Amazon Prime Day Breaks Records, Biggest in Company History

Tuesday’s Amazon Prime Day sales surpassed Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and the event grew by more than 60 percent, making it the biggest day ever in Amazon history, the online retailer said in a press release.

13 countries were included in this year’s Prime Day. The most popular item was the Echo Dot. Prime members bought seven times more Amazon Echo devices globally than last year’s Prime Day. Other top selling items in the U.S. included a pressure cooker and DNA ancestry test.

More members joined Prime than on any other day in the company’s history.

This year’s Prime Day was 30 hours long -- 6 hours longer than 2016.

Boomers, Millennials, Gen Xers not ready for retirement, survey finds

Investors are still strongly influenced by the 2007-2008 Financial Crisis and Baby Boomers, Millennials and Gen Xers are falling short of their retirement goals, according to a survey from Baltimore-based investment management firm Legg Mason. Legg Mason’s 2017 Global Investment Survey found many Baby Boomers haven’t met their retirement goals. The majority of Boomers Legg Mason surveyed have yet to achieve their retirement goals. 

Legg Mason says the future financial environment will likely be quite different than what Boomers are experiencing. According to Legg Mason, that means it won’t be easy for Millennials and Gen Xers to make money and, “the secular decline in interest rates markets that defined much of the boomer’s investment years and the easy monetary policies that followed the GFC have largely run their course.”

The Legg Mason study does say Millennials and Gen Xers still have time on their side, but they need to act soon when it comes to preparing for retirement. That means developing long-term investment plans and sticking with them. Legg Mason says Millennials and Gen Xers will need to stray away from asset allocation models and instead become more outcome-oriented in their choices. Legg Mason says, “this will mean accepting increased risk and embracing broad diversification, including exposure to unconstrained, multi-asset and alternative products.”

US successfully tests THAAD missile defense system

The U.S. successfully tested its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile defense system Tuesday, amid rising tensions with North Korea.

During the drill, a THAAD weapon system in Kodiak, Alaska intercepted a ballistic missile that was launched north of Hawaii, according to a U.S Missile Defense Agency statement. THADD is used to protect the U.S. against short and intermediate  -- not intercontinental --  range ballistic missiles.

According to the Missile Defense Agency the successful launch bolsters the U.S.’ defensive capability against North Korea’s missile threats.

A Reason for Coffee Drinkers to Celebrate - You'll Live Longer!

Coffee drinkers can now celebrate. According to a new study you will live longer than those who don’t have a daily cup or more of java.

The research, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, found coffee drinking reduced the risk of death from various causes. The study tracked 185,000 Americans over a 16 year period.

According to ABC News, the study found the more cups of coffee people drank per day, the greater the benefit -- those who reported drinking four or more cups per day had an 18 percent decreased chance of death than those who said they don’t drink coffee.

The researchers also tracked the coffee drinking habits of more than 520,000 in Europe with similar results.

Zurich offers to buy back your variable annuity, but how much will you receive?

Zurich American Life Insurance Company is offering to buy back your Farmers Variable Annuity, but how much are we talking? The company says it will buy your contract with an in-force GRIB Rider for the “Buy Back Amount” which will equal your contract value -- less any outstanding loans -- plus an enhancement amount.  According to a document filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the enhancement amount is computed in accordance with the policyholder’s age. Take a look at this chart to see how much you’ll receive. Keep in mind, Zurich says the amount credited to you will be the greatest of Amount A, B or C. You will not incur a surrender charge if you take the Buy Back Offer. The offer will be available Jul. 3 through Oct. 31.

Zurich’s move isn’t new -- it’s an ongoing trend among major life insurance companies that want to get out of these types of deals due to the financial pressure they cause them. Life insurance companies made promises when these contracts came out, but then the market crashed in 2008. Now they are stuck in expensive contracts. But, if they can get policyholders to cash in now, they clear their books. That means annuity agents and policyholders can expect more buyback offers from companies hoping to do the same thing.