has stipulations about things like weight gain — the whole thing can be invalidated, according to divorce financial planner Jeff Landers.

3. You don't need a lawyer to sign a prenup

Not only is it not a good idea to enter into a prenuptial agreement solo, but in many states, each party is required to have his or her own legal representation. And even if separate attorneys aren't mandatory, forgoing them may convince a judge to throw the prenup out of court.

4. Signing a prenup means you're destined to get divorced

Worried that a prenuptial agreement will pit you and your future spouse against each other or be an omen for divorce? The opposite is actually true. In fact, 86% of mental health experts polled by relationship site YourTango said that prenups have "no predictable impact" on marriage.

5. Prenups only pertain to divorce

Here's something you may not know: A prenuptial agreement is not only relevant in the event of a split. It can also determine financial expectations and lay the groundwork for an estate plan. Yes, prenups deal with the only other thing you want to think of less than divorce — death.

6. Prenups are inflexible

If one spouse has more money and assets than the other, and the couple gets divorced, they are not entirely bound to the terms of the prenuptial agreement. Yes, the less moneyed spouse is only entitled by law to what's agreed upon, but the more moneyed spouse is free to give more, Wilsher said. Generosity will not nullify the terms of the agreement.

7. You can wait till the eleventh hour to sign a prenup

If you do decide a prenuptial agreement is right for your union, it's best not to save it for the very last minute. No prenup is ironclad, and one thing that can invalidate it is coercion. It may sound sinister, but if one party can prove they signed the contract under duress, it can become null and void. If the prenup was signed days or even hours before the wedding, that could strengthen the argument that someone was coerced into agreeing to it.

8. If you get married before signing a prenup, you can always just get a postnup

This one depends on how long you wait. If you wake up one day five years into your marriage and decide to get the ball rolling on a postnuptial agreement, any wealth or assets you've acquired in those five years since you exchanged vows is considered marital property — since there was no prenup deciding it isn't. The process will then become more complicated, as you, your spouse, and your individual attorneys will have to hash it all out after the fact.

SEE ALSO: 3 reasons why you should consider getting a prenup

DON'T MISS: The surprising 'prenups' of America's richest couples

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why absolutely everyone needs a prenup

I traveled the world for 6 months, and here's the single best app I couldn't live without


Great Wall Of China Photos Tour (1 of 1)

  • As Business Insider's international correspondent, I've spent the past six months traveling through Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Greece, Israel, and Russia, among other places.
  • I use a ton of different apps to make travel as efficient and seamless as possible, but by far the most essential is Google Translate.
  • Google Translate has several features tailor-made for travelers, like its camera function, which translates signs instantly, and "conversation mode," which allows you to speak directly into the microphone for real-time translated conversations.

As Business Insider's international correspondent, I've spent the past six months traveling through Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Greece, Israel, and Russia, among other places.

That's a lot of difficult languages to understand. It may surprise you, but I'm adept at speaking only one language: English. That's not for lack of trying — apologies to my high-school Italian teacher.

Nothing is a substitute for true fluency when traveling, but new and improving technologies are getting closer to bridging the gap. It may not be sexy, but Google Translate is the one app I can't live without.

Since it was introduced in 2006, Google Translate has become an indispensable part of the internet. While many may use it to complete their foreign-language homework — again, apologies to my high-school Italian teacher — it is integrated into so much of what we do, from Gmail to Chrome and elsewhere. It effortlessly erases borders of understanding as you navigate across the internet, from a Spanish newspaper to a Chinese e-commerce site.

Google Translate

In recent years, Google Translate's mobile app, released in 2010, has worked a similar magic in the real world. Google has introduced new features designed with travelers in mind and developed unprecedented translation accuracy thanks to Google's game-changing "neural machine translation" technology.

Google Translate now has more than 500 million monthly users and translates over 143 billion words a day, The New York Times reported earlier this year.

Earlier this year, Google Translate became the story of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The service's use spiked 30% in Russia during the World Cup, according to Google. A Spanish journalist tried to use the app to ask a player on France's team a question after the team dictated that all questions be in French.

While I was there, fans from all over the world were holding up smartphones and tablets to one another to carry out conversations from Russian to English, Spanish to Portuguese, Arabic to French, and every other language pair you can imagine. I used it to translate signs written in the Cyrillic alphabet, talk with taxi drivers, figure out what I had just ordered, and read museum placards.

It was far from the first time Google Translate has gotten me out of a jam.

While visiting Japan last year, I became acutely aware of the app's amazing camera function, which can scan and translate text in real time.

I can usually get the gist of signs and labels in Romance-language-speaking countries like Spain or France, thanks to my mediocre Italian proficiency. Trying to get the gist of Japanese Kanji characters doesn't exactly work.

But as I walked through a supermarket in Tokyo's Shibuya neighborhood and encountered one unfamiliar food after another, the camera translated each item before my eyes. It was like putting on glasses for the first time.


But that only scratches the surface of the app's potential.

In recent years, Google Translate has added a "conversation mode" that allows a user to speak directly into the microphone for a real-time translation into another language, then the respondent can do the same the other way. The translations can sometimes be clunky, but it is more than enough to engage in a real conversation with someone who doesn't speak your language.

I make a habit of talking to taxi drivers when traveling. And not just for recommendations — I ask them about their country. Most have something insightful to say. Before Google Translate, I had to hope that the driver whose car I got into had more than a tenuous grasp of English. In many countries, that's rarely the case.

Some taxi drivers have wised up to Google Translate. In Athens, I met a driver named Ilias who always keeps an iPad open to the app on his dashboard. Eager to talk to an American, he began translating himself as soon I entered the cab. Pretty soon we were going back and forth about Greece's economic crisis and potential solutions. I learned so much from him that it inspired this story on Greece's situation.

Greece athens

Probably the best aspect of the app is that it works seamlessly offline. So long as you download the requisite language pack, the app can do everything, including conversation mode and the camera function, without internet — which is essential, because roaming charges add up quick while traveling.

While you can't download every language, more than 60 are available for instant offline translation.

And last week, Google announced that Translate added several new languages for full offline use, including Arabic, Thai, Vietnamese, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu. (See the full list of available languages here »)

Download Google Translate »

SEE ALSO: I've been traveling the world for 6 months, and these are the apps I can't live without

DON'T MISS: I'm taking a trip around the world with only a carry-on suitcase — here's everything I packed

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What happens when you sleep in your contacts

Rich families are paying baby nurses up to $800 a day to work 22-hour shifts and teach their babies to sleep through the night


baby and mother

  • Wealthy families are paying baby nurses up to $800 a day to tend to their newborn babies and teach them to sleep through the night.
  • Baby nurses work 22-hour days and don't take a day off until three or four weeks after the baby is born.
  • They make between $600 and $750 a day on average, and sometimes up to $800.
  • Parents are keeping baby nurses for much longer than in the past, up to nine months instead of one to three, according to Seth Norman Greenberg, vice president of domestic staffing firm Pavillion Agency.


An ultra-wealthy business magnate may have no trouble managing a staff of hundreds of people, but getting a baby to sleep? That's another story. 

More and more affluent families are paying up to $800 a day to hire baby nurses to help them care for their newborns and teach the babies to sleep through the night, according to Seth Norman Greenberg, the vice president and marketing director of Pavillion Agency, a domestic staffing agency in New York City.

"I spoke to someone the other day who said, 'My husband's a titan, he manages 10,000 people, and he can't put our kid to sleep,'" Greenberg told Business Insider.

In such cases, a baby nurse is the ideal solution.

These baby nurses — who are not always necessarily registered nurses — work 22-hour shifts and don't take a single day off until the baby is three or four weeks old. Their average rate is between $600 and $750 a day for one baby and can be as high as $800 a day. For twins and triplets, the rate can be even higher.

Pavillion Agency, which matches candidates to high-earning families for roles including nannies, private chefs, personal assistants, housekeepers, butlers, and more, caters to families that can be classified as "ultra-wealthy," Greenberg told Business Insider. "Clients can be in any industry, from business titans, financial, manufacturing, tech— and then some people that are just retired," he said. 

"All of these very successful people are able to be successful because their homes are run," Greenberg said.

Parents are increasingly seeing the value of keeping baby nurses for longer periods, according to Greenberg.

"Whereas most of my baby nurse cases in the past, up until a few years ago, would last between one and three months, now they're lasting between six and nine months," Greenberg told Business Insider. "And the salaries have gone up. ... So the salaries go up and people are keeping them for longer."

Baby nurses usually work three to four weeks straight and then take a few days off, according to Greenberg. After that, they generally take a day off every two weeks.

Most baby nurses start out as either nannies, RNs, or LPNs, Greenberg said. They're often mothers themselves. In general, they are CPR certified and stay up to date with the latest newborn philosophies and standards.

Baby nurses help teach parents techniques related to bathing, bedtimes routines, feeding, diapering and dressing the baby, maintaining the baby's room, and much more. They are trained to deal with colic, gas, and excessive crying, according to Pavillion's website. Some can act as lactation consultants and are trained in umbilical and circumcision care.

"Some baby nurses enjoy working for part of the year (six months) and travel and do other things throughout the year," Greenberg said. "Others have a brief rest period and start working right away."

SEE ALSO: Forget teaching 2nd languages — wealthy New Yorkers now want their kids' nannies to do their hair, drive Zambonis, and give them massages

DON'T MISS: CEOs, athletes, and celebs are paying $10,000 for this 6-hour physical exam that includes a massage and 2 meals in an ultra-luxurious, spa-like NYC facility

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What happens when you sleep in your contacts

I flew on the longest flight in the world, which lasts nearly 18 hours and covers 10,000 miles. Here's what it's like.


Airbus A350 900ULR Singapore New York

  • Singapore Airlines relaunched the longest flight in the world on Thursday, connecting Newark Liberty International Airport with its home base at Changi Airport in Singapore.
  • Singapore had operated the route — which covers about 10,000 miles and can last up to 19 hours — until 2013.
  • Singapore's fleet of new Airbus A350-900ULR jets will be used to operate the route.
  • The planes are equipped with business-class and premium-economy cabins only.
  • Business Insider had the chance to fly on the launch flight of SQ21 from Newark to Singapore.

Singapore Airlines on Thursday relaunched its nonstop service connecting Newark Liberty International Airport just outside New York City with its home base at Changi Airport in Singapore. At about 10,000 miles with a duration of up to 19 hours, the flight is the longest in the world.

Singapore Airlines Flight SQ22, with a new Airbus A350-900ULR, took off from Changi Airport late Thursday evening local time. Nearly 18 hours later, at 5:30 a.m. ET on Friday, the flight arrived in Newark. Later that morning, Flight SQ21 would make the first nonstop return flight back to Singapore in half a decade.

Flight SQ22 marked the first nonstop flight between the Lion City and the Big Apple since 2013, when Singapore Airlines pulled the plug on the service. At the time Singapore used Airbus A340-500s on the route.

While it has exceptional range and capability, the A340-500 was a relic of the 1990s, and the thirst of its four engines proved too uneconomical to sustain. Even a shift to an all-business-class layout couldn't generate enough income to save the route. So in 2013, the airline canceled the service and returned the A340-500 fleet to Airbus.

Fast-forward five years, and things are quite different. Singapore is the proud owner of a fleet of new Airbus A350-900ULR jets — ULR stands for ultra-long-range — representing the latest in commercial aviation.

The carbon-composite A350's pair of massive Rolls-Royce Trent XWB turbofan engines team up with the plane's sleek wing design to deliver a 25% reduction in fuel consumption over the aircraft it replaced, the company says. In ULR specs, Airbus managed to fit an extra 6,300 gallons of fuel into the A350's tanks, pushing the range up to more than 11,000 miles.

Business Insider purchased a business-class ticket aboard the flight from Newark to Singapore. Here's how it went.

SEE ALSO: The 11 longest flights in the world, ranked

FOLLOW US: On Facebook for more car and transportation content!

Singapore Airlines Flight SQ21 to Singapore operates out of Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport. Since this was an inaugural flight and there were some additional festivities involved, we arrived more than four hours before the 10:45 a.m. departure time.

After the media briefing, the photo shoots, and the press conference, it was time to get on the plane.

As we waited to board, we caught a glimpse of our chariot, the new Airbus A350-900ULR.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The dark history of Pocahontas, whose name Trump has evoked to slam Elizabeth Warren



  • US President Donald Trump has repeatedly used the name "Pocahontas" to bash Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
  • "Pocahontas" was the nickname of a teenage girl who was abducted by English colonists in 1613 and died at about the age of 21.
  • Warren just released a DNA test that supports her claim of Native American ancestry.

US President Donald Trump's favorite nickname for Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren is "Pocahontas."

"We have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago," Trump said at a November 2017 event honoring Native American code talkers. "They call her 'Pocahontas.' But you know what, I like you, because you are special. You are special people. You are really incredible people."

General secretary of the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes secretary John Norwood told NBC at the time that Trump's nickname "smacks of racism," adding that the president should "stop using our historical people of significance as a racial slur against one of his opponents."

Trump's usage of the name links back to when Scott Brown, Warren's Republican opponent in the 2012 race for a Senate seat in Massachusetts, "accused her of faking her Native American ancestry after reports surfaced that she listed herself as a minority in a directory of law school professors," Business Insider's Jeremy Berke reported. CNN reported that Warren never listed herself as a minority in student applications.

Warren just released a DNA test that supports her claim of Native American ancestry. Trump previously pledged to make a $1 million charitable donation if Warren produced evidence of her heritage, but he has since denied making such an offer, Business Insider reported.

Even before Trump began using her name as an insult, Pocahontas has occupied a prominent place in American pop culture. But who was Pocahontas, and how did the American public come to be so fixated on her?

First of all, she wasn't named Pocahontas. "Pocahontas" was a nickname that means something along the lines of "mischievous one." A colonist named William Strachey chronicled how 11-year-old Pocahontas would visit the settlers' fort at Jamestown and turn cartwheels with the English children, according to the book "Malinche, Pocahontas, and Sacagawea: Indian Women as Cultural Intermediaries and National Symbols."

There's a reason we remember Pocahontas and not other members of her tribe and family. English colonist John Smith singles her out in his writings, which had a major role in shaping her legacy.

In December 1607, a Powhatan leader named Opechancanough — who was also Pocahontas' uncle — captured Smith while he was exploring the Chickahominy River. Smith later claimed that Pocahontas disrupted his execution, throwing her body across his to protect him. In a 1616 letter to Queen Anne, he even wrote, "She hazarded the beating out of her own brains to save mine."

Chickahominy, Mattaponi, Monican, Nansemond, Pamunkey, Rappahoannock and Upper Mattapoini Indians

Numerous historians, however, have said the event most likely did not happen as Smith described it — if it even happened at all. He left his alleged encounter with Pocahontas out of his earliest writings, not mentioning it until 1624.

And it wasn't the first time Smith had claimed to have been rescued by a young woman who intervened to save him from her male relatives. In "Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma," Camilla Townsend writes that Smith said a young Muslim woman had protected him in a similar manner while he was enslaved in Turkey.

Chief Roy Crazy Horse, who was a longtime leader of the Powhatan Renape Nation, wrote that Smith's account helped propel Pocahontas to lasting fame.

"Of all of Powhatan's children, only 'Pocahontas' is known, primarily because she became the hero of Euro-Americans as the 'good Indian,' one who saved the life of a white man," he wrote.

In 1613, a few years after Pocahontas was said to have saved Smith, an English captain named Samuel Argall lured Pocahontas onto his ship and took her hostage during the First Anglo-Powhatan War. Indian Country Today reported that the Mattaponi tribe's oral history says that she was raped in captivity and that her abduction separated her from her first husband and daughter.

Ultimately, she converted to Christianity and was baptized as Rebecca. On April 5, 1614, she married a settler named John Rolfe, who had lost his wife Sarah after some English colonists were shipwrecked on Bermuda. Pocahontas and Rolfe had one child together, a son named Thomas.

The marriage established what became known as "the Peace of Pocahontas," a lull in the fighting between the English and the Powhatan. The cash-strapped Virginia Company hoped to establish the couple as a "symbol of peaceful relations," according to Encyclopedia Virginia, so in 1616, Pocahontas, her husband, and her young son traveled to England for a publicity tour — on a ship captained by none other than Argall.

She would never return to Virginia.

In March 1617, the family boarded the ship that would take them back to North America, but Pocahontas and Thomas became suddenly ill as they sailed down the Thames River. He survived. She did not.

Pocahontas, who was only about 21 years old, was buried in Gravesend, England, while Rolfe returned to Virginia. He died in 1622, possibly in an attack orchestrated by Opechancanough, according to "The Cultural Roots of the 1622 Indian Attack." In 1646, Thomas Rolfe became a lieutenant in the English military and fought against the Powhatan, his mother's people.

SEE ALSO: The true story behind Thanksgiving is a bloody struggle that decimated the population and ended with a head on a stick

DON'T MISS: 6 of the most spectacular business failures in history

SEE ALSO: A congressman just called Mike Pence 'the greatest VP' since John Adams — here's why that's not really a compliment

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This woman captured the horror of Native Americans being forced to assimilate to white culture

The US budget deficit ballooned to $779 billion this year, the highest since 2012, driven by Trump's tax law and the massive budget deal


donald trump paul ryan

  • The budget deficit for fiscal year 2018 hit $779 billion, according to the Treasury Department.
  • The deficit increased by 17% compared to 2017 and is the largest deficit since 2012.
  • The GOP tax bill and massive budget agreement helped to grow the deficit.
  • The increase in the deficit will only accelerate in years to come, the Congressional Budget Office warns.

The US federal budget deficit jumped to $779 billion in fiscal year 2018, the highest level since 2012, according to the Treasury Department.

As the GOP tax bill and massive spending agreement took hold, the deficit for fiscal year 2018, which ran from October 2017 through September 2018, was 17% wider than 2017's and totaled 3.9% of GDP.

According to the Treasury, revenue grew by just 0.4% as spending grew by 3.2%.

The increase in the deficit contradicts Trump and other officials promise that the GOP tax bill would "pay for itself."

In a possible prelude of what's to come, corporate tax revenue dropped 31% in fiscal year 2018 while personal income tax revenues ticked up 6.1%.

While corporations pay taxes on a quarterly basis, meaning businesses filed under the GOP tax law for three-quarters of the year, most American households won't file taxes under the new system until April 2019.

The increase is the wrong direction if the president wants to eliminate all of the US's debt in eight years, as Trump promised he would do on the campaign trail.

Kevin Hassett, the chairman of the White House's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), recently promised Trump would release a plan to get the deficit under control. Hassett said the plan would focus on spending cuts, possibly including cuts to entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

us federal deficit

According to official projections, the deficit is only going to grow form here on out. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the budget deficit for 2019 will be just a hair under $1 trillion and will eclipse $1 trillion in 2020, the first deficit of that size since the depths of the financial crisis.

Much of the increase is pegged to recent legislation, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. A recent CRFB report found that legislation passed in the 2018 fiscal year will account for $445 billion worth of fiscal year 2019's $973 billion budget deficit, or 46% of the total.

In total, legislation enacted in the 2018 fiscal year will add $2.4 trillion in new debt by 2027.

Maya MacGuineas, CRFB's president, said the new release was an important wake up call for Congress.

"As expected, recent tax cuts and spending increases — all put on the national credit card — are making a bad problem even worse," MacGuineas said in a statement. "It's an unsustainable fiscal course that will lead us to debt overtaking the size of the entire economy in as soon as a decade, and not long after topping all-time highs as a share of the economy not seen since World War II."

The White House didn't immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

SEE ALSO: Democrats are embracing a radical change to US healthcare, and it could be the defining political fight for years to come

DON'T MISS: The US government's budget deficit is about to explode — and the Trump tax law and spending surge is to blame

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory

Why hurricanes hardly ever hit Europe


You don't have to live far inland to avoid hurricanes. Just move to Europe. It rarely sees full-on hurricanes. But that may soon change. Following is a transcript of the video.

Europe hasn't had a hurricane reach its shore in over 50 years. Now don't get the wrong idea. Hurricane season still brings a hefty dose of wind and rain. But Europe has something that North America doesn't, when it comes to protection against hurricanes. Location.

Hurricanes usually form off the coast of West Africa, where warm water near the Equator and high humidity create columns of rapidly rising rotating air. It's the perfect recipe for a storm. Now the more warm, moist air that the system picks up, the stronger it becomes. That's why a tropical storms can quickly grow into a full on hurricane as it marches across the Atlantic. Now normally hurricanes are propelled on a westward track by the trade winds, caused by the Earth's rotation. That's why Europe as well as the West Coast of the US, rarely experience full on hurricanes. But that's not the whole story.

After all, since the year 2000, remnants of around 30 hurricanes have reached Europe. For comparison, Florida has seen 79 real hurricanes over the same time frame. By the time these remnants make landfall, they've went from a hurricane force, to a tropical storm or weaker. And that's where Europe's location comes into play. In order for a hurricane to head towards Europe, something crucial has to happen. It has to travel really far North by about 200 miles. Once a storm system reaches 30 degrees north, it encounters the subtropical jet stream. Which moves in the opposite direction of the trade winds. And therefore, blows the storm East But because the storm is now farther North, the waters underneath are colder by up to about five to 10 degrees Celsius. Which means less energy available to feed the storm. And as a result, it starts to die down by the time it's headed for Europe. Even though it's no longer a hurricane, it still packs a punch when it hits shore. In fact, most of these hurricane remnants will combine with other nearby cyclones and weather fronts, that create high winds and rain that mainly hit Ireland and Great Britain. But have been known to reach as far as Greece or even farther in Northern Russia. Typical damages include power outages, flooding, and occasionally casualties. Most recently the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia made landfall in Ireland and Scotland in 2017. About 50,000 households in Northern Ireland lost power. Three deaths were reported and downed trees closed many of the public roads and highways. This was the worst storm that Ireland had seen in 50 years. And it may be a sign of what's to come.

As global surface temperatures rise, it will also increase the sea surface temperatures in the Northern Atlantic. Which researchers estimate could contribute to an increase in the number of hurricane force storms that reach Europe. Some experts predict that by the end of the 21st century, Europe could experience, on average, 13 powerful storms each year during hurricane season. Compared to the two per year it sees now.

Join the conversation about this story »

The curious timing of Facebook's first hardware product, the $200 'Portal' (FB)


mark zuckerberg happy handshake

  • On September 28, Facebook VP Guy Rosen wrote a blog post announcing a "security issue affecting almost 50 million accounts," where unnamed attackers used a vulnerability to access millions of users' accounts.
  • Facebook followed up on the security incident last week, and sent notifications to 30 million users on Friday detailing what personal data of theirs had been accessed by the attackers.
  • Earlier that same week, on October 8, Facebook announced a $200 camera-and-microphone device for the home, called Portal, for video calling.
  • People are skeptical of Facebook Portal, considering its recent scandals involving privacy and data collection.

Part of Facebook’s goal is to connect people — friends, family, and even strangers — by creating technology that facilitates communication and human interaction.

And so, it makes sense that Facebook would build a device for real-time video calls — like Apple’s FaceTime, but in a standalone device that can plug into Facebook’s massive address book known as Messenger.

Facebook unveiled such a device last week — two, in fact — called Portal and Portal+. Portal features a 10.1-inch display and costs $199, while the 15.6-inch Portal+ costs $349.

facebook portal

This should be an exciting moment for Facebook: It’s the company’s first piece of self-made hardware, and it's directly related to the company’s mission statement.

But, as with many things in life, timing is everything.

The scandals keep on coming

Facebook was reportedly planning on unveiling the Portal back in May, but decided against it. A Bloomberg report said Facebook was still reeling from the public outcry over revelations that UK consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had improperly accessed the personal data of  87 million users and then used that data to influence the users with political ads. People were very upset; It didn't seem like a good time for Facebook to hawk a camera-and-microphone device for the home. 

Unfortunately, Facebook chose last week to reveal the Portal device — and the timing wasn't much better.

Just four days after Facebook announced Portal, the company announced in a blog post that 30 million Facebook accounts were hacked by unnamed attackers. On Friday, Facebook users began receiving notifications from the company detailing the types of information (phone numbers, birth dates, etc) the hackers took. 

Facebook had previously updated the public on “a security issue affecting almost 50 million accounts," on September 28, so the company had ample time to delay the Portal announcement. But that didn't happen, and people learned about the Portal the same week they learned their Facebook accounts were hacked.

As you could guess, the Portal announcement did not play out well online, among critics or anyone else, really.

We reached out to Facebook to learn more about the timing around Portal's announcement.

What ultimately matters is what customers think

Beyond the initial reactions, it will be interesting to see what people think once they get Facebook Portal into their hands.

As I haven’t tried the device myself, I can’t say whether or not it’s worth its $200 or $350 price. What I will say, though, is that on paper, it has most of the same features you can get elsewhere. 

Facebook Portal can make video calls, of course, and you can also use it to view Facebook Watch videos, look at your Facebook photos or albums, or listen to music through Spotify or Pandora. In the words of Tim Cook, “that’s it!”

Maybe you want a large tablet in a specific part of your home to take video calls, and that’s great. But most services you're getting on Facebook Portal are available elsewhere: You can make video calls from your phone, tablet, or laptop, plus you can use any of those devices to look at photos and videos, or listen to music.

From a privacy perspective, Facebook's Portal raises the same concerns as other passive-listening smart home appliances from the likes of Google, Amazon and Apple. Facebook's poor track record with privacy might make you more weary of their product, but letting any company (even a company that doesn't have an advertisting-based business model) put a microphone and video portal in your living room is a risky proposition.

Ultimately, people may not think about Facebook’s history with data collection and privacy when they’re considering this device. They will buy it, and keep it, because they like what it can do.

SEE ALSO: A legendary gadget brand is making a comeback with a plan to fight app addiction by making a smaller smartphone to go with your regular one

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: British Airways has a $13 million flight simulator that taught us how to take off, fly, and land an airplane

Democrats will be able to make Trump's tax returns public if they take back Congress. Here's how.


WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 15: U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters before leaving the White House October 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. The president and first lady Melania Trump are traveling to survey damage from Hurricane Michael, the most powerful storm ever recorded to strike the Florida panhandle. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  • Certain committees in Congress have the authority to request President Trump's tax returns for review and can then vote to make them public. 
  • Republicans have so far blocked efforts by Democrats to utilize the procedural tool.
  • If Democrats retake the House majority, they can move forward with getting Trump's tax returns with newfound power in the Ways and Means Committee.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has not publicly released his tax returns and has no plans on ever doing so. But whether he wants to might not matter at all if Democrats take back the majority in the House of Representatives.

Three committees in Congress already have the authority to take a peek at Trump's — or any president's — tax returns in a closed session: The Senate Finance Committee, the Joint Committee on Taxation, and the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Through section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, those three committees can request 10 years of Trump's tax documents from the Secretary of the Treasury. They can then vote to make the returns public. 

While the JCT is a nonpartisan committee operated by experienced economists and the Democrats' chances of taking back the Senate are looking relatively slim, the House looks more likely to be changing hands come January, according to recent polling.

Taking back the House would allow Democrats, using their newfound control of the Ways and Means Committee, to review the tax returns and decide whether or not to release them.

Democrats have been demanding Trump's tax returns since he became president

Since Trump became president, House Democrats have made dozens of different attempts to request the tax returns, through forced votes, discharge petitions, amendments, and letters to various agencies and officials. 

Shortly after Trump became president, Republicans blocked an attempt by Democrats to request the tax returns from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

At the time, Ways and Means Chairman and GOP Rep. Kevin Brady called it an abuse of power that Democrats were only invoking "for obvious political purposes."

Rep. Bill Pascrell, one of the senior Democrats on the committee, had introduced a procedural measure to get the tax returns, reasons for which he had outlined in a February 2017 letter to Brady.

"President Trump is now governing while also owning a business with international investments," Pascrell wrote. "The Constitution faces unprecedented threats due to this arrangement. I believe the powerful Ways and Means Committee has the responsibility to use that power to ensure proper oversight of the executive branch by requesting a review of President Trump’s tax returns and moving towards a formal release of these documents to the public."

The issue has not disappeared, either.

Lawmakers and critics called for the release of his tax returns after Trump's one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, citing concerns he may have business dealings in Russia.

And after a New York Times investigation into Trump's personal finances and rise through New York City real estate development exposed "dubious tax schemes" and examples of "fraud," the calls for obtaining and reviewing his tax returns returned.

Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee requested the Republican Chairman, Sen. Orrin Hatch, to utilize the law that allows them to get Trump's tax returns, citing the Times investigation.

Sen. Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Finance Committee, asked Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig to investigate the reports of fraud and tax schemes in a letter.

"These media reports represent serious and credible allegations of potentially illegal tax fraud, based on extensive documentation," he wrote. "It is not clear whether the statute of limitations has expired in all cases. It is imperative that IRS fully investigate these allegations and prosecute any violations to the fullest extent of the law."

Reviewing and releasing Trump's tax returns would likely anger Trump, who has scoffed at calls for him to make them public. The White House has maintained the tax documents have been kept secret because they are under audit, while Trump himself has suggested their release is a non-issue.

"I did what was an almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican-easily won the Electoral College!" Trump wrote on Twitter in April of 2017. "Now Tax Returns are brought up again?"

SEE ALSO: A top Senate panel is going after Google for failing to disclose its massive data exposure

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory

APPLY NOW: Insider Inc. is hiring an enterprise tech reporter, a markets intern, and more


Insider Inc NYC

Insider Inc. has a number of editorial openings across both Business Insider and INSIDER. If you're interested in joining a fast-paced, growing newsroom, apply at the links provided below. Unless otherwise stated, positions are located in our New York City headquarters.

Editorial internships

Full-time positions

For a constantly updated list of openings, see our careers page.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What happens when you sleep in your contacts

'Why can't Dems ever stay focused???': Elizabeth Warren's DNA test sparks a heated debate on the left


Sen. Elizabeth Warren

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren's rollout on Monday of a campaign defending her claims to Native American ancestry sparked a debate on the left.
  • Some on the left applauded Warren's effort preemptive defense against what is likely to be President Donald Trump's favored line of attack against her in 2020.
  • Others recoiled at her engagement with what they see as a bigoted understanding of race and ethnicity. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren's campaign defending her claims to Native American ancestry sparked a debate on the left Monday, with some applauding her attempt to clear the air before an increasingly likely presidential run and others criticizing the timing of the move and her engagement with what they see as bad faith, racist attacks.  

As part of a polished campaign that includes a website featuring family documents and testimonials and a five-minute video, Warren released the findings of a DNA test conducted by a Stanford University scientist that found "strong evidence" that the Massachusetts Democrat had a Native American ancestor "6-10 generations ago." 

The release came after months of Trump's goading on the issue, perhaps peaking at a July rally when he said he would give $1 million to a charity of Warren's choice if a DNA test found she had Native American heritage. (On Monday, Trump first denied he ever said this, then said he would only pay if he could do the test himself.)

While the effort likely won't halt Trump's attacks, it may help assuage the concerns of those across the political spectrum who take issue with Warren's interpretation of her identity, an issue that's dogged her since her 2012 Senate campaign. 

Mary Anne Marsh, a Boston-based Democratic strategist, said she is relieved Warren has finally issued a full-throated defense and engaged with the criticism. She argued that Warren made the same mistake former President Barack Obama did when he waited years to release his birth certificate as Trump promoted his "birther" conspiracy claiming the president was not a US-born citizen. 

"They let it sit there for too long — they ignored it, ignored it, ignored it, only to then finally put it to rest ... and in both cases it proved that Donald Trump is a liar," Marsh told Business Insider, adding that she "took a lot of grief" for calling on Warren to clear the air when she first ran for the Senate.

But Marsh and others say better late than never.

Jesse Ferguson, a Democratic strategist and former spokesman for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign, said Warren's transparency on the issue will only cast a harsher light on Trump's refusal to answer questions about his own career. 

"People have seen everything from Elizabeth Warren's DNA to John Podesta's Risotto recipe, but Donald Trump's tax returns and health records remain a mystery," Ferguson told Business Insider. "The spotlight is now back on Donald Trump's secret life and what he's hiding from the American people."

A badly timed distraction? 

Some Democratic operatives argue the timing of the rollout — just three weeks before the midterm elections — will distract from other Democratic candidates in need of media attention and the president's own failings. 

"Argue the substance all you want, but why 22 days before a crucial election where we MUST win house and senate to save America, why did @SenWarren have to do her announcement now? Why can't Dems ever stay focused???" tweeted Jim Messina, former President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign manager. 

Other observers said Warren's decision to engage in political battle on Trump's terms is unnecessary this far ahead of a general election. 

"How much advantage is to be had in the Democratic primary by fighting with Trump, and talking to Trump, and how much do Democratic voters want in on that conversation?" BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith wrote in a Monday piece. 

But still others countered that waiting until after the midterms to release her defensive campaign would have created a longer lasting and potentially more damaging news cycle for Warren. 

"We all know that the moment that the last poll closes on November 6, 2018, 2020 starts," Adrienne Elrod, a Democratic strategist and former spokeswoman for Hillary Clinton's campaign, told Business Insider. "It's going to be noisy, and it's going to be loud, and it's going to be hard if you're one of 15 candidates running ... to get your message out."

donald trump rally fist

'Pure racist and eugenicist garbage' 

Warren's claims have also generated controversy among many Native Americans and critics on the left who question her decision to stick by her claims without providing any evidence to support them. 

"Daily Show" host Trevor Noah last year went so far as to call Trump's criticism of Warren "woke" because Warren's claims, he said, were "problematic." 

And on Monday some argued that the DNA test legitimized a wrong-headed belief that Native American identity can be genetically proven. 

"Indigenous people are nations that select & determine their own membership, based on their own customs not DNA tests. No one claims Warren," tweeted Nick Estes, an assistant professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico. "Using a DNA test to prove 'race' is pure racist and eugenicist garbage."

Warren addressed this issue in her video, clarifying that she does not belong to any tribe. 

"I'm not enrolled in a tribe, and only tribes determine tribal citizenship. I understand and respect that distinction," she said. 

By the end of the day, the verdict on Warren's gambit was perhaps rendered when she came under fire from the Cherokee Nation, which issued a rare statement slamming her rollout and saying she was "undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage."

"A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person's ancestors were indigenous to North or South America," Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said in a statement. 

He added: "Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is wrong."

SEE ALSO: Elizabeth Warren releases DNA test 'strongly' supporting claims of Native American ancestry in rebuke to Trump

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory

Inside the oldest and most expensive mansion in Charleston, which is selling for $16 million, is said to be haunted, and was once owned by Abraham Lincoln's granddaughter


Sword Gate House jessie randolph lincoln

  • The Sword Gate House is the most expensive and oldest mansion in Charleston, South Carolina, with a whopping $16 million price tag.
  • It's 200 years old and has nine bedrooms, lavish antique furnishings, and 12 fireplaces.
  • It also boasts priceless historical value —the home was designed in the Federal Period, was the private residence of the granddaughter of President Abraham Lincoln at one point, and locals say it's inhabited by a friendly ghost. 
  • But it's spent nine stale years on and off the market with multiple price drops.

In the South Carolina city of Charleston sits a beautiful, 17,000-square-foot mansion immersed in history, luxury, and exquisite design — and no one seems to want to buy it.

The 200-year-old home, known as The Sword Gate House, was listed in 2009 and since then has seen multiple price drops from its original $23 million price tag; its current asking price is $16 million.

Check out the charming Southern estate and why it has struggled on the market.

SEE ALSO: 50 photos show how obsessed the wealthy are with underground mansions

The Sword Gate House at 32 Legare St. is the most expensive home in Charleston, South Carolina.

Source: Work and Money and Zillow

The asking price? Almost $16 million.

Source: Zillow

The property was last sold in 1998 for $3 million. It landed on the market again in 2009 for $23 million, after some major renovations.

Source: Realtor and Work and Money

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Trump says he would only accept a DNA test from Elizabeth Warren if he can 'test her personally'


President Donald Trump answers questions from reporters on Monday.

  • President Donald Trump said he would only make good on his promise to donate $1 million to a charity of Sen. Elizabeth Warren's choice if he can "personally" conduct a DNA test proving her Native American ancestry. 
  • His comments came after the Massachusetts Democrat on Monday released the findings of a DNA test conducted by a Stanford University scientist that found "strong evidence" that Warren has distant Native American ancestry. 
  • Earlier on Monday, Trump flatly denied that he ever promised the $1 million. 

President Donald Trump on Monday said he would only make good on his promise to donate $1 million to a charity of Sen. Elizabeth Warren's choice if he can "personally" conduct a DNA test proving her Native American ancestry, a claim that Trump has ridiculed. 

His comments came after the Massachusetts Democrat released the findings of a DNA test conducted by a Stanford University scientist that found "strong evidence" that Warren had a Native American ancestor "6-10 generations ago." 

Trump, who derisively refers to Warren as "Pocahontas," said at a July rally that he would give $1 million to a charity of Warren's choice if a DNA test found that the senator had Native American heritage. But earlier on Monday, Trump denied ever making that promise. 

"I didn't say that — you better read it again," he told a gaggle of reporters outside the White House.

The president changed his position later in the day, telling the press during a visit to Florida to survey hurricane damage that the report doesn't prove Warren's claims and that he would only trust his own test. 

"I'll only do it if I can test her personally," Trump said. "That will not be something I enjoy doing, either."

Warren's Senate reelection campaign also created a website that includes family documents and testimonials. The video also includes several of Warren's former academic colleagues pushing back on another line of attack from Trump and his allies that Warren used her claim of Native American ancestry to advance her legal and political career.

In the video, Warren's former colleagues say her ethnicity was not considered when they hired her to teach at Harvard Law School, the University of Houston, University of Pennsylvania Law School, and UT Austin School of Law.

"The people who recruited Elizabeth to her teaching jobs, including Ronald Reagan's former solicitor general, all confirm: they hired her because she was an award-winning legal scholar and professor and they were unaware of her family's heritage," the website says.

The senator asked Trump to direct his $1 million donation to the Indigenous Women's Resource Center, a nonprofit group that works to protect Native American women and their children from violence.

SEE ALSO: Elizabeth Warren releases DNA test 'strongly' supporting claims of Native American ancestry in rebuke to Trump

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory

The 4 biggest mistakes people make when buying art, according to experts


Emerald Shoreline   Nina Brooke   156 x 80 cm  Acrylic on Canvas £3200

Buying art might sound like the reserve of the super-rich, but it can actually be more affordable than you might have thought.

The Affordable Art Fair in London, which runs from 18-21 October, presents thousands of original works every year, priced from just £100 ($131) to a cap of £6,000 ($7,889).

Business Insider spoke to Fair Director Lucinda Costello and Recent Graduates' Exhibition Curator Cassie Beadle to find out the biggest mistakes people make when buying art.

Scroll down to see what advice they had to offer.

SEE ALSO: This artist is hilariously trolling people who ask for free drawings

The artist doesn't have much consistency

It's incredibly important to do your homework, Costello says, when choosing the artist whose work you're buying.

If you're hoping to buy a piece of art as an investment, then it pays to research the artist's portfolio beforehand.

If there's a lack of consistency in their portfolio, it could denote a lack of maturity in their work.

It could be a red flag, "if you're seeing things that look like they could have been created by different artists," Costello says.

"If there isn’t much consistency across their portfolio then they may not have defined what they're doing yet, which can mean they need more time to develop."

"That's not to say they won't go on to become fabulous artists," she adds, "but, if you're playing it a bit safer then noticing colour palettes or a certain quality, just something about the overall feel of the work... [will make it] a bit more of a comfortable gamble."


You don't check where the artist studied

Unfortunately, not all art schools are born equal.

"Statistically some of the bigger institutions, like Central Saint Martins or the RCA, have produced more successful artists," Costello says.

And, although she stipulates that "this should never be a bigger factor than the quality of their work," it can sometimes be a safer investment to buy art produced by graduates of the more prestigious institutions.

"The tuition they'll have had and the peers they'll have been exposed to probably accelerate [the artist's] maturity."

You don't buy from a gallery

"Whilst buying from the artist direct can feel like you are 'cutting out the middleman' this can be problematic both for artist and collector later on," Beadle says.

Buying from galleries guarantees the collector with essential credentials and documentation of their work, which is key if you want to sell the piece(s) on in future.

It also allows you to build a relationship with the gallerist, Beadle says, who can inform you of trends and developments in the art market, and offer you wider context on purchases.

"Gallerists are the professionals in selling art, knowing art, doing their homework and presenting it in a retail situation to a visitor and being able to have conversations about all of their artists," Costello adds.

This has benefits for the artists too, she says, as they are then free to focus on their craft, rather than travelling the world's art fairs and keeping their social media accounts going.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

I traveled the world for 6 months, and here's the single best piece of advice I can give you for any trip you take


Great Wall Of China Photos Tour (1 of 1)

  • In March, I left New York to travel around the world as Business Insider's international correspondent. In more than six months, I have so far visited 12 countries.
  • Spending all this time traveling has hammered home one truth for me: forget about FOMO (fear of missing out). If there's an attraction, landmark, or museum that doesn't interest you, don't be afraid to skip it.
  • There are often too many things to see in whatever place you are visiting to waste your time on something that doesn't interest you — even if it's something as monumental as the Taj Mahal or the Great Wall of China.

Perhaps you know the feeling. You're on that vacation you've been planning all year to some exotic location — let's say Tulum, Mexico — and you've got just two more days before heading back to the office and the nine-to-five grind.

As you nap on the beach, you imagine a nightmare.

Before you left, your buddy Chad at work talked your ear off about how amazing the Mayan ruins are in Yucatán. He visited Tulum last year and raved about how the pre-Columbian city of Chichen Itza was the most incredible place in the world. You have to go, he said.

Now, sitting on the beach with two days left, you don't want to go. Historical sites don't particularly interest you. You travel to relax and to eat tasty local food. Spending a day on a hot bus so you can listen to a tour guide drone on about Mayan astronomy sounds terrible. You want to soak up as much sun and surf as humanly possible.

But then FOMO — fear of missing out — starts to creep in. What if it is the most incredible place in the world? And you didn't go. In your mind, you see Chad in front of the water cooler doubled over with laughter: You didn't go to Chichen Itza? It's like you didn't even go to Mexico.

Your life will be irrevocably ruined if you don't go, a little voice in your head says. Goooooooooooooo.

I'm here to tell you: Your life won't be irrevocably ruined, and you don't need to go. Screw Chad. Do what you want.

While spending the past six months traveling the world as Business Insider's international correspondent, I've been in variations of this scenario dozens of times. It may sound as though I have a lot of time to hit tourist attractions— "You travel for a living!" the internet shouts at me constantly — but with all the time I spend reporting and writing, I usually have only a couple of days to see what a place has to offer. I often have to make choices about my time: Do I spend my Beijing sightseeing day at 798 Art Zone, a district of modern art galleries? Or the Forbidden City?

When I traveled before this job, I took backpacker-style one-week vacations each year. During them, I constantly fretted about missing out on some landmark, and I tried to cram everything I possibly could into a trip. It led to me wasting a lot of my time doing things I'd rather I didn't.

In Bogotá, Colombia, I spent half a day in the Museo del Oro, a museum exclusively displaying pre-Columbian gold. In Europe, I visited ornate medieval church after ornate medieval church. In Stockholm, Sweden, I spent a day trudging through the stuffy rooms of the Royal Palace.

I did all those things because I was afraid of the proverbial Chad saying something like: You didn't go to that? It's like you didn't even go to [insert destination here].

That's not necessarily to say that any of those places aren't worth going to. If you love royal architecture, Stockholm's palace is a fine example of 18th-century Baroque architecture. But spending a day on that meant I had to spend one fewer day exploring Sweden's stunning natural beauty, which, in hindsight, I would've much preferred.

That persistent sense of FOMO is one of the reasons I hate bucket lists. They are a constant pressure to see and do things that other people say you have to do, rather than what you actually want to do.

These days, I do my best to ignore the little voice in my head screaming "FOMO! FOMO!" and instead try to follow my interests. It has made travel infinitely more fulfilling and engaging for me. I suggest you try it.

And if you're wondering, I spent my day in Beijing at 798 Art Zone, because it felt more urgent to try to understand China's flourishing art scene and was more appealing than visiting one of China's top attractions during Chinese holidays.

Life is too short to spend time doing stuff you don't want to do. YOLO.

SEE ALSO: I've been traveling the world for 6 months, and I've found real life doesn't always live up to the hype. These are the most disappointing places I've been.

DON'T MISS: I've been traveling the world for 6 months, and these are the best apps for each country I couldn't live without

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What happens when you sleep in your contacts

The 50 best bars in the world in 2018



The best bars in the world have been announced once again — and you might want to update your bucket list.

The winner of The World's Best Bar Award was announced at the iconic Roundhouse in London Wednesday night.

This year, the title went to Dandelyan, which is the bar of the Mondrian Hotel in London.

The World's 50 Best Bars is now in its 10th year and is based on the opinions of more than 500 drinks experts who cast seven votes each.

26 cities and 20 countries feature on the list, but it's the USA and the UK that lead the charge with the most bars at 10 each.

Meanwhile, Singapore leads Asia's ranking with five bars featured.

Scroll down to see this year's full list, including 12 new entries, ranked in ascending order.

SEE ALSO: The 3 most important things to look for on a wine label, according to an expert

NOW READ: There's a threshold for how much you should spend on wine — and it's lower than you might think

50. Lost Lake (Chicago, USA)

49. Bar Benfiddich (Tokyo, Japan)

48. Buck & Breck (Berlin, Germany)

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Too much Christmas music could be bad for our mental health


christmas present

  • Christmas music is coming.
  • From now until December 25, you're going to hear a lot more of the most popular festive tunes.
  • But listening to them over and over could have a negative impact on your mental health.

If you've managed to avoid Christmas music so far, that's only going to get harder the closer to December we get. Prepare yourself for more stores blasting out "All I Want for Christmas," and "Frosty the Snowman."

Christmas music is something you either love or hate. If you find the tunes pretty annoying, then spare some sympathy for retail workers who have probably had to listen to festive tracks for at least a month already.

If you work in a shop and you already feel like Christmas songs are getting to you, you might actually be right.

According to clinical psychologist Linda Blair, relentless festive tunes can be mentally draining.

"People working in the shops at Christmas have to [tune out] Christmas music, because if they don't, it really does stop you from being able to focus on anything else," Blair told Sky News. "You're simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you're hearing."

At first, holiday music can spark feelings of nostalgia. But after the tenth or twentieth time Michael Bublé's Christmas album blasts through the speakers, you may feel annoyance, boredom, and even distress.

It's the "mere exposure effect," psychologist Victoria Williamson told NBC. Essentially, when you've heard songs a certain amount of times, the brain becomes oversaturated and you start to find them unpleasant. Then, other stresses about money, traveling, or seeing relatives can become exacerbated.

However, Christmas music isn't going to go away. Retailers see it as an opportunity to get customers in the mood for spending.

In fact, some research has shown that getting the right balance of Christmas songs can make shoppers feel more positively about their environment. That's also why some stores pump out "holiday scents" like pine and cinnamon — to influence shoppers to spend more.

For those who work in retail there's probably no escape from Christmas for the next few months. So you might want to buy some earplugs.

SEE ALSO: If your music appears to slow down when you exercise, this is what could be happening in your brain

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why horseshoe crab blood is so expensive

Trump says he has 'no financial interests in Saudi Arabia.' But his businesses have made millions from the Saudi government, and the crown prince gave his New York City hotel a huge boost.


trump saudi arabia sword

  • President Donald Trump tweeted that he had "no financial interests in Saudi Arabia" after criticism for his response to the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
  • The Trump Organization does not have any buildings in Saudi Arabia, but his businesses have accepted large amounts of money from the Saudi government.
  • For instance, Trump's hotel in New York City saw a huge financial boost from the visit of Saudi crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in early 2018.
  • Additionally, Trump has had ties to Saudi investors for over two decades.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday dismissed the charge that his response to the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi would be affected by any business ties with Saudi Arabia.

"For the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter)," Trump tweeted. "Any suggestion that I have is just more FAKE NEWS (of which there is plenty)!"

The Trump Organization does not own any buildings in Saudi Arabia, but the president has worked closely with officials from the country over the years. Trump has been paid tens of millions by Saudi investors and its government through a variety of business deals.

In fact, Trump has long done business with the Saudis:

  • Saudi Crown Prince Alwaleed bin-Talal purchased Trump's 282-foot yacht "Princess" for $20 million in 1991 (Trump was nearing bankruptcy at the time) and was part of a group that purchased the financially troubled Plaza Hotel for $325 million in 1995.
  • In 2016, the New York Daily News reported that the Saudi government also purchased the entire 45th floor of the Trump World Tower, for $4.5 million, in June 2001. Given annual fee fares for the building at the time, Trump also was paid $5.7 million by the Saudis between the purchase and 2016, the paper reported.

Trump bragged about his business dealings with the Saudis during a 2015 campaign rally in Mobile, Alabama.

"I get along great with all of them; they buy apartments from me," Trump said. "They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much!"

The most recent example came last year, as The Washington Post reported in August that a visit from Saudi officials to Trump's Trump International Hotel in New York City helped boost the hotel's quarterly revenue by 13% in 2018's first quarter.

The bump came after two straight years of booking declines for the property, according to a letter obtained by the Post in which the manager of the Trump hotel cited "a last-minute visit to New York by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia."

In addition, a lobbying firm connected to the Saudi government also paid $270,000 to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, between October 2016 and March 2017.

While Trump lawyers have argued that a foreign government renting hotel rooms from his organization is not an ethics conflict, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood opened an investigation into the Saudis' rental of the New York City hotel rooms.

Trump's attempt to distance himself from the Saudi government comes amid the fallout over the disappearance of Khashoggi, who is feared dead. Turkish officials have accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of being directly involved in the attempted kidnapping and alleged killing of Khashoggi.

On Monday, Trump appeared to side with the Saudis by touting an alternate theory advanced by its king positing that "rogue killers" were responsible for the incident.

SEE ALSO: 3 Wall Street CEOs tried to get Saudi Arabia to delay a major investment conference because of Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory

Viewing all 52010 articles
Browse latest View live