Christel Deskins

Lessons from a Robinhood Trader’s Suicide

As an advocate for young adults prudently beginning their investing journey as soon as possible, I’ve found it difficult to shake this recent story: A young man from Illinois took his own life less than 24 hours after checking his Robinhood account and seeing a negative cash balance of over $730,000. 

For those who might not know, Robinhood is an online trading and investing platform that has become incredibly popular in recent years for the movement it sparked in the brokerage industry toward commission-free trading. The service boasts more than 13 million users with an average age of 31. Almost every incumbent broker must now offer this feature, lest they be unable to compete effectively against lower-cost peers.  

But this story isn’t just about Robinhood. In recent years, several Robinhood alternatives have sprouted up offering similar functionality for the same cost and often induce investors to sign up with the lure of free stocks or sign-up bonuses, fractional share investing, near-instant account opening and no account or investment minimums.  In other words, all elements a young investor might desire to begin investing in small amounts.

What many of these new investing platforms promote is simplified, free trading with fun and easy-to-use mobile app interfaces.  Robinhood, in particular, utilizes a slick interface with confetti popping everywhere as if you had just won a prize when you execute a trade.

A College Student Dies in Despair

Alexander Kearns, a 20-year old University of Nebraska student who was home from college during

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Foreign pupils must leave US if classes go online

International students will be forced to leave the U.S. or transfer to another college if their schools offer classes entirely online this fall, under new guidelines issued Monday by federal immigration authorities.

The guidelines, issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, provide additional pressure for universities to reopen even amid growing concerns about the recent spread of COVID-19 among young adults. Colleges received the guidance the same day that some institutions, including Harvard University, announced that all instruction will be offered remotely.

President Donald Trump has insisted that schools and colleges return to in-person instruction as soon as possible. Soon after the guidance was released, Trump repeated on Twitter that schools must reopen this fall, adding that Democrats want to keep schools closed “for political reasons, not for health reasons.”

“They think it will help them in November. Wrong, the people get it!” Trump wrote.

Under the updated rules, international students must take at least some of their classes in person. New visas will not be issued to students at schools or programs that are entirely online. And even at colleges offering a mix of in-person and online courses this fall, international students will be barred from taking all their classes online.

It creates an urgent dilemma for thousands of international students who became stranded in the U.S. last spring after the coronavirus forced their schools to move online. Those attending schools that are staying online must “depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school

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If you’re just taking online classes, you can’t stay in the U.S.

ICE to foreign students: If you’re just taking online classes, you can’t stay in the U.S.
ICE to foreign students: If you’re just taking online classes, you can’t stay in the U.S.

The coronavirus pandemic has made education hard enough with the abrupt shift to online learning that schools, teachers, and students have had to suddenly make these past few months. Now, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would like to make that move even harder for foreign students.

On Monday, ICE to its Student and Exchange Visitor Program which disallows foreign students from remaining in the U.S. if they’re enrolled in a college or university that’s planning all online courses for the fall semester.

Basically, if you’re in the U.S. on a student visa and attending a school with all remote learning, you have two options: You must leave the country or transfer to a school with in-person learning. Any failure to comply will result in deportation.

Furthermore, if you’re a student planning to enter the country on a student visa in order to attend a remote-semester school in the fall, you will not be allowed in the U.S.

As schools across the country struggle with reopening plans as the fall semester fast approaches, ICE’s new rules certainly don’t make things easier. The coronavirus pandemic remains an ongoing issue, and one that’s worsening in some parts of the country.

“In yet one more in a long line of attacks on legal immigration, the Trump administration is now closing the doors to immigrant students,” said New York Immigration Coalition VP of Policy Anu Joshi in a statement.

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Cornell pushes ahead with reopening plan

Universities are confronting the difficult decision on whether to reopen in the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic, while trying to grapple with the financial pain brought about by state lockdowns.

Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., is slated to reopen its doors to around 15,000 undergraduate students on Sept. 2. To prepare, the school has spent between $3 million and $5 million on testing, tracing and isolation.

“The biggest thing that we’re going to do is to do surveillance testing,” Cornell Provost Michael Kotlikoff told Yahoo Finance’s On The Move. “We think that’s the key thing that colleges need to do to be able to assure safety in public health.” 

Identifying individuals — even those without symptoms of COVID-19 — and isolating them allows the school to control the spread of the virus, Kotlikoff said.

But testing 24,000 people (total Cornell population) individually is not an easy task — it’s expensive and time consuming. But that’s why the surveillance testing method is useful, the provost explained.

“We are relying on pool testing… [so] we’re testing asymptomatic individuals, doing it on a screening basis,” Kotlikoff said. “We will be doing surveillance testing by pool and samples and then identifying the positive pools and sending those for confirmation in a certified individual diagnostics manner.”

That’s “really is the only way to effectively surveil a population that’s this large,” he said. 

Barnes Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA. (PHOTO: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Aside from testing students regularly on

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The COVID-19 pandemic affects the future of Gen Z travel

Clarissa Fisher, 23, is nowhere near ready to hop on a plane. She used to fly regularly to visit her boyfriend in the U.K.

“This past week, I have seen so many people return to their normal activities like nothing has happened,” says Fisher of  Frankfort, Kentucky. “This scares me and has made me reconsider my travel plans for the remainder of this year and possibly the next. I’m afraid to board a plane, knowing that I might step off infected. Being trapped in a small space with a large amount of strangers for several hours is a pandemic nightmare scenario.” 

Like others in her generation, she’s grown up with crisis after crisis: From 9/11 to devastating school shootings to COVID-19, this generation, born after 1996, is used to living in dangerous times. This generation is primed to handle crisis after crisis and will adapt to extra safety precautions.

Thirty-five percent of 18- to 34-year-olds don’t plan on going on vacation this year, according to a Morning Consult online poll last month commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association – though 27% have taken a non-business trip, including an overnight stay, since March.

Members of Generation Z will approach travel differently by being much more cautious about stepping on a plane, washing their hands frequently and otherwise mitigating risks, concerned for their families and themselves. 

‘A worried generation’

Ann Fishman, a marketing expert who specializes in generational targeting, defines Gen Z as those born from 2001

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