Here’s All You Need to Know About Unlimited Chuck E. Cheese Games

Chuck-e-cheese stands outside of a vehicle after a reopening of a Check E Cheese store.
Contributor Jenna Limbach writes on financial literacy and lifestyle topics for The Penny Hoarder from her home base in Utah. Stephanie Bolling is a former staff writer.

Thinking of having a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese? The Ultimate Fun and Mega Fun party options both come with 2 hours of all you can play for each child.
To keep patrons safe, Chuck E. Cheese has COVID-19 protocols implemented during birthday parties and some aspects of playtime. There are hand sanitizing stations, regular sanitizing of surfaces and touchless pay options, as well as the touchless Play Passes and bands.
You’d think taking the little ones to a pizza and games place like Chuck E. Cheese would bring some distraction-induced reprieve. But alas, they’re coming at you every five minutes for more tokens.
Just think: Your kids might wear themselves out for less than . Might.

How Chuck E. Cheese All You Can Play Works

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If you do a traditional party at Chuck E. Cheese but want social distancing, you can book a VIP party on Saturdays at 8 a.m. or Sundays at 9 a.m.
If you have to cancel a party due to COVID, you can transfer your party deposit to a new date within one year of the canceled date or use it for a to-go party pack.

  • $1 Play Pass
  • $3 Play Pass with coil wristband
  • $7.99 Rechargeable Play Band with $5 worth of game play included

Ready to stop worrying about money?
Some games might still dispense paper tickets, but Chuck E. Cheese has transitioned to e-tickets that are automatically saved to Play Passes. Once kids are done playing, they can redeem their e-tickets at the counter for prizes.
Behold the All You Can Play game option (aka the savior of parental sanity), at participating Chuck E. Cheese locations nationwide.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com
For birthday parties, you can find an option that works for you based on state or local guidelines, or even do a Party Pack at home through delivery or carryout. If you choose an at-home option, you’ll still get play points and e-tickets to use on your next visit.

Pro Tip
If you find yourself frequently going to Chuck E. Cheese to keep the kids happy, check out their rewards program.

Chuck E. Cheese and COVID-19 Safety

Privacy Policy
Check that All You Can Play is available at your Chuck E. Cheese location before you go.
The allowed number of party guests and Chuck E. appearances will vary by state and local guidelines. If local guidelines don’t allow for Chuck E. to be there in person, he’ll attend virtually on video monitors.
Not today, children.
Currently, unlimited game time comes in 30-minute increments starting at with any Chuck E. Cheese deals purchase and is good any day of the week. Save even more if you go on All You Can Play Wednesday. Mention the promotion at time of purchase and you’ll get an hour of unlimited play for .99.
Kids and families attend the Chuck E. Cheese Baton Rouge, La. Signature Grand Reopening on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021 in Baton Rouge, LA. Tyler Kaufman/AP Images for CEC Entertainment
Kids like to touch everything, and at a restaurant like Chuck E. Cheese those instincts run free.

Chuck E. Cheese Rewards

For one flat fee, kiddos can play unlimited games without exception for a selected amount of time.
When you download the app and sign-up, you’ll receive 500 free e-tickets. You’ll get 250 e-tickets on your sign-up anniversary and a birthday surprise for your birthday and half-birthday. Refer a friend and you’ll get one free personal pizza when they sign up.

  • For 50 points, you’ll get 15 minutes of play time, an order of Unicorn Churros or 500 e-tickets.
  • At 100 points, you receive 30 minutes of play time, one personal 1-topping pizza or 1,000 e-tickets.
  • For 200 points, you can earn 60 minutes of play time, one large 1-topping pizza or 2,000 e-tickets.

Kids can use Play Passes or Play Bands, which allow them to load time or points with a tap. Play Passes come in three tiers:
Before your next trip, you can also reload time and points onto Play Passes and Play Bands online. <!–

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Being a parent is expensive. And exhausting.

American Express Transfer Bonus: 25% To Flying Blue (KLM/AirFrance), 1:1.25

The Offer

  • You can currently receive a transfer bonus of 25% when you transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Flying Blue. Normally you can transfer 1,000 MR points and receive 1,00 Flying Blue miles, during this promotion you’ll receive 1,250(1:1.25).

The Fine Print

  • Valid until 6/15/22

Our Verdict

We saw a 30% transfer bonus last year, but standard is 25%. Previous bonuses are as follows:

Targeted Bonuses

Source: doctorofcredit.com

[Targeted] Discover: Earn An Extra 6% Cashback At Restaurants

The Offer

No direct link to offer, sent out via e-mail. Subject line is as follows: ‘Don’t miss earning an extra 6% cash back at Restaurants’

  • Discover is offering some cardholders an additional 6% cash back at restaurants.

The Fine Print

  • Activate to earn 6% Cashback Bonus at Restaurants from 04/21/2022 (or the date on which you activate 6%, whichever is later) through 06/30/2022, on up to $1,250 in purchases.
  • Restaurant purchases include those made at merchants classified as full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias and fast-food locations.
  • Restaurant delivery services may not be eligible.
  • Purchases must be made with merchants in the U.S. to qualify for 6%, the purchase transaction date must be before or on the last day of the offer or promotion.
  • For online purchases, the transaction date from the merchant may be the date when the item ships. Rewards are added to your account within two billing periods.
  • Even if a purchase appears to fit in a 6% category, the merchant may not have a merchant category code (MCC) in that category.
  • Merchants and payment processors are assigned an MCC based on their typical products and services.

Our Verdict

Nice spending bonus if targeted.

Hat tip to reader Information Booth

Source: doctorofcredit.com

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – What Is This Economic Indicator?

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Additional Resources

Gross domestic product (GDP) is one of the most commonly used measures of economic production in the world. Despite its popularity, many people don’t know exactly what GDP is, how to calculate it, or how it affects you.

Put simply, GDP is the total value of everything produced by an economy, typically a country, over a period, typically one year. This allows economists to compare the size of different economies. In general, the higher a country’s GDP, the stronger its economy.

GDP can be important for everyday people for a number of reasons.


What Is Gross Domestic Product (GDP)?

GDP is a measure of the total market value of everything an economy produces. That includes both physical goods as well as intellectual property and services produced by an economy. GDP is typically measured over the course of a quarter or year and based on political borders, such as for countries or states.


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You can think of GDP as being like a report card or scoreboard for the health of an economy. If a country’s GDP is rising, it means its economy is becoming more productive. If GDP is shrinking, its economy is becoming less productive. You can compare the size of two countries’ GDP to compare the output of their economies.

There are multiple ways to calculate GDP but they all aim to produce a similar result: a measure of the size of an economy.


Factors That Affect GDP

Because GDP measures the size of a country’s economy, it is influenced by numerous economic factors.

GDP is the sum of the market value of everything an economy produces. The more valuable goods and services an economy produces, the higher its GDP will be. Keep in mind, GDP is a measure of the current value of goods and services. If inflation causes prices to rise, a country’s GDP will also rise because goods are more expensive.

The primary way economists determine the value of goods produced by an economy is to add all government spending, personal consumption, private investing, and net exports. 

The more the government spends, the more private businesses and people invest, and the more consumers spend, the higher a country’s GDP will be. Exporting more than it imports will also increase a country’s GDP, whereas importing more than it exports will reduce its GDP.


Types of Gross Domestic Product

GDP is used in multiple different contexts. Economists have designed different types of GDP to help them measure different aspects of the economy.

Nominal GDP

Nominal GDP is one of the most common measures of gross domestic product. It is the value of all goods and services an economy produces using current prices, unadjusted for inflation. This means it is less useful for comparing the same economy across different years because inflation can cause GDP to rise due to price increases, even if an economy’s output does not change. 

However, it is useful for measuring output in current terms and is often the simplest to calculate because you don’t have to adjust for inflation.

Real GDP

Real GDP is an inflation-adjusted measure of gross domestic product. It measures the output of an economy using constant prices.

For example, imagine an economy that produces $1,000 worth of goods in a year. The next year, it produces the exact same goods, but those goods sell for $1,050 because inflation for the year is 5%. 

The real GDP in both years will be the same because real GDP adjusts for inflation using the value of the economy’s currency in the base year to determine the GDP for future years.

For real GDP to increase, the output of an economy must increase rather than prices increasing due to inflation.

This makes real GDP useful for comparing changes in the same economy over time or comparing growth in different countries’ GDPs over time.

GDP Per Capita

GDP per capita is a measure of economic production per population. GDP per capita can be expressed in multiple forms, including nominal, real, and purchasing power parity.

Determining GDP per capita requires calculating an economy’s GDP then dividing it by the economy’s population.

For example, if an economy has a GDP of $10 million and a population of 2,000 people, its GDP per capita is: $10 million ÷ 2,000 = $5,000 per capita.

GDP Growth Rate

GDP growth rate measures economic growth over time. Usually, economists measure this on a quarterly or annual basis. This is typically expressed as a percentage rate.

For example, if an economy’s GDP is $10 million in one year and $10.5 million the next, its GDP growth rate is 5%.

GDP growth rate is a popular measure for economists for a few reasons. One is that it can help economists see the speed of an economy’s expansion or contraction. An economy that is growing too quickly may lead to inflation and prompt central banks to raise interest rates. If growth slows, the economy might be heading toward recession, prompting policymakers to attempt to bolster the economy.

A negative GDP growth rate indicates an economy that is shrinking or in recession.

GDP Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)

Purchasing power parity is a measure of the different standards of living between economies. It analyzes the price of a “basket of goods” that contains different common products and services people purchase. Higher PPP indicates a more powerful currency that can purchase more goods or a higher standard of living.

GDP PPP adjusts an economy’s GDP for exchange rates and the purchasing power of its currency compared to other currencies, letting economists compare the output of an economy to its cost of living.


How GDP Is Calculated

There are multiple different ways to calculate GDP but they all aim to measure an economy’s output. Each formula tries to account for the same factors, just in different ways. 

There are three methods economists use to calculate economic activity and determine GDP.

Expenditure Approach

The expenditure approach looks to determine the GDP of an economy by finding the total of all spending in that economy. The idea is that all of an economy’s outputs are purchased by someone, so finding out how much money is spent by individuals, businesses, and the government will tell you the value of all the goods an economy produces during a period of time.

To find GDP using the expenditure approach, you can use this formula:

Consumption + Investment + Government Exports + Net Exports = GDP

Consumption refers to consumer spending on items like food, rent, gas, clothing, and any other goods and services that they might need. It does not include capital investments like equipment, machinery, or real estate.

Investment is the portion of the calculation that accounts for investment in equipment, land, machinery, and the like by both individuals and businesses. It doesn’t include investment in financial products like stocks, bonds, or mutual funds.

Government spending is the aggregate of all the money the government spends on goods and services, including government employee pay, military spending, and infrastructure. Things like Social Security benefits aren’t included because they are transfer payments — a reallocation of money from one group to another. Unemployment, subsidies, and welfare are similarly excluded.

Finally, net exports measures the value of all goods an economy exports minus the value of the goods it imports. A country that exports more than it imports will have a positive value for net exports, whereas one that imports more will have to subtract the difference when finding its GDP.

The drawback of the expenditure approach is that it ignores some forms of investment, such as putting money in savings accounts or buying stocks. It also values goods and services at the price the purchaser pays, even if they pay a heavily discounted price below the true value of that good or service or an inflated price above its true value.

Production (Output) Approach

The production, or output, approach to calculating GDP uses the value of all the final goods that an economy produces. Here’s how this method of calculating GDP looks:

Gross Value Added – Intermediate Consumption = Value of Output (GDP)

  • Gross Value Added. How much value different economic activities add to goods and services.
  • Intermediate Consumption. The cost of the supplies and labor used to produce finished goods and services.
  • Value of Output. This calculation gives you the GDP of an economy by subtracting intermediate consumption from the gross value of an economy.

The drawback of using this approach is that it is nearly impossible to determine the true amount of production in an economy or the true value of that production. Some services are difficult to measure monetarily and may not wind up in the calculation, even though they have a major impact on the economy.

For example, someone who babysits children for a family probably won’t show up in this calculation. However, their babysitting lets the parents go out and spend money at restaurants, movie theaters, or other businesses.

People who produce goods at home, especially those who don’t sell them, also won’t have their production included, even though goods like home-grown vegetables have real value that should be included in GDP.

Finally, this method fails to account for the underground economy, which is not reported to the government. Services performed under the table — those done outside of the formal economy through barter or cash payments that aren’t reported to tax authorities — are excluded even though they add value to the economy.

Income Approach

The income approach to determining GDP looks at all the money individuals and businesses in an economy earn. To find GDP using this method, you can use the following formula:

Wages, salaries, and bonuses + Corporate profits + Interest and investment income + Farm income + income from unincorporated businesses – Depreciation of assets – (indirect taxes – tax subsidies) = GDP

Indirect taxes are those collected by intermediaries and then paid to the government, such as sales taxes. Tax subsidies include the various tax credits and deductions people and businesses can claim on their income taxes.

The benefit of this approach is that it can be easier to measure income than production. It stands to reason that the amount of income in an economy will be similar to its economic output because that output is what produces the income.

The drawback of this approach is that it fails to account for savings and investment. Also, income does not always perfectly correlate with production. For example, productivity at a factory can rise without workers seeing an increase in their incomes.


How GDP Affects You

GDP is one of the economic indicators groups like the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) use to analyze economies. However, it may not be obvious how GDP can affect you.

The truth is, macroeconomics and measures like GDP can have a major impact on people’s day-to-day lives and well-being.

Interest Rates

One way GDP can impact people is in the interest rate market.

Countries usually have central banks or other organizations tasked with managing the economy — helping it to grow while avoiding high inflation and recessions. If GDP begins to rise quickly, inflation can become a risk, which can cause central banks to raise interest rates.

Those rate increases impact individuals by making borrowing and credit more expensive, such as with mortgages, auto loans, and credit cards.

If GDP falls, the central bank may take the opposite approach, lowering rates and making it cheaper to borrow, encouraging individuals to spend.

Investing

GDP is one of the most popular measures of an economy’s output. You can use it to see how an economy is growing over time.

Investors typically want to buy investments in companies that are experiencing increases in production, and therefore value. When GDP is growing, it’s easier for investors to find opportunities in that economy. When an economy’s GDP is falling, it can be a sign that companies in that economy are facing a difficult financial future.

Wages

Because GDP is a measure of economic output, it makes sense that wages would correlate with GDP. When production and output rise, workers should earn more. Similarly, wages might decrease when output also falls.

According to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, this was largely true for a long period of time. Between 1950 and 1980, productivity and wages increased similarly. Since 1980, productivity has increased while wages have not seen significant changes in real terms.

Unemployment

Modern economies rely on constant growth, with periods of shrinking GDP referred to as recessions. Typically, when GDP growth is strong, unemployment falls. Recessions can lead to significant amounts of unemployment as employers lay off workers or go out of business.

According to data from Pew Research, recessions directly lead to rising unemployment, with the 1990-1991 recession causing unemployment to rise from just under 6% to about 8%. Similarly, the Great Recession of 2007-2009 caused unemployment to rise from just over 4% to a high of nearly 10%.

As GDP began to grow again after these recessions, employment began to rise.


Criticisms of GDP

GDP is a useful economic measure used by organizations like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), United Nations, and economists across the world. However, that doesn’t mean GDP is a perfect measure of the economy. There are many criticisms of GDP and situations where using GDP data to make decisions might not be a good idea.

These important economic factors are overlooked in traditional measurements of GDP:

  • Recessionary Hangovers. By definition, a recession ends when an economy’s GDP begins to rise after a period of decreasing. However, even when a recession technically ends, it can take years before the economy returns to its pre-recession level. For example, despite the Great Recession’s end in 2009, it took nearly a decade for unemployment to return to pre-recession levels.
  • Impacts of Credit. Not all spending in an economy comes from the income it generates. Individuals, corporations, and governments borrow money to spend on goods and services. The costs and impacts of this debt are not fully accounted for in GDP even though they can have massive impacts on an economy.
  • The Underground Economy. For many reasons, economic activity can occur outside of the usual channels, making it hard to track. The sale of illegal goods, for example, is rarely tracked and included in GDP even though those are technically goods produced by an economy. Similarly, someone working under the table or without an officially incorporated business might not report their income or sales, causing that production to be excluded from GDP.
  • Bartering. Related to the underground economy, some economic activity relies on bartering or the exchange of valuables other than cash. This type of activity usually doesn’t show up in GDP even though it can play a significant role in an economy, especially in the middle of a recession.
  • Unpaid Work. Many people perform valuable work, such as caring for children or older relatives, without any compensation. This work produces immense value but isn’t counted in GDP calculations.
  • Sustainability. GDP is purely a measure of economic production. It does not account for damage to the local environment or whether actions that are causing growth now will cause the economy to shrink in the long run. Nations that raze their forests, strip-mine their land, and build factories that pollute the air can see major GDP growth, but will likely find that growth unsustainable as they drain or degrade the natural resources that are available.

Gross Domestic Product FAQs

What’s the Difference Between GDP vs. GNP vs. GNI?

Gross domestic product (GDP), gross national product (GNP), and gross national income (GNI) are all macroeconomic measures that look at slightly different things.

GNP adjusts GDP for net income earned from outside the country’s borders. For example, if some of the income produced by a multinational organization within a country is sent to another nation, it is subtracted from GNP even though it is included in GDP.

GNI measures all of a nation’s income, including income earned by its residents and businesses including all income from foreign sources. It includes income its residents earn while abroad but excludes income earned by foreign residents within its borders.

Does GDP Include Inflation?

GDP measures the value of an economy’s output based on current values. That means changes in inflation impact GDP. If inflation makes goods cost more, those higher prices will cause GDP to rise.

Real GDP is a measure of GDP that adjusts for inflation, calculating the value of goods and services at a set monetary value. This measure is more useful for measuring GDP changes over time because it removes the rise in GDP caused by inflation.

What Does GDP Not Measure?

One of the criticisms of GDP is that it fails to measure many important aspects of economic activity.

One major factor GDP excludes is the underground economy, which includes everything from the sale of illegal goods and services to unreported cash transactions and barter transactions.

GDP is also limited in that it is solely an economic measure. GDP doesn’t account for important quality-of-life measurements like the availability of quality health care and education, equality, opportunity, or the environment.

This limitation has led to other measures that provide a more complete look at people’s well-being. For example, Bhutan’s government has designed the concept of Gross National Happiness, which tries to account for economic development alongside sustainability, environmentalism, preservation and promotion of culture, and good governance.

What Countries Have the Highest GDP?

There are multiple types of GDP, including nominal GDP, GDP per capita, and GDP PPP, which all measure slightly different things.

According to the World Bank, in terms of nominal GDP, which simply measures economic output, the top three countries are:

  1. United States ($20.953 trillion)
  2. China ($14.722 trillion)
  3. Japan ($5.057 trillion)

For GDP per capita, a measure of output compared to population, the top three are:

  1. Liechtenstein ($175,813 per capita)
  2. Monaco ($173,688 per capita)
  3. Luxembourg ($116,014 per capita)

For GDP PPP, which measures output while controlling for the purchasing power and cost of goods in different currencies, the top three are:

  1. China ($24.283 trillion)
  2. United States ($20.953 trillion)
  3. India ($8.975 trillion)

Final Word

GDP is a popular macroeconomic measure that tries to calculate the total value of an economy’s outputs. Despite its popularity, there are limits to GDP, and each different way of calculating it has pros and cons.

GDP can have some impacts on people’s everyday lives. Generally, financial times are good when GDP is growing and bad when it’s falling. Most people can feel satisfied understanding that simple fact and leave the more complicated measures and implications of GDP to central bankers and economists.

There are plenty of other economic indicators and measures that have a more direct impact on people’s lives. For example, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of inflation and how it impacts the price of goods people buy regularly.

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TJ is a Boston-based writer who focuses on credit cards, credit, and bank accounts. When he’s not writing about all things personal finance, he enjoys cooking, esports, soccer, hockey, and games of the video and board varieties.

Source: moneycrashers.com

Plan Your Financial Future at Any Age

Long-term financial goals take five or more years to accomplish and generally apply to major life events. Some of the most important long term financial goals people have include saving for retirement and paying off their mortgage.

Save more, spend smarter, and make your money go further

It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when thinking about your finances several years down the road. Seeing your responsibility for a mortgage, credit card debt, or personal loan can often feel unmanageable when viewed as a whole. The key to overcoming this feeling is to prepare yourself long before the need arises. Setting long-term financial goals early in life can make the process more manageable.

Long-term financial goals take five or more years to accomplish and generally apply to major life events. To boot: You can set them anytime in your life. This guide breaks down how to set a long-term financial goal at any stage of your life and provides tangible financial goal examples to inspire your planning.

Why Are Long-Term Financial Goals Important?

If you only focus on financial goals relevant to your current situation, you may find yourself unprepared when you experience future life events. For example, saving an emergency fund is an incredibly useful short-term goal, but if you don’t save money outside of that fund, then you will be unprepared for retirement. Long-term financial goals bring awareness to events that may be decades away and help to ensure you’ll be prepared for when they arrive.

Long-Term vs Short-Term Financial Goals

While long-term financial goals focus on several years into the future, short-term goals are concerned with the present. Short-term goals can generally be accomplished within a year and are usually easy to achieve. Typical short-term financial goals include establishing a monthly budget and saving an emergency fund. Establishing key short-term goals can help investors achieve their long-term money goals by getting them on the right track early on.

A venn diagram defines short-term, mid-term, and long-term financial goals.

Long-Term vs Mid-Term Financial Goals

Mid-term financial goals are a gray area in financial planning. They often overlap with short and long-term goals—taking longer to achieve than short-term goals, while less difficult than long-term goals. Saving for a down payment can fall under either type of financial goal since the amount you need to save can vary based on the size of the purchase. It can take more than five years to save up for a house down payment depending on your income and the cost of the house.

Long-Term Financial Goals For Your 20s

Your 20s represent a unique time in your financial journey since many people start out with a blank page. Knowing where to begin can be a challenge, but this time in your life has the power to set the stage for decades to come. Setting financial goals now can improve your quality of life and answer the question, “Where should I be financially at 25?”

 A chart identifies the long-term financial goals a person should set for themselves in their 20s.

Identify Your Retirement Needs

Although your retirement is likely several decades away, identifying your future needs will increase your likelihood of meeting them when they arise.

Think about likely expenses you’ll have at this time in your life. How much might you receive from social security? Will you have rent or mortgage payments? How much will you need to receive from your retirement account to cover your estimated retirement budget?

You can build your current monthly savings plan around your expected future needs. Comparing these needs to your current income will help you determine if these goals are realistic and if you need to find new income streams.

Open a Retirement Account 

Saving money early on is the one of the greatest ways to secure your financial future. The interest you earn on your savings will compound, leading to exponential growth by the time you’re ready to withdraw it. The rule of thumb is to save 15 percent of your pre-tax income each year.

There are multiple options for where to invest your money. A couple of the most common include individual retirement accounts(IRA) and 401(k)s. It can be very beneficial to participate in your employer’s retirement program since they often include company contributions, which is like an addition to your salary.

Save For a House Down Payment

Most people dream of owning property. Building equity in an appreciating asset instead of spending money on rent can be a great way to eliminate future expenses after you pay off the mortgage.

The amount of money you need to save will be dependent upon the cost of your desired home. A down payment of 20 percent can lower your interest rate and eliminate the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI). If your desired first home costs $300,000, then you will need a down payment of $60,000 to meet this requirement. Smaller down payments are possible, but they will affect your interest rate and the likelihood of being approved for the loan.

Pay Off Credit Card Debt 

Credit cards can allow you quick access to funds when you need them most, but carrying credit card debt can quickly wipe out your financial progress. In a perfect world, you’ll be paying off your credit card monthly without accruing any interest.

In the event that you have accumulated credit card debt, it should be a top priority to pay it off. High interest rates, sometimes surpassing 15 percent, offset the gains you’d be making by investing that same money while holding the debt. Use a credit card payoff calculator to learn how long it will take to settle your debt.

Increase Your Earnings Potential 

Making more money is the simple answer to securing your financial future, but how do you go about making it happen? Evaluating where you want to be in five years is a great starting point. Does your career path require a higher level of education than you currently have? Does your current job have a glass ceiling preventing growth?

Talk to your boss about your aspirations. There may be training they can recommend to put you on the ladder of success. If your current employer is unable or unwilling to help, consider upskilling on your own. Get certifications independently or enter a graduate program. Proactively finding ways to increase your earnings is better than wasting years at a dead-end job.

Long-Term Financial Goals For Your 30s

Entering your 30s often brings a new degree of stability to your finances. Ideally, you will be on a career path that allows you to meet most of the long-term financial goals you set for yourself in your 20s. However, with age comes life changes that may require you to shift your priorities.

A chart identifies the long-term financial goals a person should set for themselves in their 30s.

Pay Off Student Loans

The sooner you pay off your debts, the more money you can put toward other financial goals. If you have no higher commitments, it can be better to aggressively pay off your student loans early. Variable loans may be manageable for you at the moment, but if interest rates rise, your loan could quickly increase by more than 5 percent.

Large payments are not a possibility for every investor’s goals. Putting just 10 percent of your gross income toward your student loans can still be enough to whittle away your outstanding debt. As your income increases, aim to pay a larger monthly amount until the loan is eliminated. Using a student loan calculator can help make your goal attainable.

Improve Your Credit Score

A good credit score makes it easier to meet a number of personal financial goals. You can get approved for a better apartment or receive a better interest rate on your car loan and mortgage payments. Although it depends on the scoring system, aiming for a credit score above 700 will generally give you more favorable terms.

Ways to improve your credit score include:

  • Paying your rent on time and not breaking the lease early
  • Using 30 percent (or less) of your total credit limit
  • Paying your credit cards in full each month
  • Keeping old lines of credit open
  • Limiting the number of hard inquiries into your credit
  • Settling any delinquencies

Set a Retirement Date

In your 20s, you might have had a general idea of when you wanted to retire. In your 30s, it’s time to think about a precise date that you can plan around. Your potential retirement year will vary based on your income, debts, and personal commitments.

If you were unable to stick to the goals you made in your 20s, then you may need to adjust your financial planning for retirement to something more attainable. If you are committed to retiring in a specific year, you may need to ramp up your savings and cut unnecessary purchases. Identifying when your mortgage will be paid off and when your kids will be finished with school can also affect your retirement date.

Create a Last Will and Testament

A last will and testament is the legal document used to allocate your property after you die. It also identifies the executor of your estate—the person responsible for settling your outstanding debts and seeing that your will is honored.

Without a will, your assets will be distributed by the government after you die. This can be a costly process with no guarantee that your wishes will be honored. If you have plans for who inherits your belongings, meeting with an estate planning attorney should be made a priority.

Long-Term Financial Goals For Your 40s

Life in your 40s is full of responsibilities. You likely own more assets now than at any other time in your life, your family is growing, and your goals are changing. Now it’s time to reorient your long-term financial goals to your current situation.

A chart identifies the long-term financial goals a person should set for themselves in their 40s.

Pay Off Non-Mortgage Debt 

Aside from your mortgage, which can follow you into your 50s and 60s, all other debt elimination should be prioritized. Just because you eliminated some debts in your 20s and 30s does not mean new debts haven’t appeared.

You may have new credit card debt or student loans from returning to school. Automobile purchases can happen at any point in life. Regardless of the reason for the debt, you won’t want high APR payments lingering when you are approaching retirement age.

Evaluate Life Insurance Policies

Life insurance is what your dependents will use to bolster their lifestyle in the event of your death. Having a comprehensive policy can ensure their needs are met even if your savings at that time are not enough.

Due to the financial obligations the average 40-year-old has, it is often recommended to purchase more life insurance than you initially thought you’d need. You’ll want to make sure your family can cover their living expenses and settle any debts without your income.

Invest in Your Child’s College Fund

Saving for your children’s education is one of the best ways to set them up for financial success. If they can avoid the early debt of student loans, then they can focus on other financial goals earlier.

A college fund is a large investment and it will take a long time to accomplish. Depending on when you have kids, you may want to start their college fund before your 40s to ensure it is adequate by the time they graduate high school.

Maximize Your Earnings Potential 

Most people reach their peak earning potential at some point in their 40s. Putting yourself in a position to maximize this number will set the stage for your quality of life in retirement. A larger income will enable you to max out your retirement contributions.

This is another time to analyze if your current job aligns with your long-term financial plans or if you need to make a change. Look for ways to make more money by negotiating for a raise, earning a promotion, starting a side hustle, or changing employers.

Long-Term Financial Goals For Your 50s and 60s

These two decades in a person’s life often have a large degree of overlap. Your personal commitments are simplified, and your set retirement date is finally within view. All that is left for you to do is tie up loose ends.

A chart identifies the long-term financial goals a person should set for themselves in their 50s and 60s.

Become Entirely Debt-Free

Paying off your mortgage is a major financial goal and getting it done before you retire is a huge accomplishment. Knocking it out while you’re still working full-time enables you to put more money into your retirement portfolio. The same goes for any other outstanding debts that are persisting. These monthly expenses can prolong your time in the workforce past what you originally intended.

Plan Long-Term Care Options

There may come a time in your life when you are no longer able to take care of yourself. You’ll want a plan in place before that happens so your finances will be enough to meet your needs. Make sure your family is aware of your wishes so they can prepare as well. Some things to consider include:

  • Who will be your guardian?
  • Will you receive in-home care or move to a live-in facility?
  • If you require a live-in facility, which one will it be?

Long-term care services are a costly addition to your retirement budget. Setting up funding for such an event years before the need arises can make it more manageable.

Re-evaluate Your Estate

Many changes may have occurred in your life since you first drafted your will. Re-evaluating what assets are currently in your possession will make the process of managing your estate go much smoother. This is another opportunity to discuss your financial affairs and wishes with your family. Avoid unexpected revelations after your death, so there isn’t fighting amongst your loved ones.

Downsize Your Living Expenses

Implementing cost-cutting measures in your life before retirement can help put your future lifestyle into perspective. You may realize that your initial retirement budget can’t meet your needs and you need more time to save.

The house you raised a family in may no longer be necessary once your kids are out of the house. Selling it for a smaller property can add to your savings while reducing expenses. The same can be said for owning multiple vehicles or vacation properties.

Everyone has unique needs and obligations that influence their financial journey. Budgeting and saving can keep you on track to meet your long-term financial goals. Regardless of where your finances stand today, it’s always a great time to prepare for many of life’s important events.

An infographic overviews how to set long-term financial goals, no matter your age or stage of life.

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Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – Definition of This Economic Measure

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Gross domestic product (GDP) is one of the most commonly used measures of economic production in the world. Despite its popularity, many people don’t know exactly what GDP is, how to calculate it, or how it affects you.

Put simply, GDP is the total value of everything produced by an economy, typically a country, over a period, typically one year. This allows economists to compare the size of different economies. In general, the higher a country’s GDP, the stronger its economy.

GDP can be important for everyday people for a number of reasons.


What Is Gross Domestic Product (GDP)?

GDP is a measure of the total market value of everything an economy produces. That includes both physical goods as well as intellectual property and services produced by an economy. GDP is typically measured over the course of a quarter or year and based on political borders, such as for countries or states.


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You can think of GDP as being like a report card or scoreboard for the health of an economy. If a country’s GDP is rising, it means its economy is becoming more productive. If GDP is shrinking, its economy is becoming less productive. You can compare the size of two countries’ GDP to compare the output of their economies.

There are multiple ways to calculate GDP but they all aim to produce a similar result: a measure of the size of an economy.


Factors That Affect GDP

Because GDP measures the size of a country’s economy, it is influenced by numerous economic factors.

GDP is the sum of the market value of everything an economy produces. The more valuable goods and services an economy produces, the higher its GDP will be. Keep in mind, GDP is a measure of the current value of goods and services. If inflation causes prices to rise, a country’s GDP will also rise because goods are more expensive.

The primary way economists determine the value of goods produced by an economy is to add all government spending, personal consumption, private investing, and net exports. 

The more the government spends, the more private businesses and people invest, and the more consumers spend, the higher a country’s GDP will be. Exporting more than it imports will also increase a country’s GDP, whereas importing more than it exports will reduce its GDP.


Types of Gross Domestic Product

GDP is used in multiple different contexts. Economists have designed different types of GDP to help them measure different aspects of the economy.

Nominal GDP

Nominal GDP is one of the most common measures of gross domestic product. It is the value of all goods and services an economy produces using current prices, unadjusted for inflation. This means it is less useful for comparing the same economy across different years because inflation can cause GDP to rise due to price increases, even if an economy’s output does not change. 

However, it is useful for measuring output in current terms and is often the simplest to calculate because you don’t have to adjust for inflation.

Real GDP

Real GDP is an inflation-adjusted measure of gross domestic product. It measures the output of an economy using constant prices.

For example, imagine an economy that produces $1,000 worth of goods in a year. The next year, it produces the exact same goods, but those goods sell for $1,050 because inflation for the year is 5%. 

The real GDP in both years will be the same because real GDP adjusts for inflation using the value of the economy’s currency in the base year to determine the GDP for future years.

For real GDP to increase, the output of an economy must increase rather than prices increasing due to inflation.

This makes real GDP useful for comparing changes in the same economy over time or comparing growth in different countries’ GDPs over time.

GDP Per Capita

GDP per capita is a measure of economic production per population. GDP per capita can be expressed in multiple forms, including nominal, real, and purchasing power parity.

Determining GDP per capita requires calculating an economy’s GDP then dividing it by the economy’s population.

For example, if an economy has a GDP of $10 million and a population of 2,000 people, its GDP per capita is: $10 million ÷ 2,000 = $5,000 per capita.

GDP Growth Rate

GDP growth rate measures economic growth over time. Usually, economists measure this on a quarterly or annual basis. This is typically expressed as a percentage rate.

For example, if an economy’s GDP is $10 million in one year and $10.5 million the next, its GDP growth rate is 5%.

GDP growth rate is a popular measure for economists for a few reasons. One is that it can help economists see the speed of an economy’s expansion or contraction. An economy that is growing too quickly may lead to inflation and prompt central banks to raise interest rates. If growth slows, the economy might be heading toward recession, prompting policymakers to attempt to bolster the economy.

A negative GDP growth rate indicates an economy that is shrinking or in recession.

GDP Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)

Purchasing power parity is a measure of the different standards of living between economies. It analyzes the price of a “basket of goods” that contains different common products and services people purchase. Higher PPP indicates a more powerful currency that can purchase more goods or a higher standard of living.

GDP PPP adjusts an economy’s GDP for exchange rates and the purchasing power of its currency compared to other currencies, letting economists compare the output of an economy to its cost of living.


How GDP Is Calculated

There are multiple different ways to calculate GDP but they all aim to measure an economy’s output. Each formula tries to account for the same factors, just in different ways. 

There are three methods economists use to calculate economic activity and determine GDP.

Expenditure Approach

The expenditure approach looks to determine the GDP of an economy by finding the total of all spending in that economy. The idea is that all of an economy’s outputs are purchased by someone, so finding out how much money is spent by individuals, businesses, and the government will tell you the value of all the goods an economy produces during a period of time.

To find GDP using the expenditure approach, you can use this formula:

Consumption + Investment + Government Exports + Net Exports = GDP

Consumption refers to consumer spending on items like food, rent, gas, clothing, and any other goods and services that they might need. It does not include capital investments like equipment, machinery, or real estate.

Investment is the portion of the calculation that accounts for investment in equipment, land, machinery, and the like by both individuals and businesses. It doesn’t include investment in financial products like stocks, bonds, or mutual funds.

Government spending is the aggregate of all the money the government spends on goods and services, including government employee pay, military spending, and infrastructure. Things like Social Security benefits aren’t included because they are transfer payments — a reallocation of money from one group to another. Unemployment, subsidies, and welfare are similarly excluded.

Finally, net exports measures the value of all goods an economy exports minus the value of the goods it imports. A country that exports more than it imports will have a positive value for net exports, whereas one that imports more will have to subtract the difference when finding its GDP.

The drawback of the expenditure approach is that it ignores some forms of investment, such as putting money in savings accounts or buying stocks. It also values goods and services at the price the purchaser pays, even if they pay a heavily discounted price below the true value of that good or service or an inflated price above its true value.

Production (Output) Approach

The production, or output, approach to calculating GDP uses the value of all the final goods that an economy produces. Here’s how this method of calculating GDP looks:

Gross Value Added – Intermediate Consumption = Value of Output (GDP)

  • Gross Value Added. How much value different economic activities add to goods and services.
  • Intermediate Consumption. The cost of the supplies and labor used to produce finished goods and services.
  • Value of Output. This calculation gives you the GDP of an economy by subtracting intermediate consumption from the gross value of an economy.

The drawback of using this approach is that it is nearly impossible to determine the true amount of production in an economy or the true value of that production. Some services are difficult to measure monetarily and may not wind up in the calculation, even though they have a major impact on the economy.

For example, someone who babysits children for a family probably won’t show up in this calculation. However, their babysitting lets the parents go out and spend money at restaurants, movie theaters, or other businesses.

People who produce goods at home, especially those who don’t sell them, also won’t have their production included, even though goods like home-grown vegetables have real value that should be included in GDP.

Finally, this method fails to account for the underground economy, which is not reported to the government. Services performed under the table — those done outside of the formal economy through barter or cash payments that aren’t reported to tax authorities — are excluded even though they add value to the economy.

Income Approach

The income approach to determining GDP looks at all the money individuals and businesses in an economy earn. To find GDP using this method, you can use the following formula:

Wages, salaries, and bonuses + Corporate profits + Interest and investment income + Farm income + income from unincorporated businesses – Depreciation of assets – (indirect taxes – tax subsidies) = GDP

Indirect taxes are those collected by intermediaries and then paid to the government, such as sales taxes. Tax subsidies include the various tax credits and deductions people and businesses can claim on their income taxes.

The benefit of this approach is that it can be easier to measure income than production. It stands to reason that the amount of income in an economy will be similar to its economic output because that output is what produces the income.

The drawback of this approach is that it fails to account for savings and investment. Also, income does not always perfectly correlate with production. For example, productivity at a factory can rise without workers seeing an increase in their incomes.


How GDP Affects You

GDP is one of the economic indicators groups like the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) use to analyze economies. However, it may not be obvious how GDP can affect you.

The truth is, macroeconomics and measures like GDP can have a major impact on people’s day-to-day lives and well-being.

Interest Rates

One way GDP can impact people is in the interest rate market.

Countries usually have central banks or other organizations tasked with managing the economy — helping it to grow while avoiding high inflation and recessions. If GDP begins to rise quickly, inflation can become a risk, which can cause central banks to raise interest rates.

Those rate increases impact individuals by making borrowing and credit more expensive, such as with mortgages, auto loans, and credit cards.

If GDP falls, the central bank may take the opposite approach, lowering rates and making it cheaper to borrow, encouraging individuals to spend.

Investing

GDP is one of the most popular measures of an economy’s output. You can use it to see how an economy is growing over time.

Investors typically want to buy investments in companies that are experiencing increases in production, and therefore value. When GDP is growing, it’s easier for investors to find opportunities in that economy. When an economy’s GDP is falling, it can be a sign that companies in that economy are facing a difficult financial future.

Wages

Because GDP is a measure of economic output, it makes sense that wages would correlate with GDP. When production and output rise, workers should earn more. Similarly, wages might decrease when output also falls.

According to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, this was largely true for a long period of time. Between 1950 and 1980, productivity and wages increased similarly. Since 1980, productivity has increased while wages have not seen significant changes in real terms.

Unemployment

Modern economies rely on constant growth, with periods of shrinking GDP referred to as recessions. Typically, when GDP growth is strong, unemployment falls. Recessions can lead to significant amounts of unemployment as employers lay off workers or go out of business.

According to data from Pew Research, recessions directly lead to rising unemployment, with the 1990-1991 recession causing unemployment to rise from just under 6% to about 8%. Similarly, the Great Recession of 2007-2009 caused unemployment to rise from just over 4% to a high of nearly 10%.

As GDP began to grow again after these recessions, employment began to rise.


Criticisms of GDP

GDP is a useful economic measure used by organizations like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), United Nations, and economists across the world. However, that doesn’t mean GDP is a perfect measure of the economy. There are many criticisms of GDP and situations where using GDP data to make decisions might not be a good idea.

These important economic factors are overlooked in traditional measurements of GDP:

  • Recessionary Hangovers. By definition, a recession ends when an economy’s GDP begins to rise after a period of decreasing. However, even when a recession technically ends, it can take years before the economy returns to its pre-recession level. For example, despite the Great Recession’s end in 2009, it took nearly a decade for unemployment to return to pre-recession levels.
  • Impacts of Credit. Not all spending in an economy comes from the income it generates. Individuals, corporations, and governments borrow money to spend on goods and services. The costs and impacts of this debt are not fully accounted for in GDP even though they can have massive impacts on an economy.
  • The Underground Economy. For many reasons, economic activity can occur outside of the usual channels, making it hard to track. The sale of illegal goods, for example, is rarely tracked and included in GDP even though those are technically goods produced by an economy. Similarly, someone working under the table or without an officially incorporated business might not report their income or sales, causing that production to be excluded from GDP.
  • Bartering. Related to the underground economy, some economic activity relies on bartering or the exchange of valuables other than cash. This type of activity usually doesn’t show up in GDP even though it can play a significant role in an economy, especially in the middle of a recession.
  • Unpaid Work. Many people perform valuable work, such as caring for children or older relatives, without any compensation. This work produces immense value but isn’t counted in GDP calculations.
  • Sustainability. GDP is purely a measure of economic production. It does not account for damage to the local environment or whether actions that are causing growth now will cause the economy to shrink in the long run. Nations that raze their forests, strip-mine their land, and build factories that pollute the air can see major GDP growth, but will likely find that growth unsustainable as they drain or degrade the natural resources that are available.

Gross Domestic Product FAQs

What’s the Difference Between GDP vs. GNP vs. GNI?

Gross domestic product (GDP), gross national product (GNP), and gross national income (GNI) are all macroeconomic measures that look at slightly different things.

GNP adjusts GDP for net income earned from outside the country’s borders. For example, if some of the income produced by a multinational organization within a country is sent to another nation, it is subtracted from GNP even though it is included in GDP.

GNI measures all of a nation’s income, including income earned by its residents and businesses including all income from foreign sources. It includes income its residents earn while abroad but excludes income earned by foreign residents within its borders.

Does GDP Include Inflation?

GDP measures the value of an economy’s output based on current values. That means changes in inflation impact GDP. If inflation makes goods cost more, those higher prices will cause GDP to rise.

Real GDP is a measure of GDP that adjusts for inflation, calculating the value of goods and services at a set monetary value. This measure is more useful for measuring GDP changes over time because it removes the rise in GDP caused by inflation.

What Does GDP Not Measure?

One of the criticisms of GDP is that it fails to measure many important aspects of economic activity.

One major factor GDP excludes is the underground economy, which includes everything from the sale of illegal goods and services to unreported cash transactions and barter transactions.

GDP is also limited in that it is solely an economic measure. GDP doesn’t account for important quality-of-life measurements like the availability of quality health care and education, equality, opportunity, or the environment.

This limitation has led to other measures that provide a more complete look at people’s well-being. For example, Bhutan’s government has designed the concept of Gross National Happiness, which tries to account for economic development alongside sustainability, environmentalism, preservation and promotion of culture, and good governance.

What Countries Have the Highest GDP?

There are multiple types of GDP, including nominal GDP, GDP per capita, and GDP PPP, which all measure slightly different things.

According to the World Bank, in terms of nominal GDP, which simply measures economic output, the top three countries are:

  1. United States ($20.953 trillion)
  2. China ($14.722 trillion)
  3. Japan ($5.057 trillion)

For GDP per capita, a measure of output compared to population, the top three are:

  1. Liechtenstein ($175,813 per capita)
  2. Monaco ($173,688 per capita)
  3. Luxembourg ($116,014 per capita)

For GDP PPP, which measures output while controlling for the purchasing power and cost of goods in different currencies, the top three are:

  1. China ($24.283 trillion)
  2. United States ($20.953 trillion)
  3. India ($8.975 trillion)

Final Word

GDP is a popular macroeconomic measure that tries to calculate the total value of an economy’s outputs. Despite its popularity, there are limits to GDP, and each different way of calculating it has pros and cons.

GDP can have some impacts on people’s everyday lives. Generally, financial times are good when GDP is growing and bad when it’s falling. Most people can feel satisfied understanding that simple fact and leave the more complicated measures and implications of GDP to central bankers and economists.

There are plenty of other economic indicators and measures that have a more direct impact on people’s lives. For example, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of inflation and how it impacts the price of goods people buy regularly.

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TJ is a Boston-based writer who focuses on credit cards, credit, and bank accounts. When he’s not writing about all things personal finance, he enjoys cooking, esports, soccer, hockey, and games of the video and board varieties.

Source: moneycrashers.com