All
Adults
Kids
Teens

LeBron Gets the Last Word

Actually, he’ll own it.

0:00 / 0:00

LeBron James, basketball legend and entrepreneur, is pursuing a trademark for the phrase “Shut Up and Dribble.”

Trademark Words? How? Why?

Fox News host Laura Ingraham, spoke the phrase in 2018, in an unsolicited response to James and other pro athletes speaking out against Donald Trump. 

“It’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball,” she said. “As someone once said, shut up and dribble.”

A video of Ingraham’s flagrant foul, retweeted and responded to by King James, has over 30 million views. The Lakers star owned the moment then, and if this trademark application is approved, his athlete empowerment brand will literally own it — this time as intellectual property.

Tricks of the trademark

A trademark is a recognizable feature of a brand that distinguishes it from others — legally, and in the eyes of consumers. This recognition can make a trademark valuable. It could be a word or phrase, logo, product name, or design element; it could even be a distinctive scent, texture, or sound. (In the U.S., the ® symbol denotes an officially registered trademark, while ™ is used to stake a claim to an unregistered one.)

These recognizable elements are integral to a brand’s identity, even synonymous with it. Think of the Nike “swoosh,” or Apple’s bitten fruit logo. Anyone is free to sell their own competing shoes or smartphones, but if they plan to use imagery reminiscent of these iconic symbols, they should expect to hear pretty quickly from lawyers. (Unless the use is for parody…)

Use it or lose it

Proving trademark ownership can be thorny, so for LeBron, this is not a slam dunk. 

Even huge brands can struggle to prove and protect their trademarks. Take McDonald’s: in 2019, the burger behemoth lost its fight to defend the Big Mac name in the EU. The European Union Intellectual Property Office ruled the company failed to prove “genuine use” of the trademark. It was a major victory for Irish chain, Supermac’s, and a major trolling opportunity for Burger King.

LeBron’s claim, though, is personal, and millions of people are cheering him on. 

All
Adults
Kids
Teens

The Definition.

The Eighth Wonder of the World.

0:00 / 0:00

Compound interest is like “interest on the interest” as the money made on a principal investment in turn earns more money.

Simple interest refers to the money earned on a principal investment. Compound interest, by comparison, is the “interest on the interest”. This means that the money made on a principal investment gets included in the calculation for future interest payments. For patient investors, this is often considered among the safest and most reliable ways to earn money.

Compound interest acts like a snowball rolling down a mountain. It’s been jokingly called the Eighth Wonder of the World, and it sure seems magical when it’s working in your favour. It’s less magical when it’s working on your debt, and it’s why people will tell you to pay down your most expensive debts first, not the biggest.

What’s the best thing you can do with compound interest? Start Early.

  • “Interest on the interest” leads to a snowball effect
  • Among the safest and most reliable ways to earn money
  • Compound interest is more powerful with time, so start early
All
Adults
Kids
Teens

Stimulus, defined

Why the government is suddenly so eager to give you money

0:00 / 0:00

🌰 In a nutshell: Stimulus is when governments pump money into the economy during a downturn.

📦 Unpack that a bit: When the economy stalls, people stop spending. They may have lost their jobs, or watched their neighbours lose their jobs, and tightened their belts accordingly. (They want to preserve their liquidity, in other words.) By giving people money — either directly or indirectly, through jobs — the impact of an economic slowdown is reduced.

👶 Tell a toddler: “You know how you get a bit cranky between meals? The granola bar I keep in my bag for those moments is like a stimulus.”

🤷🏽‍♂️ Whose idea was this, anyway? John Manyard Keynes, if we’re going to name names. The British economist developed the idea after the Great Depression, as he believed governments made a bad situation worse by not spending. “Let us be up and doing, using our idle resources to increase our wealth,” he wrote in 1928. “With men and plants unemployed, it is ridiculous to say that we cannot afford these new developments. It is precisely with these plants and these men that we shall afford them.”

👊Why stimulus matters:

We are all Keynesians now“. Milton Friedman said that, suggesting that even those who advocate for “small government” and a hands-off approach to the economy realize that, when times are tough, the government has to jump in and keep money flowing. Those who beg to differ say governments shouldn’t spend money they don’t have.

📰 In the headlines:
• Massive stimulus packages in Canada, U.S. put cash on Main Street in departure from 2008 crisis — Financial Post
• Many Gen Zers might not qualify for the stimulus check — Business Insider
• The $1,200 stimulus checks are arriving. People are mostly spending them on food — Washington Post

🔀 See also: Imagine if the stimulus cheques came every month. That’s a serious proposal, and it’s called the UBI.

All
Adults
Kids
Teens

UBI, defined

Why the pandemic has pushed the idea to the top of the policy agenda

0:00 / 0:00

🌰 In a nutshell: UBI stands for Universal Basic Income.

📦 Unpack that a bit: As Annie Lowrey explains in her book Give People Money: “It is universal, in the sense that every resident of a given community or country receives it. It is basic, in that it is just enough to live on and not more. And it is income.” Or as Lowrey titles her book’s introduction: Wages for breathing.

👶 Tell a toddler: “You know how people work to get money to buy food? With a Universal Basic Income, everyone would get some of that money automatically from the government.”

👊Why UBI matters:

Thinkers of all stripes have supported the idea as a way to end poverty, help the middle class, reduce bureaucracy, and help society deal with the rise of automation — and now to soften the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic. Though of course, there’s a difference between one-time cash infusions and an ongoing UBI.

📰 In the headlines:
• Pandemic Strengthens Case for Universal Basic Income — Washington Post
• Coronavirus Pandemic Proves We Need Universal Basic Income — Vice
• Spanish Government Aims to Roll Out Basic Income ‘Soon’ — Bloomberg News

💬 In a sentence:  Universal basic income is about giving people cash without question, and trusting that they know how to use it in the most effective way they can.” — Luke Martinelli, economist at the University of Bath, UK, quoted in Nature.

🔀 See also: Andrew Yang’s 2020 campaign for the U.S. Democratic presidential nomination, in which he called for a $1000 monthly cheque to all Americans called The Freedom Dividend.

All
Adults
Kids
Teens

Liquidity, defined

How quickly can you get your hands on cash? That’s how liquid you are.

0:00 / 0:00

🌰 In a nutshell: Liquidity is how easy it is to get cash. 

📦 Unpack that a bit: How quickly can you buy or sell something at a price that reflects its value. If you buy a teddy bear for a dollar today and you can sell it for a dollar tomorrow, that’s a very liquid asset. If no one wants to buy that bear tomorrow, or if you have to sell it for 50 cents, it has low liquidity. Market liquidity describes this at scale: How easy it is for all of us to trade assets — be they stocks, bonds, or stuffed animals — with one another.

👶 Tell your toddler: “Water, milk and juice are liquids, meaning you can easily pour them into a cup. Liquidity describes things that flow easily. When we talk about money being liquid, we mean it’s easy to move it from one cup to another.”

💬 In a sentence:Cash is universally considered the most liquid asset, while tangible assets, such as real estate, fine art, and collectibles, are all relatively illiquid.” — Investopedia

👊Why liquidity matters:

“One person’s spending is another person’s income. That, in a single sentence, is what the $87 trillion global economy is,” explains Neil Irwin in The New York Times. So when money stops flowing — when liquidity dries up — the economy stops. 

🔀 See also: Stock Market, Liquidity Trap

All
Adults
Kids
Teens

Volatility, defined

When the price is up, down, and up again so quickly, you can’t keep up (or down).

0:00 / 0:00

🌰 In a nutshell: Volatility is instability in the price of an asset.

👶 Tell a toddler: “Some people like to go canoeing on quiet lakes. Other folks like to go whitewater rafting. It all depends on how much you like volatility.”

💬 In a sentence: “Investors see more volatility ahead as coronavirus hammers markets”- Axios, April 9, 2020

🌎 IRL: Cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin) are examples of highly volatile assets. They have uncertain futures and have strong reactions to current events.

👊Why volatility matters:

An asset’s volatility will impact how risk-averse individuals approach investment. Need your money to be liquid soon? A highly volatile stock with the possibility of high returns may not be your best bet. But for those looking for long term gains, a volatile asset — purchased at the right time — could prove profitable. 

🔀 See also: Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX. This measure of the stock market’s likely volatility is based on the S&P 500. If someone asks you if these are volatile times, the VIX can tell you. And as traders say, “When the VIX is high, it’s time to buy.”

All
Adults
Kids
Teens

Circuit Breaker, defined

The stock market version of a chill pill

0:00 / 0:00

🌰 In a nutshell: When the stock market is going crazy, a circuit breaker gives it a timeout.

📦 Unpack that a bit: If the market drops by a substantial amount in a single day — 7% from the prior day’s closing price for the S&P 500 — trading is automatically stopped for 15 minutes. The specifics of how big a drop triggers how long a timeout can be quite detailed.  The idea is to give everyone a chance to take a deep breath, reflect on the situation, and hopefully stop any panicked selling.

👶 Tell a toddler: “When you get upset and I call a timeout, it’s so we can all calm down. Sometimes the stock market needs that, too.” 

💬 In a sentence: “The circuit breakers were adopted in the wake of the Black Monday crash of Oct. 19, 1987, when the Dow plunged 508 points, or 22%.” – NPR

👊 Why circuit breakers matter:

Stock markets are built to be responsive. Sometimes, they appear to be too responsive.

🖐 The other hand: “Some academics say circuit breakers actually exacerbate selloffs because investors may see the market approaching a halt and sell in a panic to exit trades before the level is reached,” according to The Wall Street Journal. You know how telling someone to “just relax!” rarely works? Like that.

🔀 See also: Stock Market, S&P 500

All
Adults
Kids
Teens

Compound interest, defined

It’s how your savings can grow exponentially, and it’s how the rich stay rich.

0:00 / 0:00

🌰 In a nutshell: When your money makes money. Or to put it another way, interest on interest. Compound interest is how your savings can grow exponentially, and it’s how the rich stay rich.

OK, let’s put on our math helmets. Ready? Don’t tighten the chin strap too much. Alright: Say you put $100 in an account with a totally gettable 5% annual interest rate, giving you $105 in a year’s time. In two years, you don’t just have $110 — you have $110.25.

That’s because your original $100 — the principal — earned you another $5, and the first year’s $5 — the interest— earned you a quarter. The combo of these two is why it’s called compound interest.

That extra quarter isn’t much, but hold on tight. In 10 years you’ll have $162.89; in 25 years you’ll have $338.64; and in 50 years you’ll have $1,146.74. All starting with $100, a 5% interest rate, your math helmet, and a whole lot of patience. 


👶 Tell a toddler: You know how a snowball gets bigger if you roll it down a hill? The snow that it gathers on the first roll gathers more snow, which then gathers more snow, and soon you’ve got a speeding snowball that’s as big as a house! Watch out! And that’s compound interest.


💬 In a sentence: “Contrary to popular belief, Albert Einstein didn’t say that compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe. Turns out he was more interested in quantum physics than personal finance. Still, it’s pretty powerful.”


👊 Why compound interest matters

It’s how the rich stay rich. There are two ways to make money: Through your work or through your money. Guess which one is taxed at a better rate? This is why you never see a billionaire sweat.


🌎 IRL: Grace Groner bought $180 worth of shares in Abbott Pharmaceuticals in 1935. She worked as a secretary at the company, lived a simple life, and always reinvested the dividends. When she died in 2010, her estate was worth more than $7 million. She gave it all to her alma mater, Lake Forest University, and it’s estimated to have helped more than 1,000 students.


🔀 See also: The Rule of 72, Origami.