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Discover the 5 Most Hurricane-Prone Places in Florida

There are a lot of great things Florida has to offer. The ocean water is warm and reminds you of the Caribbean since it is the Caribbean Sea. It doesn’t snow, so you’ll never have to worry about it being cold. There are tons of fun things to always be doing in the big cities. […] The post Discover the 5 Most Hurricane-Prone Places in Florida appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.. There are a lot of great things Florida has to offer. The ocean water is warm and reminds you of the Caribbean since it is the Caribbean Sea. It doesn’t snow, so you’ll never have to worry about it being cold. There are tons of fun things to always be doing in the big cities. However, one of the major downfalls of Florida is the constant threat of hurricanes. Because of its location in the Caribbean Sea, Florida takes the first hit of any natural disaster that comes the way of the United States. They only average hitting every three years or so, but you always have to be aware. Thankfully, technology has evolved to be able to predict when and where hurricanes will strike, allowing people to escape and not be caught in the storm. These five places in Florida are the most prone to getting hit by a hurricane. Tampa Tampa is known for its successful sports teams over the last five years. Unfortunately, the city is also prone to getting hit by a hurricane. Something you’ll notice about all the different cities on this list is how close they are to the water. Even though hurricanes themselves are rare in Tampa, they still get rain and storms from every storm that hits the United States. The most recent hurricane here was in August 2023, Hurricane Idalia. It was a Category 3 hurricane that caused millions to have to evacuate. The worst storm to hit Tampa was in 1921 where four people died due to the flooding the storm caused. Tampa is a beautiful city, but make sure you’re keeping up to date with the weather report whenever you visit. Key West The Florida Keys are consistently talked about as one of the nicest places in all of the United States to live. It’s like living on an island, while still having the benefits of home. The one benefit that residents have to worry about is tropical storms and hurricanes. The islands don’t have any buffer to stop a hurricane from causing extreme damage to the city. Like Tampa, hurricanes in the Key West aren’t very common. They do get the rain and wind damage that comes with a hurricane whenever a storm is racing through the Caribbean. The other danger with the Florida Keys is the inability to escape easily. There’s only one way out, and that’s usually backed up. Whenever you’re down there, enjoy yourself, but make sure you’re getting weather updates. Naples Slightly south of Tampa is the beautiful coastal city of Naples. It makes sense Naples would also be on this list, thanks to how close it is to the water. One of the biggest issues the city faces is how low it is in elevation. The city sits at almost exactly sea level, making it hard for water to naturally escape. Whenever it rains here, residents have to be ready for it to take a long time to clear. Naples, like the other cities on this list, gets a lot of the rain and wind that comes with most hurricanes in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. The beach water here is amazing, but don’t get stuck here during a tropical storm. It will last longer than you’d like. Miami The 305 is where people go to let off steam and have a fun time. Even though the city only gets hit about every five years by a direct hurricane, the proximity to the coast means they get tons of rain and wind. Like Naples, Miami sits at sea level, making it hard for water to get away. The other issue with Miami is how many different things go flying. Miami is a very outdoor place, meaning there are tons of things the wind can pick up and throw around if it wants to do so. Whenever a storm is approaching Miami, the local businesses have to prepare and get everything inside for everyone’s safety. Fort Lauderdale Right up the road from Miami is Fort Lauderdale, the last city on our list. Many people who want the proximity to Miami, but don’t want to constantly deal with the traffic and tourists want to live here. There have been 17 hurricanes that have had a direct impact on the city. But they also get the wind and rain. The further and further you go up the coast, the less and less the hurricane has an impact. It’s no wonder these southern, coastal cities are where you have to pay the most attention to the weather report. Make sure you pack your sunscreen and have fun, though. Florida is truly a great place to relax. Sponsored: Tips for Investing A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit. The post Discover the 5 Most Hurricane-Prone Places in Florida appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.......»»

Category: blogSource: 247wallstDec 1st, 2023

I left NYC after 20 years so I could live near Disney World. Florida"s been great despite some big drawbacks.

I moved from NYC to Florida to be closer to Disney World. I miss my family, but love how friendly the people are here. I moved from NYC to Florida in 2023.Jenna ClarkI moved from New York City to Florida to be closer to one of my favorite places, Disney World.I love frequently visiting the characters and going to the parks at least three times a week.However, I'm still adjusting to the severe storms and not living as close to my family.As someone who lived in New York City for over 20 years, moving to Florida was a significant change.I live about 15 minutes away from Disney World, and though I love visiting the parks, I definitely miss some things about NYC.Here are a few of the best and worst parts of moving from NYC to Florida.I can visit the Disney parks multiple times a week.I'm happy whenever I'm at Disney World. Jenna ClarkOne great thing about living so close to Disney World is that I can go to the parks whenever I want, as long as reservations are available for annual passholders.I usually visit three or four times a week because the parks bring me so much happiness.I enjoy meeting the characters, so if I'm having a hard day and want to see Mickey Mouse or a princess, I don't have to commute very far.I frequently get to spend time with my friends at the parks.I can finally hang out with my Florida friends regularly.Jenna ClarkMost of the friends I made during my time in the Disney College Program in 2018 now live in Florida.Since moving, I've met with them to watch the parades, visit characters, and eat snacks in the parks.It's nice to go to the parks, enjoy each other's company, and not feel rushed during every experience.I can easily try the new, creative snacks Disney rolls out.I love the cute, themed snacks at Disney World.Jenna ClarkThe creative snacks are one of my favorite parts of visiting Disney World.I love trying the different cupcakes, brownies, and Mickey crisped-rice treats that celebrate holidays like Halloween, Christmas, and Father's Day.I often enjoy the Mickey ice-cream sandwiches and bars, especially when the heat is unbearable.Most of the people I've met in Florida have been friendly.Disney's staff members always brighten my day.Jenna ClarkI was born and raised in New York City, so I was taught not to make eye contact or say hello to most people when walking on the street.One of the first things I noticed when I moved to Florida was how friendly many people were, especially the staff at Disney World.Whenever I pass by people at my apartment complex or in the parks, a wave or a "hello" is often involved.Though this initially felt strange, I've become more comfortable interacting with strangers.I can see glimpses of Magic Kingdom's fireworks from my apartment.* I'm lucky that I can see Disney's fireworks from my apartment. Jenna ClarkI never thought I'd be able to see Magic Kingdom's fireworks from my apartment, but now I can.Though I don't have a complete view of the shows, I see at least a couple of magical fireworks each night.On the other hand, Florida has more intense storms than New York.I stayed in the Wilderness Lodge at Disney World during Hurricane Ian.Jenna ClarkI thought I knew what heavy rain was like living in New York, but I didn't realize how extreme tropical storms and hurricanes could be until I moved to Florida.Although New York has been hit directly by a handful of hurricanes in the past few years, Florida is the most hurricane-prone state in the US.The storms in Florida can get pretty extreme. When I had to evacuate my apartment complex and ride out Hurricane Ian, my first big Florida storm, I chose to stay at Disney's Wilderness Lodge.It was a frightening experience, but I thought the park employees did a great job ensuring guests were as comfortable as possible.Still, I try to stay on top of extreme weather warnings and upcoming storms more than ever now that I'm in Florida.The heat can be brutal, especially when waiting for outdoor attractions.Now that I live in Florida, I use a lot more sunscreen.Jenna ClarkFlorida is known for its high temperatures and strong sun rays, so I apply sunscreen much more often than I did in New York.Many of the attractions and shows at the theme parks are outdoors, so if I forget my sunscreen, I get a harsh sunburn that lasts for several days.The tap water doesn't taste as good as it did in NYC.In my opinion, the Florida tap water isn't as good as the water in NYC.Jenna ClarkAfter living in New York for about 20 years, I grew accustomed to the taste of tap water.Since I made drinking tap water a habit, I usually bring my reusable water bottles with me when I visit the theme parks.However, I find that Florida's tap water doesn't taste as great.I miss my family and often experience homesickness.I love it when my parents visit us in Florida.Jenna ClarkI moved to Florida with my sister but often miss my parents and family back in New York.It's hard knowing I can't take a 40-minute train ride to see my parents on the weekends like I did in college.It's nice when my parents do come to visit, though.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 16th, 2024

15 Best Places in Florida for a Couple to Live on Only Social Security

This article takes a look at the 15 best places in Florida for a couple to live on only social security. If you wish to skip our detailed analysis of Florida’s real estate market, you may go to 5 Best Places in Florida for a Couple to Live on Only Social Security. Florida’s Real Estate […] This article takes a look at the 15 best places in Florida for a couple to live on only social security. If you wish to skip our detailed analysis of Florida’s real estate market, you may go to 5 Best Places in Florida for a Couple to Live on Only Social Security. Florida’s Real Estate Market: A Deep Dive into Growth, Challenges, and Retirement Potential The big news is that Florida is now the second most valuable housing market in the United States, overtaking New York, per Zillow’s research. The Sunshine State has long been a dream destination for many, drawn in by its absence of state income tax, beautiful beaches, and warm climate. Regardless, the housing market has been very scary for both sellers and buyers in 2023. Amidst the high housing costs and mortgage rates, fewer home buyers have been looking to relocate this year. Those who are choosing to leave are doing so to escape the expensive coastal cities for more affordable options, many of whom are in Florida, notes Redfin Corporation (NASDAQ:RDFN). Their study notes that Orlando is one of the most popular destinations for home buyers who are looking to relocate. North Port-Sarasota, Cape Coral, and Tampa are three other metro areas making it into Redfin Corporation (NASDAQ:RDFN)’s list of most popular destinations. Orlando has been ranked as the 4th most popular city, while Tampa is the 3rd most popular. Miami has also made the top 10.  This is despite the fact that since 2019, Florida’s home prices have soared by 60%, as noted by Redfin Corporation (NASDAQ:RDFN). Since Florida is a very hurricane and wind prone state, many insurance companies have been pulling out from the market over the years. Higher insurance costs, together with soaring prices and interest rates have been encouraging many homeowners in certain parts of Florida to sell their homes too. This is especially true for areas such as West Palm Beach. The state has been experiencing this insurance crisis due to the extreme weather events, rises in litigation, and also because of the higher costs of rebuilding. Many homeowners who are choosing to stay have in turn dropped off insurance in their entirety, or have chosen to drop only wind coverage. Despite the huge climate risks, Florida remains a popular state for living, especially for retirees. Many individuals who wish to move to the Sunshine State wonder if the state is affordable enough to live on Social Security alone. According to the Missouri Economic Research & Information Center (MERIC), the cost of living in this state is 101, implying that living costs are 1% higher than the state average. Taking this into consideration, it can be hard for a retiree to live in Florida on just Social Security. However, the Sunshine State is one of the best states to retire for taxes and cost of living. Since the cost of living is close to national marks, retirees can live well compared to other states. Moreover, there is no income tax in Florida, a major reason residents flock to this state in droves. Social security benefits, pension incomes, and even income from IRAs and 401(k)s are all received tax-free in this state. Within the state, many towns and cities boast a lower cost of living than the state average. Retirees on fixed incomes can manage to live on social security in these areas. Let’s check out these places. Syda Productions/Shutterstock.com Methodology To compile the list of best places in Florida for a couple to live on only social security, we have used several sources such as The Motley Fool, US News & World Report, and Florida for Boomers, amongst others. We also used forums such as Reddit and Quora to ascertain where retired couples are best living on social security in Florida. All the places selected have a cost of living index which is 95 or below. To elaborate, the cost of living in these places is 5% or more below the national average. We have also discussed the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the city/town center, as well as listed down the median house prices of the places. Rents and house prices have been sourced from Redfin, Zillow, Zumper, and others. A consensus approach was used next to determine the rankings of each place. One point was awarded to each place, each time it was recommended by a source. Scores were totaled and places were ranked in an ascending order from the lowest to the highest scores. Here are the best places in Florida for a couple to live on only social security: 15. Dunnellon Insider Monkey Score: 5 Cost of Living Index: 87 Average Monthly Rent: $1,350 Median Listing Home Price: $278,000 The peaceful town of Dunnellon is one of the best places in Florida for a couple to live on Social Security. Seniors can choose to live in active senior communities or find themselves a home in the many rural and suburban neighborhoods. Ocala and Gainesville are 20 and 40 minutes away for those who are looking for additional amenities. Seniors can also find lots of delectable options for dining, such as Tiki Bar and Restaurant Blue Gator, and Swampy’s Bar and Grill, amongst others. The town’s allure is further enhanced by the meandering Rainbow River and nearby state parks, providing abundant recreation opportunities. 14. Wauchula Insider Monkey Score: 6 Cost of Living Index: 82.6 Average Monthly Rent: $870 Median Listing Home Price: $253,000 With a cost of living that is 17.4% lower than the national average, Wauchula is one of the most affordable places to retire in Florida on our list. This town holds a distinct allure for seniors who cherish a connection to nature and agriculture, as it boasts a rich heritage rooted in agriculture and has several natural parks nearby. Moreover, the town offers a laid-back atmosphere and a tight-knit community for retirees. The surrounding natural landscapes are ideal for outdoor fun. 13. Quincy Insider Monkey Score: 7 Cost of Living Index: 83.7 Average Monthly Rent: $1,350 Median Listing Home Price: $170,000 Revered for its rolling hills and lavish greenery, Quincy can be a great place to retire for those on a fixed income.  The downtown district is brimming with Victorian homes to choose from, and the median listing home price here is much less than the national median. This city is ideal for those seeking a serene lifestyle. Having a population of under 8,000, residents can live in a tranquil and relaxed environment. 12. Rockledge Insider Monkey Score: 9 Cost of Living Index: 95 Average Monthly Rent: $1,598 Median Listing Home Price: $362,000 One of the cheapest places to live on Social Security is Rockledge, Florida. Nestled along Florida’s east coast, seniors in the city enjoy access to the Atlantic Ocean and coastal areas. Residents can embark on day trips to nearby natural parks, rivers, and other outdoor recreation spots, indulging in a myriad of outdoor activities. Moreover, the town offers a community-oriented atmosphere, and there are all essential amenities and healthcare services available as well. 11. Frostproof Insider Monkey Score: 10 Cost of Living Index: 91.6 Average Monthly Rent: $1,600 Median Listing Home Price: $300,000 One of the quieter towns of Florida, Frostproof can be an ideal place in Florida to live on Social Security alone. The town’s name is an inspiration of its sunny weather and mild winters, offering an ideal climate for seniors to live in. The town is very small and sparsely populated, but it has its very own golf resort, theater, and  a charming downtown. Residents can also spend a leisurely day at Lake Clinch. Overall, it is an ideal place to retire for the budget-constrained retirees. 10. Fort Meade Insider Monkey Score: 11 Cost of Living Index: 91.6 Average Monthly Rent: $1,900 Median Listing Home Price: $232,000 Fort Meade offers a small-town atmosphere and a low cost of living for seniors. One of the oldest cities in Polk County, it is home to more than 150 historical landmarks, and offers several parks, restaurants, and stores as well. Seniors love to hike along the Peace Trail River, attend local community events, indulge in nature walks, and even experience wildlife at the Fort Meade Outdoor Recreation Area. 9. Bartow Insider Monkey Score: 13 Cost of Living Index: 91.6 Average Monthly Rent: $1,295 Median Listing Home Price: $315,000 Ideal for a lake-side lifestyle, Bartow is another one of the best places in Florida for a couple to live on social security. History buffs will find immense pleasure in delving into the rich narratives showcased at the Polk County History Center and the Historic L.B. Brown House and Museum. There are lots of restaurants and cafes in town. Annual events and traditions such as the Bloomin’ Arts Festival and Bartow Annual Craft Fair keep residents busy throughout the year. 8. Okeechobee Insider Monkey Score: 14 Cost of Living Index: 85 Average Monthly Rent: $1,800 Median Listing Home Price: $320,000 Set alongside the expansive Lake Okeechobee, Okeechobee City is no less than a tranquil retreat for those looking for a peaceful yet affordable lifestyle. There are lots of activities to engage in, such as boating, fishing, and exploring nature trails. The Speckled Perch Festival, sponsored by the Okeechobee Main Street, is held every year and is the highlight of this city. 7. DeLand Insider Monkey Score: 15 Cost of Living Index: 94.9 Average Monthly Rent: $1,413 Median Listing Home Price: $360,000 DeLand makes it to our list of best places in Florida for a couple to live on only social security because it has affordable rent and a cost of living that is 5.1% lower than the national average. The city boasts a charming historic downtown brimming with vibrant cultural amenities such as art galleries, theaters, and boutiques. Its welcoming community and friendly atmosphere help retirees feel at home. DeLand is also renowned for its mesmerizing natural surroundings, including parks and trails, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities. With a reasonable cost of living, diverse housing options, and proximity to healthcare facilities, it is surely an appealing choice for retirees. 6. Arcadia Insider Monkey Score: 16 Cost of Living Index: 81.1 Average Monthly Rent: $1,000 Median Listing Home Price: $173,000 Seniors who choose Arcadia as their home report having a wonderful experience in the city. Boasting a cost of living that is 18.9% lower than the national average, as well as housing prices that are well below the national median, it is one of the best places to retire on social security. The city’s charming small-town atmosphere promotes a close-knit community feel, providing a sense of belonging and social connection to seniors. It also offers various recreational opportunities, including parks, nature trails, and community events, catering to a range of interests for retirees. Click to continue reading and see the 5 Best Places in Florida for a Couple to Live on Only Social Security. Suggested Articles: 15 Best Places in Arizona for a Couple to Live on Only Social Security 17 Best Places in Texas to Live on Social Security 15 Best Places to Retire in Mexico on a Budget of $2000 a Month Disclosure: none. 15 Best Places in Florida for a Couple to Live on Only Social Security is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyDec 16th, 2023

17 Best Places in Texas to Live on Social Security

This article takes a look at the 17 best places to live in Texas on Social Security. If you wish to skip our detailed analysis of migration trends in Texas, you may go to 5 Best Places in Texas to Live on Social Security. California to Texas: Unpacking the Migration Wave and Housing Dynamics According […] This article takes a look at the 17 best places to live in Texas on Social Security. If you wish to skip our detailed analysis of migration trends in Texas, you may go to 5 Best Places in Texas to Live on Social Security. California to Texas: Unpacking the Migration Wave and Housing Dynamics According to the US Census Bureau, California to Texas has been the most popular state-to-state relocation trend as of 2022. An estimated 102,442 Americans moved from California to the Lone Star State, primarily attributing their move to cheaper housing and living costs. U-Haul Holding Company (NYSE:UHAL), an American moving truck, trailer, and self-storage rental organization, shares similar findings related to Texas. Based on their transactional data, the moving company finds that Texas was the top destination of one-way U-Haul Holding Company (NYSE:UHAL) customers in 2022 for the second consecutive year. “The 2022 trends in migration followed very similar patterns to 2021 with Texas, Florida, the Carolinas, and the Southwest continuing to see solid growth.” -John “J.T.” Taylor, U-Haul Holding Company (NYSE:UHAL) International President. The most popular demographic behind relocations all over the US are Baby Boomers. Retired and on a fixed income, this cohort is seeking to relocate to cost-effective areas in order to maximize the value of their dollar income. For them, states that are good for taxes and cost of living seem like good options. One such tax-friendly state with a reasonable cost of living is Texas. According to the Missouri Economic Research & Information Center, the cost of living in the state is 7% lower than the US average. Due to the state’s affordability, it is very much possible for retirees to live on Social Security in Texas. A popular migration hot spot in Texas over the years has been Austin. However, Austin is slowly losing its appeal. A Redfin Corporation (NASDAQ:RDFN) report reveals that many home buyers are now looking to leave the city because of rising home prices and mortgage payments. As of October 2023, it is reported that the median listing price of a house in Austin, Texas is $635,000. While out-of-town buyers may not think of moving to the city because of affordability issues, the slowing migration is good news for the locals. “I’m telling buyers that this is the first time in years they can get a deal on a house, even with high mortgage rates.” -Austin Redfin Corporation (NASDAQ:RDFN) Premier agent Carmen Gioia. As of the third quarter, those who are choosing to leave are opting for places such as Las Vegas in Nevada and Orlando in Florida. These places are being chosen by home buyers despite the climate risks that they pose. Orlando, for instance, has an extreme wind/hurricane risk, while Vegas is prone to a severe heat risk. Even though Austin isn’t trending anymore, the rest of Texas still is. According to Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:Z), the average value of a house in Texas is $296,611. The median list price of a house in the state stands at $361,333 as of October 2023, less than the median price of a house in the US, which is $431,000. Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:Z) further notes that 20.1% of all sales in Texas till October 2023 have been made over the list price. Meanwhile, 58.8% were made under. Considering that these prices are well below the US average, Baby Boomers, in particular, can move to the state while downsizing their home. Downsizing is one of the many brilliant money moves that can be made in retirement. Doing so will allow them to decrease many extra expenses, and even have some saved to invest in a business or supplement their retirement income. Skylar Olsen, chief economist at Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:Z), notes that those who can do so are very “lucky”, referring to the housing market appreciation over the last three years. “The reason why I say lucky is because what happened over the last three years was stunning and, in some ways, was a bit like winning the lottery.” -Chief Economist, Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:Z). 20 Most Innovative States in the US Methodology To compile the list of best places in Texas to live on social security, we have used several sources such as South West Journal, Nasdaq, and US News & World Report, amongst others. We also used forums such as Reddit and Quora to ascertain where retirees are best living on social security in Texas. All the places selected have a cost of living index which is 95 or below. To elaborate, the cost of living in these places is 5% or more below the national average.  We have also discussed the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city/town center, as well as listed down the median house price of the cities/towns. Rents and house prices have been sourced from Redfin Corporation (NASDAQ:RDFN), Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:Z), Zumper, and others. A consensus approach was used to rank the final places, with one point awarded to a place each time it was recommended by a source. Scores were summed up and places were ranked in an ascending order from the lowest to the highest scores. For places with same scores, tie-breaking has been done on the basis of cost of living index. In such cases, the places with lower cost of living index have been ranked higher on our list. Here are the Best Places in Texas to Live on Social Security: 17. Longview Insider Monkey Score: 6 Cost of Living Index: 80.9 Average Monthly Rent: $850 Median House Price: $275,000 One of the best places in Texas to live on Social Security is Longview. The cost of living in this city is 19.1% lower than the US average. Longview stands out as a certified retirement community, celebrated for its combination of affordable living expenses and outstanding healthcare. Retirees get to enjoy numerous outdoor activities throughout the year. They also get to engage with its friendly community and have a good time. There are numerous festivals hosted throughout the year such as AlleyFest, a Balloon Fair, and more. 16. Monahans Insider Monkey Score: 7 Cost of Living Index: 77.9 Average Monthly Rent: $1,050 Median House Price: $250,000 Monahans is a low-key town ideal for retirees wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of big-city life. Residents love it for its close-knit community, friendly atmosphere, and affordable lifestyle. Since Monahans is smaller than other urban areas, it doesn’t promise all the big-city amenities. However, all essential amenities and services are available here easily. The town is considered a safe place to retire to. 15. Waco Insider Monkey Score: 8 Cost of Living Index: 83.4 Average Monthly Rent: $1,213 Median House Price: $305,000 Retirees can stretch their retirement incomes when they choose to retire in Waco. Boasting a cost of living that is 16.6% lower than the national average, the city provides an affordable yet enriching lifestyle for retirees. There is a range of amenities available, including cultural attractions, recreational spaces, and a welcoming community. Healthcare facilities are top-notch, and retirees get to enjoy a good quality of life here. 14. Wichita Falls Insider Monkey Score: 9 Cost of Living Index: 76.3 Average Monthly Rent: $713 Median House Price: $188,000 For seniors who rely on social security as their only means of retirement income, one way they can afford to do so is by moving to cheaper areas. One such affordable retirement destination is Wichita Falls, boasting a cost of living that is 23.7% lower than the national average. Retirees get to enjoy various recreational opportunities in the city. There are numerous parks and trails available, as well as plenty of cultural amenities. Retirees also have access to high-quality healthcare. 13. Pampa Insider Monkey Score: 9 Cost of Living Index: 68.5 Average Monthly Rent: $650 Median House Price: $110,000 Pampa has been declared as one of the best places in Texas to live on Social Security due to its cheap rentals, affordable housing, and reasonable cost of living. With a population of 16,474, the city not only maintains its relatively small size but also cultivates a tight-knit community atmosphere. The pace of life is slow here, offering retirees the opportunity to savor a truly laid-back and relaxed lifestyle. 12. McAllen Insider Monkey Score: 10 Cost of Living Index: 76.5 Average Monthly Rent: $725 Median House Price: $287,000 One of the cheapest places to live in Texas on Social Security is McAllen. Besides affordable housing and low cost of living, McAllen is also considered one of the safest places to retire in Texas. Thanks to its year-round sunshine, retirees can enjoy the outdoors throughout the year. Bird watching is a favorite pastime for many, and there is even a World Birding Center at Quinta Mazatlan. 11. Edinburg Insider Monkey Score: 11 Cost of Living Index: 76.5 Average Monthly Rent: $833 Median House Price: $250,000 Edinburg boasts a cost of living that is 23.5% lower than the US average, making it one of the best places in Texas to live on Social Security. The city enjoys year-round warm weather, proximity to the Gulf Coast, and plentiful opportunities for leisure. The cultural richness of the city can be attributed to its closeness to the US-Mexico border, and retirees will find authentic Mexican food in the many restaurants here. 10. Abilene Insider Monkey Score: 12 Cost of Living Index: 80.2 Average Monthly Rent: $705 Median House Price: $226,000 Abilene is another Texan star making it to our list of best places in Texas to live on social security. The city is very safe, friendly, and affordable. Retirees get to explore the many museums, theaters, and galleries here. Additionally, residents enjoy access to high-quality healthcare, a plethora of outdoor activities, and opportunities for lifelong learning through esteemed institutions like Abilene Christian University and Hardin-Simmons University. 9. Lubbock Insider Monkey Score: 14 Cost of Living Index: 81.1 Average Monthly Rent: $699 Median House Price: $246,000 In Lubbock, the cost of living is 18.9% lower than the US average, rents are under $1,000, and the median house price is well below the national average. The city is also known for its plentiful cultural amenities, such as parks, museums, and art galleries. The vibrant music scene further adds to the appeal of retiring here. Retirees can also engage in lifelong learning, access quality healthcare facilities, and enjoy the many parks, golf courses, and nature reserves. 8. Pharr Insider Monkey Score: 14 Cost of Living Index: 76.5 Average Monthly Rent: $650 Median House Price: $196,000 Considered one of the cheapest places in Texas, Pharr is an ideal place for empty nesters who are completely reliant on their social security checks. The cost of living in the city is 23.5% lower than the national average, and housing is also pretty affordable. Retirees get to enjoy bird watching at the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park situated close to Pharr, indulge in culture at the Cultural Arts Center, enjoy a refreshing day at the Pharr Aquatic Center, and even spend time mingling with the friendly locals. Owing to its affordability, it is one of the best places in Texas to live on Social Security for retirees. 7. Amarillo Insider Monkey Score: 15 Cost of Living Index: 73.6 Average Monthly Rent: $947 Median House Price: $240,000 Amarillo ticks all the boxes that make it an ideal city for retirees. It is home to abundant parks, museums and gyms, boasts quality healthcare, is blessed with a constant breeze, and is extremely affordable. Those who move to Amarillo from out-of-town especially love it for its climate and medical facilities. Moreover, retirees enjoy their time here by engaging in local events, joining clubs, and making connections within the community. The cost of living in Amarillo is 26.4% lower than the US average, making it possible to live on social security. 6. Texarkana Insider Monkey Score: 17 Cost of Living Index: 76.9 Average Monthly Rent: $675 Median House Price: $170,000 According to Kiplinger, Texarkana offers some of the most affordable real estate in the nation. Straddling the Texas-Arkansas state line, residents in the city get to experience the best of both worlds. The city offers a wealth of cultural amenities to explore, a plethora of outdoor opportunities, and access to top-notch healthcare services. Parks, trails, and nearby lakes keep residents busy and active. Click to continue reading and see the 5 Best Places in Texas to Live on Social Security. Suggested Articles: Warren Buffett and Billionaires Are Crazy About These 15 Stocks 15 Best Places to Retire in Mexico on a Budget of $2000 a Month 12 Healthcare Stocks Billionaires Like the Most Disclosure: none. 17 Best Places in Texas to Live on Social Security is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyDec 13th, 2023

Discover the 5 Most Hurricane-Prone Places in Florida

There are a lot of great things Florida has to offer. The ocean water is warm and reminds you of the Caribbean since it is the Caribbean Sea. It doesn’t snow, so you’ll never have to worry about it being cold. There are tons of fun things to always be doing in the big cities. […] The post Discover the 5 Most Hurricane-Prone Places in Florida appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.. There are a lot of great things Florida has to offer. The ocean water is warm and reminds you of the Caribbean since it is the Caribbean Sea. It doesn’t snow, so you’ll never have to worry about it being cold. There are tons of fun things to always be doing in the big cities. However, one of the major downfalls of Florida is the constant threat of hurricanes. Because of its location in the Caribbean Sea, Florida takes the first hit of any natural disaster that comes the way of the United States. They only average hitting every three years or so, but you always have to be aware. Thankfully, technology has evolved to be able to predict when and where hurricanes will strike, allowing people to escape and not be caught in the storm. These five places in Florida are the most prone to getting hit by a hurricane. Tampa Tampa is known for its successful sports teams over the last five years. Unfortunately, the city is also prone to getting hit by a hurricane. Something you’ll notice about all the different cities on this list is how close they are to the water. Even though hurricanes themselves are rare in Tampa, they still get rain and storms from every storm that hits the United States. The most recent hurricane here was in August 2023, Hurricane Idalia. It was a Category 3 hurricane that caused millions to have to evacuate. The worst storm to hit Tampa was in 1921 where four people died due to the flooding the storm caused. Tampa is a beautiful city, but make sure you’re keeping up to date with the weather report whenever you visit. Key West The Florida Keys are consistently talked about as one of the nicest places in all of the United States to live. It’s like living on an island, while still having the benefits of home. The one benefit that residents have to worry about is tropical storms and hurricanes. The islands don’t have any buffer to stop a hurricane from causing extreme damage to the city. Like Tampa, hurricanes in the Key West aren’t very common. They do get the rain and wind damage that comes with a hurricane whenever a storm is racing through the Caribbean. The other danger with the Florida Keys is the inability to escape easily. There’s only one way out, and that’s usually backed up. Whenever you’re down there, enjoy yourself, but make sure you’re getting weather updates. Naples Slightly south of Tampa is the beautiful coastal city of Naples. It makes sense Naples would also be on this list, thanks to how close it is to the water. One of the biggest issues the city faces is how low it is in elevation. The city sits at almost exactly sea level, making it hard for water to naturally escape. Whenever it rains here, residents have to be ready for it to take a long time to clear. Naples, like the other cities on this list, gets a lot of the rain and wind that comes with most hurricanes in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. The beach water here is amazing, but don’t get stuck here during a tropical storm. It will last longer than you’d like. Miami The 305 is where people go to let off steam and have a fun time. Even though the city only gets hit about every five years by a direct hurricane, the proximity to the coast means they get tons of rain and wind. Like Naples, Miami sits at sea level, making it hard for water to get away. The other issue with Miami is how many different things go flying. Miami is a very outdoor place, meaning there are tons of things the wind can pick up and throw around if it wants to do so. Whenever a storm is approaching Miami, the local businesses have to prepare and get everything inside for everyone’s safety. Fort Lauderdale Right up the road from Miami is Fort Lauderdale, the last city on our list. Many people who want the proximity to Miami, but don’t want to constantly deal with the traffic and tourists want to live here. There have been 17 hurricanes that have had a direct impact on the city. But they also get the wind and rain. The further and further you go up the coast, the less and less the hurricane has an impact. It’s no wonder these southern, coastal cities are where you have to pay the most attention to the weather report. Make sure you pack your sunscreen and have fun, though. Florida is truly a great place to relax. Sponsored: Tips for Investing A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit. The post Discover the 5 Most Hurricane-Prone Places in Florida appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.......»»

Category: blogSource: 247wallstDec 1st, 2023

15 States with the Most Expensive Home Insurance in the US

In this article, we will be analyzing home insurance in the US while covering the 15 states with the most expensive home insurance in the country. If you wish to skip our detailed analysis, you can move directly to the 5 States with the Most Expensive Home Insurance in the US. Home Insurance in the […] In this article, we will be analyzing home insurance in the US while covering the 15 states with the most expensive home insurance in the country. If you wish to skip our detailed analysis, you can move directly to the 5 States with the Most Expensive Home Insurance in the US. Home Insurance in the US Home insurance is a package policy that protects households against property damage from natural disasters, theft, and liability from inflicting bodily injury or property damage on others. Homeowners can also add popular optional coverages such as earthquake, flooding, or water backup coverage. Those who reside near a fault line can benefit from earthquake coverage while water backup coverage can cover losses where water backs up through sewers or drains. Home insurance is not required by law. However, lenders might require homeowners insurance during house financing. Most of the time, private communities also require home insurance.  Homeowners need to pay a premium to keep their home insurance policy active. They can file a claim and receive compensation for damages to their home and belongings in case of on-time paid premiums. These premiums are estimated by insurance companies on the basis of a variety of factors. Location plays a significant role in this case since it depicts how vulnerable a place is to external threats such as hurricanes, tornadoes, strong winds, or even harsh weather conditions which could potentially damage the house. Other than location, credit scores and claims history also predict the premium. As the two factors determine the probability of a homeowner filing a claim, a good credit score homeowner typically pays a lower premium as compared to one who doesn’t make payments on time and hence, classifies as a higher risk for insurance providers. What’s Happening in the Market? Natural calamities especially have a huge influence on the US insurance industry. Regions more prone to disasters occurring naturally tend to have higher home insurance costs. In 2022, hurricane Ian destroyed numerous houses in southwest Florida. This hurricane likely caused billions in insured losses from Florida to the Carolinas and was deemed one of the costliest storms in Florida’s history. The rising extreme weather events have resulted in higher insurance costs for homeowners. On June 19, CNN reported that home insurance costs have been on the rise in the United States. Other than climate change, increasing costs of repair or rebuilding due to inflation also tend to affect insurance costs. Many home insurance providers have left the Florida market due to high vulnerability to natural disasters. This has driven up premiums almost four times higher for the residents of the state. Similarly, wildfire risk in California has forced out many companies who cite that the cost to insure new home customers in California is much higher than the price they would pay for policies, given the existing risks. Since insurance companies are refusing to write new insurance in risk-prone states, insurance is becoming increasingly harder to find. As a result of the aforementioned circumstances, state-backed insurance providers are being viewed as the last option due to bigger companies leaving the market and smaller companies going bankrupt. An example of this is Louisiana where 17% of homeowners insurance policyholders got their policies canceled in 2022. Furthermore, 19% of state residents tried to get a homeowner’s insurance policy but 55% of them faced difficulty in getting one. Companies Facilitating Homeowners with Insurance Companies assisting US residents with home insurance include The Allstate Corporation (NYSE:ALL), Chubb Limited (NYSE:CB), and Erie Insurance Group (NASDAQ:ERIE). The Allstate Corporation (NYSE:ALL) is a popular American insurance company offering a diverse set of insurances including home insurance. On September 21, the company reported its catastrophe losses for the month of August. These losses amounted to $551 million and included 18 events. Half of these losses were relevant to the Maui wildfire. Implemented rate increases and inflation in insured home replacement costs resulted in a 13.2% increase in homeowners insurance average gross written premium in August as compared to the same month in 2022. Chubb Limited (NYSE:CB) is the parent company of the global insurance provider, Chubb which offers insurance products covering property and casualty, accident and health, reinsurance, and life insurance. Chubb’s homeowner insurance policies are available across all US states. On October 24, the company reported its financial results for the fiscal third quarter of 2023. The company reported earnings per share of $4.95, beating EPS estimates by $0.53. The revenue for the quarter amounted to $11.65 billion, up 8.42% year-over-year and ahead of the revenue estimates by 17 million. In North America commercial, property, and casualty premiums were up 10.5% while the company’s large U.S. middle market business had its best growth of the year at 16.3%. Based in Pennsylvania, Erie Insurance Group (NASDAQ:ERIE) is another property and casualty insurance company offering auto, home, business, and life insurance using a network of independent insurance agents. It operates in numerous US states including Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. On October 19, the company reported a major milestone after being ranked by Forbes as one of the top insurance companies in the United States for 2024. The customer service and satisfaction offered by the Erie Insurance Group were attributed to the extensive network of agents who meet customer needs by customizing coverage for them while exposing them to the company’s discounts and top-notch service. Now that we have taken a look at the home insurance scenario in the US, we can move to the 15 states with the most expensive home insurance in the country. 15 States with the Most Expensive Home Insurance in the US Our Methodology: In order to compile a list of the 15 states with the most expensive home insurance in the US, we acquired the latest data on state-level home insurance rates. This data was available on Bankrate, a leading consumer financial services company. The latest data was available, as of 2023. We selected average annual premium as our primary metric while average monthly premium was chosen as our secondary metric. Finally, we ranked the 15 states with the most expensive home insurance in the US based on their average annual premium and average monthly premium, on a priority basis. 15 States with the Most Expensive Home Insurance in the US 15. Missouri Average Annual Premium: $1,769 Average Monthly Premium: $147 The average annual premium for home insurance is $1,769 in Missouri which ranks it as one of the US states with expensive home insurance in the country. A high crime rate and risk of tornadoes and storms make home insurance costly in the state. Expensive cities for home insurance within the state include South West City, Pineville, and Anderson. 14. New Mexico     Average Annual Premium: $1,789 Average Monthly Premium: $149 The 15 states with the most expensive home insurance in the US ranks New Mexico as well. The average annual premium for home insurance is $1,789 in the state. The state’s arid climate increases the risks of natural disasters. Rowe, Serafina, and Encino are costly places for New Mexico’s homeowners.  13. North Dakota   Average Annual Premium: $1,900 Average Monthly Premium: $158 The average annual premium for home insurance is $1,900 in North Dakota which makes it one of the many US states with expensive home insurance. The state faces a harsh winter season. Hebron, Regent, and Elgin are comparatively expensive places for homeowners in North Dakota. The Allstate Corporation (NYSE:ALL), Chubb Limited (NYSE:CB), and Erie Insurance Group (NASDAQ:ERIE) are known home insurance providers in the United States. 12. Mississippi        Average Annual Premium: $1,900 Average Monthly Premium: $158 Mississippi offers expensive home insurance as the average annual premium is $1,900 in the state. The state’s coastal regions are vulnerable to tropical storms and hurricanes. Within the state, homeowners experience high home insurance costs, especially in Diamondhead, Leakesville, and New Augusta. 11. Minnesota Average Annual Premium: $1,930 Average Monthly Premium: $161 The average annual premium for home insurance is $1,930 in Minnesota which ranks it as one of the 25 states with the most expensive home insurance in the US. Homeowners are vulnerable to higher costs, especially in areas such as Delano, Montrose, and Winsted. The state has unpredictable winter weather which adds to the cost. 10. Texas            Average Annual Premium: $1,967 Average Monthly Premium: $164 Homeowners in Texas can seek wind coverage, flood insurance, and coverage for seepage and leakage. Currently, the average annual premium for home insurance is $1,967 in the state. Deer Park, Hale Center, and  Richardson are costly cities in this regard. 9. Florida    Average Annual Premium: $1,981 Average Monthly Premium: $165 Florida is another US state with expensive home insurance. The average annual home insurance premium is $1,981 in the state. Expensive Florida cities for home insurance include Pensacola, Panacea, and Saint Marks. Floods, tropical cyclones, severe storms, tornadoes, and wildfires have a substantial impact on homeowners in Florida. 8. Louisiana Average Annual Premium: $1,992 Average Monthly Premium: $166 The average annual premium for home insurance is as high as $1,992 in Louisiana. Hence, Louisiana is one of the states with costly home insurance in the US. Hahnville, Luling, and Saint Rose offer expensive home insurance rates within the state. Louisiana has also witnessed damage as a result of natural disasters. 7. Kentucky Average Annual Premium: $2,009 Average Monthly Premium: $167 The 15 states with the most expensive home insurance in the US include Kentucky as well. Currently, the average annual premium for home insurance is $2,009. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods are common risks for the state residents. Holyrood, Derby, and Florence are costly cities in this regard. Investors who wish to seek exposure to the US home insurance market can look up The Allstate Corporation (NYSE:ALL), Chubb Limited (NYSE:CB), and Erie Insurance Group (NASDAQ:ERIE). 6. South Dakota     Average Annual Premium: $2,105    Average Monthly Premium: $175 South Dakota ranks as one of the most expensive US states in terms of home insurance cost. The average annual home insurance premium is $2,105 in the state. Hot summers and extremely cold winters are weather extremes prevalent in South Dakota. Costly places for home insurance in the state include Black Hawk, Belvidere, and Wasta. Click to continue reading and see 5 States with the Most Expensive Home Insurance in the US. Suggested articles: These Cathie Wood Stocks Are On Sale Now 12 Monthly Dividend Stocks with Over 5% Yield 10 Best Dividend Stocks According To Jim Cramer Disclosure: None. 15 States with the Most Expensive Home Insurance in the US is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyNov 20th, 2023

3 Soaps & Cleaning Materials Stocks to Watch in a Gloomy Industry

The soap and cleaning materials industry is prone to elevated logistics, input and manufacturing costs amid supply-chain issues. Solid demand and marketing campaigns are likely to drive players like Procter & Gamble (PG), Colgate (CL) and Church & Dwight (CHD). Players in the Zacks Soap and Cleaning Materials industry have been experiencing headwinds from higher manufacturing and logistic costs and increased commodity costs. The ongoing supply-chain constraints have led to increased freight and input costs. Some of the industry participants have been undertaking cost-saving actions to support margins while coming up with new products and improved marketing activities.Nevertheless, there is solid demand for consumer products and brands, strong operational execution and expansion into new markets. Robust pricing and marketing initiatives have been vital in boosting sales for industry participants. Such efforts, along with innovation, are likely to aid companies like The Procter & Gamble Company PG, Colgate-Palmolive Company CL and Church & Dwight Co., Inc. CHD.About the IndustryCompanies involved in the manufacturing and supply of fast-moving consumer goods, including personal care, household and specialty products, primarily make up the Zacks Soap and Cleaning Materials industry. The personal care segment comprises skin and hair care products, deodorants, and oral care items. The household category covers home care products, including laundry care, house cleaning agents, bleaching products, dishwashing liquids and other cleaning items. Laundry detergent is one of the largest markets among the ones mentioned above. Some players also offer baby and feminine care items. Some companies offer pet care products. These companies market and sell products through supermarkets, mass merchandisers, grocery stores, distributors, wholesalers, department stores, drugstores, specialty stores, dollar stores and pet stores, and websites.Major Trends Shaping the Future of the Soaps & Cleaning Materials IndustryElevated Costs & Expenses: The soaps and cleaning materials industry players have been bearing the brunt of rising raw material and logistic costs owing to supply-chain disruptions and current industry dynamics. Higher-than-anticipated commodity and freight costs have been hurting margins. Some of the other factors, like the increase in manufacturing and distribution costs, along with higher advertising and sales promotion expenses, have been denting margins. In addition, the industry players have been subject to higher operational costs related to salaries and bonuses, as well as investments in digital capabilities and productivity enhancements. To mitigate the impact of higher costs and expenses on margins, some of the players are banking on cost-containment initiatives, including streamlining the supply chain and minimizing overhead costs, among others. Most of the companies are resorting to price increases to cushion their margins.Demand Trends & Competition: The industry participants have been witnessing volatile demand trends across markets and ambiguous pricing conditions. Increased awareness about personal and household hygiene, particularly after the pandemic, have been fuelling product demand for the industry players. The increased adoption of new habits, including maintaining good hygiene, especially sanitizing hands, is likely to continue to encourage consumers to purchase soaps and sanitizers. However, the industry players are facing stiff competition due to the availability of alternate products in the markets. With the rise in competition, players remain focused on actively coming up with hygiene campaigns and promotional activities.Product Innovation & Strategic Efforts: Investments in product development to suit consumers’ changing needs have been supporting the companies in the soaps and cleaning products space. The companies frequently invest in innovation, product portfolio and digital capabilities to drive sales and keep pace with customers’ changing tastes and preferences. Players have been undertaking pricing, packaging and marketing initiatives, along with restructuring actions, including acquisitions and divestitures. Companies are also striving to expand into new markets and channels. Developing products with eco-friendly and natural ingredients is another area of focus among industry players, as consumers increasingly prefer environment-friendly ingredients in their daily use items. The increase in e-commerce shopping has been another key sales driver across various markets due to convenience and ease of shopping. The companies are constantly stepping up their efforts in the e-commerce arena through improved delivery and payment systems.Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Dull ProspectsThe Zacks Soap and Cleaning Materials industry is housed within the broader Zacks Consumer Staples sector. The industry currently carries a Zacks Industry Rank #235, which places it in the bottom 6% of more than 250 Zacks industries.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates bleak near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.The industry’s positioning in the bottom 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is a result of a negative earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. Looking at the aggregate earnings estimate revisions, it appears that analysts are losing confidence in this group’s earnings growth potential. In the past couple of months, the industry’s earnings estimates for 2023 have declined by 1%.Despite the murky scenario, we will present a few stocks that one can retain in their portfolio, given their solid growth endeavors. But before that, it is worth taking a look at the industry’s performance and current valuation.Industry Vs. Broader MarketThe Zacks Soap and Cleaning Materials industry has outperformed the broader Zacks Consumer Staples sector in the past six months. However, it has lagged the S&P 500 index in the same period.The industry has lost 6.8% in the past six months, whereas the S&P 500 increased 0.7% and the broader sector declined 13.6%.One-Year Price PerformanceIndustry's Current ValuationOn the basis of forward 12-month price-to-earnings (P/E), which is commonly used for valuing Consumer Staples stocks, the industry is currently trading at 21.44X compared with the S&P 500’s 17.79X and the sector’s 16.13X.Over the past five years, the industry has traded as high as 25.13X and as low as 19.88X, the median being 22.28X, as the chart below shows.Price-to-Earnings Ratio Versus S&P 500 (Past 5 Years)Price-to-Earnings Ratio Versus Sector (Past 5 Years)3 Stocks to Keep a Close Eye onProcter & Gamble: The Cincinnati, OH-based consumer goods giant has been benefiting from strength across all segments, coupled with robust volume, pricing and a favorable mix. Procter & Gamble’s products play a key role in meeting the daily health, hygiene and cleaning needs of consumers worldwide. Procter & Gamble remains focused on productivity and cost-saving plans to boost margins. The company’s continued investment in the business, alongside efforts to offset macro cost headwinds and balance top and bottom-line growth, underscores its productivity efforts. The company is witnessing cost savings and efficiency improvements across all facets of the business. With the supply chain 3.0 program introduced in fourth-quarter fiscal 2023, the company is driving improved capacity, greater agility, flexibility, scalability, transparency and resilience, along with greater productivity.The company remains focused on productivity and cost-saving plans to boost margins. The company’s continued investments in business, alongside efforts to offset macro cost headwinds and balance top and bottom-line growth, underscore its productivity efforts. With the supply chain 3.0 program introduced in fourth-quarter fiscal 2023, the company is driving improved capacity, greater agility, flexibility, scalability, transparency and resilience, along with greater productivity. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for PG’s fiscal 2024 sales and earnings indicate 3.8% and 8.6% year-over-year increases, respectively. The consensus mark for its fiscal 2024 earnings has increased 0.5% in the past 30 days. Shares of the Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company have increased 10.8% in the past year. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here. Price and Consensus: PGChurch & Dwight: The Ewing, NJ-based, specialty products company has gained from its prudent buyouts, solid innovation and favorable consumption demand. Management strategically increased its presence through acquisitions to grow its portfolio. It recently completed its buyout of the Hero Mighty Patch brand (or Hero) and other acne treatment products.Church & Dwight is focused on making capital investments to expand its factory and supplier network capacity, courtesy of the strength in consumer demand for its products. Shares of the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have increased 20.8% in the past year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for CHD’s 2023 sales and earnings indicates year-over-year growth of 8.5% and 6.7%, respectively. The consensus mark for 2023 earnings has been stable in the past 30 days.Price and Consensus: CHDColgate: The Zacks Rank #3 company has been benefiting from solid consumer demand for personal care and home care products. Colgate’s focus on innovation and digital transformation, along with its brand strength, has been driving its performance. Of late, the performance of its premium innovation products, including CO. by Colgate, Colgate Elixir toothpaste and Colgate enzyme whitening toothpaste, has been impressive.The company has been aggressively expanding into faster growth channels while extending the geographic footprint of its brands. We note that the Zacks Consensus Estimate for CL’s 2023 sales and earnings indicates year-over-year growth of 7.5% and 6.4%, respectively. Although shares of the leading oral care company have declined 2.1%% in the past year, it has rebounded 2.5% in the past month.Price and Consensus: CL 4 Oil Stocks with Massive Upsides Global demand for oil is through the roof... and oil producers are struggling to keep up. So even though oil prices are well off their recent highs, you can expect big profits from the companies that supply the world with "black gold."  Zacks Investment Research has just released an urgent special report to help you bank on this trend.  In Oil Market on Fire, you'll discover 4 unexpected oil and gas stocks positioned for big gains in the coming weeks and months. You don't want to miss these recommendations. Download your free report now to see them.Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Procter & Gamble Company (The) (PG): Free Stock Analysis Report Colgate-Palmolive Company (CL): Free Stock Analysis Report Church & Dwight Co., Inc. (CHD): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 27th, 2023

3 Insurance Stocks With More Than 25% YTD Gains to Buy

Banking on strong fundamentals and benefiting from a favorable macro backdrop, KNSL, NMIH, and PRI have not only outperformed the industry but also crushed the market and the Finance sector. The insurance industry has performed well so far this year, riding on better pricing, prudent underwriting, increased exposure, streamlined operations, global presence and a solid capital position. The industry has gained 4.8% year to date.Banking on strong fundamentals, Kinsale Capital Group, Inc. KNSL, NMI Holdings NMIH and Primerica, Inc. PRI have not only outperformed the industry but have also crushed the market and the Finance sector.What Helped Insurers Sail Through This Year?The economy has been growing, albeit slowly. GDP increased at an annualized rate of 2.1% in the second quarter and 2% in the first quarter of 2023. Notably, at the latest FOMC meeting, the Fed estimated GDP growth of 2.1% in 2023 from 1% expected at its June meeting. The unemployment rate is expected to be 3.8%, an improvement from 4.1%.Despite an above-average hurricane season, continued increases in pricing, reinsurance programs and favorable reserve development helped non-life insurers sail through. Swiss Re estimated a global economic loss of $120 billion in the first half of 2023 from natural disasters, while insured losses were estimated to be about $50 billion. Per a report in the Insurance Journal, the combined net ratio in 2023 is estimated to be 102.2. Underwriting losses are expected to be primarily due to soft performance in personal lines, which, in turn, is driven by higher catastrophe losses per Insurance Information Institute and Milliman.Nonetheless, global commercial insurance prices rose for 23 straight quarters though the magnitude has slowed down over the last 10 quarters, per Marsh Global Insurance Market. Per reports published in Carrier Management, direct premiums written across the P&C business in 2023 are estimated to grow in double digits.The insurance industry is rate sensitive. An improving rate environment is a boon for insurers, especially long-tail non-life insurers and life insurers. The Fed has already made three hikes in 2023, taking the tally to 11 since March 2022. Investment income, an important component of an insurer’s top line, is poised for continuous improvement.Better economic conditions continue to support the life insurance industry. Policy count rose 4% in the second quarter of 2023, marking the second consecutive quarter of policy sales growth per preliminary results from LIMRA’s U.S. Retail Individual Life Insurance Sales surveys and estimates. The survey also found total that U.S. life insurance new annualized premium was $4.04 billion in the second quarter, up 2%. Premiums grew in the second quarter after three straight quarters of declines, per the findings.Nevertheless, a solid capital level supports insurers in pursuing strategic mergers and acquisitions to gain market share, expand in niche areas, and diversify operations into new business lines and geography as well as increase dividends, pay special dividends and buyback shares.The industry is undergoing accelerated digitalization. Players are investing heavily in technology to improve scale and efficiencies.Picks for Better ReturnsWith the help of the Zacks Stock Screener, we have selected three insurance stocks that have rallied more than 25% year to date. These stocks have delivered earnings surprises in each of the last four reported quarters and witnessed northbound estimate revisions.Richmond, VA-based Kinsale Capital offers various insurance and reinsurance products, typically providing coverage for risks that are unique and difficult to find in the standard insurance market. It sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).  You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.With an extensive focus on clients with small and medium-sized accounts, which have better pricing and are less prone to competition, it focuses only on the excess and surplus lines market in the United States. KNSL expects 2023 to be the sixth calendar year in a row with double-digit industry-wide E&S premium growth.Kinsale Capital is well-poised to deliver improved margins, lower loss and expense ratios and estimates low double-digit rate increases across the book of business. The insurer enjoys the best combination of high growth and low combined ratio among its peers and targets a combined ratio in the mid-80s range over the long term.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Kinsale’s 2023 earnings suggests 48.5% growth from the year-ago reported figure on 48.4% higher revenues. The consensus estimate has moved up 1 cent in the past seven days. Year to date, shares have rallied 57.3%.Headquartered in Emeryville, CA, NMI Holdings provides private mortgage insurance (MI). The mortgage insurer should continue to benefit from a strong mortgage origination market, robust growth in high-quality and short portfolios and increased private mortgage insurance penetration rates. It carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).NMIH continues to build on its position in the private MI market, expand its customer base and grow its insured portfolio of high-quality residential loans by focusing on long-term customer relationships, financial strength and profitability.NMI Holdings has a comprehensive reinsurance program in place for nearly the entirety of its in-force portfolio. This in turn enhances its return profile, absorbs loss, provides efficient growth capital and mitigates the impact of credit volatility.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for NMIH’s 2023 earnings suggests 8.6% year-over-year growth on 9.5% higher revenues. The consensus estimate has moved up 3 cents in the past 30 days. Year to date, shares have surged 25.1%.Duluth, GA-based Primerica is the second-largest issuer of term-life insurance coverage in North America. It aims to be a successful senior health business while continuing to enhance its shareholders’ value. It carries a Zacks Rank #2.Strong demand for protection products drives sales growth and policy persistency benefits for this insurer. A strong business model makes Primerica well-poised to cater to the middle market's increased demand for financial security.PRI expects Term Life insurance issued policy growth in the range of 4-6% in 2023. The company noted that new rate classes through new products should accelerate growth. Inflationary pressure, however, is likely to weigh on the upside. The company expects adjusted direct premiums to grow 6% in 2023. It also expects net investment income of $34 million in each quarter for the remainder of 2023.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for PRI’s 2023 earnings suggests 36.6% year-over-year growth on 3.1% higher revenues. The expected long-term earnings growth rate is pegged at 5%.  The Zacks Consensus Estimate 2023 earnings has moved up 2% in the past 60 days. Year to date, its shares have gained 33.2%. 4 Oil Stocks with Massive Upsides Global demand for oil is through the roof... and oil producers are struggling to keep up. So even though oil prices are well off their recent highs, you can expect big profits from the companies that supply the world with "black gold."  Zacks Investment Research has just released an urgent special report to help you bank on this trend.  In Oil Market on Fire, you'll discover 4 unexpected oil and gas stocks positioned for big gains in the coming weeks and months. You don't want to miss these recommendations. Download your free report now to see them.Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Primerica, Inc. (PRI): Free Stock Analysis Report NMI Holdings Inc (NMIH): Free Stock Analysis Report Kinsale Capital Group, Inc. (KNSL): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 4th, 2023

Homeowners living in dome-shaped houses say they protect against natural disasters and save them money on bills

The eclectic homes also tend to cost about the same as a traditional home of comparable size, or even cheaper if homeowners do renovations themselves. Pamela Voss and her husband purchased this dome home in 2021.Courtesy Pamela Voss Dome homes are built to withstand extreme weather — ideal for areas prone to natural disasters. Dome homeowners said the structures' energy efficiency saves them money on energy bills. Domes also often cost about the same as a traditional home and offer a unique living space. When Pamela Voss and her husband were looking for a serene, secluded home in eastern Texas, they were amazed to stumble upon a unique dwelling in their area: a geodesic dome home."I'd never really considered a dome home, but when we looked at the house, I said: 'This is so cool — wow, what I can do with this house,'" Voss told Insider."It's like living in a planetarium," she added.But dome-shaped homes are more than just unique places to live. The structures are also weather-resistant, and known to withstand extreme winds and rain. The unique structure could also save homeowners money in the long run.Dome homes can protect homeowners from extreme weather, which is on the rise due to the climate crisisMike South, president of the Texas-based Monolithic Dome company, said roughly half his customers wanted a dome home because of climate and weather concerns."We actually had a father and son come to us — the son built a dome home and the dad made fun of him the whole time," South said. "Then, a tornado came through and fell on the Dad's house, cutting it in half. The son's dome also had a tree fall on it, but it was fine.""So not long after, I was building the Dad a dome, too."Geodesic dome homes — like this one, pictured in Baiting Hollow, New York — are designed to withstand natural disasters.Chris Ware/Newsday RM via Getty ImagesExtreme weather events displaced nearly 3.4 million US adults in 2022, the Census Bureau found. And the number of displacements due to weather each year has steadily risen in recent years, an expert told CBS News."We live in Texas, and dome homes can withstand tornadoes very well," Voss said. "They're super safe."Texas is particularly prone to tornadoes — the state saw 142 tornadoes in 2022 and has seen 32 so far in 2023. Extreme weather events in the state caused over $1.4 billion in property damage in 2022, according to the National Weather Service.Bryan Bremner, who has lived in a Washington state dome home since 2003, said his dome could likely withstand a hurricane or tornado.Other dome homes have features like solar power panels and backup generators that make them ideal for withstanding extreme weather events, The New York Times has reported.Homeowners can choose between geodesic and monolithic dome homes, which come with different bonusesThere are two types of dome homes that are sweeping the market: geodesic domes, like Voss' home, and monolithic domes, like Bremner's.Geodesic homes are constructed of smaller triangular components that provide structural rigidity. Monolithic domes are made of a single continuous piece of material, such as reinforced concrete, in Bremner's case.Voss's home is built out of a geodesic dome, which means their roof is made of triangle-shaped pieces.Courtesy Pamela VossSouth said one bonus of monolithic domes is that the construction yields less waste than geodesic domes since it's one continuous piece of material.Bremner also said monolithic dome homes can be more leak-proof than geodesic domes since no individual components can come apart.Ultimately though, the homeowners agreed that dome homes in general are exceptionally resilient."Dome homes will last forever," Voss said.Dome homes cost roughly the same as their traditional counterparts — and could save homeowners money in the long runA typical dome home in a rural area can cost between $350,000 and $450,000, an expert told The New York Times. In comparison, a typical American home in May cost an average of $350,000, according to Zillow data.Voss said they bought their 4,000-square-foot dome home in 2021 for just under $500,000."They really hold their value," Voss said.Voss said her dome home was last renovated in 2017.Courtesy Pamela VossSometimes, monolithic domes can cost 15-20% more than the average home, South said.But there are ways to mitigate that extra expense. Bremner said he bought his dome home for about $150,000 in 2001, saving money by installing his own wiring and renovating the home himself.Dome homes are also energy efficient, Voss and South agreed, saving homeowners money on heating and cooling.Compared to her previous traditional homes, Voss noted her air conditioning and heating bills have gone down by 30% — and that the home only needs one AC unit, while a traditional home of the same size would likely need two.One challenge that is pervasive across the dome-home industry is securing a loan, given the unique aspects of the buildings. Voss recalled visiting several large banks and being denied each time. She said it took her and her husband several weeks to get a loan from a small private lender.But South said future homeowners may find better luck as dome homes become more popular."They're starting to become more mainstream," he said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytAug 6th, 2023

15 Best Places to Retire in Florida Without Hurricanes

In this article, we will take a look at the 15 best places to retire in Florida without hurricanes. If you want to skip our detailed analysis of Florida’s insurance market and the best places without hurricanes, go to the 5 Best Places to Retire in Florida Without Hurricanes. Florida’s Insurance Market The insurance industry […] In this article, we will take a look at the 15 best places to retire in Florida without hurricanes. If you want to skip our detailed analysis of Florida’s insurance market and the best places without hurricanes, go to the 5 Best Places to Retire in Florida Without Hurricanes. Florida’s Insurance Market The insurance industry in Florida is on the verge of failure, with insurers losing out on their money fast. According to an Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) analysis, the average Florida homeowners’ insurance policy has witnessed a stark rise to $4,231 in 2022, up from the U.S. annual average of $1,544 in 2019. These rates are already triple the national average, and it’s unclear how things will unwind for insurance companies in the state. The severity and rising frequency of hurricanes is one reason insurance costs are driving up fast. Hurricane Matthew (2016), Hurricane Irma (2017), Hurricane Michael (2018), and now Hurricane Ian (2022) have all been very catastrophic. The latest hurricane, Ian, landed as a powerful category 5 Atlantic hurricane. The catastrophic hurricane yielded it the title of the third-costliest weather disaster on record. It has compounded the challenges of an already struggling insurance market in Florida, with insurer losses already soaring due to litigation booms and carrier exits. United Insurance Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:UIHC), a property and casualty insurance holding company, reports having estimated catastrophic losses of approximately $36.4 million before income taxes during the third quarter ending September 30, 2022. The total gross loss from the company is estimated to surpass $1 billion. Heritage Insurance Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:HRTG), another property and casualty insurance holding company, has also witnessed its losses rising to $48.2 million for Q3 2022 from a net loss of $16.1 million in Q3 2021. However, United Insurance Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:UIHC) and Heritage Insurance Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:HRTG) have assured their financial health during such disasters. The two companies have reinsurance, or backup coverage for insurance companies, that they bought earlier to help handle the hurricane aftermath. The hurricane Ian, they say, did not cause as many claims as Hurricane Irma. United Insurance Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:UIHC) received about 18,000 claims, while Heritage Insurance Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:HRTG) had an estimated 12,000 claims. Meanwhile, UPC Insurance witnessed significant claims, including a $20.1 million impact on its captive reinsurer. After the company’s rating was withdrawn in August, one of its reinsurers also ended their agreement. As such, spectators agree that Florida’s insurance market will remain hard in the foreseeable future due to a difficult reinsurance market, rising litigation levels, and increased catastrophes. Sunshine State of Florida Retirees have been drawn towards the sunny state of Florida forever. Pristine beaches, ideally warm weather, and lack of an income tax lure them into coming here. However, the best part of the sunshine state, along with beautiful beaches and great weather, is that it is also pretty affordable. Many places can easily help retirees live comfortably on their fixed incomes. Some of the best places to retire in Florida on a budget include Sarasota, Tampa, Gainesville, and Melbourne. Those who come here for the coast like to retire in beach towns in particular. The best beach towns in Florida to retire include Daytona Beach, Naples, Key Largo, Bal Harbor, and also Jacksonville. Beach towns often offer retirees a laid-back atmosphere, scenic views, and plentiful leisure activities. Retirees can choose to buy a home to live independently or enjoy the perks and amenities of beach retirement communities. Top retirement communities in Florida on the beach include Lakewood Ranch at Sarasota Beach, Southshore Falls at Apollo Beach, and Sugar Sands in Riviera Beach. Florida is also one of the most popular states to retire to, with 21.2% of seniors living in the state. The state’s popularity among seniors means numerous retirement communities and social clubs are tailored to their interests. Some of the best retirement communities in Florida for singles include Venetian Bay, On Top of World Communities, and The Villages. Smart retirees must steer clear of places that have high costs of living, as well as increased chances of hurricanes. As such, the worst places to retire in Florida include Palm Beach, Miami, Key Biscayne, Key Largo, and Parkland. These areas have crazy living expenses, and many have a high chance of getting hit by a hurricane. For those who wish to avail the best of Florida and avoid hurricanes of all sorts, the best places to retire without hurricanes in Florida include Lake City, Orlando, Kissimmee, and Sanford. Pixabay/Public Domain Methodology To ascertain the best places to retire in Florida without hurricanes, we used a total of 7 (1,2,3,4,5,6,7) sources. Each time a place was mentioned in the source, we gave it one point. Points were added for each place to get a total Insider Monkey Score. For places having the same scores, tie-breaking was done on the basis of the number of hurricanes and storms recorded over the years. Out of 2 places with the same scores, the least-susceptible place would be awarded 0.1 points. In the case of 3 places, 0.2 points would be awarded to the least susceptible place, 0.1 to the second least-susceptible place, and so on. Places were ranked in ascending order from the lowest to the highest scores. It is important to note that Florida is generally susceptible to hurricanes due to its location. Moreover, the degree of susceptibility can vary across different regions within the state. While no place in Florida is “hurricane-free,” certain places in the state may have a lower frequency of hurricane impacts or be less prone to direct hits compared to others. Even after you retire to one of the safest places in Florida without hurricanes, it’s important to remember to be prepared and stay informed about weather conditions during hurricane season (June 1 to November 30). Here are the best places to retire in Florida without hurricanes: 15. The Villages Insider Monkey Score: 2 One place in Florida enjoying a lower susceptibility to direct hurricane hits is The Villages. The census-designated place in Sumter and Marion counties in Florida was spared the brunt of the latest Hurricane Ian as well, holding up incredibly well during the disaster. Its inland location has played a pivotal role in escaping the worst of hurricanes. Lt. John Longacre, the emergency resource specialist with The Villages Public Safety Department, states “The further you go inland, the more likely the winds will decrease.” 14. Wekiwa Springs Insider Monkey Score: 2.1 Located north of Orlando, Wekiwa Springs is a small city that offers seniors a high quality of life. Its inland position in Central Florida is ideal for reducing the impact of direct hurricane hits. However, since no place in Florida is entirely “hurricane-proof,” retirees should avoid creeks or rivers, as these areas have an increased potential for flooding. Besides that, Wekiwa Springs is a bit pricey, yet an ideal destination for those looking for safe areas to live in Florida. Since the 1930s, only 77 hurricanes have hit the city. 13. Doctor Phillips Insider Monkey Score: 2.2 Another one of the best places to retire in Florida without hurricanes is Doctor Phillips. Located southwest of Orlando, the low-risk hurricane zone has had a total of 76 hurricanes recorded since the 1930s. Even though Doctor Phillips is comparatively hurricane-safe, the cost of living in the city is 15% higher than the national average, and housing costs are higher than average as well. The higher expenses explain the convenient access to world-class amenities, such as classy shopping centers, renowned golf courses, and fine dining restaurants that suit retirees’ preferences. 12. Minneola Insider Monkey Score: 2.3 This small town located west of Orlando has had only 72 storms since the 1930s. It is one of the best places to retire in Florida without hurricanes, as it is an inland city in Central Florida. Retirees find living costs in the city to be reasonable relative to many other cities in the state. 11. Lakeland Insider Monkey Score: 2.4 Lakeland is considered a low-risk hurricane zone as it is located inland and further away from the coastal areas. Its proximity to the Tampa Bay area can be a plus for retirees who wish to enjoy the serenity of an inland sanctuary and the appeal of nearby beaches. Lakeland is home to 38 lakes providing plentiful recreational opportunities for seniors. It is important to note that while the city is safe from direct hurricane hits, storms crossing the state can bring in large amounts of destructive wind and rain. Since the 1930s, Lakeland has recorded a total of 72 hurricanes. 10. Fernandina Beach Insider Monkey Score: 3 Fernandina Beach is located in the north of the Atlantic coast, and its placement on the Amelia island lowers its susceptibility to storm surges and winds. Moreover, it is part of a chain of barrier islands, with others acting as a buffer before they reach Fernandina Beach itself. So far, the island has witnessed 85 hurricanes. Coastal beauty, small-town ambiance, and a relaxed lifestyle make it an appealing choice for many retirees. However, the cost of living in Fernandina Beach is higher than the national average. 9. Sanford Insider Monkey Score: 3.1 Another one of the “hurricane proof” cities in Florida to retire to is Sanford. Being slightly inland and away from the coast, the city is usually spared from direct hurricane hits. It has witnessed 78 hurricanes over the years, and is a beautiful city to consider for retirement. The cost of living in the city is also reasonable, being 1.3% lower than the national average. The city boasts picturesque parks, golf courses, and lakes that seniors can enjoy. 8. St Cloud Insider Monkey Score: 3.2 Another low-risk hurricane zone in Florida is St. Cloud, with 77 hurricanes experienced since the 1930s. Located in Central Florida, its inland positioning grants it a certain level of protection from hurricanes. The city also tends to experience less winds — they tend to weaken as they move inland. The cost of living is well below the national average, making it an attractive destination for retirees. 7. Palatka Insider Monkey Score: 3.3 Palatka, Florida, enjoys a low-hurricane risk, with only 77 hurricanes being recorded since the 1930s. Although the small town is closer to the coast than other places on our list, it is still spared the brunt of hurricane hits. Located on St. Johns River, the city enjoys some elevation above sea level, while the river acts as a natural barrier against storm surges. The city also enjoys very reasonable living costs that are 21.3% lower than the national average. 6. Orlando Insider Monkey Score: 3.4 Retirees looking for big-city amenities on top of hurricane safety should consider retiring to Orlando, Florida. The city has experienced only 77 hurricanes since the 1930s, with Hurricane Jeanne being the largest one back in 2004. Any hurricane that hits Florida can take hours to reach the city, weakening by the time it gets there. The cost of living is slightly higher than the national average in Orlando. However, a desirable climate, abundant activities, and world-class attractions make it a top retirement destination. Click to continue reading and see the 5 Best Places to Retire in Florida Without Hurricanes. Suggested Articles: 16 Best Places to Retire in California in 2023 10 Best Revenue Growth Stocks to Buy 20 Best Places to Retire in Mexico Disclosure: none. 15 Best Places to Retire in Florida Without Hurricanes is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyJul 17th, 2023

Telefonica (TEF) Surges 10.6% YTD: Will the Uptrend Continue?

Telefonica's (TEF) performance benefits from strong revenue growth across Telefonica Brazil and the Telefonica Tech business segments. Telefonica TEF witnessed strong momentum this year, with shares gaining 10.6% year to date compared with the sub-industry’s rise of 5.7%.Telefonica provides mobile and fixed communication services in Europe and Latin America. The company continues to invest heavily in deploying and transforming its network to provide excellent connectivity in all dimensions, capacity, speed, coverage and security.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchCatalysts Behind the Price SurgeLet’s delve deeper to unearth the factors working in favor of this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock.The company’s performance benefits from solid momentum across Telefonica Brazil and Telefonica Tech business segments. In the first quarter, revenues in Telefonica Brazil grew 17.5% to €2,282 million, mainly due to the momentum in digital services and the progressive update on tariffs.The company’s 5G network provides almost 85% of the population in Spain with advanced mobile Internet services, streamlining the entire communications infrastructure of the country. The company’s miMovistar portfolio continues to gain traction in Spanish markets. In Spain, Bluevia plans to increase its fiber coverage to 5 million by 2024.The company pursues strategic collaboration to expand its footprint. In June, Telefonica announced that it is extending its partnership with F5 to launch the managed service, Web Application Defense, which leverages the F5 Distributed Cloud Platform.The company reported an impressive performance in the first quarter of 2023. Its quarterly total revenues increased 6.7% year over year to €10,045 million. Organic revenues (aggregating 50% of Virgin Media O2 joint venture results) grew 4.9% year over year to €11,497 million.In 2023, the company expects low-single-digit growth in revenues and OIBDA and a CapEx-to-sales ratio of up to 14%.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2023 and 2024 revenues has increased 34.6% and 90%, respectively, in the past 60 days, reflecting analysts’ optimism regarding the company’s prospects.Also, the company has an impressive VGM Score of B. This style score condenses all the essential metrics from a company’s financial statements to get a true sense of the quality and sustainability of its growth.Despite solid demand, the company is prone to several risks. The company operates in various places throughout the world, which makes it exposed to unfavorable forex dynamics.Other Stocks to ConsiderSome other top-ranked stocks in the broader technology space are Badger Meter BMI, InterDigital IDCC and Woodward WWD. InterDigital sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Badger Meter and Woodward carry a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Badger Meter’s 2023 earnings per share (EPS) has increased 1.1% in the past 60 days to $2.72.Badger Meter’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the last four quarters, the average being 5.3%. Shares of BMI have surged 80.3% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for InterDigital’s 2023 EPS has increased 249% in the past 60 days to $8.08. The company’s long-term earnings growth rate is 13.9%.InterDigital’s earnings beat estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, delivering an average surprise of 170.9%. Shares of IDCC have rallied 51% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Woodward’s fiscal 2023 EPS has increased 3.8% in the past 60 days to $3.58.WWD’s long-term earnings growth rate is 13.5%. Shares of WWD have gained 14% in the past year. Free Report: Top EV Battery Stocks to Buy Now Just-released report reveals 5 stocks to profit as millions of EV batteries are made. Elon Musk tweeted that lithium prices have gone to "insane levels," and they're likely to keep climbing. As a result, a handful of lithium battery stocks are set to skyrocket. Access this report to discover which battery stocks to buy and which to avoid.Download free today.Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Badger Meter, Inc. (BMI): Free Stock Analysis Report Telefonica SA (TEF): Free Stock Analysis Report InterDigital, Inc. (IDCC): Free Stock Analysis Report Woodward, Inc. (WWD): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJul 8th, 2023

Top 10 Worst Places to Retire in Florida

In this article, we will explore the top 10 worst places to retire in Florida. If you want to skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to the Top 5 Worst Places to Retire in Florida. Retiring at 70 Even though the 8.7% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in 2023 did raise benefits by […] In this article, we will explore the top 10 worst places to retire in Florida. If you want to skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to the Top 5 Worst Places to Retire in Florida. Retiring at 70 Even though the 8.7% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in 2023 did raise benefits by 64%, inflationary impacts have had retirees cash-strapped. The average retirement age worldwide is rising, and so is the minimum age to receive social security benefits in full. These senior citizens have been losing their buying power since the 1900s, with the cost of goods and services witnessing a massive rise of 130% this year. Moreover, with baby boomers continuing to retire by the millions, fewer workers are left to support the aging population. As a result, the Social Security Retirement Trust Fund is expected to deplete by 2033. By this time, these funds can only pay 80% of the benefits. The data comes from projections of the U.S. economy on Gross Domestic Product and inflation. The Treasury Department report has revised these levels of GDP and labor productivity by 3%, which has worsened the outlook for Social Security. Furthermore, with the dearth of the U.S. labor force and millions out of the labor market after the pandemic, proposals to revise the Full Retirement Age for social security and Medicare healthcare seem unavoidable. Now that the Social-Security full retirement age is transitioning to 67, there are going to be huge benefit cuts too. Individuals who retire at 62, the earliest retirement age, will experience a benefit reduction as large as 43%. With Social Security’s unforeseeable future and increasing ages of retirement (possibly till 70) and healthcare, young adults need to start taking precautions if they wish to retire comfortably in their dream destinations. Worst Places to Retire in Florida Florida was once deemed as a retirement paradise and a dream of many. Individuals saved up all their lives to flock to the sunshine state and settle in the best places Florida had to offer them. However, the cheerful state isn’t all sun, beaches, and paradise anymore. Rising living costs and un-nerving hurricanes are increasingly taking a toll on businesses and individuals, with seniors taking the hardest blow. The latest Hurricane Ian has killed about 137 people in Southwest Florida, two-thirds of which were seniors. With a fixed income and old age taking its toll, seniors have been having trouble after the hurricane, and many find evacuations too expensive to consider at all. Even with businesses such as The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE: H.D.) and Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) committing millions of dollars to hurricane-impacted areas, it is still not enough. According to Fitch Ratings, Hurricane Katrina brought about $65 billion in insured losses back in 2005. After that one, the latest Hurricane Ian has had insured losses amounting between $50-65 billion, CNBC notes. Home Improvement companies have definitely witnessed their stocks surging after the disaster, with The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE: H.D.), Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW), and Floor & Décor witnessing sales hikes after the landfall. Demand also surged for Generac Holdings Inc. (NYSE:GNRC). Since Hurricane Ian wiped out power for 11 million Cuban residents, the generator maker Generac Holdings Inc. (NYSE:GNRC) faced a resulting surge in demand. Stocks for The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE: H.D.) surged by 5%, Lowe’s saw a 3.8% climb, while Generac Holdings Inc. (NYSE:GNRC) saw a boost of 4.6%. Even though home improvement companies will sustain the demand for some time, companies like Generac Holdings Inc. (NYSE:GNRC) will eventually witness their stocks plummet due to lower outages and a weaker housing market. As such, the worst place to retire in Florida for retirees is definitely the North West owing largely to the warm shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico. South West is also a prime location with the latest hurricane, Ian hitting the coast. In particular, Miami is the worst place to live in Florida when it comes to hurricanes, with a 16% chance of getting hit by a hurricane each year. This is why retirees with smaller nest eggs should consider retiring to places that are hurricane-free. As such, the best places in Florida without hurricanes include Lake City, Leesburg, Palatka, and Orlando, amongst others. Retirees may also go through the list of best places in Florida to retire on a budget. While these budget-friendly places do not necessarily coincide with the best places in Florida, they are definitely worth looking into for retirees looking for the best mix between affordability and luxury. Pixabay/Public Domain Methodology In order to compile the list of top 10 worst places to retire in Florida, we have used 3 (1,2,3) sources. After listing out the worst places mentioned in the sources, we listed out the cost of living index for each place from Sperling’s Best Places, their level of risk to hurricanes and floods, Crime index from Numbeo, and the Percentage of the Population Ages 65 and Older Below 100 Percent of the Poverty Level from U.S. Census Bureau. We also checked out different retirement-related subs on reddit, along with other forums, to inculcate the experiences of retirees from the chosen areas. Next, we individually ranked the places based on the factors mentioned above. After ranking on all metrics, we calculated the total ranking to create our own scores. The places are listed in ascending order, with the worst place in Florida to retire is the one with the higest score. 10. Bal Harbor Insider Monkey Score: 22 Bal Harbor can be a great place for vacations, but it is certainly not an ideal place to retire. The high cost of living index at 131.4 means retirees need more than just their social security check to afford living here. The place is also highly prone to hurricanes and floods, with more than 78 hurricanes being recorded since 1930. As of 2018, the crime rate in Bal Harbor was 96.28 per 100,000 population. According to Realtor, the median rental price for apartments in Bal Harbor amount to $9,500 as of now. Moreover, the poverty rate in the suburb is 69.53% higher than the Florida average, with 6.7% of the 65 and older population living below the poverty line. 9. Juno Beach Insider Monkey Score: 23 Juno Beach makes it to our list of the worst places to retire in Florida due to its high cost of living and high risk of hurricanes. The cost of living index for Juno Beach is 145.1, which means living here is 45% more expensive than the U.S. average. According to 24/7 Wall Street, the total expenses for a single adult in Juno Beach, such as housing, food, healthcare, and other necessities, is $38,025 annually, which is greater than the U.S. average. Moreover, Homefacts notes that 84 hurricanes have been recorded in the area since 1930. Besides these factors, the place is generally safe to live in, and only a minor population lives below the poverty line. 8. Highland Beach Insider Monkey Score: 24 Retirees who are surviving on social security checks can explore other best places to live on social security and forget about Highland Beach. The cost of living is insanely high here, with a cost of living index of 148.8. The figure implies that living is 48% more expensive than the U.S. average, and monthly rents at the beach can be as much as $6,557. Since 1930, the beach has also recorded a total of 87 hurricanes. The area is highly prone to hurricanes, with the recent Hurricane Ana hitting the area back in 2015. Groceries and healthcare are both very expensive and exceed the national average. 7. Siesta Keys Insider Monkey Score: 27 The cost of living index for Siesta Keys is 150.2, implying that the cost of living here is a shocking 50% higher than the U.S. average. Average monthly rents in the area are exceptionally high, and those on a social security check cannot even think about living here. According to Zillow, the median rent for bedrooms and properties in Siesta Keys is $6,000. The place is also a high-risk hurricane zone, with 72 hurricanes being recorded since 1930. Residents also call the place quite dull, with little to do in the area. 6. Key West Insider Monkey Score: 27 Key West may have been a popular retirement destination, but its high cost of living makes it extremely difficult for retirees. The cost of living index for the area is 151.2, 51% higher than the U.S. average. Zumper further notes that one-bedroom apartments cost $4,708 on average, with area prices increasing per year. Healthcare is pretty expensive in Key West as it is 62.4% above the national average. Residents note that healthcare is very basic, and there are no activities beyond beaching, drinking, and boating. Tropical weather systems often visit the place, which is why it is no stranger to hurricanes and storms. Accu Weather further notes that Key West, similar to Miami, has a 16% likelihood of getting hit by a hurricane during the Atlantic Hurricane season. Hurricane City further notes that the area is likely to get hit by a hurricane every 6.04 years. Click to continue reading and see the Top 5 Worst Places to Retire in Florida. Suggested Articles: 16 Best Retirement Communities in Florida Near the Beach 20 Easiest Countries To Immigrate To From US 50 Most Densely Populated Cities in the World Disclosure: none. Top 10 Worst Places to Retire in Florida is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyJun 4th, 2023

This Housing Bubble Is Different: It"s Much More Precarious

This Housing Bubble Is Different: It's Much More Precarious Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog, And what happens next? Bubble symmetry: valuations fall at the same rate as they rose, declining back to the starting point over a roughly equivalent time duration. All speculative bubbles share certain traits: the abandonment of caution, the euphoria of seemingly endless gains, the eventual re-connect with reality (i.e. the bubble pops) and bubble symmetry as the waterfall decline mirrors the euphoric ascent. At the same time, the specific origin and nature of each bubble is unique to its era and circumstance. The housing bubble that popped with such devastating consequences in 2007-08 was the result of the vast expansion of subprime mortgage lending which began as a progressive goal of expanding home ownership to the lower-middle class by lowering credit standards. This ideal quickly morphed into the explosive growth of entire industries exploiting this new pool of subprime borrowers via outright fraud: no-document loans (a.k.a. liar loans), negative interest mortgages, interest-only mortgages, etc., all fueled by the packaging of guaranteed-to-default mortgages in mortgage-backed securities fraudulently veneered with a low-risk rating issued by captured ratings agencies. The rock that starts the landslide doesn't have to be all that large. The entire subprime mortgage sector was a relatively modest percentage of the mortgage market and a tiny slice of the global financial system, but it is the nature of bubbles to be a pyramid house of cards in which the entire bubble is based on debt expanding on the supposedly solid foundation of rapidly rising collateral: the McMansion that sold for $300,000 a few months ago has doubled in value and now supports a $500,000 mortgage. The delighted speculator takes the "free money" $200,000 and buys another McMansion, and so on, pyramiding the first house into a mini-empire of homes, all gaining value as the bubble expands. This virtuous feedback expands housing valuations, collateral and debt that is deployed to buy more homes. Then the feedback loop reverses. Once the bubble pops, valuations decline, collateral diminishes and eventually all the mortgages are underwater, i.e. unsupported by collateral. At the same time, income generated by the assets declines, making it difficult for the owner to service the debt, which perversely, remains the same as valuations plummet. This time around, the source of the bubble isn't subprime buyers, it's wealthy investors and corporations using "excess savings" and easy credit to snap up homes and rental apartments as "safe" places tp park their excess capital. Excess savings is in quotes because the "excess" money isn't savings per se, it's unearned gains generated by buying assets long ago at low rates of interest. As valuations soared, the wealthy owners of capital have been "burdened" with the task of where to park all these massive gains. Macro-economists reference this "excess savings" as a problem without exploring the reality it's only the top 5% which have this "problem": as many have documented, the vast majority of the gains generated by the economy/assets have accrued to the top 5% who bought assets early in the cycle and used their skills, connections and capital to skim most of the income gains as well as most of the capital appreciation. Globalization and financialization concentrated the economy's gains in corporations, which also gained the "problem" of what to do with all this "excess savings." One popular choice is use the money to buy back shares, an "investment" that boosts earnings per share by reducing the number of shares outstanding and that accrues to shareholders and those managers who have outstanding stock options based on the value of shares. Both the wealth 5% and corporations also had access to low-cost credit. Ample incomes, substantial assets--these are highly attractive to lenders, and so the best rates are available to the already-wealthy who can then tap this credit to buy assets which yield higher returns. Real estate is a favored place to park "excess capital" globally for three reasons: 1. As a general rule, it's a stable, lucrative source of income via rents, either long-term or short-term vacation rentals (Airbnb). 2. Real estate typically has a lower risk profile than assets such as stocks. 3. In eras of expanding credit, leverage and population, real estate typically increases in value as supply is inherently limited by geography and other factors. The short-term rental craze is an under-appreciated driver of the frenzy to buy homes and flats globally. The top 5% read accounts of owners banking huge incomes from short-term rentals in desirable locales and in response they deployed some of their excess capital/credit to chasing the short-term rental market by buying properties sight unseen. In hot real estate markets, wealthy buyers snapped up properties to hold for capital appreciation. Since tenants are potential sources of problems, these absentee owners prefer not to bother renting out the flat or house; they purposefully leave it empty since they don't even need a rental income to cover the expenses. The net result of these pressures to park excess capital in real estate? Hundreds of thousands of empty homes and flats. By siphoning these properties off the market, the wealthy parking excess capital have created artificial scarcities in long-term rentals and "homes for sale," jacking up rents and pushing valuations to the moon. Corporations have bought up tens of thousands of houses and built or bought tens of thousands of rental apartments to lock in the low-risk returns of collecting rent and capital appreciation. Note the virtuous feedback for the wealthy: the more properties they own and keep off the market, the greater the upward pressure on rents and valuations, and the greater their income and appreciation. In the chart below (courtesy of CH @Econimica), note that the population and number of employees 18-64 years of age in the American West remained essentially flat while the number of housing units increased by 1.3 million. And yet there's supposedly a sudden shortage of housing for rent/sale? Any scarcity isn't the result of population growth, it's the result of rentier-investors buying units as investments and holding them off the long-term rental / ownership markets. There's also a demographic component: the number of young people who can afford to buy a flat or home from the absentee-rentier wealthy / corporate owners has diminished as interest rates have risen and housing prices have soared. In effect, this concentration of ownership in the hands of rentier wealthy and corporations has stripmined the market of conventional household buyers. In effect, liquidity has been withdrawn from the real estate market. The wealthy can sell to other wealthy households, but since that's 5% of the populace at best, the market is thin / illiquid. Once selling commences, there are few buyers to support valuations. Illiquid markets are prone to crashes or waterfall declines, a dynamic visible in the chart below of the current housing bubble bust decline. Though few seem to mention it, housing demand is elastic. People move back home, move in with their adult children, take boarders / roommates, etc. There is no law that says an increasing population guarantees a populace of people who can afford $2,500 rent for a tiny flat or $750,000 for a crumbling bungalow. In a recession, rents drop. Housing demand slackens and vacancies increase, pressuring rents lower. Once rents drop, valuations follow, as valuations eventually reconnect with the fundamentals of income generated by the asset. Once prices of houses and flats start dropping, owners can no longer count on appreciation. Suddenly, a low-risk asset acquires a different risk profile: it's losing value, not gaining value. To lock in gains, the wealthy rentier class and corporations have to sell. Nice, but to whom? Having outpriced households and stripmined the younger generations with sky-high rents, the wealthy and the corporations will discover there aren't enough buyers to support current valuations. Once absentee owners try to sell en masse, the market crashes. Distortions eventually have consequences. Concentrate wealth and income in the top 5% and corporations, and give the already-wealthy abundant low-cost credit to concentrate ownership of assets, and you get a distorted economy in which the few have outpriced the many and skimmed most of the income. Who's left to buy overvalued assets? Too few to prop up nosebleed valuations. And what happens next? Bubble symmetry: valuations fall at the same rate as they rose, declining back to the starting point over a roughly equivalent time duration. (see chart below). *  *  * Thank you, all who responded so generously to my rattling of the begging bowl this past weekend. I am honored and humbled by your support and encouragement. My new book is now available at a 10% discount ($8.95 ebook, $18 print): Self-Reliance in the 21st Century.  Read the first chapter for free (PDF) Become a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. Tyler Durden Fri, 04/14/2023 - 11:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeApr 14th, 2023

4 Stocks to Buy From the Thriving Refining & Marketing Industry

The Zacks Oil and Gas - Refining & Marketing industry's prospects remain bullish. Accordingly, operators like MPC, VLO, PBF and MUSA are expected to deliver a strong operating performance. Since coming out of the pandemic, the Zacks Oil and Gas - Refining & Marketing industry has witnessed strong demand across all product lines. While the rise in inflation throughout 2022 has driven costs up materially, the space continues to benefit from strength in fundamentals and strong margins. As global product supply is expected to remain constrained for some time due to capacity reductions, downstream operators should enjoy a bullish landscape in the near-to-medium term. With the trends looking promising, refining and marketing firms like Marathon Petroleum MPC, Valero Energy VLO, PBF Energy PBF and Murphy USA MUSA have lots of upside left and are likely to see impressive revenue and cash flow growth.Industry OverviewThe Zacks Oil and Gas - Refining & Marketing industry consists of companies involved in selling refined petroleum products (including heating oil, gasoline, jet fuel, residual oil, etc.) and a plethora of non-energy materials (like asphalt, road salt, clay and gypsum). Some of the companies also operate refined products’ terminals, storage facilities and transportation services. The primary activity of these firms involves buying crude/other feedstocks, and processing them into a wide variety of refined products. Refining margins are extremely volatile and generally reflect the state of petroleum product inventories, demand for refined products, imports, regional differences, and capacity utilization in the refining industry. Other major determinants of refining profitability are the light/heavy and sweet/sour spreads. Refiners are also prone to unplanned outages.3 Trends Defining the Oil and Gas - Refining & Marketing Industry's FutureGrowing Fuel Demand: Of late, refiners have been supported by a marked improvement in refined products’ consumption — primarily gasoline and diesel — on the back of increasing travel and mobility. Per the U.S. Energy Department's latest release, gasoline inventories are around 5% below the five-year average, signaling robust oil product usage in the market. In other words, this indicates surging consumption of gasoline, diesel and other refined products. As economic activity remains hot (with no visible sign of an imminent recession) and Americans take to the road with a vengeance amid post-pandemic recovery, refined products’ usage should continue to gain traction throughout 2023. The refiners should also benefit from increased driving and accelerating international travel.Strong Margins: The industry’s improved fundamentals in the form of constrained supply and robust demand have led to rising refining profitability for the players involved. With product inventories running low and no near-term solution to replenish them, margins (especially for diesel and jet fuel) logged all-time highs in 2022. While margins have moderated from those spectacular levels, they are still reasonably high. Overall, elevated consumption paired with considerably lower refining capacity in the OECD countries should provide a tailwind for refinery profits throughout the year. In particular, constrained Russian fuel exports in the wake of the Ukraine conflict have further tightened refining fundamentals.Inflation in the Marketplace: Despite the bullish energy landscape and improved demand environment, the industry has not been immune to supply-chain disruptions and cost inflation. Macro issues like higher transportation expenses, driver scarcity and labor shortages have limited refiners’ ability to ship packaged volumes to their customers. Most operators have also felt the impact of inflation, which is rolling through the cost structure. What’s worse is that these headwinds across the system and the subsequent hit to profitability (due to difficulty in passing through the increased costs to clients) are expected to continue in the near future.Zacks Industry Rank Indicates a Sunny OutlookThe Zacks Oil and Gas - Refining & Marketing is a 16-stock group within the broader Zacks Oil - Energy sector. The industry currently carries a Zacks Industry Rank #47, which places it in the top 19% of more than 250 Zacks industries.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates fairly strong near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.The industry’s position in the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is a result of a positive earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. Looking at the aggregate earnings estimate revisions, it appears that analysts are highly optimistic about this group’s earnings growth potential. In fact, the industry’s earnings estimates for 2023 have increased 79.6% in the past year.Considering the encouraging dynamics of the industry, we will present a few stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio. But it’s worth taking a look at the industry’s shareholder returns and the current valuation first.Industry Outperforms Sector & S&P 500The Zacks Oil and Gas - Refining & Marketing industry has fared better than the broader Zacks Oil - Energy sector as well as the Zacks S&P 500 composite over the past year.The industry has gained 21.8% over this period compared with the broader sector’s increase of 17%. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 has lost 6.8%.One-Year Price Performance Industry's Current ValuationSince oil and gas companies are debt-laden, it makes sense to value them based on the EV/EBITDA (Enterprise Value/ Earnings before Interest Tax Depreciation and Amortization) ratio. This is because the valuation metric takes into account not just equity but also the level of debt. For capital-intensive companies, EV/EBITDA is a better valuation metric because it is not influenced by changing capital structures and ignores the effect of noncash expenses.On the basis of the trailing 12-month enterprise value-to EBITDA (EV/EBITDA), the industry is currently trading at 2.32X, significantly lower than the S&P 500’s 12.22X. It is also below the sector’s trailing-12-month EV/EBITDA of 3.23X.Over the past five years, the industry has traded as high as 6.90X, as low as 1.89X, with a median of 4.46X, as the chart below shows.Trailing 12-Month Enterprise Value-to EBITDA (EV/EBITDA) Ratio (Past Five Years)  4 Top Stocks to Buy NowMurphy USA: It is a leading independent retailer of motor fuel and convenience merchandise in the United States. The proximity of Murphy USA’s fuel stations to Walmart supercenters helps the company to leverage the strong and consistent traffic that these stores attract. MUSA’s acquisition of QuickChek Corporation — a family-owned food and beverage chain located — is expected to help improve its offerings.Over the past 30 days, this El Dorado, AR-based Murphy USA has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2023 improve 6%. MUSA beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the trailing four quarters, the average being 43.4%. The company carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).  Shares of MUSA are up 48.6% in a year. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Price and Consensus: MUSA Marathon Petroleum: The company is a leading independent refiner, transporter and marketer of petroleum products. MPC’s $23.3 billion acquisition of Andeavor has integrated the premier assets of both companies, bolstering the scale and leadership position of the combined entity in the United States. As it is, Marathon Petroleum's access to lower cost of crude in the Permian, Bakken, and Canada helps it to benefit from the differentials.Marathon Petroleum has an expected earnings growth rate of 237.6% for the current quarter. MPC beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in each of the trailing four quarters, the average being 20.9%. Valued at around $59.6 billion, the Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) Marathon Petroleum has gained 64.3% in a year.Price and Consensus: MPC PBF Energy: PBF Energy has one of the most complex refining systems in the United States. As a result, the firm has the capacity to generate lighter and better grades of refined products. PBF’s daily processing capacity of 1,000,000 barrels of crude is higher than most of its peers.The 2022 Zacks Consensus Estimate for this Parsippany, NJ-based firm indicates 1,055.6% year-over-year earnings per share growth. PBF Energy beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in each of the last four quarters, the average being 49%. The Zacks #2 Ranked PBF’s shares are up 149.5% in a year.Price and Consensus: PBF Valero Energy: Among all the independent refiners, Valero offers the most diversified refinery base with a capacity of 3.1 million barrels per day in its 15 refineries located throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. The majority of VLO’s refining plants are located in the Gulf coast area, from where there is easy access to the export facilities.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Valero’s 2023 earnings has been revised 17.4% upward over the past 30 days. VLO, headquartered in San Antonio, TX, has a projected earnings growth rate of 198.7% for the current quarter. It has a Zacks Rank #2. Shares of VLO are up 54.6% in a year.Price and Consensus: VLO  4 Oil Stocks with Massive Upsides Global demand for oil is through the roof... and oil producers are struggling to keep up. So even though oil prices are well off their recent highs, you can expect big profits from the companies that supply the world with "black gold."  Zacks Investment Research has just released an urgent special report to help you bank on this trend.  In Oil Market on Fire, you'll discover 4 unexpected oil and gas stocks positioned for big gains in the coming weeks and months. You don't want to miss these recommendations. Download your free report now to see them.Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC): Free Stock Analysis Report Valero Energy Corporation (VLO): Free Stock Analysis Report Murphy USA Inc. (MUSA): Free Stock Analysis Report PBF Energy Inc. (PBF): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksFeb 17th, 2023

Mars may have molten lava, scientists discover from quakes detected by NASA"s Insight lander

NASA's Mars seismometer kept detecting quakes coming from one region of rifts. Scientists now think there's an underground chamber of magma there. The Hubble Space Telescope snapped this portrait of Mars on May 12, 2016.NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), J. Bell (ASU), and M. Wolff (Space Science Institute) NASA's InSight lander has detected Mars quakes that mostly come from one region: Cerberus Fossae. Scientists assessing those quakes discovered evidence that there's molten lava deep within Mars. Present-day magma on Mars would change scientists' understanding of the planet's history and interior. Scientists have long thought Mars was dead — in the geological sense.Sure, the planet is peppered with volcanoes and there are ancient lava flows in some places. But the cold, barren world seemed to have lost its volcanic fervor long ago.But now, using a seismometer on NASA's InSight lander, scientists have discovered the first evidence of molten lava deep below the Martian surface.An artist illustration of the InSight lander on Mars.NASA/JPL-CaltechThe presence of active lava could change scientists' understanding of Mars's history — from its formation, to the period when it may have hosted microbial life, to the loss of its atmosphere and the cold rock it is today. That informs how scientists understand rocky planets beyond our solar system, too, including those that could host their own life.A series of Mars quakes clued the scientists in to the potential lava hotspot. Unexpectedly, most large quakes were coming from that one spot."We found something that was really not consistent with anything we believed was true," Anna Mittelholz, a planetary scientist on the team of researchers behind the discovery, told Insider.Mittelholz recalled the words of her team's lead researcher, in reference to shaking up scientists' beliefs: "Oh no, we broke Mars."The biggest Mars quakes point to an underground chamber of magmaInSight has detected more than 1,300 Mars quakes since landing on the red planet in 2018. To scientists' surprise, the most powerful tremors all came from one region full of rifts, called Cerberus Fossae.This image taken by NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows part of Cerberus Fossae, a long system of surface faults, in 2010.NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of ArizonaIn a paper published in Nature Astronomy on Thursday, researchers analyzed 20 of those big quakes. Seismic waves carry information about every bit of Mars they travel through on their way to InSight. The researchers discovered that certain seismic waves were moving much more slowly than they expected."The only answer that seemed to make sense with this observation is that the region has to be hot," Mittelholz said.That indicates the presence of molten lava, or "magma," deep below the Cerberus Fossae surface. That magma moving or cooling is probably what creates those quakes, according to Mittelholz, since the rumblings originate 14 to 50 kilometers below the Martian surface, where the scientists suspect the chamber of magma is."It is possible that what we are seeing are the last remnants of this once active volcanic region or that the magma is right now moving eastward to the next location of eruption," Simon Stähler, who led the study, said in a press release.The movement is also probably causing smaller, surface-level quakes, by breaking up and moving around the planet's crust in that region."We are pretty confident that there is some volcanic activity going on down there. It's very hard to explain the data in any other way. So locally, I would say it's pretty definitive. I think the bigger question is: What would we expect globally?" Mittelholz said.InSight carries the only seismometer ever placed on Mars. It's just one station in one location, and it can't detect smaller quakes that happen far away or on the other side of the planet. So scientists have limited information about Mars's seismic activity and any other potential hotspots for quakes or magma. To get the global picture of Mars quakes and volcanic activity, NASA would need to send more seismometers to the red planet.This volcanic, quake-prone region of Mars is a mysterySpacecraft orbiting Mars have imaged plenty of fault lines along its surface — regions where there's clear disruption from subsurface tremors — so scientists expected InSight to detect quakes from many different places.Mars has surprised them, though. Almost all the quakes so far have come from Cerberus Fossae."I think it will take some figuring out what this actually means and why that's the case. What is so special about Cerberus Fossae? I wouldn't say it's what we expected to see," Mittelholz said.InSight is running out of power, as dust builds up on its solar panels. Its mission on Mars will likely end before January 2023. Then there will be no seismometer on Mars to gather new information about the planet's deep structures.Dust has built up on InSight's solar panels, as these selfies from 2018, lefts, and 2022, right, show.NASA/JPL-Caltech"I think that this InSight data set will be there for awhile. There's been so much data coming all the time that it's actually been hard to fully take all the information that's in it," Mittelholz said, adding, "So I think that a lot of studies will result, even after InSight is not operating anymore."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 27th, 2022

With Flood Insurance Overhaul, Industry Hopes for Minimal Disruption

Flood insurance rates skyrocketing by 1,000% overnight. Property values plummeting in coastal communities as markets dry up. And buyers obliviously drawn into purchases before being slammed with enormous, rapidly increasing premiums. These are the fears that have echoed around the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) massive overhaul of its flood insurance arm, the National Flood […] The post With Flood Insurance Overhaul, Industry Hopes for Minimal Disruption appeared first on RISMedia. Flood insurance rates skyrocketing by 1,000% overnight. Property values plummeting in coastal communities as markets dry up. And buyers obliviously drawn into purchases before being slammed with enormous, rapidly increasing premiums. These are the fears that have echoed around the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) massive overhaul of its flood insurance arm, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Dubbed “Risk Rating 2.0,” the changes went into effect Oct.1, and policymakers are saying it is the biggest single adjustment to how the federal government manages flood insurance in at least 50 years. But are any of these fears grounded in reality? What, if anything, should professionals in the real estate industry be concerned about? Nothing catastrophic, according to agents and experts. Though due to the complex and sprawling nature of the new rules, it remains impossible to fully predict long-term ramifications. Most are expecting some (maybe significant) short-term bumpiness, but not a dramatic collapse of markets, as both agents and homeowners adjust to what amounts to a complete rewrite of flood insurance policy across the country. “It’s a transformational change in the program,” says Chad Berginnis, executive director of the Association of State Flood Plain Managers (ASFPM), a non-profit that has lobbied in support of Risk Rating 2.0. “We have been supportive of this notion that people are finally able to get and understand their full risk rates, because that then drives behaviors and actions. “We think that is hugely important.” What Is Risk Rating 2.0? At an essential level, Risk Rating 2.0 is completely changing how properties are assessed for flood risk, relying less on broadly drawn (and often outdated) flood maps and instead making an actuarial calculation for every individual property. This is meant to give a more realistic picture of flood risk to homeowners and homebuyers, as well as distributing the cost burden more equitably between high-risk and low-risk properties. A vast majority of policyholders will see only a modest increase in their premiums in the first year of the new program, according to FEMA—less than $10 a month. About a quarter of people will actually see decreased premiums. Also important, the program sets a cap on the maximum a homeowner will pay for a premium at just about $12,000 annually, with rates established for a full year. This is in contrast to previous rules, which effectively allowed premiums to rise indefinitely based on risk and flooding events with rates that could change at a moment’s notice. Those who will see an increase still have the relief of a previously approved rule that prevents premiums going up by more than 18% in most cases (25% in some rarer circumstances). But there is no limit on how many annual increases a property will experience, meaning a homeowner might see a small bump to their premium annually for several years, with bigger increases concentrated in later years. FEMA has made it clear it will continue to evaluate risk and also that the $12,000 cap could change. New policies are reflecting the Risk Rating 2.0 changes as of Oct. 1, while current policyholders will not see updated numbers on their renewals until after April of next year. Policyholders can still transfer their policies to a new owner, maintaining any discounts they have, according to FEMA. Where the Land Meets the Sea Cyndee Haydon has a front-row seat to any kind of flood-related issue in real estate. Working for independent brokerage Future Home Realty on the perennially hurricane-prone Florida coast, she herself lives “on a peninsula on a peninsula.” The name of her team—”Sandbars to Sunsets”—aptly describes her market on the state’s gulf coast, which includes a scintillating strip of vacation beaches home to celebrities like NFL superstar Tom Brady and Hollywood actor Tom Cruise. Haydon says that Risk Rating 2.0 is fundamentally a good thing—creating more equity, resiliency, certainty and scientific underpinnings for flood insurance. “Common sense tells you that there’s a lot of logic [in the new system],” she says. Because of government subsidies, homeowners and homebuyers did not actually know the true actuarial costs of insuring a given property with the NFIP until now. Though congress tried to eliminate those subsidies in 2012 (with the program around $20 billion in the red), elected officials and advocates balked as insurance costs ballooned for property owners, threatening to push people out of their homes. Haydon says only about 0.2% of policyholders in Florida would eventually end up at the top rate of $12,000. Even for those markets that will be hit the hardest though, she argues that the most important thing for the real estate industry is transparency—something that Risk Rating 2.0 has promised, though not yet proved it will deliver. Essentially, if people are going to choose to live—or not live—in a flood-prone area, they should do so with both eyes open, Haydon says. “I do think that there’s various decisions that people make, but they will be wiser now,” she says. “I think consumers may get better long-term options that they can evaluate in that process…in my perception, in many places people will understand the real cost of ownership and be able to make better informed decisions.” Somewhat surprisingly, the state that will experience the highest proportion of what FEMA calls “substantive” first-year premium increases (more than $20 per month) is not Florida, and is not located anywhere in the hurricane-prone southeast. In the small New England state of Connecticut, Michael Barbaro is a broker and also president of the state’s consolidated MLS system, SmartMLS. He says he is not sure why his state is bearing such a heavy burden in Risk Rating 2.0, though he speculated that two large storms—Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012—probably figured into the calculation. In the short term, Barbaro says he is most worried about the fact that right now, as Risk Rating 2.0 goes into effect, the new insurance adjustments remain opaque and the specific policy changes are not being fully explained. “What has the most significant impact on the real estate market at any one time is uncertainty,” says Barbaro. “Without certainty and until there is certainty in the market—and it’s not based on some table, it’s actually what the prices are going to be—I fear we’ll see the same impact we saw [in 2012].” Ideally, flood insurance quotes will be delivered quickly and with at least some idea of the reasoning behind the underlying actuarial calculation, Barbaro says—something real estate agents cannot do themselves, and must depend on the insurance industry to provide to clients. Both Haydon and Barbaro refer to that 2012 legislation, which was known as the Biggert-Waters Act, with distaste. Though again, the goal of that policy change was well-intended and necessary, they say that a lack of good communication, and the suddenness in which property owners were swamped with huge new premiums, rocked markets. “For the longest period of time after [Hurricanes] Sandy and Irene, people were calling up and just saying, ‘Is this property in a flood zone?’ And if it was, they were just hanging up the phone,” says Barbaro. Haydon says she hopes now, in 2021, people are more aware of flooding issues after years of increasingly severe weather events, and will not be surprised by flood danger reflected in their insurance premiums. She adds that the overall state of the economy and housing is more likely to allow people flexibility in their living choices compared to 2012. “I can’t think of a better time for a homeowner to have more options. And so what’s really been lacking has been information,” she says. “REALTORS® and our code of ethics are really about standing up for the consumer to have the information to make good decisions.” Though Haydon says she has had occasional clients who have simply walked away from the idea of living in flood-prone areas, she does not expect towns and regions like hers to suffer too much in the long-term. “We’re going to be figuring this stuff out,” she says. The Big Picture Real estate agents and other stakeholders are not particularly worried that Risk Rating 2.0 will cause the same major problems that Biggert-Waters did a decade ago. Though the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) lobbied in favor of Biggert-Waters (and has also supported Risk Rating 2.0), changes in both the new policy’s language and implementation, as well as the larger resiliency landscape seem designed to avoid a repeat of 2012. NAR’s support spokesperson Tori Syrek tells RISMedia that Risk Rating 2.0 fixes the problems of Biggert-Waters, which the organization says was flawed from the beginning. “We did not know that FEMA was using a 50-year-old rating methodology and only one or two pieces of information in a zone to rate each and every property in [Biggert-Waters],” Syrek says. “This resulted in untenable and scientifically un-defensible outcomes.” Risk Rating 2.0 evolved with support from an NAR-convened insurance committee, which Syrek says worked closely with FEMA to develop the “state-of-the-art system” utilizing the input of flood experts and other scientists. The $12,000 cap and the continuation of the max 18% annual increase in premiums will certainly help people adjust to the changes with a “glidepath,” according to Berginnis. Still, over the longer term, there are even more potential supports that will allow property owners to increase the flood resilience of their homes—and likely offset their insurance costs at the same time. “I don’t know if it’s serendipity right now, but we potentially have a once in a lifetime surge of mitigation funding that’s coming out of FEMA that can actually help property owners do something about that risk,” he says. The federal government has already earmarked just under $3.5 billion through an initiative called the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), which is meant to fortify regions against all kinds of natural disasters. The “Build Back Better” budget reconciliation bill proposed by Democrats in Congress contains an additional $1 billion meant for disaster preparedness, and the bipartisan infrastructure bill allocates another $3.5 billion specifically for highest-risk or repeatedly flooding properties. Berginnis calls this investment—much of which is at least partially facilitated through various COVID disaster declarations—a “historic” opportunity to prepare for future flooding. If both bills pass, the total monies available to potentially help homeowners do things like lift their homes, fix grading issues or even fully rebuild structures would reach about $8 billion. “The timing couldn’t be better,” Berginnis says. But like the short-term effects of the changes, much of the specifics around these grants remain unknown. Much of the $8 billion would be distributed to state and local governments, which would then have some discretion on how to allocate and prioritize them, Berginnis says. Other chunks of money are directly administered by FEMA, and recently those grants have gone to larger projects—though they could theoretically be directed toward individual homeowners or properties according to Berginnis. Additionally, federal elected officials have proposed means-tested financial assistance to help lower-income property owners with premiums—something Berginnis says has been popular across the political and geographic spectrum. “Now Congress has just gotta get the job done,” he says. Buyers and Sellers Barbaro is less optimistic than some, at least in the short term. Recent transactions his company is involved in have already hit hiccups, he says. A relatively modest, inland multifamily home Barbaro just sold was quoted as needing $8,700 in flood insurance right off the bat. That might not have had anything to do with Risk Rating 2.0, he posited, but because no one has been able to say for certain, buyers are getting skittish. “When people get scared and they have uncertainty in the real estate market, they react pretty quickly—particularly the negative things,” he says. In Florida, Haydon compares adjustments in the real estate market to computer programmers bug-testing code in software that has already been released—adjusting on the fly as they encounter problems. She credits FEMA with taking a slower approach, and NAR for putting out plenty of guidance for REALTORS® so this process can happen as painlessly as possible. “We’ve been out in front…trying to educate our members to be able to communicate to the consumer in a way that gets in the facts,” she says. Regular, damaging hurricanes have not consistently driven people away from certain neighborhoods or towns in Florida, Haydon points out, positing that some consumers will always be willing to take on flood risk. But apart from wealthier homeowners whose insurance premiums are a relatively small portion of their incomes, Barbaro cautions that policymakers need to adjust to protect the little guy—those who might have smaller, older homes that they inherited or purchased decades ago at a lower price point. “These families can no longer keep that property,” he says. But he also agrees that communication is probably the most important way to protect markets in the short-term. He says he can see a scenario where disruptions are mitigated—maybe even limited to a few months between now and April 2022 when Risk Rating 2.0 is applied to policy renewals. “This one appears to have more certainty in the policies,” he says. “This one is much more organized, much more well-thought out. So I think if there is any disruption, my hope is that it’s going to [last] a much shorter period of time.” Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to jwilliams@rismedia.com. The post With Flood Insurance Overhaul, Industry Hopes for Minimal Disruption appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaOct 11th, 2021

Visiting the gulag where my grandfather was tortured, but didn"t officially exist

My grandfather was held at Bulgaria's most notorious gulag. This summer, I saw it for the first time. A Belene survivor crosses the bridge across the Danube that connects the town of Belene and Persin island in 2015. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images) This summer, Tana Ganeva traveled to Belene, Bulgaria's most notorious prison camp, where her grandfather was held in the 1950s. Bulgaria has effectively buried the history of its Communist-era gulags, where thousands were starved, tortured, and killed. Ganeva's grandfather attempted to escape Bulgaria four times, before making it to California. See more stories on Insider's business page. The island of Persin is a bird-watcher's paradise. Set on the Danube River, which divides Bulgaria and Romania, it's a nature park covered in wetlands and home to hundreds of rare bird species: the spoonbill, the pygmy cormorant, the corncrake, as well as herons, eagles, storks, and pelicans. Amid the natural beauty, it's jarring to consider that this was the location of a concentration camp where thousands of Bulgarian political prisoners were brutalized and killed from 1949 to 1953 - and in some cases for years after that. Though it's officially known as Belene after the quiet Bulgarian village that sits 750 feet away on the mainland, old-timers here call it by another name: the Island of Death.My stepgrandfather, Georgi Tutunjiev, was sent here at age 24 and spent four years and three months interred at Belene after someone (he suspected his ex-wife) told the authorities of his plan to escape the country. In his notebooks - he had planned to write a memoir about Belene but never did before he died in 2011 at 87 - he remembered the place as "brutal facilities for re-education," where he'd endured "indescribable physical and psychological abuse." He finally managed to escape Bulgaria in 1966 and settle with my grandma in California. In 1989, my parents and I left Bulgaria and joined my grandparents in California, thanks to the family-reunification policy. While many survivors of trauma shut down, my grandfather never stopped talking about the gulag. He seemed to have an unending loop of stories about Belene. For my immediate family, it could be exhausting, and we were alarmed to discover his extensive gun collection, which my grandmother gamely dismissed as a coping mechanism. But guests who came to the house were often riveted by his dark tales, which he mixed with his sense of humor. "Jeko! The Communistie shot you!" he'd shout at his terrier mix, and the dog would sprawl on his back, playing dead. An aerial view of Persin island. The gulag was known as Belene, after the nearby town. Tsvetomir Nikolaev I've come to the town of Belene on a brutally hot day in August for a tour of the Island of Death. I meet Nedyalka Toncheva, who works for the Belene Island Foundation, a nonprofit that organizes tours of the island, close to the bank of the Danube.We cross a rickety water bridge on foot and then jump aboard a Jeep driven by a 24-year-old Belene native named Peter. Toncheva, who is 35, is passionate and knowledgeable about the island's flora and fauna. Every few minutes, she tells Peter to stop the car to point out a roosting stork or a water eagle. She talks about her plans to make Persin a tourist destination comparable to Borovets, a ski resort with luxury hotels in the Rila mountains; or Koprivchitsa, a living museum honoring the Bulgarian rebels who mounted an uprising in 1876 against the Ottoman Empire.In the three decades since the fall of communism, Bulgaria has effectively buried the history of its many gulags, which operated mostly in the 1950s during the early, and most violent, days of Communist rule in the country. In Belene itself, many lower-level guards came from the village and a former mayor was also the gulag's first superintendent. It's not surprising that the village doesn't advertise its history.After 1989, survivors who had been forced to sign documents promising to never talk about the camps started speaking out. For a brief time, they became the subjects of documentaries and newspaper profiles. But soon, the consensus was that it was better to move on. An interior minister tasked with investigating the camps instead secretly ordered a purge of thousands of pages of documents - 40% of the government record. While Bulgaria's defeat of the Ottomans is central to the national identity, and much is made of the fact that Bulgaria saved its Jews during the Holocaust, the memory of the Communist era is more fraught. Georgi Tutunjiev, the author's grandfather, in around 1977. Tana Ganeva Peculiar for a tour, most of our stops lead us to what's not left of the camp. The shacks where prisoners slept have been razed - there's no trace of them.At the entrance, in what is now an open field, an inscription says, "To be human is to have dignity." From inside the camp - what would have been visible to the internees - the engraving says, "If the enemy doesn't surrender, he is destroyed." But no one I've talked to knows whether it's the original or has been recreated. There are a few abandoned, falling-apart buildings, but those were built in 1959, six years after the camp's official (but not real) closing, when it was converted into a prison, in part to kill rumors that it had operated as a secret gulag. Todor Zhivkov, the Communist premier who took power in 1954 and stayed on until 1989, reopened it in the 1980s to detain Muslims who refused to take on Slavic names in place of their own - a disastrous bid to assimilate them. I ask Toncheva whether there's a list of everyone who was held in the camp. I'm thinking of my grandfather and wondering whether there's any documentation. She tells me everyone who comes here for the camp asks the same question."There's no way to know, no list," Toncheva says, apologetic. "There's almost no proof the camp even existed."'Perfectly calculated by Satan himself'The first contingent of 300 men arrived at the Belene camp in the summer of 1949, five years after the 1944 Communist coup. My grandfather, then 24, arrived that first winter. A camp for women was founded on an adjacent island soon after.It was modeled after Josef Stalin's gulags in Siberia. Most of the prisoners had been dragged from their homes by the military police and sent here without trial. (Estimates vary, but 20,000 to 40,000 people were thought to be murdered by the Bulgarian Communist Party.) Even Stalin eventually warned them to scale down the killing of prominent oppositional figures or risk creating martyrs.The first wave of prisoners had to hack through the unpopulated island and build small shacks that were so crowded the prisoners didn't have room to lie down. In his history of the camp, Borislav Skotchev wrote that the island was dotted with towers manned by guards with machine guns. A survivor of Belene during a commemoration ceremony in 2015. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images) The men held here included the former leader of the Social Democrats, Orthodox priests (many in their 70s), and the mayor of Bulgaria's capital, Sofia. Tsveti Ivanov, the editor of the newspaper Svoboden Narod, or Free People, was sent to Belene after serving 10 months in prison. He was beaten so brutally that he got tetanus from his wounds and died in the compound. Much of what we know about the place comes from survivors' memoirs. They were fed a thin soup, sometimes with a handful of beans thrown in. Their bread ration - moldy or stale when it made its way to them - was small, and could be withheld by the guards as punishment. Sometimes they got tea. My grandfather told me that, in the winter, both the soup and the tea were given to them already frozen.When Toncheva takes us on a brief walk to go look at storks, the ground gives off wet heat, and brambles and thorns claw at us, as if the island is alive and doesn't want us there. I think of the people who had to work days and nights, in sweltering summers, devoured by mosquitoes. It's unbelievable that anyone survived.An internal CIA document described the grim situation of starving prisoners. "A frequent sight is that of a prisoner eating raw green leaves and roots," it said. "To be caught doing this, however, would result in 10 days in detention in a dungeon for such an offense." The lucky ones got packages from family, though those were often taken by guards. Many had little choice but to choke down the rotting carcasses of wild cats, killed and skinned for their fur by the villagers, or pick through horse dung for undigested barley. According to a CIA information report from March 13, 1952, during one brutal winter 30 prisoners died of cold or starvation."It was an Inferno circle, perfectly calculated by Satan himself," Liliana Pirinchiva, one of the female survivors of Belene, wrote in her memoir. "We were reduced to skeletons." A group of Bulgarian anarchists. Tsvetana Dzhermanova Then there were the guards, who brought an especially sadistic approach to their work. Some would chase packs of prisoners on horseback, letting their rifles off "as if we were a flock of sheep," wrote Stefan Botchev, a survivor. When he got a severe case of scabies, the mites burrowing into his skin, he was locked up in a shed alone because the guards didn't want him to infect the cows. He recalled seeing a beating so severe that a prisoner's spine was broken, turning him into a "reptile crawling on the ground."Kouni Genchev Kounev, the chairman of the Bulgarian Youth Agrarian Union who also survived Belene, recalled one especially brutal punishment, in which the guards would pull back a prisoner's head and strike him in the trachea. They called it the "sword stroke."Years later, Krum Horozov, a survivor, would draw water colors of the camp from memory - it's virtually the only visual documentation that exists. In 2011, six years before his death, Horozov wrote: "And when we die, which will be soon, who will remember what happened on that island in the 1950s, and will they know that people were sent there without a trial and sentence?"Lilia Topouzova, a historian in Toronto who writes about the history and the memory of the camps, recalls meeting Horozov at an academic conference; he was trying to give away copies of his drawings of Belene to university students, but they avoided him as if he were a pesky street vendor.The CricketAt 93, Tsvetana Dzhermanova is the last known survivor of the women's camp, which was known as Shturets, or Cricket. We're sitting outside her home in the mountain village of Leskovets, and she's talking so fast I wonder how she manages to breathe.She smiles and laughs a lot, and she reminds me of my grandfather, who also spoke with the speed of a motorboat, frantic to tell his story."I promised to outlive the Communistie, and here I am!" she boasts. (My grandfather also took an understandable delight at outliving the Communistie. "I survived the Communistie, but I won't survive old age," he once told me, when I was 25 and had no idea about either.) Tsvetana Dzhermanova. Tsvetana Dzhermanova Dzhermanova was an anarchist in the 1950s, and still is today. "That's my personal ideology," she says. "I'm not sure humans are evolved enough to make either anarchism or socialism work the way they should, but for me, anarchism is it. Because I value freedom, family, friendship, and love."When she first heard about anarchism as a teenager, she asked her mother what it meant. "Anarchists are the people all regimes persecute," her mother had replied. That sold her. Dzhermanova joined a village group. She had no designs on power (detesting it) and mostly spent her time reading anarchist literature and working on a community vegetable garden. She estimates that 800 anarchists from the town were swept up in a night and sent to the gulags."We sang songs while we worked," Dzhermanova tells me. "That helped." Last spring the sprightly nonagenarian made the three-hour trip to Belene to speak with a group of students about the camps. "They had no idea about this. They were really surprised," she says. "No one had ever talked to them about it, and they don't learn about it in school."'Out of Fashion'Toncheva and our driver, Peter, walk through a falling-down building that was constructed in 1959, in part to hide evidence of the camp. It's covered in bird shit. Plant life is taking over its rotted remnants, and old decayed furniture has been abandoned here and there. We talk about how nobody talks about the camp.Peter tells us that despite having spent almost his entire life roughly 750 feet from Persin, in Belene village, he learned about the camp only two weeks earlier, when Toncheva hired him as a driver for her tours."To think they only gave them bread and water, and made them work so hard," he says, shaking his head in disbelief. A crumbling building built on the site of Belene. Stoyan Nenov/Reuters As far as Toncheva knows, no one from her family was held here, but she remembers asking her grandmother about the island when she was a teenager and again after reading the memoirs of survivors. "Shhh. Don't talk so much about this," her grandmother would say. "You don't want to bring trouble."There are rumors of a mass grave near Persin. Mikhail Mikailev, the head of the Belene Island Foundation, wants to find it. But money for the equipment required to find and dig up the remains eludes this two-person staff.Unlike Peter and Toncheva, my parents, who were born in the mid-1950s and grew up in Bulgaria, tell me that in the 1970s and 1980s, all their friends in Sofia knew about Belene. "We all heard the stories," my mother says.But for the authorities, maintaining official denial was worth murder.In 1969, the celebrated Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov defected to the West, where he wrote about the regime's abuses. In one essay, Markov described traveling on a boat down the Danube and approaching Belene. "I remembered how, feet dangling over the edge of the boat, a youth with a guitar once sang a strange song: Danube, white river, how quiet you flow / Danube, black river, what anguish you know." A view of Persin island. Tsvetomir Nikolaev On a rainy afternoon in London, a man jabbed the tip of his umbrella into Markov's leg. Later, Markov noticed what looked like a small bug bite but didn't think much of it. A few days later he was dead, most likely poisoned by the Bulgarian secret service.Before my visit to Belene, I met Topouzova, the historian, over Zoom to talk about the erasure of the camps in Bulgaria's consciousness. While former generals wrote best-sellers, the owner of a prominent bookstore dismissed any interest in survivors' memoirs - they were "out of fashion," he had told her.It was gaslighting in its purest form. And it showed how we're all so prone to the "just world" fallacy, a phenomenon where if something is too horribly unjust, the human brain just kind of moves on. It's not all that hard to bury inconvenient truths."It turned out that aging men and women with fragmented memories of bygone violence did not make for the faces of change," Topouzova wrote in a recent paper titled "On Silence and History" for the American Historical Association. "The interned were rendered nonexistent - their experiences and memories fated to vanish along with the files." A pile of stonesNations define themselves by their monuments. The memorial in downtown Manhattan demands that we never forget the victims of 9/11. In the past few years, American activists have torn Confederate statues from their perches, signaling a break with the passive acceptance of the history of slavery. Yet grappling with unpleasant history isn't easy. It was only in 2018 when a museum honoring the Black victims of lynching opened in Alabama. The 1619 Project, which posits that the history of the United States is rooted in slavery, has spurred a massive backlash. School districts have banned children's books about Rosa Parks. Vaunted democracies are as likely to try to bury inconvenient truths as former communist states. At an exhibition in Sofia in 2009, Belene survivors look at images of the gulag's victims. Stoyan Nenov/Reuters In Bulgaria, there are monuments everywhere. From the smallest village to Sofia, the heroes of Bulgaria's uprising against the Ottoman Empire are eternalized in stone. In Plovdiv, a giant sculpture overlooks Bulgaria's second-largest city that honors "Alyosha," an everyman Soviet soldier who helped "liberate" Bulgaria in the 1940s - even though many Bulgarians see that period as Soviet imperialism, much like the Ottoman Empire's 500 years of occupation.The victims of Belene and the other camps have no such honor. The Belene foundation does the best it can. They helped organize an art exhibit, where Korozov's pencil drawings were tacked onto the walls of the decaying structures that had been erected to mask evidence of the gulag. A man places photos of famous victims of Soviet policy in front of the Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2014. Hristo Vladev/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images There is one modest monument on the island. It's an abstract stone structure, and you'd have no idea what it was if you didn't already know the history. The original idea was to build a monument that listed the names of all the known internees, something like the Vietnam wall on the Mall in Washington. But the survivors and their families who pooled their resources to build it ran out of money, and no one, including the Bulgarian government, stepped in to help. (The survivors also hoped to open a museum and to recreate the shacks where they were held, but that hasn't happened either.)My grandfather's escape Dzhermanova, the 93-year-old anarchist - and eternal optimist, apparently - has hope that younger people will dig up the buried history.As for my grandfather, his ex-wife (or whoever it was who betrayed him to the authorities) was right that he wanted to escape Bulgaria.After his release from Belene in 1953, that resolve was so much stronger. "After 4 years and three months in the Island of Death, I became determined to go to my real home: America," he explained in his notebooks. The author with her grandfather and grandmother, Tsvetana Tutunjieva. Tana Ganeva As he detailed it, it would take four harrowing attempts. Soon after his release from Belene, he managed to make it into Yugoslavia during a "sabor" - a temporary loosening of borders so family and friends in the two countries could see each other. But he got caught and was thrown into a Yugoslavian jail.From there, he organized an inmate breakout after bribing the guard dog, Jeko, with his dinner. But he and the other prisoners were caught in the woods, and the Yugoslavian authorities gave them up to the Bulgarian authorities in exchange for 10 cows. "They weren't even very good cows - scrawny," he wrote.Several years later, he tried to cross Bulgaria's mountainous border into Greece, but he was caught once again.Finally, he made it into Austria and then Germany by clinging to the underside of a freight train. And then on to California, where he gave his new dog a familiar name: Jeko.Tana Ganeva writes about policing, prisons and criminal justice. She's currently working on a book about escapees from the Soviet bloc. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 27th, 2021

The Island of Death: Visiting the gulag where my grandfather was tortured, but didn"t officially exist

My grandfather was held at Bulgaria's most notorious gulag. This summer, I saw it for the first time. A Belene survivor crosses the bridge across the Danube that connects the town of Belene and Persin island in 2015. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images) This summer, Tana Ganeva traveled to Belene, Bulgaria's most notorious prison camp, where her grandfather was held in the 1950s. Bulgaria has effectively buried the history of its Communist-era gulags, where thousands were starved, tortured, and killed. Ganeva's grandfather attempted to escape Bulgaria four times, before making it to California. See more stories on Insider's business page. The island of Persin is a bird-watcher's paradise. Set on the Danube River, which divides Bulgaria and Romania, it's a nature park covered in wetlands and home to hundreds of rare bird species: the spoonbill, the pygmy cormorant, the corncrake, as well as herons, eagles, storks, and pelicans. Amid the natural beauty, it's jarring to consider that this was the location of a concentration camp where thousands of Bulgarian political prisoners were brutalized and killed from 1949 to 1953 - and in some cases for years after that. Though it's officially known as Belene after the quiet Bulgarian village that sits 750 feet away on the mainland, old-timers here call it by another name: the Island of Death.My stepgrandfather, Georgi Tutunjiev, was sent here at age 24 and spent four years and three months interred at Belene after someone (he suspected his ex-wife) told the authorities of his plan to escape the country. In his notebooks - he had planned to write a memoir about Belene but never did before he died in 2011 at 87 - he remembered the place as "brutal facilities for re-education," where he'd endured "indescribable physical and psychological abuse." He finally managed to escape Bulgaria in 1966 and settle with my grandma in California. In 1989, my parents and I left Bulgaria and joined my grandparents in California, thanks to the family-reunification policy. While many survivors of trauma shut down, my grandfather never stopped talking about the gulag. He seemed to have an unending loop of stories about Belene. For my immediate family, it could be exhausting, and we were alarmed to discover his extensive gun collection, which my grandmother gamely dismissed as a coping mechanism. But guests who came to the house were often riveted by his dark tales, which he mixed with his sense of humor. "Jeko! The Communistie shot you!" he'd shout at his terrier mix, and the dog would sprawl on his back, playing dead. An aerial view of Persin island. The gulag was known as Belene, after the nearby town. Tsvetomir Nikolaev I've come to the town of Belene on a brutally hot day in August for a tour of the Island of Death. I meet Nedyalka Toncheva, who works for the Belene Island Foundation, a nonprofit that organizes tours of the island, close to the bank of the Danube.We cross a rickety water bridge on foot and then jump aboard a Jeep driven by a 24-year-old Belene native named Peter. Toncheva, who is 35, is passionate and knowledgeable about the island's flora and fauna. Every few minutes, she tells Peter to stop the car to point out a roosting stork or a water eagle. She talks about her plans to make Persin a tourist destination comparable to Borovets, a ski resort with luxury hotels in the Rila mountains; or Koprivchitsa, a living museum honoring the Bulgarian rebels who mounted an uprising in 1876 against the Ottoman Empire.In the three decades since the fall of communism, Bulgaria has effectively buried the history of its many gulags, which operated mostly in the 1950s during the early, and most violent, days of Communist rule in the country. In Belene itself, many lower-level guards came from the village and a former mayor was also the gulag's first superintendent. It's not surprising that the village doesn't advertise its history.After 1989, survivors who had been forced to sign documents promising to never talk about the camps started speaking out. For a brief time, they became the subjects of documentaries and newspaper profiles. But soon, the consensus was that it was better to move on. An interior minister tasked with investigating the camps instead secretly ordered a purge of thousands of pages of documents - 40% of the government record. While Bulgaria's defeat of the Ottomans is central to the national identity, and much is made of the fact that Bulgaria saved its Jews during the Holocaust, the memory of the Communist era is more fraught. Georgi Tutunjiev, the author's grandfather, in around 1977. Tana Ganeva Peculiar for a tour, most of our stops lead us to what's not left of the camp. The shacks where prisoners slept have been razed - there's no trace of them.At the entrance, in what is now an open field, an inscription says, "To be human is to have dignity." From inside the camp - what would have been visible to the internees - the engraving says, "If the enemy doesn't surrender, he is destroyed." But no one I've talked to knows whether it's the original or has been recreated. There are a few abandoned, falling-apart buildings, but those were built in 1959, six years after the camp's official (but not real) closing, when it was converted into a prison, in part to kill rumors that it had operated as a secret gulag. Todor Zhivkov, the Communist premier who took power in 1954 and stayed on until 1989, reopened it in the 1980s to detain Muslims who refused to take on Slavic names in place of their own - a disastrous bid to assimilate them. I ask Toncheva whether there's a list of everyone who was held in the camp. I'm thinking of my grandfather and wondering whether there's any documentation. She tells me everyone who comes here for the camp asks the same question."There's no way to know, no list," Toncheva says, apologetic. "There's almost no proof the camp even existed."'Perfectly calculated by Satan himself'The first contingent of 300 men arrived at the Belene camp in the summer of 1949, five years after the 1944 Communist coup. My grandfather, then 24, arrived that first winter. A camp for women was founded on an adjacent island soon after.It was modeled after Josef Stalin's gulags in Siberia. Most of the prisoners had been dragged from their homes by the military police and sent here without trial. (Estimates vary, but 20,000 to 40,000 people were thought to be murdered by the Bulgarian Communist Party.) Even Stalin eventually warned them to scale down the killing of prominent oppositional figures or risk creating martyrs.The first wave of prisoners had to hack through the unpopulated island and build small shacks that were so crowded the prisoners didn't have room to lie down. In his history of the camp, Borislav Skotchev wrote that the island was dotted with towers manned by guards with machine guns. A survivor of Belene during a commemoration ceremony in 2015. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images) The men held here included the former leader of the Social Democrats, Orthodox priests (many in their 70s), and the mayor of Bulgaria's capital, Sofia. Tsveti Ivanov, the editor of the newspaper Svoboden Narod, or Free People, was sent to Belene after serving 10 months in prison. He was beaten so brutally that he got tetanus from his wounds and died in the compound. Much of what we know about the place comes from survivors' memoirs. They were fed a thin soup, sometimes with a handful of beans thrown in. Their bread ration - moldy or stale when it made its way to them - was small, and could be withheld by the guards as punishment. Sometimes they got tea. My grandfather told me that, in the winter, both the soup and the tea were given to them already frozen.When Toncheva takes us on a brief walk to go look at storks, the ground gives off wet heat, and brambles and thorns claw at us, as if the island is alive and doesn't want us there. I think of the people who had to work days and nights, in sweltering summers, devoured by mosquitoes. It's unbelievable that anyone survived.An internal CIA document described the grim situation of starving prisoners. "A frequent sight is that of a prisoner eating raw green leaves and roots," it said. "To be caught doing this, however, would result in 10 days in detention in a dungeon for such an offense." The lucky ones got packages from family, though those were often taken by guards. Many had little choice but to choke down the rotting carcasses of wild cats, killed and skinned for their fur by the villagers, or pick through horse dung for undigested barley. According to a CIA information report from March 13, 1952, during one brutal winter 30 prisoners died of cold or starvation."It was an Inferno circle, perfectly calculated by Satan himself," Liliana Pirinchiva, one of the female survivors of Belene, wrote in her memoir. "We were reduced to skeletons." A group of Bulgarian anarchists. Tsvetana Dzhermanova Then there were the guards, who brought an especially sadistic approach to their work. Some would chase packs of prisoners on horseback, letting their rifles off "as if we were a flock of sheep," wrote Stefan Botchev, a survivor. When he got a severe case of scabies, the mites burrowing into his skin, he was locked up in a shed alone because the guards didn't want him to infect the cows. He recalled seeing a beating so severe that a prisoner's spine was broken, turning him into a "reptile crawling on the ground."Kouni Genchev Kounev, the chairman of the Bulgarian Youth Agrarian Union who also survived Belene, recalled one especially brutal punishment, in which the guards would pull back a prisoner's head and strike him in the trachea. They called it the "sword stroke."Years later, Krum Horozov, a survivor, would draw water colors of the camp from memory - it's virtually the only visual documentation that exists. In 2011, six years before his death, Horozov wrote: "And when we die, which will be soon, who will remember what happened on that island in the 1950s, and will they know that people were sent there without a trial and sentence?"Lilia Topouzova, a historian in Toronto who writes about the history and the memory of the camps, recalls meeting Horozov at an academic conference; he was trying to give away copies of his drawings of Belene to university students, but they avoided him as if he were a pesky street vendor.The CricketAt 93, Tsvetana Dzhermanova is the last known survivor of the women's camp, which was known as Shturets, or Cricket. We're sitting outside her home in the mountain village of Leskovets, and she's talking so fast I wonder how she manages to breathe.She smiles and laughs a lot, and she reminds me of my grandfather, who also spoke with the speed of a motorboat, frantic to tell his story."I promised to outlive the Communistie, and here I am!" she boasts. (My grandfather also took an understandable delight at outliving the Communistie. "I survived the Communistie, but I won't survive old age," he once told me, when I was 25 and had no idea about either.) Tsvetana Dzhermanova. Tsvetana Dzhermanova Dzhermanova was an anarchist in the 1950s, and still is today. "That's my personal ideology," she says. "I'm not sure humans are evolved enough to make either anarchism or socialism work the way they should, but for me, anarchism is it. Because I value freedom, family, friendship, and love."When she first heard about anarchism as a teenager, she asked her mother what it meant. "Anarchists are the people all regimes persecute," her mother had replied. That sold her. Dzhermanova joined a village group. She had no designs on power (detesting it) and mostly spent her time reading anarchist literature and working on a community vegetable garden. She estimates that 800 anarchists from the town were swept up in a night and sent to the gulags."We sang songs while we worked," Dzhermanova tells me. "That helped." Last spring the sprightly nonagenarian made the three-hour trip to Belene to speak with a group of students about the camps. "They had no idea about this. They were really surprised," she says. "No one had ever talked to them about it, and they don't learn about it in school."'Out of Fashion'Toncheva and our driver, Peter, walk through a falling-down building that was constructed in 1959, in part to hide evidence of the camp. It's covered in bird shit. Plant life is taking over its rotted remnants, and old decayed furniture has been abandoned here and there. We talk about how nobody talks about the camp.Peter tells us that despite having spent almost his entire life roughly 750 feet from Persin, in Belene village, he learned about the camp only two weeks earlier, when Toncheva hired him as a driver for her tours."To think they only gave them bread and water, and made them work so hard," he says, shaking his head in disbelief. A crumbling building built on the site of Belene. Stoyan Nenov/Reuters As far as Toncheva knows, no one from her family was held here, but she remembers asking her grandmother about the island when she was a teenager and again after reading the memoirs of survivors. "Shhh. Don't talk so much about this," her grandmother would say. "You don't want to bring trouble."There are rumors of a mass grave near Persin. Mikhail Mikailev, the head of the Belene Island Foundation, wants to find it. But money for the equipment required to find and dig up the remains eludes this two-person staff.Unlike Peter and Toncheva, my parents, who were born in the mid-1950s and grew up in Bulgaria, tell me that in the 1970s and 1980s, all their friends in Sofia knew about Belene. "We all heard the stories," my mother says.But for the authorities, maintaining official denial was worth murder.In 1969, the celebrated Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov defected to the West, where he wrote about the regime's abuses. In one essay, Markov described traveling on a boat down the Danube and approaching Belene. "I remembered how, feet dangling over the edge of the boat, a youth with a guitar once sang a strange song: Danube, white river, how quiet you flow / Danube, black river, what anguish you know." A view of Persin island. Tsvetomir Nikolaev On a rainy afternoon in London, a man jabbed the tip of his umbrella into Markov's leg. Later, Markov noticed what looked like a small bug bite but didn't think much of it. A few days later he was dead, most likely poisoned by the Bulgarian secret service.Before my visit to Belene, I met Topouzova, the historian, over Zoom to talk about the erasure of the camps in Bulgaria's consciousness. While former generals wrote best-sellers, the owner of a prominent bookstore dismissed any interest in survivors' memoirs - they were "out of fashion," he had told her.It was gaslighting in its purest form. And it showed how we're all so prone to the "just world" fallacy, a phenomenon where if something is too horribly unjust, the human brain just kind of moves on. It's not all that hard to bury inconvenient truths."It turned out that aging men and women with fragmented memories of bygone violence did not make for the faces of change," Topouzova wrote in a recent paper titled "On Silence and History" for the American Historical Association. "The interned were rendered nonexistent - their experiences and memories fated to vanish along with the files." A pile of stonesNations define themselves by their monuments. The memorial in downtown Manhattan demands that we never forget the victims of 9/11. In the past few years, American activists have torn Confederate statues from their perches, signaling a break with the passive acceptance of the history of slavery. Yet grappling with unpleasant history isn't easy. It was only in 2018 when a museum honoring the Black victims of lynching opened in Alabama. The 1619 Project, which posits that the history of the United States is rooted in slavery, has spurred a massive backlash. School districts have banned children's books about Rosa Parks. Vaunted democracies are as likely to try to bury inconvenient truths as former communist states. At an exhibition in Sofia in 2009, Belene survivors look at images of the gulag's victims. Stoyan Nenov/Reuters In Bulgaria, there are monuments everywhere. From the smallest village to Sofia, the heroes of Bulgaria's uprising against the Ottoman Empire are eternalized in stone. In Plovdiv, a giant sculpture overlooks Bulgaria's second-largest city that honors "Alyosha," an everyman Soviet soldier who helped "liberate" Bulgaria in the 1940s - even though many Bulgarians see that period as Soviet imperialism, much like the Ottoman Empire's 500 years of occupation.The victims of Belene and the other camps have no such honor. The Belene foundation does the best it can. They helped organize an art exhibit, where Korozov's pencil drawings were tacked onto the walls of the decaying structures that had been erected to mask evidence of the gulag. A man places photos of famous victims of Soviet policy in front of the Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2014. Hristo Vladev/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images There is one modest monument on the island. It's an abstract stone structure, and you'd have no idea what it was if you didn't already know the history. The original idea was to build a monument that listed the names of all the known internees, something like the Vietnam wall on the Mall in Washington. But the survivors and their families who pooled their resources to build it ran out of money, and no one, including the Bulgarian government, stepped in to help. (The survivors also hoped to open a museum and to recreate the shacks where they were held, but that hasn't happened either.)My grandfather's escape Dzhermanova, the 93-year-old anarchist - and eternal optimist, apparently - has hope that younger people will dig up the buried history.As for my grandfather, his ex-wife (or whoever it was who betrayed him to the authorities) was right that he wanted to escape Bulgaria.After his release from Belene in 1953, that resolve was so much stronger. "After 4 years and three months in the Island of Death, I became determined to go to my real home: America," he explained in his notebooks. The author with her grandfather and grandmother, Tsvetana Tutunjieva. Tana Ganeva As he detailed it, it would take four harrowing attempts. Soon after his release from Belene, he managed to make it into Yugoslavia during a "sabor" - a temporary loosening of borders so family and friends in the two countries could see each other. But he got caught and was thrown into a Yugoslavian jail.From there, he organized an inmate breakout after bribing the guard dog, Jeko, with his dinner. But he and the other prisoners were caught in the woods, and the Yugoslavian authorities gave them up to the Bulgarian authorities in exchange for 10 cows. "They weren't even very good cows - scrawny," he wrote.Several years later, he tried to cross Bulgaria's mountainous border into Greece, but he was caught once again.Finally, he made it into Austria and then Germany by clinging to the underside of a freight train. And then on to California, where he gave his new dog a familiar name: Jeko.Tana Ganeva writes about policing, prisons and criminal justice. She's currently working on a book about escapees from the Soviet bloc. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 25th, 2021

20 Best Cities to Retire on $10,000 a Month Anywhere in the World

This article takes a look at the 20 best cities to retire on $10,000 a month anywhere in the world. If you wish to skip our detailed analysis on navigating the retirement period, you may go to 5 Best Cities to Retire on $10,000 a Month Anywhere in the World.  The Reality of a Luxurious […] This article takes a look at the 20 best cities to retire on $10,000 a month anywhere in the world. If you wish to skip our detailed analysis on navigating the retirement period, you may go to 5 Best Cities to Retire on $10,000 a Month Anywhere in the World.  The Reality of a Luxurious Retirement Everyone wants to live comfortably, and different people use different means to achieve this comfort. While there are a select few that have generational wealth to rely on – Visual Capitalist reports that an estimated 50% of all wealth in America is held by the baby boomer generation – there are others who commit their lives to corporate or venture into the side hustle economy. A report by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) owned LinkedIn reveals that about 50% of Americans are engaged in at least one side hustle.  While the money earned is certainly spent on living life during one’s youth and middle-aged years, it’s also saved up for a secure retirement. The Motley Fool reports that financial planners recommend having 80% of your pre-retirement income to be able to hold the same lifestyle in your retirement years. For a retiree previously earning a $100,000 salary, this would be a sum of $80,000. Similarly, a study by the Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE:SCHW) reveals that Americans estimate needing a sizeable $1.8 million to retire comfortably, while a Money report states that the average American estimates needing around $5,000 a month for a comfortable retirement.  Even though figures by the Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE:SCHW) study, Motley Fool, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), and many more may vary, one thing is clear – retirement in America requires a prior investment. However, the reality is very different. Data from the US Census Bureau reveals that 50% of women and 47% of men aged 55 to 66 have $0 in retirement savings, while Smart Asset concludes that only about 10% of senior citizens have $1 million or more in retirement savings The average American is then faced with much tougher times during retirement, where the struggle to make ends meet continues to persist. As a result, Americans then turn to other options, including moving states or even countries and finding cheap and beautiful places to retire in the US or affordable places to retire in the world.  Landing the Retirement Bank While there’s no doubt that the majority of American retirees face financial strife – or at the very least check-to-check living – during retirement, there are those who don’t. These are the picture-perfect American retirees often painted in the media or publications in idealized versions. They view retirement as the ‘golden period’ of life where stress – cue work and kids – have exited life and what’s left behind is a stretch of peaceful, luxurious living. Most noteworthy are the retirees who not only accumulate millions in their retirement funds but also surpass the widely acknowledged American benchmark of $1.8 million which is highlighted by Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE:SCHW). What does retirement then look like for the financially secure senior citizen? While pre-retirement focus may have been on investment, Nasdaq says that it now shifts to preserving wealth. This includes living below one’s means, setting financial goals, building an emergency fund, and most importantly, investing – a habit that they would have adopted early on in their life.  “Upper middle class retirees often built their wealth by starting to invest at an early age. This includes a diversified portfolio that combines stocks, bonds, real estate, and other investment vehicles. They may have taken advantage of tax-efficient investment strategies, like maximizing contributions to retirement accounts and using tax-advantaged investment vehicles like municipal bonds and tax-deferred investments.” -Matt Atwood, Certified Financial Planner, TimeWise Financial With wealth preservation in the works, many retirees achieve their one true goal: a comfortable yet stable retirement income that is often in five digit figures. Not only does this safeguard them from the stresses and panics of financial struggle, but it also allows them to find the best cities to retire on $10,000 a month anywhere in the world.  To know more about the best cities to retire on $10,000 a month anywhere in the world, read below.  Methodology To compile this list of the 20 best cities to retire on $10,000 a month anywhere in the world, we consulted several sources including our list of 20 Expensive Places to Retire that are Worth It, and U.S. News and World Report, Nasdaq, GOBankingRates, and MarketWatch. Once a list of cities was compiled using these sources, we then ranked them across several factors.  These factors included livability scores, health standards, and ease of retirement policies. Livability scores were taken from Mercer’s Quality of Living City Rankings, and healthcare information was taken from Medbelle. Equal weightage was assigned to each factor, and a cumulative score for each city was reached. The cities were then ranked, with the highest-scoring city taking the number one spot on our list of best cities to retire on $10,000 a month anywhere in the world. While financial aspects such as the cost of living, average rent, and median house prices were not considered for rankings, an overall monthly expense for the selected cities was determined to ensure that they were livable on $10,000 a month.  By the way, Insider Monkey is an investing website that tracks the movements of corporate insiders and hedge funds. By using a similar consensus approach, we identify the best stock picks of more than 900 hedge funds investing in US stocks. The top 10 consensus stock picks of hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 Index by more than 140 percentage points over the last 10 years (see the details here). Whether you are a beginner investor or a professional one looking for the best stocks to buy, you can benefit from the wisdom of hedge funds and corporate insiders.  Here are the 20 best cities to retire on $10,000 a month anywhere in the world: 20. Lugano, Switzerland Insider Monkey Score: 25 A European delight, Lugano in Switzerland is ranked among the top 6% of expensive cities in the world. Yet, a retirement in this scenic city is well worth it. Slowly developing to be a hub for well-off retirees, Lugano offers breathtaking nature views including those of the iconic Swiss Alps. 19. Saint Tropez, France Insider Monkey Score: 26 Located on the French Riveria, Saint Tropez is our second European pick for the best cities to retire on $10,000 a month anywhere in the world. Popular for its nightlife and beaches, Saint Tropez offers retirees a slow-paced life, a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of pre-retirement duties. Add its Mediterranean climate to the mix and Saint Tropez proves to be a wonderful find. 18. Park City, Utah, US Insider Monkey Score: 26.5 Number 18 brings us back to home ground with Park City in Utah. This US city offers a well-balanced living experience with a robust healthcare system, a pleasant community, and beautiful landscapes. While one of the more expensive cities, Park City has much to offer to make up for it – plenty of high-end dining options, quality retail, and the much-adored Sundance Film Festival that puts an added glimmer to the area. 17. Miami, Florida, US Insider Monkey Score: 27 Florida is one of the most popular states for retirees looking to move post-retirement, and Miami is one of the most expensive cities in the state. With a happening nightlife, beautiful beaches, and warm and sunny weather, Miami is a great post-retirement pick. To top it off, Miami offers top-notch health facilities ideal for senior citizens. Mercer ranks it as the 67th most livable city in the world, fairly high up in their extensive list.  16. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US Insider Monkey Score: 28 Pennsylvania’s most populous city, Philadelphia is known for its rich American history. Retirees can visit Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, and other various revolutionary sites along with experiencing exquisite cuisine. For retirees who prefer to stay within the states, Philadelphia is highly recommended. Mercer moves our 3rd US pick up the list with a rank of 65. 15. Dallas, Texas, US Insider Monkey Score: 29 The home of Southern comfort food, Dallas is perfect for retirees wanting a peaceful retirement while still experiencing plenty of leisure and entertainment. Popular for its cowboy culture, arts scene, and the AT&T stadium, retirees will love the Dallas experience. Dallas enjoys a comfortable 70s ranking for both quality of living and healthcare – 73rd and 74th respectively.  14. Nice, France Insider Monkey Score: 30 Set on the picturesque Baie des Anges, Nice is the second most-populated city in France. A popular retirement spot, Nice boasts beautiful beaches, stunning architecture, and a pleasant Mediterranean climate. The result is a French city with a high concentration of retirees, all looking for the picture-perfect retirement experience. The healthcare is also commendable with a Medbelle position of 66th.  13. Lisbon, Portugal Insider Monkey Score: 32 A coastal city set in Portugal, Lisbon is one of the best places to retire internationally, especially for affluent retirees – Mercer testifies by ranking it as the 39th most livable city in the world. The surge of tourism and influx of retirees has pushed up the cost of living in Lisbon, placing it among one of the more expensive places to retire. However, its offering of high-quality services and leisure activities makes the move well worth it. 12. Houston, Texas Insider Monkey Score: 35 Our second Texas pick for the best cities to retire on $10,000 a month anywhere in the world, Houston is quickly growing to become one of the most retiree-prone areas in the US. Its warm weather, tax-friendly policies, and rich culture are all inviting, and retirees from all over the US flock to the city to live out their golden years. It is also one of the most livable cities in the world with a quality of like ranking of 62nd and a healthcare rank of 59th.  11. Chicago, Illinois, US Insider Monkey Score: 37 A university city, Chicago is home to the famous DePaul and UIC universities. Not only does this make the city a hub for cultural diversity, but it also offers plenty of dining and entertainment options. This US city also boasts a top 100 rank for both quality of life and healthcare at 65th and 46th respectively.  10. Canberra, Australia Insider Monkey Score: 38 Australia’s capital city, Canberra hosts a range of retirement villages perfect for senior citizens who seek community living. Its higher cost of living is made up for by all that Canberra offers, being an ideal place for retirees looking to build a new life post-retirement. Residents can experience the great outdoors and immerse themselves in nature like never before. 9. The Hague, Netherlands Insider Monkey Score: 39 Another European pick, the Netherlands is both a popular tourist and retiree spot and The Hague is one of its most promising cities. With a thriving expat population of more than 80,000, retirees can find themselves in an inter-cultural community. The home of the Dutch government and host to the UN’s International Court of Justice, The Hague boasts a rich history. Not to forget, The Hague is also hailed internationally for being among the cities with the best quality of life, a quality shown by its number 11 ranking.  8. Brisbane, Australia Insider Monkey Score: 41 If you’ve ever asked yourself the question of where to retire on $10,000 a month and not regret it, then Brisbane in Australia deserves a spot on that list. The capital of Queensland and located along the Brisbane River, Brisbane offers interactive exhibitions, art museums, and a botanic garden. Ranked as the 13th best city for healthcare and 34th for quality of life, retirees can also stay at ease about their medical needs.   7. Geneva, Switzerland Insider Monkey Score: 43 One of the highest ranked cities on our list for both healthcare and quality of life – 6th and 5th – is Geneva. A truly historic city, Geneva is host to the United Nations headquarters and also to that of the Red Cross. It is also known for its luxurious lifestyle, natural beauty, and thriving entertainment scene, making it a great place for international retirees. 6. Vancouver, Canada Insider Monkey Score: 44 A pick from the USA’s neighboring country, Vancouver in Canada claims a top ten place in our list of the best cities to retire on $10,000 a month anywhere in the world. Its abundance of outdoor activities, quality healthcare with a Medbelle ranking of 31st, and cultural attractions are what make it a popular retirement pick. Not to mention, the weather is also on the more pleasant side of things and the city enjoys a quality of life ranking of 8th best in the world.  Click to continue reading and see the 5 Best Cities to Retire on $10,000 a Month Anywhere in the World. Suggested Articles: 18 Best Southern Cities to Retire on a Budget of $1,500 a Month 15 Best East Coast Cities to Retire on a Budget of $1,200 a Month 20 Best Small Towns in Florida to Retire Disclosure: none. 20 Best Cities to Retire on $10,000 a Month Anywhere in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey. .....»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyFeb 21st, 2024

"I"m Not Going Anywhere": Haley’s Hawkish Position On War Takes Center Stage In South Carolina Primary

"I'm Not Going Anywhere": Haley’s Hawkish Position On War Takes Center Stage In South Carolina Primary On Tuesday, Nikki Haley vowed to remain in the Republican presidential primary race against former President Trump - telling a crowd in her home state of South Carolina: "I’m not going anywhere." "I’m not afraid to say the hard truths out loud. I feel no need to kiss the ring. I have no fear of Trump’s retribution. I’m not looking for anything from him. My own political future is of zero concern." The 2024 candidate - whose social media manager had a seriously bad weekend - went on to compare her race against Trump to David vs. Goliath. What's obviously going on, given her insurmountable deficit, is that Haley needs to run as long as possible to prevent the right from gathering support behind Trump into November, which is exactly what will happen once she quits the race. Going much deeper into the South Carolina primary is Nathan Worcester via The Epoch Times, One doesn’t have to travel very far in South Carolina to discover reminders of its martial spirit. (Illustration by The Epoch Times, Getty Images, Shutterstock, Public Domain) Eight military bases are scattered across the state. They include Parris Island, where U.S. Marines pass through boot camp—an experience fictionalized in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket.” Behind glass at the Charleston Museum, a pair of intricately carved 19th-century dueling pistols stand in for an old honor culture that still hasn’t been totally extirpated from the American South. The same South Carolina that supplied great military leaders like Revolutionary War General William Moultrie, nicknamed the “Gamecock,” produced the pro-slavery representative, Democrat Preston Brooks, who in 1856 beat abolitionist Sen. Charles Sumner (R-Mass.) half to death with a cane in the Senate chamber. Not far away from the Charleston Museum, across the water from the spot where General Moutrie built his famous fort of palmetto logs, is the place where the American Civil War began. Fort Sumter hunkers low over Charleston Harbor. Just outside Charleston’s airport, near the Air Force base, sits a symbol of the modern military-industrial complex: the North Charleston Boeing Plant. Former South Carolina governor and presidential hopeful Nikki Haley’s connection to Boeing, where she served on the board of directors, has become a talking point for her foes, particularly those siding with former President Donald Trump. Yet, while campaigning in the Palmetto State—a nickname honoring the fort created by General Moultrie—Ms. Haley has bragged about the aerospace giant’s local manufacturing activity, which came about through a deal hatched under her predecessor, former Gov. Mark Sanford. “By the time I left, we were building planes with Boeing,” Ms. Haley told a crowd at New Realm Brewing Company on Charleston’s Daniel Island during a Feb. 4 campaign stop. South Carolinian Bill Warren, who was waiting to hear the former governor speak, told The Epoch Times, “I think that South Carolina’s got a long history of not being afraid to mix it up.” Ms. Haley’s hawkish rhetoric on the Russia–Ukraine war, the Israel–Hamas war, and other flash points thousands of miles away has led some critics to dub her a “neocon,” or neoconservative. A Ukranian serviceman walks among debris from bombardments during the Russia-Ukraine War, in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on March 27, 2022. (Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images) The label has also been applied to other South Carolina politicians, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Of course, like almost everyone else at the top of the state’s Republican food chain, Mr. Graham has endorsed President Trump, often seen as an opponent of neoconservatism, over Ms. Haley ahead of his state’s open primary on Feb. 24. Many voters in the state that sent an outsized share of its population to serve in the Middle East have a not-so-neocon-ish view of foreign affairs. The conservative establishment’s assessment of President Trump’s view on foreign affairs was shaken up during the presidential debate in South Carolina in February 2016. “The war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake,” then-candidate Trump said, fueling speculation that South Carolina’s many veterans would reject him. Yet, Mr. Trump ultimately won the South Carolina primary, receiving almost a third of the state’s vote and raking in all fifty of its delegates. He’s on pace to trounce Ms. Haley in the state she once governed, at least judging by current polls. “I’m a big Ron Paul guy,” Jordan Pace, a Republican state representative in South Carolina, told The Epoch Times. Mr. Pace had just spoken after Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) at a pro-Trump press conference on Feb. 2 outside the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant. Anchored in the water behind him was a retired U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, the slate-gray USS Yorktown—another symbol of American military might, known for its role in capturing Iwo Jima and other Pacific islands during World War II. “If you talk to former military, especially military that fought in the Middle East, the vast majority of those guys are adamantly against the Bush–Cheney neoconservative former policy—the whole saber-rattling nonsense,” Mr. Pace said. “Honestly, the biggest draw for Trump in this current contest in my mind, besides the fact that he’s not Nikki Haley, is that he didn’t start any new foreign wars,” he said, but added that Mr. Graham’s support for President Trump is “slightly unnerving.” ‘We’ve Shifted From Your Neocon Establishment’ In the northwest corner of the state, before the Piedmont hills rise sharply into the Blue Ridge Mountains, stands Clemson University. On the morning of Feb. 3, Trevor Tiedeman, the chairman of the Clemson College Republicans, spoke to The Epoch Times near the school’s terraced amphitheater. He made it clear who the youthful conservatives he knows tend to like: President Trump and talk show host Tucker Carlson. “He [Mr. Carlson] changed the American right in a way that’s been very, very positive, because we’ve shifted from your neocon establishment to your more populist type,” Mr. Tiedeman, a senior studying industrial engineering, told The Epoch Times. He didn’t disagree with the notion that South Carolina’s Republicans often tilt neocon, observing that its GOP-dominated state legislature has earned a reputation for liberalism—a concern seconded by Clyde N. Wilson, a professor emeritus of history at the University of South Carolina specializing in the American South. “[The legislature] is full of opportunists. They all think they’re gonna get some national position,” Mr. Wilson told The Epoch Times over the phone on Feb. 6. “I could not tell you why South Carolina breeds the worst of Republicans,” Mr. Tiedeman said, suggesting that some in Charleston, Hilton Head, and other parts of the state’s coastal Lowcountry are “country club Republicans” committed to the status quo. “It must be something in the water around here,” he joked. JeAnais Mitchell, another Clemson senior who serves as the Young Republicans’ public relations chairwoman, told The Epoch Times that younger South Carolinians are moving in a more Trumpian direction on war. “We’re just the generation that had to experience everything after 9/11—realizing so much carnage, realizing all the pain and hurt, and how so much of it could have been avoided if people didn’t have such a narrow focus on what they wanted instead of the good of the entire nation,” said Ms. Mitchell. She is studying history and legal studies and also leads outreach for the school’s Turning Point USA chapter. “If we’re not strong and can’t do well, then it doesn’t matter what happens on the other side of the world because we won’t be able to survive,” she said. But Clemson conservatives aren’t the only young South Carolinians sounding non-interventionist (or, to some, isolationist) on foreign policy. At South Carolina State University, a historically black college in Lowcountry Orangeburg, Raymond James is looking forward to voting for President Trump. One of his main worries is warfare embroiling the United States across the world, a troubling recent trend. “It’s getting out of hand,” he told The Epoch Times. At the Citadel, a senior military college in Charleston, students walk through the campus in fatigues. Near the entrance of the library, tabletop miniatures illustrate the Carthaginian general Hannibal’s strategy against Rome. Deeper inside, a mural depicts cadets at the Old Citadel in 1846. Those men trained their state’s Palmetto Regiment ahead of the Mexican-American War. That regiment’s members included Preston Brooks, the future congressman who caned Sen. Charles Sumner. Many Citadel graduates fought in that conflict, too. Lewis Diggle, a freshman studying finance, told The Epoch Times he didn’t sense a lot of cynicism about war among students at the Citadel, even after decades of U.S. involvement in the Middle East. But Colin Weldon, another freshman at the Citadel, said morale regarding the United States escalating military involvement, including with Iran, is “fifty-fifty” on campus: half positive, half negative. “There [are] some people who are like, ‘Yeah, I can’t wait’… And there [are] some people who don’t want to be involved in a foreign conflict,” said Mr. Weldon, who is studying supply chain management. Like Mr. Pace and others who have spoken with The Epoch Times, he stressed the lack of new wars under President Trump as a selling point for South Carolina voters. (Left) The Old Citadel is located on what is now Marion Square, in downtown Charleston, S.C., circa 1900. (Public Domain) (Right) The Citadel College moved to its current location in 1922, on Moultrie St, Charleston, S.C. (Library of Congress) “People definitely want to have a safer America to help rebuild it,” he said, adding that he believes President Trump has stronger support at the Citadel than Ms. Haley or incumbent President Joe Biden. “I just feel like he has a better grasp on the youth compared to Nikki Haley,” Mr. Weldon said. “We have some Democrats, we have some Republicans, we have some independents. I think it’s a good mix,” sophomore Kayla Cyrus told The Epoch Times. She said her school “is not really preaching against or for” war in Iran or other places around the globe. “It’s really just a great school. It teaches you about different perspectives,” she added. Defense Contracting and Confederate Renaming In North Charleston, not far from the airport and the Boeing campus, Citadel graduate and Air Force veteran Gary Jaffe leads strategy and growth at Atlas Technologies, one of many defense contractors in the Charleston area. He spoke to The Epoch Times on behalf of the Charleston Defense Contractors Association, an industry group. “The defense-industrial base is very strong here in Charleston,” he said. He drew attention to the Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic at Joint Base Charleston. “Most of the members of our organization are seeking opportunities there,” Mr. Jaffe said. Some numbers bear out the importance of defense to the state’s overall economy. A 2022 report from the South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs found that it accounts for 1 out of every 9 jobs in the state and more than 11 percent of the economy. Read more here... Tyler Durden Tue, 02/20/2024 - 12:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytFeb 20th, 2024

RHUNA Launches to Revolutionize the Events and Entertainment Industry with Fintech Innovation

Bucharest, Romania, February 19th, 2024, Chainwire   RHUNA is a visionary fintech platform dedicated to revolutionizing the events and entertainment industry through innovative technology. By integrating Web 3.0 and blockchain technologies, RHUNA aims to enhance user experiences, improve security and transparency, and foster a closer, more engaged community around the globe. UNTOLD Universe is one […] Bucharest, Romania, February 19th, 2024, Chainwire   RHUNA is a visionary fintech platform dedicated to revolutionizing the events and entertainment industry through innovative technology. By integrating Web 3.0 and blockchain technologies, RHUNA aims to enhance user experiences, improve security and transparency, and foster a closer, more engaged community around the globe. UNTOLD Universe is one of the world’s top 5 music festival organizers with more than 1.5 million attendees over the course of each year. Rhuna represents the merging of their experience with CryptoDATA’s innovative technology development expertise with this pioneering platform. Among the key features it offers, and leveraging the power of blockchain, RHUNA introduces a decentralized ticketing system, where tickets are issued as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). This ensures authenticity, ownership, and a secure, transparent secondary market. This system effectively eliminates common issues such as fraud and scalping, providing a fairer and more trustworthy ticketing experience. Modular feature structure within the ecosystem means even enormous event organizers can customize their event management, especially ticketing and payments, at breakneck speeds and with precision accuracy. The platform will also feature integrated digital wallets supporting various cryptocurrencies, enabling seamless transactions for tickets, merchandise, and services. This inclusion not only caters to the growing crypto-savvy audience but also reduces fees and simplifies the payment process. Smart contracts will automate key transactions and agreements, from ticket sales to performer payouts, ensuring efficiency, transparency, and trust across all transactions. Furthermore, RHUNA places a strong emphasis on user privacy and control, allowing attendees to manage their personal data securely through decentralized identities. In an industry first, RHUNA will introduce a token-based loyalty and rewards program, empowering users with the chance to earn tokens for various activities. These tokens can be redeemed for exclusive experiences, merchandise, or discounts, fostering a strong sense of community and engagement within the RHUNA ecosystem. The platform also pioneers the use of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) for event planning, giving the community a voice in decision-making processes, from event themes to artist lineups. This democratized approach ensures that RHUNA remains closely aligned with the desires and preferences of its user base. “The Rhuna project is more than just a technical solution. It is an adaptable dynamic system that interconnects social and technical elements, providing opportunities through solutions for a wide range of needs. The architecture, technologies, implementation method, and usage mode are elements that impact the optimization of resources in carrying out any activity. In the current dynamic, resources such as time, people, materials, and costs are primary elements that influence each other in a multi-way within a 3D system. Rhuna represents the perfect tool that allows anyone to access and control them. Rhuna is a way in which anyone can visualize or actively intervene in them. Rhuna is like a catalyst that materializes and organizes the abstract into a form that’s indispensable for everyone involved in the entertainment industry.” – Bogdan Mărunțiş, Head of Global Strategy, CryptoDATA Bogdan Rădulescu, Co-founder and CBO of UNTOLD, put it simply: “We are redefining event organization and engagement, pushing the boundaries of festival finance into the 21st century for the benefit of organizers worldwide.” The interface is accessible to attendees of all technical backgrounds and is set to debut at the 9th Edition of the UNTOLD Festival in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. RHUNA aims to enhance the festival experience for over 400,000 attendees, introducing another touch of innovation in the “world capital of night and magic.” About CryptoData A leader in tech innovation, CryptoData develops solutions that address real-world challenges, pushing the boundaries of technology for social progress. Users can discover more at cryptodata.com. About UNTOLD Universe Known for creating transformative experiences through music and entertainment, UNTOLD Universe invites you to explore enchanting realms at untold.ae. Users are welcome to join this thrilling journey on RHUNA.io, where technology meets entertainment to create unforgettable experiences. For more information and updates: Discord | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Medium   Contact Bogdan Rădulescu hello@rhuna.io.....»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyFeb 19th, 2024