The Price of Nice Nails

The typical cost of a manicure in the city helps explain the abysmal pay. A survey of more than 105 Manhattan salons by The Times found an average price of about $10.50. The countrywide average is almost double that, according to a 2014 survey by Nails Magazine, an industry publication.

With fees so low, someone must inevitably pay the price.

Ever wonder why getting you nails done in NYC is cheaper then just about everywhere else?  Doesn’t it seem incredible that one of the most expensive cities in the US could have a service that is cheaper then almost anywhere else?  This is a great expose in the NYT about how workers are exploited.
I particularly liked this map showing the number of Starbucks vs. nail shops:

Source: The Price of Nice Nails

Buy or Rent?

Is it better to rent or buy?

The NY Times has a great interactive calculator for evaluating the trade-offs of buying vs. renting. It looks to cover everything:

  • House Price
  • Interest rates
  • Length of mortgage
  • Downpayment
  • Planned time to occupy
  • Future rental rates
  • Housing market expected increases
  • Taxes
  • Maintenance fees

It produces a number like:

If you can rent a similar
home for less than …
$961 PER
… then renting is better.

Does it make sense to buy a house?

Here’s a great interactive graphic from that shows the ratio of renting to buying. The ratio is how many years of paying before you paid full price for an equivalent house. This data is comparing the median list price with that of a two bedroom apartment.
Continue reading…

Who can live here?

Here is similar data to to the Interactive Census Data but with a little more Manhattan orientation. The interactive chart let’s you look at different neighborhoods and shows the income distribution. You can also see how many people can afford to live there assuming they can pay 30% of their income for rent.
Envisioning Development

Interactive Census Data

Great interactive chart from the NY Times that uses Google maps and data from the census.
You can look at incomes from the census track level (e.g. a few blocks) all the way up to the entire country. This diagram shows income distribution:
Income in Manhattan
And this one is the change in median income:
Income change
You can also check things like ethnicity and various income levels.

Being a Consumer vs Investor

There’s some lesson to be learned here about investing vs consuming but I can’t quite figure it out! Hmm, I wonder if I’m a consumer or an investor.
If instead of spending $5700 on an Apple Powerbook in 1997 you’d bought Apple stock, it’d be worth $330K! If I hadn’t bought a MacBook Pro in 2008 for ~$2,499 but bought Apple Stock it’d now be worth $5,680. I’d have nearly $8,000 more.