Your weekly money scoop: January 6, 2017

We generally make money when you get a product (like a credit card or loan) through our platform, but we don’t let that cloud our editorial opinions. Learn more about how we keep this compensation from affecting our editorial views.

Your weekly money scoop: January 6, 2017

By JENNIFER WILLIAMS

We're serving you our weekly bite-sized roundup of the stories you need to know. This week, read about how the Virgin Islands could pay for part of your next vacation to the islands and how some New Yorkers could might soon qualify for free college tuition.

U.S. Virgin Islands could pay for part of your next vacation to the islands. Yes, really. In honor of the 100th anniversary of Denmark selling the Virgin Islands to the U.S., the territory is offering a $300 spending credit to travelers. There are some stipulations, though. To qualify, travelers must book their flights by October 1, 2017 through the Virgin Islands' tourism website using a promo code, and spend at least three days in a participating hotel on the islands of St. Thomas, St. John or St. Croix in 2017. The spending credit can be used toward tours and activities.

US auto sales broke records in 2016. According to data from Automotive News, car sales rose for the seventh year in a row. Why? According to analysts, it's partly because carmakers offered generous incentives, cars on the road were getting old (11 years old on average) and gas prices were low across the U.S. Since cars are some of the most expensive household items, their sales are considered to be a good indicator of consumer spending.

In 2016, natural disasters caused $175 billion in damages globally. Alarmingly, according to German reinsurance firm Munich RE, only 30 percent of the overall damages were insured. North America alone experienced 160 disasters, the highest number since 1980. The costliest disasters took place in Japan, which suffered two earthquakes totaling $31 billion in damages, and in China, with floods that caused $20 billion worth of losses. According to the head of Munich RE's Geo Risks Research Unit, these disasters may show the potential side effects of climate change, which is believed to cause some of these catastrophes.

Amid struggling global currencies, Bitcoin value has jumped. The virtual currency, which can be exchanged person-to-person without intermediaries such as banks, is increasingly popular in countries like Venezuela, where local currency is losing its value, and India, which has removed its largest bills in an effort to thwart the black market. And the most Bitcoin transactions take place in China, where citizens use the currency to work around the country's strict regulations on moving money across country borders.

New York Governor wants college to be free for New York students of low- and middle-income families. Similar to the plan proposed by Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton during their presidential primary campaigns, New York governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a proposal to make public college free for New York students whose families make less than $125,000 a year. According to the US Census Bureau, the median household income in New York City is $53,373. The program is projected to cost about $163 million and could apply to nearly one million families, says Cuomo's office, but if the proposal is approved students would still need to cover the cost of room and board on their own.

And that's the scoop this week -- see you next week for more.

About the Author: Jennifer Williams is a QA Specialist in Member Support at Credit Karma. She has her MFA in Fiction, and puts her skills to use helping members and training new hires. When she's off the clock, she can be found editing her novel, playing guitar, or hiking with her dog in the hills.

Editorial Note: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. While compensation may affect which companies we write about and products we review, our marketing partners don't review, approve or endorse our editorial content. Our content is accurate (to the best of our knowledge) when we initially post it, but we don't guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. You can visit the company's website to get complete details about a product. See an error in an article? Use this form to report it to our editorial team. For questions about your Credit Karma account, please submit a help request to our support team.

Advertiser Disclosure: We think it's important for you to understand how we make money. It's pretty simple, actually. The offers for financial products you see on our platform come from companies who pay us. The money we make helps us give you access to free credit scores and reports and helps us create our other great tools and educational materials.

Compensation may factor into how and where products appear on our platform (and in what order). But since we generally make money when you find an offer you like and get, we try to show you offers we think are a good match for you. That's why we provide features like your Approval Odds and savings estimates.

Of course, the offers on our platform don't represent all financial products out there, but our goal is to show you as many great options as we can.


Comment on this Article

Write your comment:
Enter Your Comments