There are over 80,000 videos on YouTube dedicated to showing people the process of assembling furniture from Ikea, and those aren't even the funny ones.
The Swedish retailer is notoriously known for its cost-effective products that appeal to Millennials and people living on tight budgets alike, as well as the grueling task of figuring out how to put the furniture together that always accompanies a purchase. As much as the retailer's products are chic and economical, they're also admittedly kind of a pain. With their latest business decision, the company hopes to combat this issue.
Last month, Ikea announced that they would be purchasing the startup company TaskRabbit and hopes that by the time the merger is complete, Ikea customers would directly be able to hire "Taskers" when they purchase their furniture.
The deal is one of mutual benefits for both companies.In a statement released by the company, President and CEO of IKEA Group, Jesper Brodin said, "We will be able to learn from TaskRabbit's digital expertise, while also providing IKEA customers additional ways to access flexible and affordable service solutions to meet the needs of today's customer." Stacey Brown-Philpot, CEO of TaskRabbit agreed, saying "With IKEA Group ownership, TaskRabbit could realize even greater opportunities; increasing earning potential of Taskers and connecting consumers to a wide range of affordable services."
TaskRabbit began 2008 as "an innovative sharing-economy on-demand platform," where users are connected with "Taskers" to help them complete a wide array of projects, from home improvement to housekeeping to yes, moving and putting together your furniture, which is a highly-demanded task in New York City. The service was grossed around $50 million since its inception.
TaskRabbit services have already been implemented in Ikea branches in the United Kingdom, where customers are able to book the services at fixed prices in locations surrounding the London area. The hope is that the success of this program will play out similarly when it comes stateside.
The deal, which was made at an amount left undisclosed by the companies, was done in hopes of Ikea expanding its outreach to online consumers (a market Amazon currently dominates), as well as an attempt to better utilize the "gig-economy" that is quite popular among the top purchasers of Ikea's products.
However, there are some downfalls in signing up with the service, such as the requirement that the furniture must be anchored to the wall as Ikea suggests in its retail package. If this is not done, the Tasker will not complete the assembly. The safety reasons behind the decision are quite logical after the scandals of dressers falling over and injuring people (particularly children), but it's fairly impractical to expect customers likely living in rented units to create more damage to their homes simply to purchase what they originally thought was cost effective furniture.
It will have to be seen whether or not the pros of having someone assemble your furniture make it a better buy than investing in a sturdier piece. At the very least, it's something worth experimenting with when the service is fully rolled out in shops throughout the end of the year.
Perhaps the next time you head to Ikea for a home purchase, the only thing you'll have to stress out about is how many meatballs you should order.
When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.