Google’s Top Searches For 2019 Leave Me With So Many Questions.

Google’s Top Searches For 2019 Leave Me With So Many Questions.

If this Google report is accurate, we’re in a heap of trouble. The top searches in the United States are for entertainment and sports. Disney+ is #1 followed by a number of young(ish) performers who died unexpectedly.

Quite frankly, I feel Google rushed this report – it doesn’t feel complete, e.g., nothing in top searches about politics? I don’t buy that. Nevertheless, based on what they published, here are the 10 categories of search I found most interesting.

Scroll down. And Just a heads up, since we’re being vapid anyway, the fashion searches are awesome!
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Is The Dry Cleaning Business Becoming Obsolete?

Is The Dry Cleaning Business Becoming Obsolete?

I’ve been thinking about dry cleaning a lot. Or more precisely, how to avoid it. And then on Thanksgiving on my way across town, I saw (for the first time ever) this sign which made me realize I’m not the only one cutting way back on my dry cleaning. And while I hate to see a small business face such an existential threat, dry cleaning is clearly facing an uncertain future.

What’s going on?

The rise of fast fashion and athleisure means that dry cleaning a garment can equal or surpass the cost of replacing it.

I became very conscious of my dry cleaning bills relative to the cost of the items being cleaned a few years ago after I started buying my wardrobe at COS. It dawned on me that a $100 item dry cleaned weekly would quickly cost more to maintain than the item cost in the first place. I set about trying to buy more items that were washable (and now I’ve invested in a steamer so we’ll see if that reduces the need for dry cleaning even further).

Scroll down for more on what’s disrupting dry cleaning
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My Year In Review: 2019 Was Strange But Hey I Powered Through

My Year In Review: 2019 Was Strange But Hey I Powered Through

What an odd year it’s been. We’re living in an “alternative facts” world and things seem to be getting more unhinged by the minute but somehow we’ve all managed to prevail and overcome the challenges coming at us. I learned a lot this year and had some phenomenal travel experiences. I’m closing out the year with a great sense of accomplishment. Can’t ask for more than that!

Here are the 5 things that made 2019 an excellent year for me
1. I had a major birthday and was thrilled to celebrate with some of my travel besties

Turning 70 just snuck up on me but I’ve got to tell you I’ve never been happier or more fulfilled than I am right now. How this stage of my life turned out to be the best, I have no idea. But I’m definitely more content and carefree than ever before.

One of the great things about being this age is that it makes you aware of just how precious and finite time is and how important it is to make the most of every moment. It focuses you on the present and makes you much more appreciative of the people and the good things in your life. You’re less likely to take things for granted. It changes your perspective on what’s really important and what’s just nonsense and not worth getting into a tussle about.

Also, now that I’m a member of that elite 70s-plus club, I’m in great company. Tina Turner just celebrated her 80th birthday with this amazing video (watch it if you haven’t already). Yayoi Kusama, one of my favorite artists, turned 90 this year. And, of course, there are dozens of amazing women strutting their stuff on Instagram who inspire me daily to be bolder and more creative in how I live my life.

People often ask me if I have any secrets for leading such a great life at this age. Here’s what I tell them to focus on.

  • HEALTH: Nothing is more important than staying healthy (eating right, being physically active, watching your weight). I’m also not shy about talking about the importance of “looking” healthy. That’s where botox and little nips and tucks come in. In my experience, if the reflection you see in the mirror matches how you “feel,” you’ll be happier – and healthier. I know not everyone agrees with this but it’s worked for me.
  • PURPOSE: Stay engaged with the world, don’t live in the past, embrace the new. Keep your network of friends and acquaintances fresh and vibrant.
  • FINANCIAL FREEDOM: Being disciplined about money is essential. Live within your means. By the time you’re 40 (if not earlier), you have to start building that nest egg for when you’re older.
Scroll down for more on what made this such an “excellent” year.
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Teens Have Political Fatigue – And So Do I

Teens Have Political Fatigue – And So Do I

A recent thought leadership piece from Fuse (teen/young adult marketing agency), stopped me in my tracks. If true, it suggests not only that teens are worn out by politics but they are also more likely to identify as Independents or Republicans than Democrats.

This runs counter to everything I’ve previously believed about young voters

According to Fuse’s survey, GenZ (i.e., 13-17-year-olds), are exhausted by politics:

  • A majority expressed disinterest in politics
  • Nearly one-third said they don’t plan to vote in the future.
  • Teens that do plan to be involved in politics are more likely to identify as Independents (25%) versus Republicans (21%) or Democrats (20%).
  • But 34% plan to be apolitical, i.e., not voting or being involved in politics in any way.
  • Beyond expressing frustration with political rants and posts on social media, no reason was given for their apathy to politics, e.g., are the candidates not stumping on relevant issues? Are they too out-of-touch? It’s a mystery that I’m hoping Fuse will clarify for us.

I will keep track of this development as we head into the 2020 elections (although teens will not be voting in these elections in any large numbers).

I admit I am nonplussed by these findings. However, Fuse has always supplied reliable research.

Their findings, however, are given extra credence by recent comments made by Barack Obama and BET founder Bob Johnson. Both have lately been cautioning Democrats about straying too far left. Johnson, in particular, has recently flat-out stated that 2020 Democrats don’t stand a chance against Trump because they are not centrist enough for African American voters. And Johnson, for those of you not familiar with him, is America’s first black billionaire. It seems that the leftist shift of the party and its day-in/day-out demonizing of anyone who has become wealthy and successful through business might not be sitting as well with the full-range of Democrats as the left-wing of the party led by Warren and Sanders have assumed.

Bottom Line.

IF these results are true, it spells trouble for Democrats who are convinced they’ve got young voters in the bag.

On top of that, based on conversations with Democratic friends (who are of voting age), I’m picking up mostly dissatisfaction with the leading candidates. I would not be surprised if many voters end up sitting out the election (as important as it is) because they simply cannot stomach the party choices.

Link to Fuse report here. (It’s the fourth topic in the deck.)

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CAUTION: Wag Dog Walking App Continues To Be An Unvetted Disaster

CAUTION: Wag Dog Walking App Continues To Be An Unvetted Disaster
For the video and full twitter thread see below

I’ve written about Wag before but as we head into the holidays, I want to remind people to be extra vigilant about services like Wag that put completely unvetted walkers into your home. They might not only harm your dog, they can rob you blind (which is exactly what happened to Shayna Bryan in Long Island City NY.

So many complaints about Wag going all the way back to 2017

If you Google “Problems with Wag Dog Walkers,” you’ll get 2.75 million results in 0.89 seconds.

The most egregious incidents involve dogs getting killed while under Wag! walker care. Frequently, the walkers do not put the dogs in their harnesses correctly (or at all). Theft is another common problem.

If the background checks are not good, the service will not be good

The quality of the background checks correlates directly to the quality of the people hired by any app providing services. And it is critical to their success whether it’s Task Rabbit, Handy, or Wag!.

Anybody who has ever run a business knows how hard it is to get qualified, trustworthy, reliable workers – especially for lower-paying jobs.

The more apps launching that rely 100% on the quality of the people they send into your home, the more skeptical I become that they’ve actually done their due diligence. It raises a red flag for me when an app claims it’s recruited thousands of vetted, qualified people – at a drop of a hat. How in-depth can those background checks be? Not very, I would say.

I’ve successfully used Task Rabbit over the years but I spend a lot of time researching an individual’s ratings and reviews. Any hint of poor service or impropriety and I move on to the next task rabbit. It’s not worth the risk. And I always start with the lowest-rated reviews, followed by their newest.

Bottom Line.

Ultimately, what will doom most apps providing in-home services is their inability to find trustworthy, reliable low-salary workers.

All I can say is: BEWARE!

Scroll down for more on Shayna Bryan’s Wag experience including video of the theft going down.
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A New Decade Is In The Offing, Big Changes Ahead.

A New Decade Is In The Offing, Big Changes Ahead.

When I look outside of my personal bubble, the world has recently felt strange and Kafkaesque. I’m generally an optimistic person which is why I’d put off writing this but I found myself not being able to move forward until I got this out of my system. So here goes!

First, everything that’s got me down.
  1. Geo-Political Madness: Crazy times as we head into the eye of a global meltdown. Everyone is at odds with each other whether it’s generationally, politically, scientifically, culturally, socio-economically.
  • France is burning as is Hong Kong, Chile, and Bolivia.
  • California is not only burning but without power.
  • NYC turned down 25,000 jobs from Amazon because AOC said so.
  • We have a President who appears to spend all his time tweeting and watching FOX News.
  • Every city has a major homeless problem
  • Mental illness is rampant. You can’t take a subway ride without witnessing something unseemly if not outright dangerous. NYC’s solution is to give the mayor’s wife $1 billion to deal with it. She has zero qualifications to run such a program which might explain why we’ve gotten zero results for our money.
  • Mass shootings outpace the number of days in the year. So far, 369 mass shootings over 321 days.
  • Conspiracy theories abound. We’re pro or con science as it suits our whims, e.g., anti-vaxxing but pro-climate change. The Flat Earthers are a growing force (more about that later). Lawmakers in Ohio just passed legislation that says it’s okay for students to be wrong in science class as long as their reasoning is based on religious beliefs.
  • We’re stymying technological progress, e.g., banning businesses from going cashless because some people are unbanked. Asia, on the other hand, is full steam ahead on becoming a cashless society.
  • And then there’s #cancelculture. The latest subject in its crosshairs: the artist Gauguin.
Scroll down for more.
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I’m Frugal. Are These Items Worth The Splurge?

I’m Frugal. Are These Items Worth The Splurge?

Over the years, through trial and error, I have become better at assessing what’s worth spending a little extra on, and what’s not. And mind you this comes from someone (me!) who’ll book a windowless hotel room to save a few dollars (but fly Business to get there). Obviously I’m conflicted when it comes to spending money.

But As we head into a new decade, I’ve been thinking about fresh starts

I’ve put together a shopping list of essential items that need an upgrade for 2020.

Major items on my list include new linens and bedding (urgent!), kitchen gadgets, e.g., I’m giving up my Nespresso Vertuo and going back to the French Press, and a new iPhone and laptop.

Scroll down for more – and if you have great recommendations, send them my way.
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Alaska Is The #1 Retirement Destination? What Happened To Florida?

Alaska Is The #1 Retirement Destination? What Happened To Florida?

Fascinating piece in Business Insider on the top places retirees have been flocking to over the last 10 years. Besides Alaska, the top 3 include Nevada and Colorado. (Photos above from my Alaska trip 4 years ago – loved it but would not want to live there!)

These states all have two things retirees want: affordable healthcare and low taxes.

Business Insider
But these places are also the antithesis of what retirees would typically seek out
Colder Climates

What popped out at me was how many of these destinations are in colder, mountainous climes. Predominately places where hiking and other outdoorsy activities are easily accessible.

High Cost of living

What also struck me was the high cost of living in many of these new retirement destinations. Alaska, for example, is very expensive because almost all the basics have to be shipped up from the lower 48.

Younger

One other observation I had about the top 13 destinations is that the median age in those states is on the younger side, e.g., in Alaska the median age is 33.4, in Idaho it’s 36, in Colorado, it’s 36.8, in Nevada, it’s 37.5, in Montana, it’s 39.8. In Florida, meanwhile, the median age is 42.

Culture shift

I’m intrigued and excited by this new pioneering spirit shown by today’s retirees. Of all the destinations on the list, the two that I would consider (not really, but hypothetically) are Boise Idaho and Montana (I’ve been to Missoula and Billings and loved them both).

Link to the entire Business Insider article here.

Bottom Line.

I believe there’s way more to this than simply taxes and healthcare. It’s a pretty significant culture shift.

I will be tracking it going forward.

And in the meanwhile, despite NYC’s high taxes and the fact that people are apparently leaving in droves, I love it here and consider it the best place to be as you get older because it’s walkable, has public transportation, and you can have everything delivered. If you live in a doorman building you’re really set (I don’t). NYC has doctors galore but best of all, it has all the fun things I Iove to do that are not necessarily expensive, e.g, galleries, restaurants and the ability to meet a fascinating mix of people that, because you are walking, you actually run into as you meander around the neighborhood.

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