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Global trust crisis as people no longer believe hard work will bring a better life

<p>Many people no longer believe that <span><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/2020-edelman-trust-barometer-shows-growing-sense-of-inequality/11883788">hard work will lead to a better life</a></span>, a new survey found.</p> <p>In its <span><a href="https://www.edelman.com/sites/g/files/aatuss191/files/2020-01/2020%20Edelman%20Trust%20Barometer%20Global%20Report_LIVE.pdf">20<sup>th</sup> annual Trust Barometer</a></span>, which polled more than 34,000 people in 28 countries, public relations firm Edelman found that despite strong economic performance, the majority of people in developed markets said they believe they and their families will not be better off in five years’ time.</p> <p>“We are living in a trust paradox,” said the agency’s CEO Richard Edelman.</p> <p>“Since we began measuring trust 20 years ago, economic growth has fostered rising trust. This continues in Asia and the Middle East but not in developed markets, where national income inequality is now the more important factor in institutional trust.</p> <p>“Fears are stifling hope, as long-held assumptions about hard work leading to upward mobility are now invalid.”</p> <p>Trust in government also continued to decline as people grappled with concerns over job insecurity and income inequality.</p> <p>More than four out of five (83 per cent) employees said they worry about losing their job due to a range of factors, including gig economy, looming recession, foreign competitors and automation.</p> <p>Government was viewed as the most unethical and least competent institution, with only 42 per cent of respondents saying they have confidence that government leaders will be able to address the challenges int their country.</p> <p>Media was also considered incompetent and unethical, with 57 per cent saying the media they consume contain untrustworthy information.</p> <p>Business ranked the highest in competence but was deemed unethical, with the majority of respondents agreeing that capitalism does more harm than good in the world today. No institution was seen as fair in the survey’s index of public perception.</p>

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Why paper maps still matter in the digital age

<p>Ted Florence is ready for his family trip to Botswana. He has looked up his hotel on Google Maps and downloaded a digital map of the country to his phone. He has also packed a large paper map. “I travel all over the world,” says Florence, the president of the international board of the <a href="https://imiamaps.org/">International Map Industry Association</a> and <a href="https://www.avenzamaps.com/">Avenza Maps</a>, a digital map software company. “Everywhere I go, my routine is the same: I get a paper map, and I keep it in my back pocket.”</p> <p>With the proliferation of smartphones, it’s easy to assume that the era of the paper map is over. That attitude, that digital is better than print, is what I call “technochauvinism.” In my book, <em><a href="https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/artificial-unintelligence">Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World</a></em>, I look at how technochauvinism has been used to create an unnecessary, occasionally harmful bias for digital over print or any other kind of interface. A glance at the research reveals that the paper map still thrives in the digital era, and there are distinct advantages to using print maps.</p> <p><strong>Your brain on maps</strong></p> <p>Cognitive researchers generally make a distinction between surface knowledge and deep knowledge. Experts have deep knowledge of a subject or a geography; amateurs have surface knowledge.</p> <p>Digital interfaces are good for acquiring surface knowledge. Answering the question, “How do I get from the airport to my hotel in a new-to-me city?” is a pragmatic problem that requires only shallow information to answer. If you’re traveling to a city for only 24 hours for a business meeting, there’s usually no need to learn much about a city’s layout.</p> <p>When you live in a place, or you want to travel meaningfully, deep knowledge of the geography will help you to navigate it and to understand its culture and history. Print maps help you acquire deep knowledge faster and more efficiently. In experiments, <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.10.014">people who read on paper consistently demonstrate better reading comprehension</a> than people who read the same material on a screen. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0165551512470043">A 2013 study</a> showed that, as a person’s geographic skill increases, so does their preference for paper maps.</p> <p>For me, the difference between deep knowledge and surface knowledge is the difference between what I know about New York City, where I have lived for years, and San Francisco, which I have visited only a handful of times. In New York, I can tell you where all the neighborhoods are and which train lines to take and speculate about whether the prevalence of Manhattan schist in the geological substrate influenced the heights of the buildings that are in Greenwich Village versus Midtown. I’ve invested a lot of time in looking at both paper and digital maps of New York. In San Francisco, I’ve only ever used digital maps to navigate from point to point. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know where anything is in the Bay Area.</p> <p>Our brains encode knowledge as what scientists call <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.10.014">a cognitive map</a>. In psychology-speak, I lack a cognitive map of San Francisco.</p> <p>“When the human brain gathers visual information about an object, it also gathers information about its surroundings, and associates the two,” wrote communication researchers Jinghui Hou, Justin Rashid and Kwan Min Lee <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.10.014">in a 2017 study</a>. “In a similar manner to how people construct a mental map of a physical environment (e.g., a desk in the center of an office facing the door), readers form a ‘cognitive map’ of the physical location of a text and its spatial relationship to the text as a whole.”</p> <p>Reading in print makes it easier for the brain to encode knowledge and to remember things. Sensory cues, like unfolding the complicated folds of a paper map, help create that cognitive map in the brain and help the brain to retain the knowledge.</p> <p>The same is true for a simple practice like tracing out a hiking route on a paper map with your finger. The physical act of moving your arm and feeling the paper under your finger <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/06/smarter-living/memory-tricks-mnemonics.html">gives your brain haptic and sensorimotor cues</a> that contribute to the formation and retention of the cognitive map.</p> <p><strong>Map mistakes</strong></p> <p>Another factor in the paper versus digital debate is accuracy. Obviously, a good digital map is better than a bad paper map, just like a good paper map is better than a bad digital map.</p> <p><a href="https://medium.com/@mitpress/3-recommendations-to-combat-technochauvinism-9099b257b92c">Technochauvinists</a> may believe that all digital maps are good, but just as in the paper world, the accuracy of digital maps depends entirely on the level of detail and fact-checking invested by the company making the map.</p> <p>For example, a <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2012/dec/20/business/la-fi-tn-apple-google-maps-lost-20121220">2012 survey by the crowdsourcing company Crowdflower</a> found that Google Maps accurately located 89 percent of businesses, while Apple Maps correctly found 74 percent. This isn’t surprising, as Google <a href="https://www.google.com/streetview/understand/">invests millions in sending people</a> around the world to map terrain for Google StreetView. Google Maps are good because the company invests time, money and human effort in making its maps good – not because digital maps are inherently better.</p> <p>Fanatical attention to detail is necessary to keep digital maps up to date, as conditions in the real world change constantly. Companies like Google are constantly updating their maps, and will have to do so regularly for as long as they continue to publish. The maintenance required for digital content is substantial – <a href="https://www.pprune.org/private-flying/601767-maps-obsolete.html">a cost that technochauvinists often ignore</a>.</p> <p>In my view, it’s easier to forgive the errors in a paper map. Physical maps usually include an easily visible publication date so users can see when the map was published. (When was the last time you noticed the date-of-last-update on your car navigation system?) When you are passively following the spoken GPS directions of a navigation system, and there is, say, an unmarked exit, it confuses the GPS system and causes chaos among the people in the car. (Especially the backseat drivers.)</p> <p><strong>The best map for the job</strong></p> <p>Some of the deeper flaws of digital maps are not readily apparent to the public. Digital systems, including cartographic ones, are more interconnected than most people realize. Mistakes, which are inevitable, can go viral and create more trouble than anyone anticipates.</p> <p>For example: Reporter Kashmir Hill has written about a Kansas farm in the geographic center of the U.S. that has been <a href="https://splinternews.com/how-an-internet-mapping-glitch-turned-a-random-kansas-f-1793856052">plagued by legal trouble and physical harassment</a>, because a digital cartography database mistakenly uses the farm’s location as a default every time the database can’t identify the real answer.</p> <p>“As a result, for the last 14 years, every time MaxMind’s database has been queried about the location of an IP address in the U.S. it can’t identify, it has spit out the default location of a spot two hours away from the geographic center of the country,” Hill wrote. “This happens a lot: 5,000 companies rely on MaxMind’s IP mapping information, and in all, there are now over 600 million IP addresses associated with that default coordinate.”</p> <p>A technochauvinist mindset assumes everything in the future will be digital. But what happens if a major company like Google stops offering its maps? What happens when a <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/19/16910378/government-shutdown-2018-nasa-spacex-iss-falcon-heavy">government shutdown</a> means that <a href="http://satnews.com/story.php?number=827160505">satellite data</a> powering smartphone GPS systems isn’t transmitted? Right now, ambulances and fire trucks can keep a road atlas in the front seat in case electronic navigation fails. If society doesn’t maintain physical maps, first responders won’t be able to get to addresses when there is a fire or someone is critically ill.</p> <p>Interrupting a country’s GPS signals is also a realistic cyberwarfare tactic. The U.S. Navy has resumed training new recruits in <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11931403/US-navy-returns-to-celestial-navigation-amid-fears-of-computer-hack.html">celestial navigation</a>, a technique that dates back to ancient Greece, as a guard against when the digital grid gets hacked.</p> <p>Ultimately, I don’t think it should be a competition between physical and digital. In the future, people will continue to need both kinds of maps. Instead of arguing whether paper or digital is a better map interface, people should consider what map is the right tool for the task.</p> <div><a href="https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/artificial-unintelligence"></a><em>MIT Press provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.</em><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></div> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/meredith-broussard-659409"><em>Meredith Broussard</em></a><em>, Assistant Professor of Journalism, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/new-york-university-1016">New York University</a></em></span></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-paper-maps-still-matter-in-the-digital-age-105341">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Australian building codes don't expect houses to be fire-proof

<p>More than <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-51015536">2,000 homes</a> have been destroyed in Australia since the start of the bushfire season. More will certainly be destroyed before the season ends in March.</p> <p>Could these houses have been built to better withstand fire?</p> <p>Quite probably. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Australia’s building regulations need reforming to ensure homes are made more fireproof.</p> <p>Appropriate building codes are about weighing costs and benefits. Only analysing the reasons buildings were destroyed will tell us if more needs to be done.</p> <p><strong>Performances standards</strong></p> <p>Not all buildings are created equal. Newer buildings will generally be more fire-proof than older ones, due to building regulations having been improved over time.</p> <p>In particular, national building requirements for residences in bushfire-prone areas were improved after the 2009 “Black Saturday” bushfires in Victoria, in which 173 people died and more 2,000 homes were destroyed.</p> <p>Buildings are regulated by states and territories but governments have recognised the value of nationally consistent building codes through the National Construction Code. This code, among other things, sets minimum standards for the design and construction of new buildings on bushfire-prone land. (What land is deemed “bushfire prone” is defined by state and territory legislation.)</p> <p>The National Construction Code is “performance-based”. It doesn’t specify how a building must be built, but how a building must perform. This means innovative designs, materials and construction methods can be readily approved.</p> <p>A residential building on bushfire-prone land, the code states, must be designed and constructed to “reduce the risk” of ignition from a bushfire, appropriate to the risk from bushfire flames, burning embers, radiant heat and intensity of the bushfire attack.</p> <p>The risk to which a building is expected to be exposed depends on the individual site and conditions such as vegetation type and density, and slope of land. Properties are assessed and given a “Bushfire Attack Level” (BAL) rating by inspectors.</p> <p>There are six BAL levels that classify the severity of potential exposure to bushfire. The highest – BAL FZ – is for buildings exposed to an extreme risk, such as a house surrounded by trees that could produce direct contact from flames.</p> <p>Lower BAL levels take into account risks from burning debris, ember attack and radiant heat. The lowest deems the risk insufficient to warrant any specific construction requirements.</p> <p>Construction details for each BAL cover building elements such as floors, walls, roofs, doors, windows, vents, roof drainage systems, verandahs, and water and gas supply pipes. For example, fire-resistant timber may be required for floor framing, or windows may be required to use toughened glass.</p> <p><strong>Balancing competing interests</strong></p> <p>Are the requirements of the National Construction Code good enough?</p> <p>If the aim is to minimise the number of buildings damaged or destroyed in extreme fire events, the answer is no.</p> <p>But that’s not the aim. Like most government regulation, the code requirements are about balancing competing interests.</p> <p>All building regulations are subject to cost-benefit analysis. They must demonstrate a “net cost benefit” to the community – that the cost of compliance will be less than the benefit delivered to the general community.</p> <p>It’s a cold calculation about the risk and potential cost of homes being destroyed in bushfires versus the more certain costs involved in requiring all homes to be built to more stringent building codes.</p> <p>Government policy treats potential property loss as a matter for owners to address through property insurance. There’s no reason to expect this to change any time soon.</p> <p><strong>Learning from experience</strong></p> <p>If the cost of building destruction in bushfires turned out to be greater than the cost of more stringent building requirements, there would be a strong rationale to improve the regulations. This is why post-fire analysis is so important.</p> <p>A prime example is the royal commission into the causes and costs of the Black Saturday fires.</p> <p>The commission’s <a href="http://royalcommission.vic.gov.au/Commission-Reports/Final-Report.html">final report</a> made a number of recommendations for changes to the National Construction Code. These included new provisions to:</p> <ul> <li>make protection from ember attack a performance requirement</li> <li>address the design and construction of private (underground) bushfire emergency shelters</li> <li>include design and construction requirements for non-residential buildings, such as schools and aged-care centres, in bushfire-prone areas.</li> </ul> <p>All governments agreed to the first two recommendations, which were promptly implemented in the National Construction Code (in 2010).</p> <p>The recommendation about non-residential building was not implemented at the time because governments considered that planning laws would not allow these types of buildings to be built in a bushfire-prone area.</p> <p>However, the 2019-2020 business plan of the Australian Building Codes Board (which administers the National Construction Code, includes a “bushfire provisions for non-residential buildings” project, so it is reasonable to expect changes to the code in future.</p> <p>This season’s fires may also provide impetus for other changes to the construction code. One key factor that will be worthy of research is the age of the buildings destroyed.</p> <p>Depending on how many homes lost were built after 2010, it might be argued that changes made after the 2009 Victorian fire have been insufficient to keep up with evolving conditions.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/129540/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/raymond-william-loveridge-924307">Raymond William Loveridge</a>, Adjunct Professor - School of Built Environment, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/australian-building-codes-dont-expect-houses-to-be-fire-proof-and-thats-by-design-129540">original article</a>.</em></p>

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How to care for and recover personal items after bushfire

<p>The devastation wrought by the Australian bushfires has been immense and, as the fires continue to burn, the final loss won’t be known for many months. While the impact on the environment, human and animal life is overwhelming, for many individuals the loss of personal items such as photographs, documents, artwork and personal treasures is significant.</p> <p>Heirlooms and artworks are often cherished for the people, events and experiences they represent rather than their monetary value or cultural importance. They can be integral to understanding our personal history, culture and identity.</p> <p>While damage to them can be heartbreaking, even a badly damaged family treasure may hold immeasurable personal significance.</p> <p>For those threatened by bushfire, planning for the preservation of your treasured items can start now. Planning resources are <a href="https://aiccm.org.au/disaster/fire">available online</a>. For those who have been affected by fire damage, you may still be able to salvage items.</p> <p>There are three main factors to consider when thinking about the impact of bushfires on your personal treasures – smoke, heat, and water.</p> <p>The most obvious damage from smoke is soiling. Soot, ash and other particulate matter are usually dark and greasy. When deposited on the surface of an object, colour and detail are obscured. Damage from high heat exposure can result in blistering, melting, warping, charring and partial or complete loss.</p> <p>If water has been used to put out the fire, water related damage can be an issue. Water can cause shrinkage, distortion, discolouration, mould and partial or complete loss of original material.</p> <p>The possible damage to your items will depend on the material types. Here are some tips for handling them.</p> <p><strong>Paintings</strong></p> <p>Paintings can be affected by all three factors.</p> <p>• If an artwork is framed, it is recommended that you leave the frame in place. Exposure to high heat can soften the paint layer, which may cause it to stick to the frame. A specialist should remove the work from the frame.</p> <p>• The particulate nature of smoke means that it can cause abrasion as the soot is wiped away. Get advice before undertaking any cleaning. Do not use water.</p> <p>• Assess the surface for loose material (lifting paint, blistering). Take care when handling to ensure no loss of fragile material. Retain any loose elements in a Ziplock bag. These can be reattached later.</p> <p><strong>Paper documents, prints and photographs</strong></p> <p>Though potentially affected by all three factors, water damage can be the most severe for these items, with the risk of mould.</p> <p>• Allow wet items to slowly air dry, indoors if possible. Increase indoor airflow with fans, open windows, air conditioners, and dehumidifiers. Do not use hair dryers, ovens, irons.</p> <p>• Photo albums can stick together. Do not try to open them. Ask a conservator for advice.</p> <p>• Dry paper documents and photos can be cleaned of soot with a vacuum and dry sponge.</p> <p><strong>Textiles (i.e. sporting memorabilia)</strong></p> <p>Textiles can be affected by all three factors.</p> <p>• Handle with care, as they may be fragile.</p> <p>• Low powered vacuum removal of soot may be possible if fabric is not weak (shedding).</p> <p><strong>Glass, metal and ceramic objects</strong></p> <p>These items can be affected by high temperatures and smoke. Heat can distort shape (melting) or alter surface finishes (i.e. glaze on pottery). Such damage is usually irreversible. Smoke damage can leave a darkened layer of soot on the surface.</p> <p>• Care is need when removing soot to ensure abrasion of the surface doesn’t occur.</p> <p>• Heat can make these objects brittle. Care is needed when handling.</p> <p>• Use gloves when handling. Skin oils can damage the surface.</p> <p><strong>What else can you do</strong></p> <p>You may not be able to save everything, so focus on prioritising what is most important to you. Personal safety is the highest priority when entering damaged buildings. Wear protective clothing, footwear, goggles, gloves and masks to protect from hazardous material and possible mould spores.</p> <p>Items may be more fragile than they look, so consider using something rigid to support them when lifting and transporting such as a piece of tray, pieces of cardboard, box, a plastic container or lid.</p> <p>Retain any items that are recognisable, it may be possible to restore them.</p> <p>The national conservation body, the <a href="https://aiccm.org.au/disaster/fire">Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials</a>, provides a number of useful fire recovery resources.</p> <p>Details for accredited conservators can also be found through the AICCM website. A conservator will be able to provide advice on how to best approach the recovery and ongoing preservation of your heirlooms and artworks.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/129356/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/vanessa-kowalski-929999">Vanessa Kowalski</a>, Painting Conservator, Grimwade Conservation Services, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-melbourne-722">University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-care-for-and-recover-personal-items-after-bushfire-129356">original article</a>.</em></p>

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A crisis of underinsurance threatens to scar rural Australia permanently

<p>Australia is in the midst of a bushfire crisis that will affect local communities for years, if not permanently, due to a national crisis of underinsurance.</p> <p>Already more than 1,500 homes have been destroyed – with months still to go in the bushfire season. Compare this to 2009, when Victoria’s “Black Saturday” fires claimed more than 2,000 homes in February, or 1983, when the “Ash Wednesday” fires destroyed about 2,400 homes in Victoria and South Australia, also in February.</p> <p>The 2020 fire season could end up surpassing these tragedies, despite the lessons learned and improvements in preparedness.</p> <p>One lesson not really learned, though, is that home insurance is rarely sufficient to enable recovery. The evidence is many people losing their homes will find themselves unable to rebuild, due to lack of insurance.</p> <p>We know this from <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/VF2QKHQM2J3JQ3YRXZQZ/full?target=10.1080%2F00049182.2019.1691436&amp;">interviews with those affected</a> by the October 2013 Blue Mountains bushfires (in which almost <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-17/remembering-the-blue-mountains-bushfires-one-year-on/5819100">200 homes were destroyed</a>). Despite past disasters, more than <a href="https://www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/19722/Submission-Natural-Disaster-Funding-Arrangements-June-2014-final.pdf">65% of households affected</a> were underinsured.</p> <p>Research published by the Victorian government in 2017, meanwhile, estimated <a href="https://providers.dhhs.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2018-02/promoting%20financial%20resilience%20to%20emergencies%20through%20home%20and%20contents%20insurance%20strategy.pdf">just 46% Victorian households</a> have enough insurance to recover from a disaster, with 28% underinsured and 26% having no insurance.</p> <p>The consequences aren’t just personal. They potentially harm local communities permanently, as those unable to rebuild move away. Communities lose the vital knowledge and social networks that make them resilient to disaster.</p> <p><strong>Miscalculating rebuilding costs</strong></p> <p>All too often the disaster of having your home and possessions razed by fire is followed by the disaster of realising by how much you are underinsured.</p> <p>As researchers into the impact of fires, we are interested why people find themselves underinsured. Our research, which includes <a href="https://insuranceresearchblog.wordpress.com/">interviewing</a> those who have have lost their homes, shows it is complicated, and not necessarily due to negligence.</p> <p>For example, a woman who lost her home in Kinglake, northeast of Melbourne, in the 2009 fires, told us how her insurance calculations turned out to bear no resemblance to the actual cost of rebuilding.</p> <p>“You think okay, this is what I paid for the property,” she said. “I think we had about $550,000 on the house, and the contents was maybe $120,000.” It was on these estimates that she and her partner took out insurance. She told us:</p> <blockquote> <p>You think sure, yeah, I can rebuild my life with that much money. But nowhere near. Not even close. We wound up with a $700,000 mortgage at the end of rebuilding.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>An extra mortgage</strong></p> <p>A common issue is that people insure based on their home’s market value. But rebuilding is often more expensive.</p> <p>For one thing there’s the need to comply with new building codes, which have been improved to ensure buildings take into account their potential exposure to bushfire. This is likely to <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/VF2QKHQM2J3JQ3YRXZQZ/full?target=10.1080%2F00049182.2019.1691436&amp;">increase costs by 20% or more</a>, but is rarely made clear to insurance customers.</p> <p>Construction costs also often spike following disasters, due to extra demand for building services and materials.</p> <p>A further contributing factor is that banks can claim insurance payments to pay off mortgages, meaning the only way to rebuild is by taking out another mortgage.</p> <p>“People who owned houses, any money that was owing, everything was taken back to the bank before they could do anything else,” said a former shop owner from Whittlesea, (about 30km west of Kinglake and also severely hit by the 2009 fires).</p> <p>This meant, once banks were paid, people had nothing left to restart.</p> <p>She told us:</p> <blockquote> <p>People came into the shop and cried on my shoulder, and I cried with them. I helped them all I could there. That’s probably why we lost the business, because how can you ask people to pay when they’ve got nothing?</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Undermining social cohesion</strong></p> <p>In rural areas there is often a shortage of rental properties. Insurance companies generally only cover rent for 12 months, which is not enough time to rebuild. For families forced to relocate, moving back can feel disruptive to their recovery.</p> <p>Underinsurance significantly increases the chances those who lose their homes will move away and never return – hampering social recovery and resilience. Residents that cannot afford to rebuild will sell their property, with “tree changers” the most likely buyers.</p> <p>Communities not only lose residents with local knowledge and important skills but also social cohesion. <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0959378013001684">Research in both Australia and the United States</a> suggested this can leave those communities less prepared for future disasters.</p> <p>This is because a sense of community is vital to individuals’ willingness and ability to prepare for and act in a threat situation. A confidence that others will weigh in to help in turn increases people’s confidence and ability to prepare and act.</p> <p>In Whittlesea, for example, residents reported a change in their sense of community cohesion after the Black Saturday fires. “The newer people coming in,” one interviewee told us, “aren’t invested like the older people are in the community.”</p> <p>Australia is one of the few wealthy countries that heavily relies on insurance markets for recovery from disasters. But the evidence suggests this is an increasingly fraught strategy, particularly when rural communities also have to cope with the reality of more intense and frequent extreme weather events.</p> <p>If communities are to recover from bushfires, the nation cannot put its trust in individual insurance policies. What’s required is national policy reform to ensure effective disaster preparedness and recovery for all.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/129343/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/chloe-lucas-132984"><em>Chloe Lucas</em></a><em>, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Geography and Spatial Sciences, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christine-eriksen-106365">Christine Eriksen</a>, Senior Lecturer in Geography and Sustainable Communities, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/david-bowman-4397">David Bowman</a>, Professor of Pyrogeography and Fire Science, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a></em></span></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-crisis-of-underinsurance-threatens-to-scar-rural-australia-permanently-129343">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Is it a crime to import cigarettes into Australia?

<p>The tax on tobacco in Australia is astronomical, pushing the average price of a cigarette packet beyond forty dollars in recent months.</p> <p>The tax has been justified on public health grounds, and has been partially responsible for significantly reducing the consumption of tobacco products in Australia.</p> <p>The tax has been accompanied by a range of restrictions on the importation of tobacco products, with the number of cigarettes that a person can bring into the country without a permit being reduced from 200 just a few years ago, to one unopened packet of up to 25 cigarettes and one open packet of up to 25 cigarettes.</p> <p>Restrictions have also been placed over the years on the use of tobacco, with prohibitions on a range of venues and public places.</p> <p>The exorbitant price of tobacco has contributed to a<span> </span><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/cheap-cigarettes-available-over-the-internet/">thriving black market</a>, with many arranging for the importation of products by mail and others packing it into their luggage.</p> <p>And while many feel there’s little wrong with bringing a few extra packs into the country, the law says something completely different.</p> <p><strong>The law on importing tobacco products</strong></p> <p>Since 1 July 2019, tobacco products including cigarettes, loose leaf tobacco, shisha/molasses tobacco and ‘heat not burn’ tobacco<span> </span><a rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.abf.gov.au/importing-exporting-and-manufacturing/prohibited-goods/categories/tobacco" target="_blank">have been classified as prohibited imports</a>, which means it is a criminal offence to import them in the mail. A permit is required to import them otherwise.</p> <p>A permit is not required to import cigars or up to 1.5 kilograms of chewing tobacco and snuffs intended for oral use, provided duties and taxes are paid.</p> <p>Travellers into Australia do not require a permit to import tobacco products in personal effects, provided they are 18 years or older, declare the product/s upon arrival and pay duties and taxes. Permission is, however, required from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commissioner to bring in more than 1.5 kilograms of chewing tobacco or snuff.</p> <p>Travellers who contravene these rules are subject to having their visas cancelled, being issued with infringement notices (fines) or being criminally prosecuted.</p> <p><strong>Criminal offences</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/legislation/customs-act/smuggling-tobacco-products/">Section 233BABAD of the Customs Act 1901</a><span> </span>(Cth) sets out four separate criminal offences which relate to tobacco products.</p> <p>Subsection (1) prescribes a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for ‘importing tobacco goods’ with ‘the intention of defrauding the revenue’.</p> <p>The offence applies, for example, where a person brings tobacco products into the country in breach of the rules or arranges for their importation in the mail.</p> <p>Subsection (2) sets the same maximum penalty for possessing or conveying tobacco products in the knowledge that they were imported with the intention to defraud the revenue.</p> <p>The offence applies to those who receive or transport tobacco products for which they know duties and taxes haven’t been paid.</p> <p>In addition to prison, those who are guilty under subsection (1) or (2) are subject to fines equivalent to up to five times the amount of the applicable duty or, if the court is unable to determine that duty, a maximum of 1,000 penalty units (currently $210,000).</p> <p>Subsection (2A) prescribes a maximum penalty of five years behind bars for importing tobacco products in circumstances where the person is reckless as to whether there would be a defrauding of the revenue.</p> <p>A person is ‘reckless’ for the purposes of the subsection if they were aware it was likely that there would be a defrauding but went ahead with their actions regardless.</p> <p>And subsection (2B) sets the same 5 year maximum penalty for possessing or conveying tobacco products where the person is reckless as to whether they were imported with the intention to defraud the revenue.</p> <p>A person is ‘reckless’ if they were aware it was likely that the products were imported with the intention to defraud but went ahead with their actions regardless.</p> <p>In addition to prison, those who are guilty under subsection (2A) or (2B) are subject to fines equivalent to up to three times the amount of the applicable duty or, if the court is unable to determine that duty, a maximum of 500 penalty units (currently $105,000).</p> <p>For the purposes of the Act, ‘tobacco products’ are broadly defined as including:</p> <ul> <li>Unmanufactured tobacco and tobacco refuse,</li> <li>Cigars, cheroots, cigarillos and cigarettes of tobacco and tobacco substitutes, and</li> <li>Other manufactured tobacco and substitutes, extracts and essences, including water pipe tobacco.</li> </ul> <p>See<span> </span><a rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ca1901124/s4.html" target="_blank">section 4 of the Customs Act</a><span> </span>which refers to<span> </span><a rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" href="http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/cth/consol_act/cta1995178/sch3.html" target="_blank">Schedule 3 of the Customs Traffic Act 1995</a>.</p> <p><em>Written by Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/is-it-a-crime-to-import-cigarettes-into-australia/" target="_blank"><em>Sydney Criminal Lawyers</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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8 ways to make more money in 2020

<p><span>The start of a new year is a great time to evaluate your money habits and identify places where you can boost your income or decrease your spending. While the process can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re drowning in bills, you’ve got this – and we’ve got your back. We rounded up a wide assortment of great tips for all aspects of your financial life so that you can turn your dream of saving money into a reality. Believe it or not, just a few simple tweaks can help you get (and keep) more money in your pocket in 2020.</span></p> <div class="tg-container categorySection detailSection"> <div id="primary" class="contentAreaLeft"> <div id="page3" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <h2 class="slide-title">1. Buy gift cards at a discount, and sell ones you don’t want</h2> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Most of us have at least a few old, unwanted gift cards stashed away in a drawer. Leaving them unused is like throwing away money. Instead, turn them into cash by selling them online. Many of the sites that buy gift cards also sell those cards at a discounted price. This is a great way to save money on gift cards for yourself or others.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="tg-container categorySection detailSection"> <div id="primary" class="contentAreaLeft"> <div id="page4" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <h2 class="slide-title">2. Shop through sites that offer cashback rewards</h2> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Meghan Fox, a savings expert, suggests users maximise their savings by buying discounted gift cards and then using those cards at a site that pays cash back. Check out sites such as Cashrewards and PricePal which offer cashback rewards for purchases at a variety of retailers and websites.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page5" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <h2 class="slide-title">3. Use social media for positive motivation</h2> <div class="slide-description"> <p>“Follow financially savvy young professionals instead of, say, travellers,” says Brian Walsh, a certified financial planner at SoFi. “They will inspire you to stick to your goals rather than keeping up with the Joneses.”</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page6" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <h2 class="slide-title">4. Declutter and make money on Facebook Marketplace</h2> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Go through your closet, apartment, garage or storage unit, and sell things you no longer wear or need on Facebook Marketplace. “I have sold several thousand dollars worth of stuff to declutter our house!” says Deb Liu, Vice President of Marketplace and Commerce at Facebook. “I [also] get the kids involved. We’ve sold some of their games and toys. It’s a win-win: They think they’re earning money for even more toys, and I get to teach them about math and budgeting!”</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="tg-container categorySection detailSection"> <div id="primary" class="contentAreaLeft"> <div id="page7" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <h2 class="slide-title">5. Cash in on special-event items you won’t use again</h2> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Lindsey Nickel, a wedding planner at Lovely Day Events, suggests newlyweds help recoup some of their wedding expenses by selling items they used at their event. “These items are very wedding-specific and probably won’t be used again,” she says. “So instead of taking up storage, I tell them to sell them on sites like Facebook Marketplace and help out the next bride instead. Ask your professional photographer for the big day to take high-quality pics of the items.”</p> <div class="tg-container categorySection detailSection"> <div id="primary" class="contentAreaLeft"> <div id="page8" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <h2 class="slide-title">6. Take advantage of price matching</h2> <div class="slide-description"> <p>This can help you avoid a lot of driving around or wasting time shopping at a bunch of different sites. But be sure to read the store policies carefully. Some will only price-match the items at brick-and-mortar stores (not websites) or stores within a certain geographic location.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page9" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <h2 class="slide-title">7. Become a preferred shopper</h2> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Sign up for retailers’ email promotions and follow them on social media. You will often get access to special coupons, sales and discount promotions. That said, it’s a good idea to create a special email address for these promotional emails to keep them from swamping your primary inbox.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="tg-container categorySection detailSection"> <div id="primary" class="contentAreaLeft"> <div id="page10" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <h2 class="slide-title">8. Let your home pay for itself</h2> <div class="slide-description"> <p>All over the world, there are millions of unused bedrooms in homes that could potentially be rented out. “This is often especially true for empty nesters and retirees,” says Wendi Burkhardt, CEO of Silvernest. “Rather than letting them gather dust, profit from them by renting them out to a long-term housemate. Estimates show that you can earn an average of $10,000 a year per room. Even better is that you can split bills with your housemate, helping you slash monthly expenses while you’re earning passive income on the side.”</p> <p><em>Written by Bobbi Dempsey. This article first appeared in </em><span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/money/38-ways-to-make-more-money-in-2020" target="_blank"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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Apartment living on the rise: How do families and their noisy children fit in?

<p>A growing number of Australians live in apartments. The compact city model presents many benefits, but living close to each other also presents challenges.</p> <p>Rapid growth in apartment developments in recent decades has led to a <a href="https://www.ocn.org.au/book/export/html/1200">rise in noise-related complaints and disputes across urban Australia</a>. Households with children are on the front line of such tensions. They are one of the fastest-growing demographics living in apartments. Analysis of the latest census data show, for instance, that <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1755458617301093">families with children under the age of 15 comprise 25% of Sydney’s apartment population</a>.</p> <p>Apartment design and cultural acceptance of families in the vertical city have not kept pace with this shift in housing forms. Cultural expectations that families with children ought to live in detached houses are persistent. Apartment planners and developers reproduce these expectations by <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8470.2004.00278.x/epdf">neglecting children in building design and marketing</a>.</p> <p>With children’s sounds being difficult to predict or control, changing apartment demographics are an issue for planners and residents alike.</p> <h2>Trying to be good parents and good neighbours</h2> <p>My research explores the everyday experiences of families living in apartments in Sydney. It reveals that <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1755458617301093">parents trying to make apartment life work face an emotional juggling act</a>.</p> <p>Apartment living often creates an emotional dilemma between being a good parent and being a good neighbour. Parents want to allow children to be children, but are ever anxious about annoying the neighbours.</p> <p>Cities are layered with many different sounds, but the home is framed as a private space of peace and quiet. Sounds that intrude are considered noise. The “good” apartment neighbour avoids sounds that penetrate neighbours’ homes.</p> <p>This is near impossible when children are involved – and particularly when apartments are poorly designed. Key pressure points include crying at night and playing and running during the day.</p> <p>Parents spoke about the challenges of sleep training in an apartment. They wanted to be considerate neighbours, so felt anxious and guilty when their children did not comply. Some received angry letters from neighbours, or heard them call out and bang on walls and ceilings in midnight protests.</p> <p>One mother described the difficult juggling act of an unsettled baby and an upset neighbour:</p> <blockquote> <p>[The neighbour] called out … ‘Pick up your baby!’ … I was so upset because we are trying our best and we were exhausted ourselves … [The neighbour] banged on the ceiling really loudly … I felt it on my feet, like it was shaking … That just kind of added to my stress … When I got back into bed after the shrieking finished and he [the baby] went back to sleep and the stomping on the roof finished … I just said, ‘I don’t know if I can do that again’ … knowing that, you know they’re hearing it all of course, and we felt terrible.</p> </blockquote> <p>Parenting anxieties were not limited to night-time. Monitoring kids’ play to minimise noise made parents feel like the “fun police”.</p> <blockquote> <p>I always feel like I am constantly telling them ‘not in here, not in there, don’t do that’ … I’m constantly worried that we are annoying the neighbours. Because they are kids, they are loud. They don’t have a volume button.</p> </blockquote> <p>Parents attempted many strategies for managing noise. These included putting down carpet and foam mats, restricting some activities to rooms without adjoining walls or to “sociable” hours, closing windows and covering air vents. The expectation that their children’s sounds do not belong in apartments weighed heavily.</p> <blockquote> <p>When he [the neighbour] first started complaining, Harry [son] was crawling. Imagine trying to teach a crawler that they are not allowed to crawl through the house … You know, he [the neighbour] wanted the impossible and got angry with us when we couldn’t deliver that for him, with no kind of seeming effort to understand where we were coming from …</p> </blockquote> <p>This family’s neighbour had written notes, aggressively banged on their walls and threateningly confronted the parents over their children’s noise. The mother described feeling vulnerable and at a loss:</p> <blockquote> <p>I feel like we have entered this entirely new area of discrimination that I had no idea existed before, but is actually quite prevalent among our peers. It is common among the mothers in my mothers’ group … People just don’t like children and they don’t like children’s noise … And you know parenting is hard … So to have the ‘Oh my God I am pissing loads of people off’ in the back of your mind as well … is really uncomfortable.</p> </blockquote> <p>While not all families reported such negative experiences, almost all felt anxious about noise and had stories of friends who had experienced problems.</p> <p>The sounds made by children were always front of mind. Aware of their neighbours’ surveillance and (at times overt) moral judgments, they changed their domestic routines and modified their homes as much as possible.</p> <h2>People need apartments made for families</h2> <p>Broader changes are needed. Families living with children in apartments challenge norms that delineate the home as a place of quietude; that define “good neighbours” as tranquil ones; and that position children as belonging elsewhere (detached houses). And they come up against such norms in dwellings that hamper their best efforts to regulate sound.</p> <p>Families living in apartments actively pursue strategies for making everyday life “work”. But there is only so much that individuals can change. The wider problem of apartments’ poor acoustic design and performance persists.</p> <p>Both <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1755458617301093">cultural and technical norms must shift</a> if the policy paradigm of urban consolidation is to have any hope of meeting the needs of a diverse population.</p> <p><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sophie-may-kerr-209848">Sophie-May Kerr</a>, PhD Candidate in Human Geography, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/with-apartment-living-on-the-rise-how-do-families-and-their-noisy-children-fit-in-88244">original article</a>.</em></p>

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The psychology behind why people buy

<p>Between <a href="https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/joreco/v21y2014i2p86-97.html">40% and 80%</a> of purchases are impulse buys. Marketers often get blamed for this, but while marketing tactics may be <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2010.01187_2.x">cynical, manipulative, and even deceptive</a>, shoppers are generally wise to their ways.</p> <p>Of greater concern, is the fact that up to <a href="https://academic.oup.com/joc/article-abstract/64/5/915/4086043?redirectedFrom=fulltext">95% of our daily decisions</a> are potentially determined by <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S105774080570108X">impulsive, unconscious processes</a>. All too often, consumers are ignorant of the <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1992-98649-000">social influences</a> and <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288902202_Social_psychology_and_consumer_psychology_An_unexplored_interface">psychological states</a> that make them vulnerable shoppers. In fact, most people entertain a costly <a href="http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.552.7516&amp;rep=rep1&amp;type=pdf">illusion of invulnerability</a> and consider themselves especially shrewd shoppers.</p> <p>You can avoid spending too much by becoming more mindful of the factors that influence your shopping behaviours. Here are six factors which could cause you to overspend, along with some tips about how to counteract them.</p> <h2>1. Social pressure</h2> <p>Human beings are very susceptible to social pressures. The cooperative and competitive behaviours, which have ensured our survival as a species, also nudge us <a href="https://youtu.be/_qHYmx7qPes">to spend more than we need</a>.</p> <p>For example, the social norm of reciprocity obligates us to exchange gifts and good deeds at Christmas.</p> <p>Competition also fuels consumption: sales reinforce a sense of scarcity, and use time constraints to provoke a fear of missing out among shoppers – even when they’re buying online. Flash sales – such as Black Friday – create a herd mentality, which can provoke panic buying, hysteria <a href="http://blackfridaydeathcount.com/">or worse</a>. Being aware of these pressures will minimise their effects and allow you to maintain a sense of perspective.</p> <h2>2. More abstract money</h2> <p>The concept of money is a shared myth, powered by the human imagination. Our <a href="https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062316097/sapiens/">imagination has been instrumental</a> in the rapid development of the species, allowing people to swap pieces of paper and bits of metal for things they want. From notes and coins, to debit and credit cards, and most recently phones and <a href="https://www.fitbit.com/uk/fitbit-pay">Fitbits</a>, the human imagination accommodates increasingly abstract forms of money. This is dangerous.</p> <p>These new forms of money ease the “<a href="https://youtu.be/PCujWv7Mc8o">pain of paying</a>”, reducing the level of guilt we feel when parting with money. It temporarily hides the financial repercussions of our purchases (the lower bank balance or lighter wallet). This leads people to splurge without keeping track of the true financial costs of their decisions. Using cash when shopping will increase the pain of paying and make you more sensitive to how much you’re spending. This, in turn, will ensure that you only spend money on the items you really want.</p> <h2>3. Decision fatigue</h2> <p>Research <a href="https://www.guilford.com/books/Handbook-of-Self-Regulation/Vohs-Baumeister/9781462533824">suggests that</a> people have limited reserves of willpower. As we make decisions throughout the day, this reserve becomes exhausted, resulting in “resource depletion”. <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/510228">Resource depletion</a> causes people to act impulsively. Doing shopping early in the day, and avoiding other sources of stress, such as big crowds, will minimise the risk of resource depletion.</p> <h2>4. Mindsets</h2> <p>Psychological states known as “<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1057740810000215">mindsets</a>”, which influence perceptions and decision making, can also make people more likely to spend. They occur outside of our conscious awareness, when the thought processes we use in one situation are carried over and used to process information in the next.</p> <p>Thinking positively in one situation can predispose a person to think positively in an unrelated situation – for example, generating supportive thoughts about giving to charity might prime a person to have positive thoughts about the bottle of detergent they see in an ad break a few minutes later. The makes them more likely to buy it.</p> <p>Mindsets also influence shopping goals. People with a “deliberative mindset” are open minded and likely to review all their options, while people with an “implemental mindset” are more close-minded and goal-focused. An implemental mindset reduces procrastination and focuses people to pursue their buying goals. These goals could be explicitly stated in a shopping list or even activated unconsciously.</p> <p>The implemental mindset can be dangerous, because it creates <a href="http://journals.ama.org/doi/10.1509/jmkr.44.3.370">shopping momentum</a>. This is when buying one thing makes you more likely to buy another since your goal-focused mindset remains active even after you bought what you intended. This is one of the reasons why people emerge from shopping centres burdened down with several bags, having gone in to buy one item.</p> <p>Unfortunately, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S074959781000110X">switching between different mindsets</a> can deplete your mental resources and cause you to spend more. Making rules to guide your decisions before you go shopping can counteract the effects of these mindsets and reduce the risk of shopping momentum. For example, telling yourself that if a product is below a certain price, you will buy it, but if it costs more, you will not. Making a list and setting a budget will help you remember the old adage, “it is not a bargain unless you need it”.</p> <h2>5. Making comparisons</h2> <p>Shopping is essentially a three step process. First you ask yourself, “do I want to buy something?”; then, “which product is the best?”; and finally, “how will I buy the product?”. But when people consider two possible purchases, it induces a “<a href="https://academic.oup.com/jcr/article-abstract/34/4/556/1820298?redirectedFrom=fulltext">which-to-buy</a>” mindset, which primes them to skip the first question, and makes them more likely to buy something.</p> <h2>6. The halo effect</h2> <p>Using mental shortcuts help us navigate everyday life more efficiently. Yet these shortcuts <a href="https://www.penguin.com.au/books/thinking-fast-and-slow-9780141033570">can also lead to</a> incorrect assumptions and costly mistakes. In the context of shopping, not all assumptions are bad. Indeed, some assumptions are central to marketing. For example, branding works because we assume that products under the one brand have a similar level of quality.</p> <p>But other assumptions are less reliable. The “halo effect” occurs when we make incorrect assumptions, which lead us to think positively about something. So, the eye catching deals we see in the front window often make us assume that the other in-store deals are equally valid and generous.</p> <p>To counteract the halo effect, you need to come prepared. Knowing the recommended retail price (RRP) of products will ensure that you are not influenced by high anchor prices that give the impression of deep discounts. Remaining sceptical and calm will improve your decision making and reduce the risks of cognitive bias. This will likely be good for society, the environment and your pocket.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/108680/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brian-harman-648072">Brian Harman</a>, Lecturer in Marketing, <em><a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/de-montfort-university-1254">De Montfort University</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/janine-bosak-400922">Janine Bosak</a>, Associate Professor in Organisational Psychology, <em><a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/dublin-city-university-1528">Dublin City University</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-avoid-overspending-uncover-the-psychology-behind-why-people-buy-108680">original article</a>.</p>

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Should we stop buying new clothes?

<p>The fashion industry is one of the most <a href="https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/putting-brakes-fast-fashion">polluting industries</a> in the world, producing 20% of global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions – and it’s estimated that by 2050 this will have increased to <a href="https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/environment/fashion-industry-may-use-quarter-of-world-s-carbon-budget-by-2050-61183">25%</a>. A staggering <a href="https://www.governmenteuropa.eu/fast-fashion-waste/92213/">300,000</a> tonnes of clothes are sent to British landfills each year.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.greenmatters.com/p/what-is-fast-fashion">fast fashion</a> business model, first developed in the early <a href="https://www.edology.com/blog/fashion-media/rise-of-fast-fashion/">2000s</a> is responsible for the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/four-factors-fuelling-the-growth-of-fast-fashion-retailers/">increase in consumer demand</a> for high quantities of low-quality clothing. Many fashion products now being designed and made specifically for short-term ownership and premature disposal. Clothing quality is decreasing along with costs, and the increased consumption levels of mass-manufactured fashion products are pushing up the consumption of natural resources.</p> <p>The pressure to facilitate consumer hunger imposes significant social and environmental pressures on the manufacturing supply chain. The UK’s consumption levels of fashion are the highest in Europe, at <a href="https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/news-parliament-2017/fashion-bosses-reveal-environmental-record-17-19/">26.7kg per capita</a>. This compares to a consumption rate of 16.7kg in Germany, 16kg in Denmark, 14.5kg in Italy, 14kg in the Netherlands and 12.6kg in Sweden.</p> <p>The need for change is tentatively being acknowledged by fashion brands and manufacturers. Many different market sectors in fashion, from high street to high end, are increasingly taking action. But it’s very conservative. For example, high street retailer H&amp;M are boycotting the use of <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/amazon-fires-brazil-hm-brazil-leather-deforestation-cattle-a9094586.html">Brazilian leather</a> over concerns that the country’s cattle industry has contributed to the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. Meanwhile, other brands, such as Adidas, Stella McCartney and Patagonia, are focusing their action on the use of waste products in the development of textile materials for new collections.</p> <p>Of course, such policies can only be positive. But are fashion brands really doing enough to change? Recent <a href="https://www.un.org/press/en/2019/ga12131.doc.htm">UN reports</a> state that we have 11 years to prevent irreversible damage from climate change. It’s doubtful that the small, incremental changes made by brands will do enough to significantly contribute towards the fight on climate change, so more pressure from consumers and campaign groups is needed.</p> <p>Fashion brands are not the only ones who have the power to create change. Consumers also have leverage – and it’s key that they use it. As London Fashion Week opened earlier this month, large <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/london-fashion-week-extinction-rebellion-protest-funeral-march-finale-a9109816.html">protests and demonstrations</a> highlighting fashion’s contribution to climate change reinforced the impact that consumers can have on raising public awareness of environmental issues. Consumer-driven behaviour change can encourage brands to adapt their practices towards a more sustainable future for the fashion industry.</p> <p>If real change is to happen, more people must begin to take a proactive approach and act in reflection of their moral values. Small lifestyle changes can create a big sustainable impact. So here are four things for you to consider before you buy any new clothes:</p> <h2>1. Think before you buy</h2> <p>Before we just buy more new clothes and contribute to escalating pollution, we need to think about the alternative options. This might not only save us money, but is also certainly better for the environment. These options include using what we have, borrowing, swapping, thrifting and making. Buying new items should be seen as the final choice, once all other options have been considered. This approach goes very much against the principles of fast fashion, with slow and considered consumption being the priority.</p> <h2>2. Shop by your values</h2> <p>We need to think about where we shop, as each purchase effectively acts as a vote towards the practices of a brand. By doing a small amount of research into a company’s responsible values, we can begin to make informed decisions about our shopping behaviour. This will ensuring that your chosen store reflects your personal beliefs.</p> <p>For example, if you want to know where your fashion comes from then you need to choose a brand that is transparent and open about their supply chain. Brands like <a href="https://communityclothing.co.uk">Community Clothing</a>, owned by Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant, tell shoppers exactly where the raw materials were sourced from, where the yarn was produced and even where the final garment was made. Likewise, if you specifically want to take action against ocean plastic waste, then a brand like <a href="https://ecoalf.com/en/">Ecoalf</a> might be for you.</p> <h2>3. Buy a pre-loved item</h2> <p>The second-hand market is having a revival. Once seen as an edgy, individual and cost-effective method of shopping, it soon fell out of favour, to be replaced by cheap, mass-market product from fast-fashion retailers. But with Oxfam opening their <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-49650226">charity superstore</a> and Asda launching a pre-loved fashion <a href="https://www.edie.net/amp-news/12/Asda-forays-into-second-hand-clothing-market/">pop up shop</a>, buying second-hand clothing can give fashion products a new life and prevent the purchasing of new fashion garments.</p> <h2>4. Dispose responsibly</h2> <p>As well as considering where we buy our clothes, we too must consider the end-of-life options for our fashion items. It is estimated that <a href="http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/clothing-waste-prevention">£140m</a> worth of clothing goes to landfill each year. Many of these items will be made from synthetic fibres, meaning they can take anywhere between <a href="https://www.close-the-loop.be/en/phase/3/end-of-life">20-200</a> years to decompose. Again, people should explore a range of options available here, such as donating clothing to charity, recycling, reuse, repair and passing on items to friends and family. Why not hold a clothes swap at your house one weekend?</p> <p>Responsible procurement, ownership and disposal are all vital considerations when exercising your power to create sustainable change for the future of the fashion industry. Today, shoppers have more influence and ability to create change than ever before, with <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/jefffromm/2018/02/21/how-gen-z-is-using-social-media-to-affect-real-life-social-change/#1f29e7d149f4">social media platforms</a> allowing easier voicing of complaints and concerns. Meanwhile, the emergence of a <a href="https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy/concept">circular economy</a> business model is again pushing consumers to take a more active role in creating change.</p> <p>We can no longer sit back and wait for brands to take action. Individual drive and willingness to change everyday behaviour will be crucial in changing the future environmental impact of fashion.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/123881/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Alana James, Senior Lecturer in Fashion, Northumbria University, Newcastle</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/why-you-should-stop-buying-new-clothes-123881" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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Why we think businesses are out to get us

<p>Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, made headlines in the U.K. for <a href="https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/speaking-and-writing/speeches/archbishop-canterburys-speech-tuc">his speech</a> at the Trades Union Congress conference in Manchester, England.</p> <p>His remarks were forcefully pro-union and strongly disapproving of corporations, the profit motive and the wealthy.</p> <p>He singled out Amazon for not paying their fair share of taxes in the U.K. and the gig economy as a “reincarnation of an ancient evil.”</p> <p>To the archbishop, capitalism, with its pursuit of profit and inequality of outcomes, is inherently immoral.</p> <p>Other religious leaders have, over the years, made similar points. In 2015, Pope Francis <a href="https://nationalpost.com/news/world/dung-of-the-devil-pope-francis-denounces-capitalism-greed-and-the-pursuit-of-money">denounced capitalism</a> and the pursuit of money and, in 2008, the then-archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, wrote an article for a British magazine <a href="https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2012/03/from-the-archives-rowan-williams-on-capitalism-and-idolatry/">criticizing capitalism</a> in the wake of the financial crisis.</p> <p>Such negative views of business and profit are hardly uncommon.</p> <p>A recent article in the <em>Journal of Personality and Social Psychology</em> documented widespread <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2017-31434-001.html">anti-profit beliefs</a>.</p> <p>In my research with some of my graduate students, I have found that people often take a dim view of businesses, interpreting many different actions —such as a <a href="http://acrwebsite.org/volumes/1010014/volumes/v39/NA-39">small price increase</a> or a <a href="http://tinyurl.com/ybptgtra">product recommendation</a> — as an attempt to take advantage of consumers.</p> <h2>Viewed as conscious entities</h2> <p>But what underlies these views? Why is business and the pursuit of profit so maligned?</p> <p>We think the answer lies, in part, in how people view firms and the resulting inferences they draw from the attempts of these firms to make a profit. To the first point, people seem to view companies as conscious entities — as living, breathing organisms with thoughts, feelings, intentions and motives.</p> <p><a href="https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/15/do-corporations-have-minds/">Research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanners</a> has found that patterns of neural responses when considering other people’s mental states (<a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/socioemotional-success/201707/theory-mind-understanding-others-in-social-world">the parts of the brain involved in “theory of mind”</a>) are indistinguishable from the pattern of responses when considering the behaviour of organizations.</p> <p>What this means is that people are likely to attribute distinctly human motives to business actions that are the product of entirely different processes.</p> <p>In addition to viewing companies as people, consumers often view their transactions with firms as zero-sum — like sharing a pie, where more for one person means less for the other. This means that when companies are perceived to be making a profit, that profit is viewed as coming at the expense of customers.</p> <h2>Distrust of profitable firms</h2> <p>This is where profiting becomes problematic. Because we mentally view firms as people, this is seen as a wilful act — a deliberate attempt to take advantage of customers — and it violates an important norm of interpersonal conduct, a moral norm even, that forbids benefiting at another’s expense.</p> <p>We have found that a wide range of actions by businesses appears to be interpreted in this light: price increases, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002243591100090X">discounts for other people</a>, product recommendations and even advertisements.</p> <p>Even when people don’t buy goods or services from a company, and therefore no profit is made, perceptions that a firm tried to profit lead to negative responses.</p> <h2>Even sales clerks are suspect</h2> <p>In one extreme example, we found that even when a salesperson recommended the cheaper of two alternatives, customers still assumed it was to benefit at their expense.</p> <p>Our research has not yet investigated how firms can mitigate such reactions or whether they even can. If our results are anything to go by, some readers may think that these are legitimate reactions that should not be curtailed.</p> <p>However, we would point out that a purchase is a consumer decision. No company is forcing consumers to buy their products against their will.</p> <p>What’s more, businesses bear the burden of the risk in offering products for consumers’ consideration; the products that they make available to us are often a tremendous source of value in our lives; and, ultimately, the only reason companies develop and offer such products is to make a profit. Otherwise, what would be the point of going into business?<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/103977/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Laurence Ashworth, Associate Professor, Marketing, Queen's University, Ontario</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/why-we-think-businesses-are-out-to-get-us-103977" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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Secret car-buying tips your dealer won’t tell you

<p>Find out how to get the most value out of your purchase by side-stepping these common car dealer practices.</p> <p><strong>That car we advertised at the unbelievable price?</strong></p> <p>It’s a stripped-down model with a manual transmission, no air-conditioning, and crank windows. But we got you in, didn’t we?</p> <p><strong>The best time to buy is at the end of the month</strong></p> <p>… and it’s best to negotiate the trade-in separately. Negotiate up from the invoice price (what we paid for the car, easy to find on the Web), not down from the sticker price.</p> <p><strong>Everybody believes his trade-in is worth more</strong></p> <p>You’ve got bald tyres, chicken bones under the seats, and dust blowing from the vents, but you’re going to tell me your car is in “excellent” condition? Now who’s the pushy salesperson?</p> <p><strong>Here’s how to get a great price with minimal haggling</strong></p> <p>Call and ask for the Internet manager or fleet manager.</p> <p><strong>This is what happens once I’m sitting behind the desk</strong></p> <p>You’ll feel like I’m in control and may be willing to pay a little more. (We learn this during training.)</p> <p><strong>Ever wonder about those ads that promise a minimum $3,000 trade-in value for your clunker?</strong></p> <p>Those dealerships also pad the sales price to make up for the difference.</p> <p><strong>Every spring we have guys who show up and say they’re interested in one of our trucks and want to give it a spin</strong></p> <p>They think we don’t see the mulch on the floor when they bring it back.</p> <p><strong>Notice how many times we go back and forth to our manager?</strong></p> <p>The loud music, the gongs, and the blaring flat-screen TVs? All are distractions designed to help you lose track of what we’re doing with the deal.</p> <p><strong>We’re making less money on the car than you think</strong></p> <p>Our profit margin is typically 2 to 4 percent.</p> <p><strong>We all get our cars from the same place at roughly the same price</strong></p> <p>So if one dealer is offering to sell it for $2,000 less, there’s probably a catch.</p> <p><strong>Go in armed and educated</strong></p> <p>Study the pricing of the car you like and have your financing lined up. If you walk in with nothing, you’re not a customer, you’re a victim. Don’t be a victim when it comes to rental cars, either.</p> <p><strong>An older woman who walks in without an appointment, alone, is typically someone we can make a lot of money on</strong></p> <p>She’s usually uncomfortable with the process and just wants to get it over with.</p> <p><strong>If you want to test drive a bunch of models or need a lot of information…</strong></p> <p>Don’t pull in on a weekend without an appointment. Come by on a Tuesday or Wednesday.</p> <p><strong>Once you’ve agreed on a price, you think you’re done, but we’re just getting started</strong></p> <p>Worn out and ready to go home, you sign document after document. Then you wake up the next day, look down, and you signed a contract that had a $1,995 extended warranty that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. And you’re stuck.</p> <p><em>Written by Michelle Crouch. This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/money/secret-car-buying-tips-your-dealer-wont-tell-you"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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How to curb your online shopping habit

<p><span>The holiday season might make us more inclined to browse through stores and make impulse purchases. The convenience of online shopping makes it easier to find the best deals and get your gifts and necessities in order. However, if you’re trying to stay on budget, there are things you can do to avoid overspending on the internet.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Remove your details</span></strong></p> <p><span>Make the shopping experience less convenient and <a href="https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2019/11/how-to-stop-spending-money-on-instagram/">build a buffer</a> between your banking account and the shops by removing all your payment information from your phone and go-to shopping websites. While it doesn’t fully prevent you from spending, putting in your credit card information manually might make you think twice about that item. </span></p> <p><strong><span>Wait it out</span></strong></p> <p><span>You might be worried about the cut-off dates, but waiting it out might be more beneficial for your wallet. “Put the item in your cart online and wait – ideally, at least 72 hours,” Lending Club financial officer Anuj Nayar told <a href="https://www.mic.com/p/instagram-is-making-you-spend-more-money-heres-how-to-stop-17293969"><em>Mic</em></a>. “You will, most likely, change your mind about making the purchase, realise you don’t love the item as much as you did a few days before or forget about it altogether.”</span></p> <p><strong><span>Follow financially savvy accounts</span></strong></p> <p><span>Keep your head in the goal of saving by having like-minded people in your social feed. You will be able to see other people’s journey towards similar objectives and perhaps gain a few helpful tips along the way. </span></p>

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Why the extra cost of ‘buy now, pay later’ is still enticing

<p>Zip Co’s “buy now, pay later” service is fast becoming a ubiquitous payment option in Australia. Retailers from Bunnings and Best &amp; Less to Target and Tigerair offer it. All up, the company now boasts 10,000 retail partners and more than <a href="http://zipmoneylimited.com.au/files/Credit_and_financial_services_targeted_at_Australians_at_risk_of_financial_hardship_Public%20Final.pdf">850,000 customers</a>.</p> <p>It’s part of the phenomenal upsurge of “buy now pay later” services. In the past three years, according to Australia’s corporate watchdog, the number of Australians using such services has jumped from 400,000 to 2 million.</p> <p>Their rising popularity has to do with technology making electronic payments easier and more secure, more online shopping, increasing distrust of banks and younger people shying away <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com.au/afterpay-success-fintech-secrets-millennials-2018-10">from credit card use</a>.</p> <p>But the way a service like Zip operates has consumer advocates worried. Zip says it <a href="https://help.zip.co/en/articles/20-will-you-run-a-credit-check-as-part-of-my-application">may do a credit check</a> before approving an application, but its business model means it can avoid the responsible lending requirements of the <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2019C00053">National Consumer Credit Protection Act</a>. The potential it will entice those with low income and bad credit has attracted the scrutiny of the <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Economics/Creditfinancialservices">Senate inquiry into credit and financial services</a>.</p> <p>So let’s look at how Zip’s business model works, and why it is proving so popular.</p> <h2>How Zip works</h2> <p>Zip has two slightly different products: one offering credit more than $A1,000 is called Zip Money; the other offering credit up to $A1,000 is called Zip Pay.</p> <p>Let’s focus on Zip Pay as the company’s most popular and profitable service.</p> <p>Zip Pay is particularly convenient in that you can access credit at the point of purchase with minimum hassle and little delay. Its automated application process is quick. It says it may perform a credit check but there is no explicit income verification procedure.</p> <p>Zip Pay promotes itself as “interest-free”. It instead charges a flat fee of $6 a month on whatever is owed, and an additional $5 if the minimum monthly payment of $40 is not made on time. It also charges a 4% upfront fee to the retailer; that is, it pays the retailer A$960, then collects $1,000 from the customer.</p> <h2>Implicit costs</h2> <p>Despite the “interest-free” boast, Zip Pay’s $6 monthly fixed fee is in fact a quasi-interest charge, equivalent to paying 7.4% interest annually on a $1,000 debt.</p> <p>Because you still pay $6 even if you owe less than $1,000, the fee structure is also highly regressive. The less you owe, the greater the effective interest rate you pay. For example, if you owe $500, the $6 fee translates to a 15% annualised interest rate.</p> <p>If you owe $100, it equals an annual interest rate of more than 100%.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="TsbIB" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/TsbIB/1/" height="400px" width="100%" style="border: none;" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>This fact could encourage you to take advantage of the full $1,000 of credit, on the basis it doesn’t cost you any more in monthly charges. That might, of course, be Zip’s plan, because the more you owe the longer it may take you to pay the debt off.</p> <p>But if you feel confident you will have more money in the future than you have now, this easy credit option could be a highly attractive means to “manage” the disconnect between the things you want and when you can afford these.</p> <h2>Theories and consequences</h2> <p>If that’s the case, you fit the common profile, with <a href="https://download.asic.gov.au/media/4957540/rep600-published-07-dec-2018.pdf">90% of “buy now pay later” credit consumers</a> feeling the debt “helps” them better manage their finances.</p> <p>What makes individuals regard debt as manageable is of great interest to entrepreneurs and economists alike.</p> <p>It was Milton Friedman, winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize for economics, who first hypothesised that an individual’s spending habits were based not only on current income but also on anticipated future income. This idea, from his 1957 book <a href="https://www.nber.org/books/frie57-1">A Theory of the Consumption Function</a>, has become known as as the “permanent income hypothesis”.</p> <p>Typically those who are younger and well-educated have greater expectation that their income will increase over time, and will therefore be more inclined to borrow money to fund current consumption.</p> <p>This explains why almost a quarter of Zip customers are under the age of 24, and more than 60% are under 36.</p> <p>It also helps explain why items bought using Zip are mostly non-essential. By drilling down into the data behind the figures in Zip’s <a href="https://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20180928/pdf/43yrz8lys9lzvk.pdf">2018 annual report</a>, we know customers are using Zip to pay for fashion items, clothes and restaurant meals, rather than to pay energy bills or buy medicine.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="1Wadd" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/1Wadd/3/" height="400px" width="100%" style="border: none;" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Easy access to credit also encourages individuals to take on more <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/2077863?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents">debt</a>.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, research by the <a href="https://download.asic.gov.au/media/4957540/rep600-published-07-dec-2018.pdf">Australian Securities and Investments Commission</a> shows the majority of “buy now pay later” users admit easy credit has led them to spend more money, with one in six reporting some negative impact as a result. These impacts include becoming overdrawn, borrowing money from family or friends, or using another loan provider to cover their debts.</p> <p> </p> <p>For savvy consumers confident they can manage their finances, willing to pay that quasi-interest rate to fund their immediate consumption desires, Zip’s service may make sense. But don’t get carried away by wishful thinking and overconfidence. Without financial discipline and proper budgeting, it’s an easy path to over-commitment and financial hardship.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Saurav Dutta, Head of School at the School of Accounting, Curtin University; Harjinder Singh, Senior lecturer, Curtin University, and Nigar Sultana, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Business and Law, Curtin University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/how-zip-pay-works-and-why-the-extra-cost-of-buy-now-pay-later-is-still-enticing-110429" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p>

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Why Australia’s building codes need to be rewritten

<p>A prestige apartment building in Sydney built by a well-known developer is undergoing a second replacement of a terrace waterproof membrane five years after replacement of the first one, which had leaked from completion. The second membrane almost certainly complied with the <a href="https://ncc.abcb.gov.au/ncc-online/About">National Construction Code</a> (NCC) and was certified as compliant; the first one might also have complied. Yet, for 15 years, owners and tenants living under the terraces have put up with mouldy walls, carpets and ceilings because the code does not adequately control waterproofing materials and methods.</p> <p>A key assumption made by governments and regulators has been that confidence will return to the market if apartments are built to meet National Construction Code requirements. As the story above shows, complying with the code alone will not be enough to fix many common defects. Public confidence will still be lacking.</p> <p>In 2017, the <a href="https://www.industry.gov.au/regulations-and-standards/building-and-construction/building-ministers-forum">Building Ministers’ Forum</a>, the group of federal, state and territory ministers responsible for building regulation in Australia, commissioned a report from Peter Shergold and Bronwyn Weir. Their <a href="https://www.industry.gov.au/sites/default/files/July%202018/document/pdf/building_ministers_forum_expert_assessment_-_building_confidence.pdf?acsf_files_redirect">report said</a> there was “… diminishing public confidence that the building and construction industry can deliver compliant, safe buildings which will perform to the expected standards over the long term”.</p> <p>Since then, the high-profile structural failure and <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-big-lesson-from-opal-tower-is-that-badly-built-apartments-arent-only-an-issue-for-residents-109722">evacuation of Opal Tower</a> on Christmas Eve 2018, the <a href="https://theconversation.com/cladding-fire-risks-have-been-known-for-years-lives-depend-on-acting-now-with-no-more-delays-111186">cladding fire at Neo200</a> in February 2019 and the structural failure and <a href="https://theconversation.com/buck-passing-on-apartment-building-safety-leaves-residents-at-risk-119000">evacuation of Mascot Towers</a> in June 2019 have kept this issue in the media spotlight. If anything, the public <a href="https://www.afr.com/news/politics/national/the-apartment-building-crisis-explained-20190716-p527k0">crisis of confidence</a> has deepened.</p> <h2>Part of the problem is the code itself</h2> <p>The National Construction Code originated as a minimum standard to deliver structural integrity and fire safety. It was never intended to provide effective control over all the aspects of building work that make houses or apartments liveable and durable. This might come as a surprise to many people, including those in government, but it is inherent to the “minimum standard” approach that underpins the structure and objectives of the code.</p> <p>The objectives on page 9 of volume 1 of the code, which covers apartments, are instructive:</p> <blockquote> <p>1) ensure requirements have a rigorously tested rationale; and</p> <p>2) effectively and proportionally address applicable issues; and</p> <p>3) create benefits to society that outweigh costs; and</p> <p>4) consider non-regulatory alternatives; and</p> <p>5) consider the competitive effects of regulation; and</p> <p>6) not be unnecessarily restrictive.</p> </blockquote> <p>In attempting to consider “competitive effects”, avoid being “restrictive” and by encouraging “non-regulatory alternatives”, including self-certification and self-regulation, the code has opened the door to an “anything goes” mentality on many fronts.</p> <p>Waterproofing requirements for houses and apartments under section F of the code are clearly ineffective, for a start.</p> <p>The relevant Australian Standards, <a href="https://infostore.saiglobal.com/preview/315369811573.pdf?sku=120285_SAIG_AS_AS_252122">AS 4654.1</a> and <a href="https://infostore.saiglobal.com/preview/315378204076.pdf?sku=120284_SAIG_AS_AS_252120">AS 4654.2</a>, were written with a lot of input from the building materials supply industry. The standards permit the use of unsuitable waterproofing membranes in many situations, particularly where ceramic tiles are directly bonded to an inappropriate liquid-applied membrane. As the example at the start of this article shows, this solution rarely lasts longer than four or five years and considerably less in some cases.</p> <p>Rectification is expensive and inconvenient. It involves hacking up and replacing all the tiles.</p> <p>In addition, every apartment building built without a step in the slab at the junction between walls and floors will probably develop leaks within a similar timeframe.</p> <p>These practices are driven by the desire to save a few dollars in construction cost, not by a commitment to deliver a required standard of durability. Durability is not part of the code objectives.</p> <h2>How can the code be fixed?</h2> <p>We could improve the code in a number of simple ways:</p> <ol> <li> <p>Class 1 (houses) and class 2 (apartments) buildings should both be in volume 2, which would be dedicated to housing intended for sale. Houses and apartments should be required to be “fit for purpose” with a clearly stated objective to provide protection to the buyer. These should include a mandatory minimum statutory warranty of seven to ten years, backed by government.</p> </li> <li> <p>The required durability of waterproofing membranes and details for all housing, and class 2 apartments in particular, must be clearly stated. Waterproofing should be required to last at least 25 years without significant maintenance, and perhaps 40 years for buildings where access to the waterproofing element requires demolition or is fundamentally difficult. Details that are not durable, including slabs without steps at wall junctions, or terrace and balcony tiles directly bonded to liquid-applied waterproof membranes, should be banned.</p> </li> <li> <p>The structure of an apartment should be required to last with no substantial maintenance for at least 50 to 60 years. The minimum expectation for durability for any envelope component and associated finishes on buildings over three storeys should be 25 years, and perhaps 40 years for taller buildings.</p> </li> <li> <p>The “performance requirements” of section F of the code, “Health and Amenity”, should be expanded to ensure apartments are comfortable, economical to maintain and <a href="https://theconversation.com/dont-forget-our-future-climate-when-tightening-up-building-codes-113365">sustainable</a>.</p> </li> </ol> <p>Some developers are already delivering well-designed apartment buildings that are durable and fit for purpose. They are to be commended. The <a href="https://theconversation.com/lack-of-information-on-apartment-defects-leaves-whole-market-on-shaky-footings-127007">problem for buyers is identifying these</a> amid a sea of dross.</p> <p>For new houses and apartments, we need to ensure the National Construction Code matches community expectations on fitness for purpose and durability. This requires a return to more active and interventionist regulatory framework, including putting independent “eyes on the site” to inspect work during construction.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126678/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Geoff Hanmer, Adjunct Lecturer in Architecture, UNSW</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/to-restore-public-confidence-in-apartments-rewrite-australias-building-codes-126678" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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“Shamefully weak”: Product recalls have tripled since 1998

<p><span>Australia’s product safety law has been slammed as “shamefully weak” and “unacceptable” as new figures revealed recalls have tripled in the past two decades.</span></p> <p><span>According to an analysis by consumer advocate group CHOICE, the number of annual product recalls in Australia have risen from under 200 in 1998 to more than 600 in 2018.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7833082/recalls2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/eec5d6fa65a8411f8094254dbaab6e21" /></p> <p><span>One in four Australian households are exposed to potential hazards from the 6.6 million individual products currently under voluntary recall, new data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) showed. </span></p> <p><span>Another <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/unsafe-goods-should-be-illegal-to-sell">ACCC figures</a> found that there are 780 deaths and 52,000 injuries per year from consumer products commonly found in Australian homes, ranging from appliances and electronics to baby cots and toys.</span></p> <p><span>CHOICE product safety campaigner Amy Pereira called on the federal government to review the “shamefully weak” laws.  </span></p> <p><span>“Australia has been let down by successive governments over the last two decades who have allowed unsafe products to flood into our homes … that’s millions of unsafe products that should have been stopped before they got to shelves, now in people’s homes,” Pereira said.</span></p> <p><span>“Businesses selling products in Australia have no general obligation to make sure the products they sell are safe. </span></p> <p><span>“Weak product safety laws harm people … Without stronger product safety laws, these unnecessary deaths and injuries will continue.”</span></p> <p><span>In a submission to the Treasury, CHOICE urged the federal government to establish a product safety system that includes clear laws and penalties for breaches. </span></p> <p><span>“With product recall rates skyrocketing in recent years, now is the time to reform,” the group said.</span></p>

Retirement Income

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The shocking truth buried in your super

<p><span data-contrast="none">A recent review by ASIC (the Australian Security and Investment Commission) has made </span><span data-contrast="none">shocking findings</span><span data-contrast="none"> into the design of TPD (total permanent and disability) benefits within basic life insurance policies. For example, </span><span data-contrast="none">over 12 million Australians automatically pay for TPD through their super</span><span data-contrast="none"> but in the case that the TPD is an “ADL” style of coverage, it’s been found that </span><span data-contrast="none">60% of claims are denied</span><span data-contrast="none">.*</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:420,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="none">Imagine not only having your health permanently taken away from you, but years and years of premiums as well – now down the drain. So much for a nice big super fund to help you retire. ASIC went as far as to say that </span><span data-contrast="none">Australians were still being sold “junk policies” – yes, even by superannuation providers!</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:420,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="none">A fast and easy way to compare TPD cover on your own terms is to use the online tool at </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://lifeinsurancecomparison.com.au/form/stepn/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=sponsoredarticle&amp;utm_campaign=lic-december&amp;utm_content=shocking-truth-buried-in-your-super" target="_blank"><span data-contrast="none">Life Insurance Comparison</span></a><span data-contrast="none">. A friendly team of experts can help you find cover so that you don’t have to rely on a default policy that may have been automatically set up and is sucking funds out of your super as you sleep.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:420,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p> <p aria-level="3"><strong>Here’s How It Works: </strong></p> <p><strong>Step 1:</strong><span data-contrast="none"><strong> </strong>Select your current </span><span data-contrast="none">age below.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:420,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p> <p><strong>Step 2:</strong><span data-contrast="none"><strong> </strong>Once you answer a few questions, you will have the opportunity to compare quotes from up to 9 of Australia’s largest insurers. You may also be entitled to a free consultation.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:420,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://lifeinsurancecomparison.com.au/form/stepn/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=sponsoredarticle&amp;utm_campaign=lic-december&amp;utm_content=shocking-truth-buried-in-your-super" target="_blank"><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7832974/life-comparison-insurance-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/0a4e45fd838746e595065ab90ceadaa1" /></a></p> <p><span data-contrast="none">TPD cover is supposed to provide you financial protection in the case that you ever get so sick and injured that you can never work again. It’s a reality we don’t like to think about, but it’s one that can befall absolutely anyone.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:420,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p> <p><strong>So what type of TPD cover is ADL? </strong></p> <p><span data-contrast="none">ADL stands for ‘activities of daily living’. This kind of policy typically only pays out in the most dramatic of circumstances, such as a permanent situation where you are unable to feed, dress or wash yourself.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:420,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="none">If you are permanently injured or disabled enough to no longer work, an ADL policy may reject your claim on the grounds that you’re still at least able to care for yourself.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:420,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="none">That means even if you’re one day put in a wheelchair unable to do your regular line of work, the TPD insurance in your super may still not pay you a cent!</span><span data-contrast="none"> Is that a safety net you’re comfortable with?</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:420,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="none">The 60% decline rate on this narrow type of TPD insurance (ADL) is five times higher than the average declined claim rate for all other TPD claims. Other structures of TPD, however, do exist and have a much lower declined claim rate of 12%.**</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:420,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="none">These include: own occupation and any occupation, which are designed to cover you when you can no longer work in your own or any occupation at all. This is a much broader type of coverage that many people generally think of when they seek TPD insurance.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:420,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="none">Insurance lawyer John Berrill recently explained to the Australian Financial Review (AFR):</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:420,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="none">“To be eligible for a standard TPD definition, a person needs to be permanently unfit to do their usual job or any other suitable work given their education, training or experience, perhaps with a retraining clause added.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:420,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="none">In contrast, to satisfy an ADL definition, a person must be unable to do two or more daily living activities such as feeding, bathing, dressing, toileting, walking and transferring from bed,” he said.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:420,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="none">Keep in mind that any TPD cover can be paid 100% through your super, although your preferred type may not be what has been set up for you when you first joined your superannuation provider.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:420,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="none">At </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://lifeinsurancecomparison.com.au/form/stepn/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=sponsoredarticle&amp;utm_campaign=lic-december&amp;utm_content=shocking-truth-buried-in-your-super" target="_blank"><span data-contrast="none">Life Insurance Comparison</span></a><span data-contrast="none">, we typically assist Australians with approval for own occupation TPD policies, and a range of other popular life insurance products. Comparing cover and understanding what your policy actually looks like is a crucial step to protecting yourself and your family for the future.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:420,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="none">Not sure where to start? </span><span data-contrast="none">Leave it to the experts</span><span data-contrast="none">. Our service helps take the guesswork out of life insurance and can help set you up with quality cover that will pay out when it’s supposed to.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:420,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p> <p><strong>Compare now for policies that aren’t “junk.” </strong></p> <p aria-level="3"><strong>Get Started Now: </strong></p> <p><strong>Step 1:</strong>Select your <strong>state below.</strong></p> <p><strong>Step 2:</strong><span data-contrast="none"><strong> </strong>After answering a few questions, you will have the opportunity to compare quotes in your area and could be eligible for significant savings.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:420,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://lifeinsurancecomparison.com.au/form/stepn/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=sponsoredarticle&amp;utm_campaign=lic-december&amp;utm_content=shocking-truth-buried-in-your-super" target="_blank"><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.20516499282644px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7833020/cta.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/eab7b5deeeb74516807699ac980077a5" /></a></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://lifeinsurancecomparison.com.au/form/stepn/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=sponsoredarticle&amp;utm_campaign=lic-december&amp;utm_content=shocking-truth-buried-in-your-super" target="_blank"><em>LifeInsuranceComparison.com.au's</em></a><span data-contrast="none"><a rel="noopener" href="https://lifeinsurancecomparison.com.au/form/stepn/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=sponsoredarticle&amp;utm_campaign=lic-december&amp;utm_content=shocking-truth-buried-in-your-super" target="_blank"> </a>online quote comparison tool makes it easy to get quotes from 9 Australia's biggest life insurers. </span></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://lifeinsurancecomparison.com.au/form/stepn/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=sponsoredarticle&amp;utm_campaign=lic-december&amp;utm_content=shocking-truth-buried-in-your-super" target="_blank"><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7833021/cta-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/6fb16e715c38466a9e8b7dd4d345384b" /></a></p>

Retirement Income