Personal Finance Daily: How one man paid cash for health care and why Starbucks’ holiday coffee slogan is stirring up controversy

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Happy Thursday MarketWatchers. Don’t miss these top stories:

My stepdaughter blew through an inheritance and was mysteriously fired from her job — what should we do with our $1.6M estate?

‘How do we provide something to keep her out of homeless shelters without having it thrown away for drugs?’

Juul stopped selling fruit-flavored e-cigarettes — but now another flavor is proving as popular with teens

Research suggests fruity flavors are a prime driver in getting young people to try vaping.

Greta Thunberg propels ‘climate strike’ to Collins Dictionary 2019 word of the year

U.K.-based Collins Dictionary has declared “climate strike” as its word of the year, after noticing a hundredfold increase in its use in 2019, the most of any word (or, yes, words) on its list.

My friend asked me to be her maid of honor, but didn’t invite me to her wedding — am I expected to buy her a gift?

‘She didn’t outright tell me that she no longer wants me as a maid of honor.’

‘Merry Coffee’ is the best Starbucks could come up with for its holiday cups?

‘Tis the season to rip Starbucks for its holiday cups. The Seattle coffee giant has brewed up plenty of controversy year over year in trying to make its festive cups more inclusive for those who don’t celebrate Christmas. And 2019 is no exception.

This couple’s $161,000 in student-loan debt was forgiven after their applications were rejected — here’s how they did it

‘It was like a five-ton elephant being lifted off your shoulders.’

Airbnb will verify all listings to improve accuracy — other guests have been greeted with racism and hidden cameras

The company announced new efforts to address unauthorized parties after a shooting tragedy in California.

My frugal 31-year-old daughter is living at home while she pays off her student loan — isn’t that the equivalent of a $2,500 monthly gift?

‘She disagreed, given that no cash is changing hands. Who is right?’

Giving your time to help others, rather than your money, may help you live longer

New study reveals fresh insights into the benefits of giving.

How I paid cash for health care instead of using my insurance plan — and saved money

Four years ago, Harry Sit paid a dermatologist $360 using insurance. This time, he paid cash for the same exam and it was $161.

Elsewhere on MarketWatch
Conflicting White House narratives raise doubts about tariff rollback reports in China-U.S. trade talks

Beijing’s announcement Thursday that the U.S. and China have mutually agreed to roll back tariffs as part of a “phase one” trade accord lifted financial markets, adding to optimism that the 18-month trade war is finally beginning to wind down.

Here’s the best thing Donald Trump has going for him

The best thing (perhaps, at this point, the only thing) President Trump has in his favor heading into 2020 is that there will probably not be a recession.

U.S. September consumer credit grows at slowest rate in 15 months

U.S. consumer borrowing rose in September at the slowest rate in fifteen months, the Federal Reserve said Thursday.

Trump disputes report that he wanted Barr to exonerate him over Ukraine

President Donald Trump on Thursday denied a report he wanted Attorney General William Barr to publicly declare he didn’t break any laws during a call with Ukraine’s president.

A surging stock market belies the biggest disagreement between CEOs and consumers about the U.S. economy on record

The stock market is in full flight Thursday, with all three main U.S. benchmarks poised to end at their highest levels ever, but those glorious gains come amid an uneasy gap in what consumers and C-suiters think about future of the U.S. economy.

Why a surtax on multimillionaires’ income is better than a wealth tax

it’s time for wealthy people to pay more taxes. Here’s a good place to start.

Adventurous investors can take a rocket ride with this new space ETF

The Procure Space ETF is the first exchange-traded fund focused on space-related activities.