Americans are spending more money after they retire

Most people expect to spend less money after they retire. But that might not be the case — at least not at first.

Spending rose for more than half of taxpayers during the first three years after claiming Social Security, according to a report based on tax data and analyzed by economists at the Investment Company Institute and the IRS.

Those with lower incomes were most likely be spending more than they were pre-retirement. Middle-income earners spent about the same, and the higher-income earners spent slightly less.

The report defined spending as how much income an individual had after taxes. It included salary and wages, Social Security benefits, and distributions from retirement accounts and pensions.

“For many individuals, retirement appears to be a multi-year transition rather than an action taken at a discrete point in time,” the researchers wrote.

In fact, nearly half of people were still working three years after claiming Social Security.

But this doesn’t mean spending won’t slow later in retirement, researchers said.

Of course, your spending could drastically fluctuate from year-to-year, especially if you plan to be retired for 30 years or longer. (Most people followed in this report claimed Social Security at age 62.)

It’s tough to save for a moving target, but there is one rule of thumb experts recommend. It suggests people prepare to spend about 70 percent of your pre-retirement income in retirement.

People expect to spend less because they’re no longer saving for retirement and your tax bill is likely to drop. Maybe your transportation costs will fall if you’re no longer commuting to work. Or you could have your mortgage paid off.

But on the other hand, you’ll have more time to travel and might spend more money on leisure activities — which could be more likely in the beginning of your retirement.

The median taxpayer’s spendable income at three years after claiming Social Security was 103 percent of their income from one year before collecting, the report said. It followed individuals from 1999 to 2010.

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Starbucks to close down all Teavana locations

The Starbucks-owned Teavana brand is closing down all its storefronts, in what is the latest blow to struggling American malls.

Starbucks announced on Thursday that all 379 Teavana stores — which are primarily based in malls across the country — have been “underperforming.” The move will impact 3,300 workers.

“The company concluded that despite efforts to reverse the trend through creative merchandising and new store designs, the underperformance was likely to continue,” Starbucks said in a press release.

Most locations will shut down by Spring 2018, Starbucks said, and people employed at Teavana locations will be invited to apply for jobs at Starbucks locations in order to preserve their jobs.

The coffee giant first announced plans to purchase the struggling tea retailer Teavana in 2012 for $620 million.

Teavana’s announcement is the latest in a wave of store closings inside American malls. Retailers from JCPenney to GameStop have announced plans to shut down brick-and-mortar locations as they struggle to keep pace with e-commerce sites. There were 5,300 store closing announcements in the first six months of the year, triple the number during the same period last year, according to an analysis by Fung Global Retail & Technology.

Between 20% and 25% of American malls will close within five years, Credit Suisse said in a report released last month.

Despite the Teavana closures, Starbucks again said it’s expanding rapidly, with plans to add 240,000 jobs globally over the next five years. However, most of that growth is taking place overseas, particularly in China.

Starbucks said earlier on Thursday that it plans to make another major investment in China.

Currently, Starbucks shops are popping up at a rate of one-per-day.

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SpaceX now valued at $21 billion

SpaceX is grabbing headlines and trying to turn the aerospace industry on its head. It’s also one of the world’s most valuable privately held companies.

The space exploration outfit, headed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, recently raised another $350 million — bringing the company’s value to $21 billion, according to Equidate, which operates a marketplace for investing in private companies. The new valuation was reported earlier by The New York Times.

SpaceX is among an exclusive group of private U.S.-based companies that have multi-billion dollar valuations. Currently, only about a half a dozen companies in the world have hit the $20 billion mark, according to a list compiled by CBInsights, a startup analytics firm.

They include the world’s highest-valued private firm, Uber, which is estimated to be worth nearly $70 billion, and Airbnb, which is worth more than $30 billion.

While Uber, Airbnb and other so-called “unicorns” are focused on more traditional marketplaces — SpaceX’s ultimate goal is to put humans on Mars.

Rocket manufacturing has long been solely the work of governments and massive legacy aerospace companies — like Boeing and Lockheed Martin’s United Launch Alliance — that partner with governments. The general consensus has been that space exploration is too risky and rocket building too expensive for the private sector.

SpaceX changed all that.

Musk started SpaceX in 2002. Over the course of a decade, the firm built and tested its Falcon 9 rocket.

It then proved it can safely complete trips to the International Space Station — all for a lot less money than its competitors. (Falcon 9 launches have a sticker price of $62 million — undercutting its competition by at least $38 million.)

It’s also worked out a plan to cheapen launches even further by reusing portions of its rockets — an idea that was initially scoffed at. It’s a difficult feat, which is why rockets have traditionally been left to burn up in the atmosphere after a single flight.

But SpaceX devised a way to recapture its rockets after launch. After some trial and error, the company mastered the maneuver and has also twice sent used rockets back into space, boasting a perfect performance for both launches.

The company has had its setbacks. It suffered a major one in September, when one of its rockets erupted into flames on the launch pad, destroying a satellite and grounding the company for months.

But SpaceX has been gliding through 2017, posting its best performance to date.

It has executed ten total launches so far this year, and it has plans to launch at least 10 more times before the end the end of 2017. SpaceX sent only eight rockets to space in all of 2016.

And there’s at least two more next steps ahead. Later this year, SpaceX plans to test launch its new Falcon Heavy vehicle. When that rocket is operational, based on current specs, it’ll become the most powerful launch vehicle on the market.

SpaceX also has plans to make the first privately funded trip to the moon in December, carrying a rover for a competitor in the $20 million Google Lunar XPrize competition.

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SpaceX now valued at $21 billion

SpaceX is grabbing headlines and trying to turn the aerospace industry on its head. It’s also one of the world’s most valuable privately held companies.

The space exploration outfit, headed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, recently raised another $350 million — bringing the company’s value to $21 billion, according to Equidate, which operates a marketplace for investing in private companies. The new valuation was reported earlier by The New York Times.

SpaceX is among an exclusive group of private U.S.-based companies that have multi-billion dollar valuations. Currently, only about a half a dozen companies in the world have hit the $20 billion mark, according to a list compiled by CBInsights, a startup analytics firm.

They include the world’s highest-valued private firm, Uber, which is estimated to be worth nearly $70 billion, and Airbnb, which is worth more than $30 billion.

While Uber, Airbnb and other so-called “unicorns” are focused on more traditional marketplaces — SpaceX’s ultimate goal is to put humans on Mars.

Rocket manufacturing has long been solely the work of governments and massive legacy aerospace companies — like Boeing and Lockheed Martin’s United Launch Alliance — that partner with governments. The general consensus has been that space exploration is too risky and rocket building too expensive for the private sector.

SpaceX changed all that.

Musk started SpaceX in 2002. Over the course of a decade, the firm built and tested its Falcon 9 rocket.

It then proved it can safely complete trips to the International Space Station — all for a lot less money than its competitors. (Falcon 9 launches have a sticker price of $62 million — undercutting its competition by at least $38 million.)

It’s also worked out a plan to cheapen launches even further by reusing portions of its rockets — an idea that was initially scoffed at. It’s a difficult feat, which is why rockets have traditionally been left to burn up in the atmosphere after a single flight.

But SpaceX devised a way to recapture its rockets after launch. After some trial and error, the company mastered the maneuver and has also twice sent used rockets back into space, boasting a perfect performance for both launches.

The company has had its setbacks. It suffered a major one in September, when one of its rockets erupted into flames on the launch pad, destroying a satellite and grounding the company for months.

But SpaceX has been gliding through 2017, posting its best performance to date.

It has executed ten total launches so far this year, and it has plans to launch at least 10 more times before the end the end of 2017. SpaceX sent only eight rockets to space in all of 2016.

And there’s at least two more next steps ahead. Later this year, SpaceX plans to test launch its new Falcon Heavy vehicle. When that rocket is operational, based on current specs, it’ll become the most powerful launch vehicle on the market.

SpaceX also has plans to make the first privately funded trip to the moon in December, carrying a rover for a competitor in the $20 million Google Lunar XPrize competition.

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Rolls-Royce unveils new, ultimate luxury car

Rolls-Royce unveiled an all-new version of its very, very large Phantom ultra-luxury sedan on Thursday.

Unless you are an avid follower of Rolls-Royce, you might not immediately recognize that this is an entirely redesigned model. But as far as Rolls-Royce is concerned, the change it represents is as enormous as the car itself.

The new Phantom is a major shift in the way the British carmaker, a subsidiary of Germany’s BMW, designs cars for its ultra-wealthy customers. From now on, according to Rolls-Royce, its cars will be made — from the wheels right up to the top of the tall roof — without borrowing engineering from BMW cars, as many recent models have done.

Rolls Royce made the change because the brand wanted to engineer its cars specifically for its own unique requirements, executives said. A Rolls-Royce may not be the “Ultimate driving machine,” but it should be “The ultimate luxury machine.”

“Every one of our customers — each a connoisseur of luxury in the extreme — were asking for something more individual to them, not less,” Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said in a statement. “We were adamant that that was what they should have.”

The new Phantom’s body is a shade shorter, end-to-end, than today’s Phantom, but still longer than a Chevrolet Suburban. It is made entirely of aluminum. It has smoother lines, particularly around the famous Rolls-Royce grill, and a more gracefully tapered rear-end than today’s version. As in past Phantoms, the roof is exactly twice the height of the car’s big tires, a precise proportion that’s considered a requirement for this model.

Besides expected features, like an optional built-in liquor cabinet and champagne chiller with crystal glasses, the new Phantom has one particularly novel interior feature that required a whole new production area inside the Rolls-Royce factory.

“The Gallery,” as it’s called, is a new kind of dashboard decoration. Instead of wood or metal trim, a perfectly sealed shatter-resistant glass case runs across of most of the dashboard. Inside that glass case an owner can put … virtually anything. Examples the carmaker displayed included porcelain flowers, a solid gold 3D-printed map of the owner’s DNA, or an intricate array of dark feathers.

Customers will be offered a few selections from which they can choose or they can commission their own. The galleries are created inside a special clean room free of dust, moisture and hair, an environment similar to that in which computer microchips are made.

The new Phantom’s underlying structure and engineering — its “architecture” in auto industry language — was created wholly for this car and is not shared with any other Rolls-Royce or BMW products.

In the future, as various Rolls-Royce models are redesigned, they will all share the new “Architecture of Luxury,” as Rolls-Royce calls it. That will include Rolls-Royce’s upcoming SUV-like vehicle as well as the Ghost, Wraith and Dawn, whenever those vehicles are eventually replaced.

The Phantom is powered by a 563-horsepower, 6.75-liter turborcharged V12 engine. Despite weighing nearly three tons, it can accelerate to 60 miles an hour in about five seconds, according to Rolls-Royce. The car’s eight-speed transmission is connected to a satellite navigation system so that it can select the proper gear depending, in part, on whether the car is approaching an uphill or downhill grade. That system, already used in other Rolls-Royce cars, helps ensure the smoothest possible gear shifts.

The first customers for the new Phantom will get their cars around the end of this year. Rolls-Royce hasn’t announced the price of the new Phantom yet but it’s expected to start at around $500,000.

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Facebook and Amazon hit $500 billion milestone

Facebook and Amazon have joined an exclusive club open to only the richest companies in the world: both crossed the half-a-trillion mark.

Facebook exceeded $500 billion in market value for the first time ever Thursday morning as Mark Zuckerberg’s company continued its rapid ascent. Amazon hit the $500 billion milestone for the first time on Wednesday.

Only three companies, all in the tech industry, are worth more right now: Apple ($798 billion), Google parent company Alphabet ($667 billion) and Microsoft ($571 billion).

The combined $1 trillion valuation for Facebook and Amazon shows just how euphoric Wall Street has become about the future for these tech juggernauts. The meteoric rise of their stocks — each are up more than 40% this year alone — further enriches these companies’ visionary founders.

Jeff Bezos, 53, started Amazon in 1995 and just surpassed Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on Thursday as the world’s richest person, according to Bloomberg News. Zuckerberg, who is just 33 years old and is a Harvard drop-out, is now worth more than $69 billion, according to Forbes.

Facebook’s $500 billion milestone looks stunning considering the social networking giant has only been public for five years. But today Facebook boasts more than 2 billion users and generates the vast majority of its money from mobile phones. Savvy acquisitions have also given Facebook control of two of the most popular platforms on the web: Instagram and WhatsApp.

Wall Street seems to be largely unfazed by signs that Facebook may be nearing middle age. The company’s stock soared 5% on Thursday even after it reported the slowest revenue growth in nearly two years.

Amazon has altered the way people shop, creating enormous turmoil for brick-and-mortar retailers in the process. The e-commerce behemoth continues to grow, with sales on this year’s Prime Day shopping holiday spiking 60% compared with last year. Now, Amazon has set its sights on the grocery industry by agreeing to purchase Whole Foods for nearly $14 billion.

With CNNMoney’s Fear & Greed Index of market sentiment sitting in “extreme greed” mode, Wall Street is betting Amazon will reveal more explosive growth when it posts earnings after Thursday’s closing bell.

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