2.3.20 Zero-commission trading becoming standard; Fake bank email scam; Fixing our loneliness problem

Last year there was the mad rush of discount stockbrokers to cut commissions on various kinds of trades to zero. Nobody’s laughing anymore at the once obscure app Robinhood. Now millions use the app to trade stocks at no commission. Finally Chuck Schwab had enough and decided to stop charging commissions as- which set off an earthquake. The stocks of various discount (now free) brokers just collapsed because the investment community thought this was financial suicide. It wasn’t, because brokers earn money offering other services including checking accounts and credit cards – services superior to banks. Thus money has migrated out of stodgy, high-cost, low-service banks into credit unions, online banks and no cost brokers. Brokerage stocks recovered from the zero commission earthquake and new money coming in has shot through the roof. Know you can do a checking account with a zero cost broker. Bank shares are included in some index funds meaning you make money from them vs. the other way around, as they’re in the business of looting your wallet.

Special Warning. For years we’ve faced fake emails pretending to come from banks so most people are aware of that approach. Now we see reports that criminals have figured out how to take it a step further. They now send a notification that an account has been compromised, including a duplicate banking landing page, now with code that transfers your input to the REAL banking site. You’ll get the 2 factor authentication text, and enter that number – which they also duplicate, giving the criminals full access to your account. Anytime you get an email you think is from your bank or any financial institution, never click a link. Go separately to the official bank site. If there is an issue, you’ll be on the real site and know if all is well or if there’s an issue.

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Screen time can be isolating. Clark’s banned gadgets at the family dinner table. No point in being alone together. Turns out our constant companion cell phone induces human loneliness. Having grown up in the digital era, young adults report greater degree of loneliness. It’s not the same communicating online vs face to face. The WSJ reports how young adults in the workplace report greater loneliness. When all communication is digital – young workers report feeling twice as lonely as older workers who grew up analog and are more likely to talk to co-workers face to face. In person contact can create a warmer, more fully connected work environment. Whether at work or in your social life – being around people can make you a happier, more connected person.
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