Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial advice, gathered from around the web:
No windfall from Equifax
Expecting to score $125 because of the Equifax data breach? Think again, said Elizabeth Rembert at Bloomberg. Last month, Equifax agreed to a settlement promising up to $700 million to the 147 million people whose personal information was exposed in the 2017 data breach. Initially, the Federal Trade Commission said simply that claimants could file for a $125 payout. However, late last week, the FTC "encouraged affected customers to opt for as much as a decade of free credit monitoring instead." The settlement includes $300 million to $425 million for those who can show identity theft losses. Only $31 million is available for others, however, and those who choose to sign on for cash will get "a very small amount."
But where are customers' Ferraris?
Not too long ago, the prevailing wisdom was that "an investment manager's personal traits had no bearing on his or her company's performance," said Amy Whyte at Institutional Investor. But now "a recent outpouring of academic papers" is overturning that conventional wisdom. One study analyzed videotaped interviews with 101 hedge fund managers to spot traits known as the "dark triad: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy." It found that those managers who exhibited "dark" traits underperformed the overall group by almost a full percentage point each year in annualized returns. Newer studies have pointed to one other, less ambiguous sign of underperformance: driving a Ferrari.
Building? Expect unexpected costs
Building a home from the ground up was one of the best experiences of my life, but I learned some tough financial lessons along the way, said Beth DeCarbo at The Wall Street Journal. Just waiting to break ground involved several major hurdles, such as "getting the floor plans approved by the development's architectural-review committee, which meets monthly." All the paperwork pushed our start date back six months. By then, we had sold our old house in New York and had to rent a home and put our furniture in storage. "That set us back about $20,000." Expenses quickly add up, such as $1,400 "for a required topographical map and tree inventory." I also should have "asked more questions about cost-savings up front" — for example, whether a different floor plan would have been less expensive to build on our steeply sloped lot.