Posted in Business

More businesses are folding and leaving laid-off workers in the lurch

The number of businesses going under in South Florida is growing at an alarming rate, cutting the chances for laid-off workers to find other jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Yelp, the national online business listing firm, nearly 3,000 businesses closed in the tri-county area between March 15 and July 1.

Owners are losing their investments. Employees are losing jobs. And lower income workers — among the most vulnerable to layoffs because they work in hard-hit service industries — are under severe financial pressure as they struggle to find new employment, according to ParentsTogether, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group for parents across the country.

In a survey conducted among its Florida members from July 16 to July 19, ParentsTogether found that “a vast majority of families,” including 73% in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, consider themselves to be struggling economically as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis,

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Posted in Insurance

In Era of Sickness, Doctors Prescribe Unusual Cure: Voting

Dr. Alister Martin starts his commute to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he has created a kiosk to register patients to vote. (Tony Luong/The New York Times)
Dr. Alister Martin starts his commute to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he has created a kiosk to register patients to vote. (Tony Luong/The New York Times)

BOSTON — The sign is easy to miss in the waiting room of the emergency department at Massachusetts General Hospital, next to the reception desk and a hand sanitizer pump. “Register to vote here,” it says, above an iPad attached to a podium.

The kiosk has stood there since November, before the pandemic began, and stayed there through the worst weeks of April, when 12 gasping patients were put on ventilators during a single grueling 12-hour shift.

Now, as the number of coronavirus patients has slowed to a trickle, Dr. Alister Martin, the 31-year-old emergency room doctor who built the kiosk, is determined to keep trying to register voters.

“There will be a time where, above the din of suffering, we ask,

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Posted in Money

Thousands of you told us you want California to change. We want to hear from even more of you

The 110 Freeway leads south toward downtown Los Angeles. <span class="copyright">(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)</span>
The 110 Freeway leads south toward downtown Los Angeles. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

It was almost three months ago, but it might as well have been another epoch: In early May, the L.A. Times Opinion section asked readers to envision life in California after the pandemic and share with us their thoughts on what the COVID-19 health and economic crisis reveals about us as a society, and what transformations may be necessary to heal the trauma.

And respond our readers did — more than 3,700 of you. With such a large volume of responses, the topics covered were diverse, but there were some areas of broad agreement among our readers — namely, that government should expand its role in healthcare and the economy to prevent a crisis such as COVID-19 from causing so much shock. Traffic, housing and the environment were also on the top of readers’ minds;

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Posted in Business

Blue Tower Asset Management 2Q20 Letter: EZCORP

Blue Tower Asset Management letter to investors for the second quarter ended June 2020, disucssing their holdings in EZCORP Inc (NASDAQ:EZPW).

The Blue Tower Global Value strategy composite had its best quarter since inception with 21.14% net (21.49% gross) in Q2. This follows our worst quarter in Q1, which itself followed our then-best quarter of Q4 2019. These large moves are the result of the volatility in global markets, which affects lower volume stocks to a greater degree. We should expect this extreme market volatility to continue until the various current crises affecting the world are resolved and investors have a clearer view of the future.

While statistically cheap value stocks greatly went up in Q2, they continued to underperform more expensive stocks and US stocks outperformed international stocks. Q1 2020 was the worst quarter for value in financial history and so far, year-to-date, the value factor is still deeply

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Posted in Insurance

Should You Buy Tuition Insurance for College This Year?

You insure your house and auto without thinking twice, but have you considered buying insurance for college tuition?

Considering the average annual cost for tuition, room and board at U.S. colleges was $24,623 for the 2018-19 school year, a four-year degree will likely cost more than your car (and maybe your house).

But is tuition insurance worth the cost — and what does it cover (particularly in light of the coronavirus)? Check out our cheat sheet for what you need to know about tuition insurance, especially this year.

What is Tuition Insurance?

In general, tuition insurance is a policy you can buy that will refund your college costs in case you need to withdraw due to an unexpected medical event.

Tuition insurance differs from a refund from your college. Learning institutions typically offer complete or partial tuition refunds on a very limited basis, based on their own internal policies.

Finding

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Posted in Personal

8 Women of Color on What Self-Care Looks Like in a Racist Society

Sundays are a day to recharge and reset by hanging with friends, turning off your phone, bathing for hours on end, or doing whatever else works for you. In this column (in conjunction with our Instagram Self-Care Sunday series), we ask editors, experts, influencers, writers, and more what a perfect self-care Sunday means to them, from tending to their mental and physical health to connecting with their community to indulging in personal joys. We want to know why Sundays are important and how people enjoy them, from morning to night.

As a Black child in a rural county in North Carolina, I watched the white supremacist drive through the Martin Luther King Day parade route every year waving Confederate flags and shouting racial slurs. As a teenager, I taught the younger kids about fire drills during Sunday school because Black churches were being set on fire again. As a college

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Posted in Money

Unsurprised by Mayor Steinberg and President Trump’s unfair census order

Unsurprised by Mayor Steinberg

“Steinberg endorses ‘split-roll’ initiative to raise property tax on California businesses” (sacbee.com, July 15):

Not surprisingly, Mayor Steinberg supports the “split-roll” initiative because he’s never seen a tax hike he doesn’t like.

He cites the COVID-19 crisis as the reason for his support, even after receiving $89 million dollars from the federal government to directly address the effects of COVID-19, significant parts of which the mayor and council directed to other entities they deemed worthy.

Opponents to the measure are correct in thinking this will be the first step in dismantling, if not completely repealing Proposition 13, the proposition which has allowed you, your parents and grandparents to be able to live in their homes free of a stifling, burdensome tax imposed on the middle class for over 40 years now. As usual, there are no guarantees of accountability for the additional money Proposition 15 would

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Posted in Personal

‘Open today, closed tomorrow’ is the new normal for hair, nail salons due to coronavirus

Travis Vu cuts a client's hair in one of two socially-distanced chairs in front of his salon in Fountain Valley. He said he could never have imagined moving his operations outside, but is doing his best to keep business afloat and four employees working. <span class="copyright">(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)</span>
Travis Vu cuts a client’s hair in one of two socially-distanced chairs in front of his salon in Fountain Valley. He said he could never have imagined moving his operations outside, but is doing his best to keep business afloat and four employees working. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

In his “last lifetime,” Travis Vu closed his hair salon after the coronavirus forced state leaders to impose a lockdown in a reeling California in late March.

The casually stylish Vu, 47, turned off the lights on the custom metal and concrete chandeliers gracing his industrial six-seat space. He stayed home, slept, exercised, whipping up grilled garlic shrimp and broken rice dishes to sell on the side until regulations allowed him to reopen in early June. That’s when he dipped into savings to stock up on sanitary supplies, welcoming back clients with stringy locks, worn-out perms and graying heads.

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Posted in Money

Half of UK homeowners to apply for goverment’s Green Energy Grant

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the grant as part of the summer budget on 8 July. Photo: Phil Noble/PA
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the grant as part of the summer budget on 8 July. Photo: Phil Noble/PA

More than half of UK homeowners are planning to apply for the government’s new Green Energy Grant, research suggests.

The grant, which was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in July’s budget and will be available from September, will cover at least two thirds of the cost of energy-saving home improvements.

The average UK household can apply for up to £5,000 ($6,396), while the poorest households can claim as much as £10,000.

So far, 51% of homeowners are planning to apply for the scheme, while another 26% are seriously considering it, according to a MoneySuperMarket survey of 2,000 people.

The scheme could save Brits up to £300 a year on bills, Sunak said in his announcement speech.

READ MORE: Centrica to sell North American energy business for $3.63 billion

It is part of

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Posted in Business

Is There a Connection between Coronavirus and Air Conditioning?

The dramatic increase of COVID-19 cases in the states of Texas, Florida, Arizona, and California this summer has many scratching their heads. The summer months were supposed to slow infections due to activities taking place outdoors and more in-home ventilation, such as windows being opened up. This hypothesis has thus far proved true in many northern states — most dramatically New York — while the South has fared much worse.

There are a few possible explanations for the South’s infection spike.

The first is that a widespread lack of mask-wearing is causing these increases. The national media have been quick to note that Republican governors such as Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis were reluctant to impose a mask mandate.

The second, that these states opened up too soon and busy restaurants, beaches, and bars — and a fair bit of demonstrating — resulted in close contact. High infection rates

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