China Still Has More Billionaires Than U.S., Rich List Shows

Chinese man

An annual Chinese rich list has shown that the Asian powerhouse has more billionaires than the United States, coming as a confirmation to another list released earlier in the year.

The Hurun Report’s rich list for 2016 shows China has more dollar billionaires than America and the margin is widening further. The Asian country now has 594 billionaires, compared to 535 in the U.S.

The annual rich list, which is put together by Shanghai-based Hurun Research Institute, has been compared to the Forbes’ rich list in the U.S. It is believed to provide highly accurate assessments of wealth in the world’s most populous country.

Sitting at the top of the list this time is property tycoon Wang Jianlin of Dalian Wanda, a company which has made headlines this year for its high-profile activities in the American movie market. The 62-year-old, whose company has acquired Legendary Pictures, boasts a net worth of $32.1 billion.

Alibaba Group’s Jack Ma saw a 41 percent boost in his personal wealth to $30.6 billion for second spot. Tencent Holdings Ltd’s Pony Ma came in third with a fortune of $24.6 billion.

The Hurun rich list actually shows the total number of Chinese billionaires currently stands at 754, with 594 coming from mainland China. Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau combine for 94 billionaires, while other parts of the globe, especially Southeast Asia, account for 66.

“Despite a 20 percent drop in the domestic stock markets and a slowdown in the economy, the number of richest people in the country has jumped 179 to 2,056, double that of three years ago and up 10-fold from 10 years ago,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun’s chief researcher and chairman.

The latest list confirms another global list released earlier in the year by the publisher showing the number of billionaires in China had exceeded that of those in America for the first time.

Although China now claims more billionaires, it does not have any representative among the top 20 richest people in the world.

Majority of the billionaires on the new list live in Beijing. The Chinese capital city is followed by Shenzhen, Shanghai and Hangzhou in that order.

The highest climber on the latest rich list is Yao Zhenhua of the real estate and investment company Baoneng Group. The 46-year-old, who made a big splash with his takeover of real estate firm Vanke Co. Ltd this year, jumped a whopping 200 places to fourth. His wealth had surged to $17.2 billion, representing an increase of 820 percent.

Hoogewerf said Yao’s astronomical rise was indicative of the “new wave of wealth creation in China.” He said the capital markets were increasingly being used for financial investments, unlike in the past.

Search engine Baidu’s Robin Li and Melissa Ma sit eighth with a fortune of $14.7 billion. Online games magnate Ding Lei of Neteasy Inc, Xu Jiayin of Evergrande Group, and He Xiangjian of Midea Group Co. joined Yao as new entrants among the top 10 richest Chinese. However, smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi’s founder Lei Jun slipped out of the top 10 to 14th spot amid increasing competition in the smartphone market.

The Best Incentive Credit Cards

Credit card

EDIT: Not sure how I over looked this but for travel rewards the new Chase Sapphire Reserve is this sh*t. I applied online and was approved instantly and you could be too with decent credit and if you’re within the 5/24 rule. I’m not going to get into the details on this post but check it. Hands down the best travel rewards credit card out there.

As the economy gets stronger, credit card providers are featuring their most lavish offers to attract new customers. However, deciding which card will give you the best payoff for your personal spending is still another thing. That is the reason why 33% of Americans have not switched their primary card in ten years.

According to Matthew Goldman, a chief product officer for credit card websites at Bankrate, “Many people have under-optimized wallets.” He added, “Right now, it’s a really good time to be a customer, especially one with good credit. The issuers are really going after each other with lucrative deals.”

Therefore, the following information about card choices can help you make a selection.

Cash Back Cards

Cash is not as exciting, say, as a dream trip, but for most consumers, it is the most lucrative choice. NerdWallet made the following analysis. According to its calculations, consumers need to spend $8,600 annually on travel to earn more with a credit card that offers rewards than credit cards that offer cash back. People who travel overseas annually typically fare better with credit cards that waive the foreign transaction fees. A two percent return has become a gold standard for cards that offer cash back. However, most cards with that high of rate also come with several caveats.

For instance, the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature card requires that a rebate deposit be added to a Fidelity-based account. Citi’s Double Cash credit card gives your one percent as you make purchases and an additional one percent when the purchases are paid off. Cards from Discover, Chase, and American Express feature high cash-back rates that are limited specifically to grocery or gas purchases.

Rewards Cards

Rewards cards are popular because they focus on everyone’s aspirations – dreams that allow them to see the world or expand their horizons. Airline miles and similar incentives are bought in bulk by credit card issuers for a small portion of their cash value. However, even so, many of the reward points on the cards accumulate and are never used.

Fortunately, you can take these transferable perks and use them on hotel stays and airline travel if you don’t let them pile up and collect dust. Most of the rewards cards feature annual fees, but the listed rates usually do not reflect what a customer pays.

For example, the Sapphire Reserve card by Chase costs $450 annually. However, the card also includes a rebate of $300 on travel purchases, which is instantly applied on the card’s monthly statements. Therefore, customers actually pay $150 for the privilege of using the credit card. Direct competitors, Citi Prestige and American Express Platinum also provide rebates for some of their charges.

If you are not sure how best to use the cards, you can download apps that show how to apply the card incentives. If you like to travel, stick to comparing and contrasting reward cards. However, if you are more of a homebody, then cash back cards offer the best rewards.

British Columbia Cuts Maximum Allowable Payday Loan Fees

Cutting Costs

After months of being lambasted by the opposition parties, the Liberal government has finally moved ahead with reining in the payday loan industry, a contentious issue in the province.

British Columbia announced that it will reduce the maximum charge on payday loans. As of January 1, the maximum allowable charge for a payday loan will be $17 for every $100 borrowed. This is down from $23, and nearly half of the $30 charged before 2009.

The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General said in a statement that the changes to how much lenders can charge for short-term, high-interest loans will be the second-lowest in the nation. The province of Alberta has the lowest with $15 per every $100 borrowed.

“Payday loan businesses are making a reasonable profit at this level. We don’t believe in gouging customers and have no objections to the new regulations,” stated Landmark Cash media relations manager Ryan Murphy.

In a news release, officials say that this move will help protect “vulnerable” consumers from entering into a spiral debt and assist them in saving money as they take out expensive payday loans.

“We made a commitment to reducing the maximum charges payable on payday loans and we are doing that,” said Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, in a statement.

“We strive to keep as much money in people’s pockets as possible, through low taxes, balanced budgets and creating jobs that pay well. And we will continue to look for ways to make alternative financial services as affordable as possible and to ensure strong consumer protections continue to be in place.”

Moreover, the ministry will establish a 30-day consultation period. This will allow lenders, credit counselors, advocacy groups and consumers to study and examine an array of issues, including consumer education and the development of low-cost loans.

The payday loan industry has been exploding in British Columbia. According to a report entitled “Short-Term Gain, Long-Term Pain,” the number of payday loan borrowers expanded 58 percent between 2012 and 2014. The industry grew from $318 million to $385 million in that same time period. Many officials and consumer protection organizations have expressed concerns.

The rest of the province has been tackling the issue of payday loans. For instance, the city of Maple Ridge passed a bylaw that prohibited new payday loan stores from opening.

Tyler Shymkiw, a Maple Ridge Councillor, lauded the provincial government for finally taking action to protect consumers.

“As a city councilor, and the former chair of our local food bank, I saw for myself the devastating effect these short term, high-interest payday loans have on our communities,” he said. “This is a positive step towards improving the lives of families and working people in this province.”

It isn’t just British Columbia that is looking to rein in the payday loan industry. Jurisdictions across Canada and the United States have implemented new rules and regulations that limit the reach of payday loans. The reason for this is that opponents argue that payday loans tend to burden impecunious consumers with immense piles of debt that can be nearly impossible to pay off.

Proponents have countered that argument by noting that some of these same consumers do not have access to conventional forms of credit or banking options. Therefore, payday loans help fill that gap. Also, they present the case that adult consumers are free to choose whether or not to borrow these funds.

Tips for Making Your Retirement Years Productive

Retired seniors

Most working people look forward to retirement. Even if you enjoy working, you probably have certain plans for retirement. Some people plan to travel while others will move closer to family or relax with their grandchildren. Recent news shows consumers how they can financially, physically, and emotionally prepare for their golden years.

Are You Financially Read to Give Up Your Position?

First, retirement experts suggest that it is important that people who plan to retire are financially ready to give up their position or job. Therefore, financial professionals recommend that people near retirement avoid taking investment risks. Instead, they should put their money into safer investments, such as bonds.

Are You Emotionally Prepared?

Psychologists also add that you need to be emotionally prepared to retire. Even if you are looking forward to retirement, the shift can be dramatic. To ease into your new life, you should find a hobby or purpose to keep you busy and occupied. For instance, some professionals suggest that retirees use the skills they acquired from working and give their expertise back to the community. Volunteer with an organization to avoid complacency.

Are You in Good Physical Health?

Retirees should also make sure they are in good physical health. Experts suggest that retirees see their physician to obtain a checkup. If you stay active, you will live a more fulfilled life and do so with more energy. The physical activity also helps prevent depression, especially common in older people. If you are just beginning to exercise, take a long walk in the morning or at night.

All of the foregoing suggestions should keep you financially solvent after you leave the workaday life. Preparation is key if you want to savor your retirement years and not worry about money or any related budgetary issues. Keeping in good emotional and mental health will reduce the costs associated with medical care and make for a more fulfilled life.

If you are not yet ready to make a move financially, review your retirement savings and your overall budget. Review where you can cut expenses or where you can further save.