Financial advice for millennials: The dos and don’ts of money

For millennials at the start of their careers looking to save some extra money, financial expert Chris Hogan has some advice on how to become more savvy on what to do with that first paycheck.

Budget, budget, budgetHogan couldn’t stress enough the importance of establishing a budget for yourself, laying out each month where your money is going.

“It’s the importance of being in control,” he told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo during an interview on Tuesday. “You tell your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went. It stretches out and gives you more power.”

The power of compound interest

There’s no greater way to exponentially increase your savings than investing money in 401(k)s, a tax-sheltered retirement plan that allows employees to set aside a portion of their compensation before income taxes are applied and 403(b)s, a similar plan designed for public school or non-profit employees.

  • Financial advice for millennials: the dos and don’ts of money

“The 401(k) is a gamechanger,” Hogan said, adding that employees should be aware of when they’re eligible to start investing, because most places require a stint of six, nine or even 12 months.

The danger of debt

Although it may seem easy to sign up for things like credit cards, Hogan warned that “five minutes of stupid can bring you years of regret trying to attack and pay off debt.” Millennials need to avoid debt like the plague, he said, and be on the constant lookout for scams that can take years to recover from.

The truth about the FICO score  

FICO, a credit score in the U.S. that analyzes the likelihood someone will pay their debts, is typically used by banks and credit card companies to study the risk of loaning money to consumers. But Hogan said there’s a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to the FICO score – namely, that people think it’s an indication of wealth.

Young people, he said, need to be aware that it actually takes into account your debt payment, your debt history, the type of debt you have and the likelihood that you’ll rack up more debt.

“If I could go back and just sit me down and really explain these [tips], I think I would’ve made much more financial progress,” Hogan said.

Ford Really Wants This Focus Sedan Prototype to Be Seen

It has been about seven years since Ford redesigned the Focus, and despite receiving an update for 2015, it feels a little outdated. Past spy shots have shown that Ford is hard at work developing a new Focus, but it hasn’t been clear when the car would officially be revealed. Based on these photos, that date is probably just around the corner.

Our spy photographer caught this Focus sedan prototype on the road in Europe, and while they’re technically spy shots, it’s clear Ford wanted this car to be seen. Instead of wearing traditional camouflage, the car is covered in a bright, colorful wrap with comics. Really, we shouldn’t even call it a prototype since it’s being used as more of a marketing vehicle.

From what we can see, the new Focus is curvier and looks a little more mature than the current car, while the headlights and taillights have a more upmarket feel. Of course, it also looks a lot like the Focus hatchback that was caught completely undisguised last month.

Ford has yet to confirm an exact date for the official reveal, but we do know the new Focus won’t be shown at the New York Auto Show. Last we heard, it will get an event of its own somewhere in Europe next month.

Five-Seat Volkswagen Atlas Concept to Debut in New York

Sometimes less is more—especially if you remove a few seats for more passenger and cargo space. Volkswagen is bringing a five-passenger Atlas SUV concept to the 2018 New York auto show. Like its three-row, seven-seat sibling, the two-row SUV will also be assembled in the U.S. and rides on VW’s scalable MQB platform.

“The Atlas has built strong momentum for Volkswagen in the SUV segment, and we are excited to grow our SUV portfolio with this new, Chattanooga-assembled five-passenger SUV,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, Volkswagen President and CEO, in a statement. “We are not only committed to this market, we are committed to our U.S. manufacturing home in Chattanooga, Tennessee.”

Volkswagen says that it will invest about $340 million to bring its new five-passenger Atlas variant to market. It’s the third Volkswagen model assembled at the company’s Chattanooga factory.

The current Atlas is available with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine for the base model that delivers 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The optional 3.6-liter V-6 engine offers 276 hp and 266 lb-ft.

Both engines are paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, with Volkwagen’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system available as an option.

The five-passenger Atlas variant will likely offer the same engine options. Volkswagen sold 27,119 seven-passenger Atlas crossovers last year.

The concept will make its official debut at the New York auto show next week.

Source: Volkswagen

Trade war with China would be ‘devastating’ for American families: US Chamber of Commerce

President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping (not shown) make a joint statement at the Great Hall of the People on November 9, 2017 in Beijing, China.

A day after President Donald Trump slammed South Korea last week for benefiting unevenly from its trade relationship with the US, the largest American business association shot back.

Embedded in an article the US Chamber of Commerce published to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement, also known as KORUS, was a video that slammed anyone calling for the pact’s demise.

KORUS “represents a rules-based economic order that goes hand in glove with the mutual defence treaty that has supported regional stability in the Asia-Pacific since the end of the Korean war,” the chamber said.

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“Despite these gains, there have been calls for ripping up the agreement because of the US trade deficit with Korea. Not only does this metric ignore some basic economic principles, but it also ignores the fact that the deficit is narrowing substantially.”

The chamber, which includes among its 3 million members manufacturing giants such as Ford Motor Company and tech industry leader IBM, also warned last week that punitive trade measures aimed at China could have a “devastating” effect on the incomes of American families.

Traditionally aligned with Trump’s Republican Party, the industry association’s stance highlights the political war brewing in Washington over a trade war that the US president appears intent on sparking. The chamber is one of many companies and organisations stepping up their resistance to Trump’s foreign trade and investment initiatives.

These moves include punitive tariffs on steel and aluminium, announced earlier this month, and expectations that Trump will target China specifically with new import taxes on its products. The latter is the likely result of a Section 301 investigation into Beijing’s foreign investment rules, which demand the transfer of intellectual property to local companies.

“Tariffs are a hidden tax on Americans – plain and simple. More than 41 per cent of clothing, 72 per cent of footwear, and 84 per cent of travel goods sold in the US are made in China,” the Washington-based Retail Industry Leaders Association, said in a public letter to Trump. “A tariff on these products would be a tax on every American.”

RILA’s members include Nike, Gap, Ikea, Abercrombie & Fitch and Whole Foods.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Macy’s are among the large US retailers that separately sent Trump a letter urging him not to impose punishing tariffs on goods imported from China, Reuters reported.

Trump will announce by Friday the imposition of a package of US$60 billion worth of annual tariffs against China, The Washington Post reported, citing four senior administration officials, who declined to be identified.

The package could be applied to more than 100 products, which Trump argues were developed by using trade secrets the Chinese stole from US companies or technologies US companies were forced to hand over in exchange for market access, the report said.

“I’m getting calls from companies asking if they can petition for exemptions [from the metal tariffs],” said Doreen Edelman, a Washington-based trade lawyer with law firm Baker Donelson, told the South China Morning Post in an interview.

“Executives have thrown their hands up in the air because they can’t plan and they can’t predict. Companies are wondering whether they should invest in the US,” she said.

Also looming is legislation that would widen the scope of government reviews of foreign investments on national security grounds, possibly stymieing plans by foreign companies to start or expand operations in the US.

The Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernisation Act (FIRRMA), was co-authored by senior Senators John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, and Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California. Cornyn has tried to cajole lawmakers to support the act to stop China using its “tentacles” to undermine American security through the acquisition of advanced technologies.

If enacted, the legislation would expand foreign investment review procedures overseen by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which is chaired by the treasury secretary and seeks input from the departments of defence and homeland security, among other federal bodies.

The Washington-based Organisation for International Investment (OFII), which represents the North American operations of HSBC and other global companies with US operations, is resisting the CFIUS legislation by lobbying lawmakers, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

“Mergers and acquisitions with overseas partners continue to be vitally important in the US,” said Chris Griner, chair of the CFIUS practice at law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. “Open investment policy has been the hallmark of US government policy over many years.”

The importance of these transactions might be why Cornyn and Feinstein have not yet been able to push their FIRRMA legislation through.

“If we are going to have legislation that says a Chinese paper company can’t buy a US paper company because that’s a national security issue, what wouldn’t be a national security issue then?” Edelman said.

“If we do it, can you imagine if the rest of the world puts in similar legislation that US companies cannot invest?”

Lawmakers might be hesitant to get behind FIRRMA because “then you’re on the record and your opposition can use that in an attack ad, portraying you as someone who wants to shut down global trade”, she said.

While concerns about China’s acquisition of dual-use technologies, or those that can be used for military applications, sparked the push to strengthen the CFIUS review process, proposed investments from other countries could be slowed down if FIRRMA becomes law.

FIRRMA would give CFIUS the authority to review all “non-passive” investments by foreign entities. Currently CFIUS reviews only transactions that give foreign parties majority control of a US company that develops, sells or licenses advanced technologies with potential military applications.

 

Amazon could buy Toys “R” Us stores: report

Amazon could buy Toys 'R' Us stores: report

Amazon is reportedly considering the possibility of acquiring some of Toys “R” Us’ soon-to-be-closed store locations in the U.S.

The e-commerce giant could use the locations as showrooms for its voice-activated “Echo” gadgets or as a means of enhancing its delivery network, Bloomberg reported. Amazon has shown an increased interest in brick-and-mortar locations in recent months on the heels of its acquisition of the Whole Foods Market grocery chain. Amazon would not acquire the stores to maintain the Toys “R” Us brand, according to the report.

Amazon declined to comment on the report.

Toys “R” Us officials said earlier this month that the New Jersey-based toy retailer would close or sell all of its more than 700 store locations after weak holiday sales and a fruitless search for a corporate buyer. The company initially filed for bankruptcy last September, citing more than $5 billion in long-term debt.

Some Toys “R” Us investors are mulling whether to salvage some stores as part of a slimmed-down version of the business, the New York Post reported. The company has yet to comment on that possibility.

Toys “R” Us is preparing to shutter stores even as another venerable toy retailer is plotting a comeback. Strategic Marks LLC, the company that owns intellectual property rights to the KB Toys brand, said they are exploring the possibility of re-opening the chain.

2018 Ford Mustang EcoBoost First Test: Chip On Its Shoulder

We’ve tested nearly half a dozen first-gen EcoBoost Mustangs around here, so we’re pretty familiar with how the car drives and performs. The 2018 model, a midlife refresh, has picked up a 10-speed automatic, an extra 30 lb-ft of torque, and a whole lot more attitude.

See nearly 300 images of the sixth-generation Mustang taken by Motor Trend photographers right here

To date, the EcoBoost-equipped Mustang has been a confident performer, especially equipped with the optional Performance package. In a comparison test against the turbo four-cylinder Camaro, I wrote it “can be driven as fast as its motor will carry it down a winding road with complete confidence.” Apparently, that’s too tame for the Mustang engineering team. This new car drives like it has something to prove.

It’s obvious the moment you start driving the car hard. The optional limited-slip differential locks up aggressively, and the optional summer tires don’t always have the grip to handle it. You must be careful with the throttle in tight corners; it will try to put all 350 lb-ft down at once and pop you sideways. Leave the stability control on until you’re familiar with the car because it’ll let you rotate more than you expect before it steps in. This car now requires a delicate touch. Manhandling it turns a race horse into a bucking bronco.

You can make life easier on yourself by staying away from the Sport+ and Race driving modes. Both make the throttle hyperaggressive and the steering too heavy, making it needlessly difficult to drive the car smoothly. Those modes also lock out the selectable steering settings, so you can’t customize the car to your taste. Sport or Custom modes are best but don’t let you change the firmness of the optional magnetorheological dampers, which work best in Sport+ and Race. In Sport and Custom, they leave the car underdamped and a little too bouncy for serious driving.

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The new 10-speed auto is one thing that doesn’t need fixing on the street. On our favorite roads, it was perfect. Even with its software update, the EcoBoost still runs out of breath at high rpm, but you wouldn’t know it because this transmission knows exactly how to use all its gears to keep the engine in the meat of its power. That include both shifting at the horsepower peak and downshifting under braking so you’re right at the torque peak when you’re ready to accelerate out of the corner.

Regardless of which mode you prefer or how you dial in the settings, there’s no denying the EcoBoost Mustang is damn quick on a back road once you figure out how to drive it right. It’s a sweaty-palms experience, but it’ll surprise a lot of fast cars.

This was born out at the test track, as well. At 5.3 seconds to 60 mph and 13.9 seconds in the quarter at 97.2 mph, this is the quickest EcoBoost Mustang we’ve ever tested and nicely reverses a trend we discovered and reported of EcoBoost Mustangs getting slower. Our test team found Drag Strip mode, unsurprisingly, returned the best results, though it surprisingly doesn’t have launch control. A little brake torque up to 1,500 rpm netted the best launch. If you’re curious, the last V-8 Mustang we tested hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and ran a 12.6-second quarter mile at 115.1 mph.

We’ve long praised the EcoBoost Mustang’s braking for being stronger and more precise than you’d expect in what is now the base model, and this one is no exception. Its stop from 60 mph in 106 feet is right on par with its predecessors.

Things didn’t go so well in our handling tests, though. Pulling 0.96 g on the skidpad and lapping the figure eight in 25.1 seconds at 0.75 g average, it did about as well as the last EcoBoost with an automatic transmission we tested. Thing is, it’s significantly slower and pulling a lot less g than the best EcoBoost Mustang we’ve tested, and it’s not just the numbers. The test team reports things started out all right, with great braking, good road holding, and strong traction coming off the corners, but the laps were still nearly a second off the pace. Going for another try, everything “went pear-shaped,” as the notes have it. “Times did not improve, and the transmission started really hiccupping,” our test team wrote. “A couple of times, after pulling the paddle for a downshift, it literally freewheeled, no throttle response, as if it was in neutral. Then it popped into second and the revs jumped (no matched revving), and it totally upset the car. Also, I don’t think the LSD was working properly because going to throttle at the same rate in the same place spun the car once—a really slow-mo spin, but still it was a surprise.” No doubt, our Figure Eight test is very hard on cars, but these sorts of things don’t usually happen.

The test team’s notes end with, “Feels like a good eight-tenths car, but ask ten-tenths and it won’t like it.” Which, really, kind of jibes with our road impressions. Although we had no mechanical issues on the road, the car did not like to be driven to within an inch of its capability. My own notes read, verbatim: “This thing grabs you by the collar and screams in your face, ‘I’m sporty, mother******!’ It’s like trying to wheel a classic Mustang hard. You’ve gotta know what you’re doing.”

Facebook, Twitter and Snap take hits: Social media crackdown imminent?

Regulatory pressure on Facebook (FB) is intensifying, and its social media peers are affected as well, at least when it comes to the price of their stocks.

Facebook is facing controversy surrounding how a third party accessed and stored the information of 50 million users. According to Bloomberg, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could investigate the incident while Fox News confirmed that Facebook executives will meet with House Judiciary Committee staff as early as Wednesday. In a letter on Tuesday, the U.K. parliament requested that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appear for testimony.

Tech stocks also took a hit on concern that the European Union would impose a revenue tax on the big digital companies.

How to lose $6.7B in two days? Just ask Mark Zuckerberg

Monday’s retreat in the share value of Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple, Netflix and Amazon resulted in the loss of a cumulative $117 billion in total market capitalization. As of Tuesday afternoon, the companies lost another $7 million in market cap. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was rebounding while the Nasdaq and S&P 500 were swinging between gains and losses. The big losers were Facebook, Snap and Twitter. Amazon was the major gainer, up more than 1.6%.

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS 450, CLS 53 Review: Mercedes Maintains the Magic

Sunny Spain, with its winding roads up the serrated Montserrat mountains surrounding Barcelona, was a perfect place to gauge the latest Mercedes-Benz CLS. It’s a chance to sample the four-door coupe’s performance and handling, appreciate the exhaust notes from the new inline-six, and welcome an expanded lineup that now includes the first Mercedes-AMG CLS 53. A short rain shower seemed cued up to showcase the all-wheel-drive system, as well.

It was an opportunity to see if the third-generation CLS can hold court in the segment it created when it showed the first concept at the Frankfurt auto show back in 2003. Despite the apparent contradiction of the idea of a “four-door coupe,” since then, the world has become enamored with the idea of coupelike lines overlaid on sedan structure. The body style has resonated with 375,000 CLS buyers around the world and has spurred competitors to create their own four-door fastbacks. Mercedes even trumped itself at this year’s Geneva auto show, where it unveiled the even sexier Mercedes-AMG GT four-door coupe.

But the German carmaker has not forgotten that the CLS started it all. For the 2019 model year, the CLS family gets a new and cleaner design, new engine portfolio, and hybridization with a new 48-volt system that the automaker sees as a crucial next step in an automotive world that is becoming increasingly electrified.

At launch there are new 3.0-liter inline-six engines: a gasoline and a diesel. The U.S. only gets the gasoline version, which generates 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque in the CLS 450 but which also has the EQ Boost mild-hybrid system and 48-volt electrical system.

After launch, Mercedes is adding a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine with a belt-driven starter alternator and 48-volt system—but it is not for the U.S., either. There are no specs yet, but officials say it will produce more than 300 hp.

The CLS 53 ups the performance to 429 hp and 384 lb-ft out of the I-6 by adding a twin-scroll turbocharger and an electric auxiliary compressor that builds boost until the turbocharger kicks in. Voila, no turbo lag. Acceleration is not neck-snapping but it is quick for a two-ton sedan: Mercedes claims it will do 0–60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Smooth, too.

For the CLS 450, Mercedes combines the starter and a generator in an electric motor positioned between the engine and transmission. The extra 22 hp and 184 lb-ft helps ensure power is at the ready and eliminates any lag before the twin-scroll turbocharger kicks in. The electric supercharger in the CLS 53 makes it even quicker off the mark, but again the power delivery is very linear. The other advantage is a seamless start/stop—we never felt the engine turn on or off—and the ability to “sail” when the engine disconnects from the transmission and coasts.

By the Numbers: Jaguar XF Wagon vs. F-Pace SUV

Jaguar’s decision to add a crossover to its lineup may have been a little controversial, but it’s hard to argue with the results. The F-Pace S looks fantastic, makes plenty of power, sounds wonderful, and handles more like a car than an SUV. But Jaguar also recently decided to bring the gorgeous XF Sportbrake S to the U.S., setting up an interesting comparison. If you’re looking for a practical Jaguar, should you buy the station wagon or the crossover?

Acceleration

On paper, the Jaguar XF Sportbrake S and the F-Pace S should be pretty evenly matched. Both come with all-wheel drive and get Jaguar’s supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 making 380 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. But in testing, the XF Sportbrake hit 60 mph in 5.0 seconds, 0.4 second quicker than the F-Pace S. Through the quarter mile, it was the same story. The wagon did it in 13.6 seconds at 101.9 mph, 0.3 second and 2.2 mph quicker than the crossover. We blame the F-Pace’s extra 145 pounds.

Handling

Typically, you’d expect the taller, heavier crossover to lose badly here. Our numbers suggest otherwise. On the skidpad, the XF averaged 0.85 g of lateral acceleration, while the F-Pace S averaged 0.86 g. In our figure-eight test, the F-Pace also won, finishing in 25.9 seconds at an average of 0.72 g. The XF, on the other hand, took 26.4 seconds at 0.69 g. Of course, numbers don’t tell the whole story. On the road, the wagon feels flatter and faster through the corners. You just might need stickier tires to make those differences measurable.

Interior Space

Even though the F-Pace S looks a lot larger, it isn’t necessarily more spacious in every dimension. Up front, it offers 43.0 inches of legroom, 37.8 inches of headroom, and 57.7 inches of shoulder room. Rear passengers get 37.2 inches of legroom, 37.5 inches of headroom, and 55.8 inches of shoulder room. The XF Sportbrake’s front seats, on the other hand, offer 1.5 fewer inches of legroom, 1.2 inches more headroom, and 0.6 inch less shoulder room. In the second row, legroom is a draw, and you give up nearly an inch of shoulder room, but you get an extra 1.6 inches of headroom.

Cargo Volume

With the rear seats up, the F-Pace offers 33.5 cubic feet of storage space. Drop the rear seats, and that increases to 63.5 cubic feet. Interestingly, while the XF Sportbrake only has 22.2 cubic feet of storage with its seats up, with the seats down, cargo volume increases to an F-Pace-beating 66.9 cubic feet. But before you declare it a win for the station wagon, it’s worth pointing out that the XF’s cargo opening is shorter. So while two road bikes will (barely) fit in an F-Pace, that’s not the case with the XF Sportbrake.

Fuel Economy

Since the F-Pace is larger and heavier, you wouldn’t expect it to match the XF Sportbrake’s fuel economy rating. On the highway, you’d be right. The EPA rates the XF at 25 mpg highway, 2 mpg better than the F-Pace S. Around town, however, Jaguar’s crossover is pretty evenly matched with its station wagon, with both earning a rating of 18 mpg city. That means owners should expect to only see a significant fuel economy difference if they do a lot of highway driving.

Price

Unfortunately for XF Sportbrake owners, it will take more than a few long road trips to earn back the extra money they spent getting the wagon. That’s because it starts at $71,445 including destination, approximately $10,000 more than the $60,770 it takes to buy a base F-Pace S. Sure, an entry-level XF sedan only costs a few thousand dollars more than a base F-Pace, but the extra engineering required to turn a sedan into a wagon adds cost.

2018 Honda Accord Hybrid Starting Price Dropped to $25,990

The 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid’s EPA fuel economy estimate may be lower than last year, but so is its base price. Honda announced that the 2018 Accord Hybrid, which goes on sale this week, will start at $25,990 including destination—a drop of $4,490 from last year’s model.

That price gets you a base Accord Hybrid, which comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED low-beam headlights, dual-zone climate control, hands-free keyless entry with push-button start, a multi-angle rearview camera, and the Honda Sensing suite of active safety features.

For 2018, Honda has increased the number of trim levels available on the Accord Hybrid from three to five. The lineup now includes the base Hybrid, Hybrid EX ($29,780), Hybrid EX-L ($32,330), Hybrid EX-L with navigation ($33,330), and Hybrid Touring ($35,600). Though prices don’t fall as drastically on the EX-L and Touring models, those trims are more than $1,000 cheaper for 2018.

The 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid’s starting price undercuts that of the 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid by $2,705. The Accord starts $2,985 less than the Chevrolet Malibu hybrid, and is also slightly cheaper (by $275) than the Ford Fusion Hybrid. Hyundai revealed its slightly improved 2018 Sonata Hybrid last month, but has yet to announce pricing. As we previously reported, the 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid is EPA-rated 47/47/47 mpg city/highway/combined—less than the 49/47/48 mpg of last year’s model. That fuel economy estimate is the same across all trim levels, unlike the Camry Hybrid, which gets 44/47/46 mpg in XLE and SE trim and 51/53/52 mpg in LE trim. Despite a slight dip in fuel economy, the Accord Hybrid could be more attractive thanks to its new lower starting price.

The 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid goes on sale this Friday, March 23, at Honda dealerships nationwide.