The latest on tuition costs, bankruptcy, and why the world’s largest ETF depends on 11 millennials

The latest on tuition costs, bankruptcy, and why the world’s largest ETF depends on 11 millennials

Here are my favorite personal finance reads from around the web this week.


More private colleges are cutting tuition, but don’t expect to pay less

—The New York Times

In an effort to attract more applicants and increase retention, a growing number of liberal arts colleges are reducing tuition—but not really. Only the wealthiest students pay full tuition. What these colleges are actually doing is updating their advertised rates to reflect what most students already pay. They’re also reducing the heavy discounts that they’ve previously offered.

Going without health insurance can double your risk of bankruptcy


According to a new study from the American Bankruptcy Institute, people are twice as likely to file for bankruptcy if their health insurance lapses. Although it’s only a correlation, experts agree that medical bills were a key reason many filed for personal bankruptcy before health care coverage expanded under the Affordable Care Act. (I’ve long argued that health insurance is, in effect, bankruptcy insurance.) 

There’s been a surge in the number of young Americans opening credit cards—here’s why it may be smart to wait


The share of Gen Zers who carry a credit balance has risen by 41% over the past year, according to a new report from TransUnion. Generation Z is often cast as more frugal than millennials, but more than 70% of Gen Z consumers carry a credit card, the credit bureau found.

The fate of the world’s largest ETF is tied to 11 random millennials


One of the biggest investments around, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, is tied to the longevity of 11 children born between May 1990 and January 1993. The convoluted explanation: To extend its termination date, the fund had to peg itself to the lives of actual people, thanks to a legal rule related to trusts. The 11 names were volunteered by people working in the American Stock Exchange. Most of the children—now in their 20s—were unaware of their role in the fund’s origins.

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