New Survey Finds Inflation, Housing Costs And Eviction Threats Hitting Minorities Hardest

Minority communities have been the hardest hit financially by the current spike in consumer prices and housing costs, with high percentages of Black, Latino and Native American families reporting serious financial problems and even threats of eviction, according to a survey published Monday by the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, NPR and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

With the annual increase in consumer prices hitting a 40-year high of 9.1% in June, Americans, by a wide margin, cite inflation as the number one problem facing the U.S. But the actual impact on individual households is more dispersed. For example, in the new survey, 58% of Black adults, 56% of Latinos and 69% of Native Americans say inflation has caused them serious financial problems, compared to 44% of white and 36% of Asian adults.

Soaring rents are similarly hitting certain minority households the hardest. In the new survey, 16% of Black renters, 10% of Latino renters and 21% of Native American renters reported they had been evicted or threatened with eviction in the past year. That compares to 9% of white and 4% of Asian families. “This is just a warning from this survey, that unless the government can provide some help for vulnerable populations, a year from now they are going to have more people who are homeless,” said Robert J. Blendon, co-director of the survey and an emeritus professor of Health Policy and political analysis at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Programs of emergency rental aid helped around 5 million American families during the early months of the pandemic, with 1.5 million fewer evictions compared to pre-pandemic levels. After 22 million Americans lost their jobs during the start of the pandemic, Congress provided $25 billion in emergency rental assistance in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CAR AR +3%ES Act) passed in March 2020. A year later, in the American Rescue Plan, it added another $21.55 billion of rental assistance.

The CARES Act also included a temporary federal eviction moratorium that expired in the summer of 2020. It was later extended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and then by Congress, and then again by the CDC. Finally, on August 3, 2021, after a surge in Covid-19 cases due to the Delta variant, the CDC extended the moratorium yet again. Later that month, the Supreme Court ruled against it.

Meanwhile, the emergency rental funds Congress appropriated have either been used up or are being returned to the federal government unspent. For example, last Thursday, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced his state would halt the federally-funded Rental Assistance for Mississippians Program by Aug. 15, meaning as much as $130 million for the program would be returned to the federal government.

California, having used up its federal money, ended its Covid-19 rental assistance program on March 31, 2022. It sent more than $4 billion to 344,000 households –but around 5,400 tenants and landlords have received emails asking to return money received in Covid-19 rent relief.

The housing component of the CPI increased 5.6% in the 12 months ended in June, but that includes costs to both homeowners and renters. In many places renters have seen far greater increases. According to housing data collected by Redfin RDFN +14.3%, average asking rents in June were up 14% compared to June 2021. In some sunbelt cities like Miami, rent has increased nearly 40%.

The recent spike in rent prices leaves low-income and minority groups in particularly precarious situations. A May report by the Federal Reserve Board showed that as of last fall, about half of renters with income between $25,000 and $49,999 were already “cost burdened”—meaning they were spending more than 30% of their income on rent. In the Fed survey, 44% of Black households and 37% of Hispanic households reported they were renters, compared with just 21% of white households.

“Unless some sort of emergency help is provided, a substantial number of minority populations are going to be evicted over the next year,” Blendon warns.

MORE FROM FORBESMortgage Applications Rise In Potential Housing Market Respite-Could Home Buying Become More Affordable Soon?

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

I’m a summer intern reporting for Forbes Money and Markets. I graduated from Boston University with a degree in Journalism

Source: New Survey Finds Inflation, Housing Costs And Eviction Threats Hitting Minorities Hardest

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How Stress Hits Women’s Brains Harder and Why Men Don’t Always Get It

If you’ve been stressed out and ignoring it—isn’t everyone stressed right now?— it could be time to do something about it. That’s because even though you may be basically healthy, tension is doing its stealthy damage. The latest evidence? Researchers have linked high levels of the stress hormone cortisol to brain shrinkage and impaired memory in healthy middle-aged adults. And get this: The effect was more pronounced in women than in men.

This research underscores an important point. Though stress affects your whole body, ground zero is your brain. It’s not just the effects of cortisol—it’s that teeth-grinders like traffic jams, personal snubs, and financial worries are perceived and interpreted by your gray matter. Fortunately, research focused on the brain is pointing to new, more effective ways to reduce your tension.

But first, let’s drill down and see how and why your brain’s natural reactions make you more vulnerable to the zings and arrows of tension.

How Stress Affects Your Brain

Aspects of the brain’s design that served us well thousands of years ago now make us susceptible to negative emotions and mental fatigue, both of which ratchet up our stress, says Amit Sood, M.D., professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic and founder of the Mayo Clinic Resilience Program. Although our brains have evolved over time, “the speed of life today is the main stressor—it’s much faster than our brain’s ability to adapt,” he says.

And that means we often end up with too little time and too few resources to address what life throws at us each day, which adds to a diminishing sense of control over our lives. Perceived lack of control has been shown to be a huge source of stress.

In his book Mindfulness Redesigned for the Twenty-First Century, Dr. Sood describes a number of traps that frequently ensnare our brains. Three of the most challenging:

Focus Problems

When giant predators roamed Earth, a scanning, outward-
directed focus served us well—but today that focus is directed inward. Now, 80 percent of the time, our minds are wandering, stuck in an unfocused state even if we’re not aware of it.

Studies have found that this state makes us less happy, and the unhappier we are, the more our attention wanders and our thoughts pile up. It’s like having a huge set of open files on your computer, Dr. Sood says, only they’re in your brain, distracting you and demanding attention. Our tech dependence, a source of constant distraction, adds to our inability to focus.

Fear

Our survival depends on the ability of the brain (mostly the amygdala) to detect physical and emotional threats. Moments or events that elicit fear raise our heart rate, which the brain stores as information that might protect us from future danger. This so-called negativity bias makes us prone to paying more attention to bad news than to good. We readily remember bad things that happen to us because our brains also release hormones that strengthen those specific memories, and this further embeds them in our minds. The result? More stress.

Fatigue

While a number of body organs (e.g., the heart and the kidneys) can keep going like the Energizer bunny, the brain is not one of them. After working hard, it needs rest. The more boring and intense an activity is, the faster your brain will grow tired—and that can happen in as little as four minutes or as much as an hour or two.

You can tell when your brain is fatigued (it has to signal this indirectly, since it has no pain receptors) because your eyes feel tired and stuff happens—you start making errors, become inefficient, lose your willpower, or see a dip in your mood. Brain fatigue leads to stress, and stress leads to fatigue, in a continuous closed loop.

Why Stress Hits Women Harder Than Men

Stress almost seems to have it out for women. In an annual survey by the American Psychological Association, women have repeatedly reported higher levels of tension than men and sometimes even more stress-related physical and emotional symptoms, including headache, upset stomach, fatigue, irritability, and sadness.

What’s more, midlife women have been found to experience more stressful events than both men and women of any other age, reports an ongoing study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Institute on Aging. Stress overload may even lead to chronic disease: Long-term pressures at home and work plus stress from traumatic events almost doubles the risk of type 2 diabetes in older women, according to a recent study at the University of California, San Francisco. Women are also more prone to stress-induced mental health problems such as depression and anxiety disorders.

Here’s the why of it: A triple whammy makes women uniquely vulnerable to strain and pressure, says Dr. Sood. First, women’s brains make them more sensitive than men to stressors and a perceived lack of control. The limbic areas of women’s brains, which help control emotions and memories, are highly active, making them remember hurts and slights more readily. Stewing over these and having difficulty letting them go strengthens the brain circuits of those negative emotions—another example of the negativity bias at work—which also increases women’s stress.

In addition, the multiple demands of parenting and being in charge of the well-being of the household mean that women’s focus tends to be more diffuse. And an unfocused brain, as noted earlier, is another source of stress. A mom’s protective radar is always up for her kids too, which makes her sense a threat more quickly, and she’s more likely than her husband to get stuck and dwell on it, says Dr. Sood.

What Men Don’t Always Get

The differences in how men and women experience tension don’t play out in isolation, of course. They affect how husbands and wives, friends, and work colleagues experience and interpret the world—and yes, often the result is conflict. If you’re a woman, think of a time you had an upsetting disagreement with your boss.

When you vented to your husband about it—how your boss looked at you, what she said, how you responded, how you felt, what she said next—maybe you saw his eyes glaze over, and maybe he said, “It’s over now; why don’t you just let it go and talk to her tomorrow?” Which made you feel hurt, angry, and dismissed—and depending on which feeling was uppermost, you either escalated the conversation into an argument or retreated to mull it over.

New studies are looking at how the genders process stress in the moment and coming up with reasons for the disconnect. Recently, using fMRI to measure brain activity, researchers at the Yale University School of Medicine found that while imagining a personalized, highly stressful event, the action- and planning-oriented parts of men’s brains were actively engaged, while women’s brains were busy visualizing and also cognitively and emotionally processing the experience.

In the second part of the study, when men and women were experiencing intense anxiety, brain regions that were active in women were inactive in men. This suggests that women tend to get caught up in processing their stress, turning it over and over in their minds and reimagining it, says Rajita Sinha, Ph.D., director of the Yale Interdisciplinary Stress Center.

“Women cope by talking about being anxious and describing their emotions and stressors,” she says. This could put them at risk for ruminating about the issues. Men seem not to access that cognitive-processing part of their brains and “are more likely to quickly think about doing something, taking an action, as opposed to expressing their distress verbally. It’s just the difference in the way we’re wired.”

That might explain why women tend to provide emotional support to someone who is stressed, whereas men might offer advice or something tangible like money or physical help. Ironically, what both genders want is emotional support when they’re tense, says Jennifer Priem, Ph.D., associate professor of communication at Wake Forest University. So men and women who are stressed out prefer to get support from women.

Bridging the Gender Stress Gap

Priem has found that problems arise between couples when each person has a different perception of what’s stressful. The result: When people are really tense, their partners aren’t necessarily motivated to offer support if they think, If I were in this situation, I wouldn’t consider it that big a deal. So how do you get the response you want when you need it?

Ask your partner to just listen

“That’s number one—listening to and validating the other person’s feelings,” says Sinha. “So even just saying ‘You’re really frustrated by this’ in a nonjudgmental way is validating and will ease someone’s anxiety.”

Explain that you feel defensive when he dismisses your experience

“When a partner downplays the significance of something, the person who’s stressed may hold on to it more or feel they have to convince the other person it’s true and that they have a right to feel that way,” says Priem. “You might say, ‘I’m really upset right now, and I feel frustrated when it seems you’re making light of my feelings. It would make me feel better if you’d be more responsive to the fact that I’m upset, even if you don’t understand it.’”

Treat yourself with compassion

“Women tend to be more self-critical about not being able to control their emotions,” says Sinha. So they may see a partner’s comment as judgmental even when he didn’t mean it that way. If that’s the case, forgive yourself and let it go—and hug it out, which can reduce tension and boost positive feelings.

Learning to negotiate conflicts is a big step in easing pressures. Also important: figuring out strategies to deal with the distractions, fears, and fatigue your brain naturally accumulates (see below for four smart ones). These can help you take stress in stride, with a terrific payoff: better health and greater happiness, plus a more resilient brain.

How to Control Stress and Calm Your Brain

To keep stress in check, you should of course be eating healthfully, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep to improve your mood, emotions, and cognition. But those are just the basics—and they’re not always easy to accomplish, especially when life is throwing lots of tension your way. Dr. Sood has advice that can up your stress-reducing game, based on the successful resilience program he runs at the Mayo Clinic. Here, four of his brain-focused, research-based strategies that work in just minutes a day.

Give your brain some RUM

That stands for Rest, Uplifting emotions, and Motivation. You need all three to help energize your brain and head off fatigue. So when you’re engaged in a task, take three to five minutes every couple of hours (or sooner, if you start getting fidgety) and pause for RUM.

How-to: Get up from your computer, or stop what you’re doing, and look at photos of your kids or of your favorite vacation spot, read inspiring quotes, text or call a friend, or watch a happy short video. Choose an activity that makes you feel good and is motivating.

Begin a morning gratitude practice

Take control of your brain before it gets hijacked by the day’s concerns and greet the morning in a happier, more connected frame of mind. (Check out these simple ways to practice gratitude.)

How-to: When you first wake up, before you get out of bed, spend a few minutes thinking of some people who care about you and silently send them your gratitude. Another reason it’s a good idea: A recent study found that anticipating a stressful day when you first wake up affects your working memory later that day—even if nothing stressful actually happens. (Working memory is what helps you learn things and retain them even when you’re distracted.)

Be mindfully present

Meditation is a great stress reliever, but not everyone can sit still, looking inward, for 20-plus minutes. Good news for the fidgety: Research has shown that focusing your attention outward engages the same brain network, so you can get similar stress-easing benefits by consciously giving the world your attention.

How-to: Challenge yourself to be curious and notice details—the color of the barista’s eyes at the coffee shop, the pattern of your boss’s necktie, which flowers are blooming in your neighborhood. Curiosity feeds the brain’s reward network, which makes you feel good; it also augments memory and learning.

Focus on kindness

Even the nicest among us are quick to judge others, especially if they’re different from us (thank the amygdala, a region of the brain that interprets difference as a threat).

How-to: To calm the amygdala, focus on two things when you’re feeling judgy about someone: that every person is special, and that everyone has struggles. Start a practice of sending silent good wishes to people you pass on the street or in the halls at work. The benefits for you: Your oxy­tocin, the hormone of connectedness, rises; your heart rate slows; and you feel more benevolent. All of which makes you healthier and happier.

By: Jenny Cook

Source: How Stress Hits Women’s Brains Harder—and Why Men Don’t Always Get It

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Wave Of High-Profile Tech Layoffs Raises Fear Of Recessions–And Stalled Careers–Past

If you’ve been on LinkedIn recently, you’ve likely seen posts about someone being laid off or having a dream job offer rescinded, often by a high-profile, once hot startup. According to the tracker Layoffs.fyi, so far this year, 349 startups have laid off more than 53,000 employees.

Startups looking at the prospect of falling venture capital valuations are scrambling to conserve the cash they have. Just yesterday, OpenSea, the early leader in the once bubbly non-fungible token (NFT) market, cut 20% of its workforce. Earlier this month, virtual office startup Gather let a third of its 90 employees go. Last month, high-flying ID verification unicorn Socure laid off 13% of its employees.

And it’s not just startups. Coinbase, the nation’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, laid off 1,100 employees and rescinded some job offers. Elon Musk’s Tesla is cutting 3.5% of its workforce. Meta has plans to slash hiring of engineers this year by at least 30%.

While most of the layoff news has come from tech companies, the mortgage industry, too, has been slashing away as higher interest rates crush mortgage volume. This week loanDepot disclosed plans to eliminate thousands of jobs. Real estate companies RedFin and Compass have cut about 450 jobs each, and PIMCO-backed First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation let go of more than 75% of its workforce in June, before filing for a chapter 11 bankruptcy a week later.

Despite such high-profile layoffs, unemployment remained at a low 3.6% in June as the economy added 372,000 jobs. Moreover, interviews with recent job–or job offer–losers, as well as hiring managers, suggest that so far at least, most of those cut are landing on their feet with new offers.

Yet the sense of dread is unmistakable, with more consumers now pessimistic than optimistic about the short-term labor market, according to the Conference Board. And the layoffs could just be getting started: Oracle recently considered letting go of thousands of employees as early as August.

“In the tech industry, this is dejà vu all over again,” observes economist Anthony Carnevale, who has been involved with employment and education policy for four decades and is now director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. “This is pretty much precisely what happened in the late 1970s, early 80s, when technology was not penetrating American industry rapidly enough and [former Fed Chair] Paul Volcker put on the brakes. We get high interest rates, high unemployment rates, and basically that shuts down technology investment and secondly, it chokes the industry.”

Given the current low unemployment rates, Carnevale adds, it’s still a question whether the slowdown will ultimately “create dislocation of substantial sorts in tech or any other industry.” His answer? “Yes and no,” he says. “The yes is yes, specific technology-based industries might be affected, interest rates being the culprit here. But what we’re seeing in the churn is that people who are seeking jobs are getting jobs. And we haven’t come to the point yet where it’s a classic recession…in which people don’t get jobs.” He noted that in general, wages are increasing — though those increases are generally offset by inflation.

“So what does that mean going forward? It may mean a slowdown in startups and in the expansion of particular technology companies, in even the overall industry if it’s strong enough, but so far, it has not meant that people can’t find jobs,” Carnevale said. “And it does not reflect on the possibilities for college graduates, at least so far, we don’t really see that.”

Indeed, a recent survey of almost 200 employers by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that almost 90% of respondents will be hiring new graduates for both full-time and intern/co-op positions — up from last spring’s figure of 83%.

But while early-career recruiting is still strong, it can’t erase the memory of what happened in the wake of the Great Recession, with its large jobs loss and unusually slow recovery. Some new grads caught in the undertow experienced what economists call “permanent scarring”—meaning poor economic conditions when they graduated from college contributed to a long-term reduction in their employment prospects.

Again, that’s the scary prospect, but not, as of now, the reality.

Aidan Deery, associate director at the global talent partner X4 Technology, reports that among tech companies, “largely, everyone is still hiring” and “the demand for experienced professionals is at an all-time high.” He adds that those laid off from crypto companies like Coinbase are generally “very employable” and “highly sought after in the finance and technology world.”

Danny, 23, whose last name and former employer are not being included due to a nondisclosure agreement he signed, was let go in June from his engineering job at a sales productivity company. “I know I’ll be able to find a job,” he said, estimating that of the roughly 30 jobs he applied to since being laid off, 8-10 got back to him. “Three of them actually were like, ‘Yeah, just kidding, we’re not hiring for this role.’” Some of the other companies he started interviewing with stopped the process because of hiring freezes. However, Danny has already turned down one offer for reasons including the pay, and says he is still being picky in his job search.

Curio Health, a startup working to improve remote patient care, is among the companies still hiring. CEO Yuchen Wang worries that layoffs among startups may encourage job seekers to look to more established companies for future opportunities, but insists startups will retain their appeal because, “you take a broader responsibility, and you can grow faster and learn more.”

Wang has seen both sides of this job-cutting drama. He himself lost his job in 2001, shortly after earning a Masters in computer science at Georgia State, and in a later role, had to lay off employees himself because a contract did not pan out as well as expected. “These things kind of happen, even if you do everything 100% perfectly,’’ he says. “Treat it as a new start — there are more opportunities ahead than the one you just lost.”

Still, for some job-losers, the new start carries a unique challenge–one imposed by the U.S.’ dysfunctional system for retaining foreign tech talent. Twenty-seven-year-old software developer Amitesh Singh Baghel was laid off in late June while on STEM OPT, a visa program allowing graduate international students to gain work experience in the U.S. in their field. The catch: he lost his job as a software engineer at a data security startup before he completed his visa extension — about two weeks before his employment authorization document was set to expire.

He had been offered other jobs while working there but turned them down out of “goodwill” and because his manager, who also was let go, provided good mentorship. “I had other offers coming, but I chose to stay ignoring the red flags,” such as a manager being fired and not replaced, he said.

“I tried to negotiate. I was like, ‘Instead of giving me the severance pay, keep me on the payroll so that I can finish with the extension process and I’ll still work,’” he said. “I offered them a solution…but they didn’t want to do the extra work, which is understandable. I mean, it’s not their problem.”

And then there’s the experience of Jenna Radwan, 22, who recently earned her BS in Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the University of San Francisco. She originally accepted a job at San Francisco-based startup Hirect, which helps other tech startups recruit and hire. When she heard Hirect would pay her a base salary of $80,000 plus uncapped commission that could push her total compensation to a multiple of that, she cut short other interviews to accept the offer, “My ears perked up, my eyes got big, and I didn’t even see any of the other companies as even close competition,” she said.

But two weeks before her start date, Radwan got thrown a curveball. Her offer had been rescinded “due solely to the current unforeseen circumstances & drastic turn in the market.” “Due to the very volatile market conditions, the business & leadership team has decided to halt/freeze all forms of external hiring at this time, and we have entered an immediate hiring freeze and a round of layoffs,” reads an email from a recruiter that Radwan shared on LinkedIn. (A spokesman for Hirect confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that it had rescinded two job offers due to the slump in tech hiring.)

Radwan was “in shock,” but quickly tapped into her network and reached out to recruiters she’d previously been in the process of interviewing with, and ultimately landed a job as a recruiter at Insight Global. “It was a wild ride but I know that I’m exactly where I am meant to be,” Radwan said, adding that she hadn’t really considered her values in terms of a career before then. “I just thought of money, but I realized that you can have money plus other things, like good company culture, like good job security, like good benefits, like good PTO,” she said.

Her advice for recent grads entering the job market amid the growing fear of offers being rescinded? Do your research, ask questions like how the company reacted to COVID in 2020 (i.e. was it quick to lay off workers?), talk to current employees and take time to weigh all your offers.

If you’re looking for an indication of the current gestalt, it may come from Radwan’s new employer. Insight Global is still hiring. But in June, it surveyed 1,000 workers and found 23% were “extremely worried” about losing their job in the next recession. Or, as Insight put it, the “Great Resignation” is giving way to the “Great Apprehension.”

Katherine Huggins

Source: Wave Of High-Profile Tech Layoffs Raises Fear Of Recessions–And Stalled Careers–Past

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The 6 Biggest Money Secrets Most Rich People Won’t Tell You

Life would be a whole lot easier if someone would just Venmo us $1 million, but unfortunately the chance of that happening is, well, probably zero. (Venmo doesn’t allow transactions that large anyway.)

But even though our chances of becoming a millionaire are slim, we can still manage our money like one. No, we’re not going to tell you how to buy hundreds of shares of Apple stock. Or how to pick out the perfect yacht.

These are simple money moves any normal, non-millionaire person can make today. Each secret can get you closer to achieving your big goals.

Take a look:

1. You Can Cancel Your Car Insurance

Did you know you can save some serious money just by switching car insurance companies?

Its true — rates are at historic lows, and you could be paying way less for the same coverage. All you need to do is look for it.

But don’t waste your time hopping around to different insurance companies. Use a website called EverQuote to see all your options at once.

EverQuote is the largest online marketplace for insurance in the US, so you’ll get the top options from more than 175 different carriers handed right to you.

Take a couple of minutes to answer some questions about yourself and your driving record. With this information, EverQuote will be able to give you the top recommendations for car insurance. In just a few minutes, you could save up to $610 a year.

2. You Can Stop Paying Your Credit Card Company

If you have credit card debt, you know. The anxiety, the interest rates, the fear you’re never going to escape…

And the truth is, your credit card company doesn’t really care. It’s just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates — some up to 36%. But a website called Fiona could help you pay off that bill as soon as tomorrow.

Here’s how it works: Fiona can match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. The benefit? You’re left with just one bill to pay every month, and because the interest rate is so much lower, you can get out of debt so much faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.

If your credit score is at least 620, Fiona can help you borrow up to $250,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 2.49% and terms from 6 to 144 months.

Fiona won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.

All that credit card debt — and the anxiety that comes with it — could be gone by tomorrow.

3. This App Will Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is the worst. It’s the most expensive kind of debt you can have.

First, you fall behind on your payments. It can happen to anybody. Next thing you know, the credit card companies are gouging you — charging you more than 20% interest on your balance.

But an app called Tally can pay off your credit card debt. Like, all of it. Here’s how it works: Tally gives you a line of credit with a lower interest rate (rates start as low as 7.9%) that you can use to pay off your high-interest credit card debt. Then you’ll just have one monthly payment — and you’ll save tons of money on interest.

If you qualify and have a FICO score of 580 or higher, you can get a line of credit from $2,000 to $25,000 pretty much immediately.

It’s easy to get started, and it won’t affect your credit score just to check your rates. See how much money you could save.

4. Get Paid up to $80/Month — Just for Sharing Your Opinion

Taking surveys might not sound like the best way to make money, but if you’re just vegging out on the couch — or pretending to be interested in your partner’s new favorite show — why not click a couple buttons? It could earn you up to $80 a month. Seriously.

There are a bunch of paid survey sites out there, but one of the best we’ve found is Survey Junkie.

They’ll ask you questions about things like, what kind of laundry detergent you use, or if you prefer Pepsi or Coke. You get points for answering, and many people accumulate enough points to request a check within a few hours.

More than 10 million people already use Survey Junkie, and it has 4.5/5 stars on TrustPilot.  Give it a try by visiting Survey Junkie and clicking the “Join Now” button. It’s free.

5. See if You Could Lower Your Car Payment by Hundreds a Year

You know you can refinance your house to save money on your monthly mortgage payment — but did you know you can refinance your car, too?

It’s not a money-saving tactic people talk a lot about, but it could save you a ton of money. A website called Upstart is helping borrowers save an average of $1,025 a year on their car payments. That’s about $4,800 back in their pockets over the lifetime of their loan.

There are no origination fees, and you only need a minimum FICO score of 510. You don’t even need to enter your car’s VIN, and you won’t get any spam calls.

And with an APR range of 2.20% to 29.99% Upstart is saving customers over 17% per month when they refinance. Upstart has helped borrowers save more than $20 million on their car payments in the past year alone*.

Ready to start saving? It takes just minutes to check your rate and see how much you could save

6. Scared to Invest? This App Gives You Between $2.50 and $200 in Free Stock

If you feel like you don’t have enough money to start investing, you’re not alone. But guess what? You really don’t need that much — and you can even get free stocks (worth $2.50 to $200!) if you know where to look.

Whether you’ve got $5, $100 or $800 to spare, you can start investing with Robinhood.

Yeah, you’ve probably heard of Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use.

What’s best? When you download the app and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so that stock could be worth anywhere from $2.50 to $200 — a nice boost to help you build your investments.

Source: The 6 Biggest Money Secrets Most Rich People Won’t Tell You – The Penny Hoarder

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Understanding 51% Attacks on Bitcoin and Blockchain

A 51% attack doesn’t mean the attacker can send BTC from your wallet or account; it only means the blockchain has been compromised, and double-spending of crypto is imminent. Blockchains like Bitcoin and its contemporaries, with larger mining nodes and hash power, are less likely to be attacked due to the financial cost involved.

Blockchain technology is no longer a new word in this digital era. The name prevalently comes to mind anytime Bitcoin cryptocurrency is mentioned in any discourse. Unfortunately, the connection between blockchain and Bitcoin can’t be ruptured because the Bitcoin cryptocurrency brought blockchain to the limelight in 2008.

For clarity’s sake, Bitcoin is a blockchain on its own, while its native cryptocurrency that is used to incentivize miners is BTC—Bitcoin cryptocurrency. The cryptocurrency was birthed through one of the several use cases of blockchain in the finance industry.

Consensus Mechanisms

A consensus mechanism is when the majority agrees on something or disagrees. Imagine you conduct a survey with 100 different people from different locations about how sweet a particular cookie is. If all 100 say it is sweet or otherwise, their opinion is unanimous, which marks a consensus.

The consensus mechanisms employed in all blockchain networks are similar to the example above. In the case of blockchain, miners replicate the audience that took the cookie survey. Back to Bitcoin mining.As mentioned earlier, the consensus mechanism of bitcoin is the PoW, where miners compete to solve complex cryptographic puzzles with their mining machines. Whoever can solve this puzzle faster and produces the winning hash wins the right to add the newly verified transaction data to a block.

Such a validator will be rewarded with the native crypto of the blockchain—BTC.What usually determines who wins the right to fill a new block with transaction data is having a mining machine with a high hash rate—i.e., machines that can produce more hashes per second. This can be achieved by having more machines and combining their mining power or getting machines with higher mining power to mine faster than your competitors.This suggestion can be likened to participating in a raffle where having more tickets increases your chances of winning. Now, what if an unscrupulous or malevolent actor has a higher mining power than other miners? Then, a 51% attack is imminent!

What Is a 51% Attack?

A 51% attack occurs when a malevolent miner in a blockchain network gains control of the blockchain mining power. This means that the miner—in this case, an attacker— will be able to mine faster than other miners because the attacker now controls more than 50% of mining power.

Having 51% control—which is the least percentage required to take over a blockchain network—is ominous.

Difference Between a 51% Attack and a 34% Attack

A 34% attack is known with the Tangle consensus algorithm. The attacker only falsifies the blockchain’s ledger by approving or disapproving transactions. In contrast, the 51% attack gives attackers control of a blockchain such that they can disrupt mining and the entire blockchain.

Implications of a 51% Attack on Blockchain and Bitcoin

When an attacker controls 51% mining power in a blockchain, then the security of such a blockchain has been compromised, leaving the attacker in control of transactions. Below are the implications of what’s bound to happen due to a 51% attack:

  1. Network Disruption by Delaying Validation of Transactions: The attacker disrupts the blockchain network by attacking the miner’s computing resources. In such a scenario, there’ll be a delay in the validation and storage of transactions in a block. As a result, the blockchain is hampered, causing the attacker to process transactions faster than the miners or even prevent another miner from adding blocks.
  2. Double Spending: Double spending occurs when miners spend their crypto twice on a particular blockchain network.How?
    Imagine if the attacker had previously purchased a Ferrari 250 GTO with 1,600 BTC; he paid for the car and got the delivery of the vehicle. During a 51% attack on the BTC blockchain, the attacker can reverse the 1,600 BTC transferred to the seller’s wallet such that he keeps the car and the BTC. The BTC can then be spent for another purpose. This is known as double-spending.
  3. Reduction in Miner’s Reward: Since miners are usually rewarded for validating transactions on a blockchain, in the wake of a 51% attack, the attacker steals the shares of other miners, making them earn less than what they’re supposed to earn.

Diminishes Blockchain’s Credibility

A 51% attack on a blockchain network will diminish the credibility of such a blockchain. Both miners and investors will not trust the security framework anymore. This might lead to abandoning the project or some exchanges delisting the crypto from their market.

Below are the examples of blockchains that have suffered a 51% attack:• BSV—Bitcoin Satoshi Vision—was attacked in August 2021• ETC—Ethereum Classic—was attacked thrice in August 2020

BTG—Bitcoin Gold— was attacked twice; once in 2018 and then in 2020

• GRIN was attacked in 2020, the attacker controlled about 58% of GRIN’s hash rate

VTC—Vertcoin—was also attacked twice in 2019

How to Prevent 51% Attack

i. Limited Hash Power – Blockchains running on the PoW mechanism should limit the hash power of each miner to 50% or lesser. This will pre-empt such an attackQuintex3-1-2-2-1-1-1-1

ii. Using PoS or DPoS A PoS- Proof-of-Stake- the mechanism is another consensus mechanism for validating blockchain transactions. It is eco-friendly because no power is needed, and it doesn’t require a sophisticated machine. PoS uses coin owners’ machines to mine crypto. Investors stake their coins in return for an opportunity to validate blocks.DPoS, on the other hand, means Delegated Proof-of-stake. It is a decentralized PoS where the crypto community appoints validators by voting. If a validator is perceived to be compromising the network, they are also voted out by the community.

Conclusion

A 51% attack doesn’t mean the attacker can send BTC from your wallet or account; it only means the blockchain has been compromised, and double-spending of crypto is imminent. Blockchains like Bitcoin and its contemporaries, with larger mining nodes and hash power, are less likely to be attacked due to the financial cost involved.

By Abubakar Maruf

Source: Understanding 51% Attacks on Bitcoin and Blockchain | HackerNoon

More contents:

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