Your Take Column

Every Friday morning I post a “Your Take” article in which I share my opinion on a particular subject and ask for yours. While I hope readers always share their thoughts, Your Take is more like the start to a conversation, a kick-off if you will, rather than an article in the traditional sense. I hope that you share your opinions about some of these subjects as I’m always interested to hear other people’s perspectives.


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Your take: Do you Black Friday?

Your take: Do you Black Friday?It’s been years since I actually went shopping for Black Friday, but I picture it looking kind of like the illustration above.

According to a report by the National Retail Federation, today 140 million Americans will besiege their local big-box stores and malls like a marauding army, but they’ll be out for deals rather than blood (in most cases).

In my experience, Black Friday is pretty polarizing: You either love it and don’t understand what all the haters are yapping about, or you think it’s ridiculous and the only way you participate is online or by watching the chaos unfold on the morning news.
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Your take: Does a high price make you think it’s better?

Do people love Dom Perignon because it tastes good, or because they think higher price, better quality?The other day I was shopping for some new earbuds online and I saw a Panasonic pair with 4 1/2 stars and tons of glowing reviews. I haven’t bought Panasonic anything in years, and the price was only $7, so I ignored the good reviews and looked elsewhere, finally settling on a well-reviewed but slightly more expensive pair from Sennheiser.

The pair I ended up with were ok, but I haven’t been blown away, so imagine my chagrin when I saw a very similar Panasonic pair win in a showdown of 40 different pairs of earbuds, many costing substantially more.
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Your take: Is investing in IPOs smart, or strictly for muppets?

Is investing in an IPO smart, or strictly for muppets?Lots of people lined up yesterday to buy shares of brand-spanking new Twitter stock. Initially priced at $26 a share, Twitter stock was going for $45.10 when trading began, and at one point was up near $50.

Big pops like this are pretty common with high-profile IPOs (short for initial public offering); many rank-and-file investors can’t wait to get in on the new hotness and quickly drive the price up, buying in at price points so high they’ll probably never make much money on the stock.


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Your take: Is stock investing for suckers?

Do you still believe in stock investing?I don’t blame people for wanting to give up on investing in stocks.

In the last 20 years, we’ve had a massive tech bubble burst, two recessions and a financial crisis that cut the value of the S&P 500 by more than half in a matter of months.

If stocks were a party guest, they’d be the rowdy drunk who you finally stop inviting to things after they break their third lamp.

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Your take: Have you been affected by the shutdown?

Has the shutdown affected your finances?

It’s clear Americans are really annoyed about the government shutdown currently underway. A poll conducted this week by CBS News found 72 percent of Americans oppose shutting the government down over opposition to the Affordable Care Act, and Congress’ approval rating is down in the single digits.


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Your take: Do you trust online reviews?

Do you consider online reviews when making a buying decision, even though they might be 'astroturf'?Do you consider online reviews when making a buying decision?

Most people do. A 2012 Nielsen survey found that 70 percent of global consumers surveyed online trust online reviews, second only to recommendations from friends and family.

Maybe that’s why there’s a cottage industry built around falsifying online reviews to sucker consumers into buying products and services that can’t get good reviews on their own, a practice known as “astroturfing.”

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Your Take: Are You Getting the iPhone 5S?

iPhone 5S GoldAh yes, a new Apple product. As Jimmy Kimmel put it, a new iPhone announcement is like America’s version of a royal wedding/baby. I can’t tell if that’s a good or bad thing… I’m sticking with bad. We asked the same question last year with the iPhone 5, so we figured we’d do it again this year.

Apple announced not one, but two new shiny devices for us to salivate over.


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Your Take: Are You Driving Less?

Driving LessWe’ve tossed around the idea of selling your ride and living carless, and many people are finding more efficient ways to get around, but it’s still hard to believe we’re seeing an end of an era.

Driving just isn’t cool anymore.

According to a new report from the John A. Volpe Transportation Systems Center, people are driving less and less in America. This is a trend I’ve picked up recently as I’ve been traveling more. I live in a pretty car-reliant town, so I feel like I have an inflated sense of the ubiquity of cars. They’re everywhere. Everyone at my office drives to work; It’s just the easiest way to get around. But in my recent travels to bigger, more densely-populated urban centers, I’ve noticed many people utilizing a variety of efficient transportation options to get around.


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