Money Minute: Apple, IBM Team Up to Boost Business Apps

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They say the passage of time heals all wounds. Well, two one-time rivals are now joining forces to boost both of their businesses.

They make for strange bedfellows but Apple (AAPL) and IBM (IBM), which once competed in the personal computer era, are now teaming up in the digital age.

The two are going to be working together to create business apps that both hope will make them more attractive to corporate clients. Apple will get the chance to sell more iPhones and iPads to those clients. And Big Blue gets the opportunity to gain more revenue off its business software and services. The company, once a leader in hardware, has since sold its PC business to China's Lenovo and shifted focus to software and services. The deal stipulates IBM employees will provide support for Apple products to corporate clients much like AppleCare, which is available to Apple's retail customers.

Apple, IBM team up in mobile devices, applications
Noah Berger/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesApple CEO Tim Cook shows off the latest iPad tablet at an event last fall.
Another partnership in the tech world is attracting some eyeballs. Google (GOOG) is going to be collaborating with Swiss pharmaceutical-giant Novartis (NVS) to create a so-called "smart contact lens." The lens attempts to detect blood sugar levels, which is important for diabetics to track. In January Google said the lenses would be able to track the data and upload it to smartphones almost in real time. Novartis had tried to create a similar contact lens on its own several years ago. The company's CEO said Google's engineers are doing incredible things with technology. The announcement comes at a time when many tech companies are looking at ways to tap into the health care industry to grow their businesses.

On Tuesday, stocks ended mixed on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) gaining 5 points, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) dropping 24 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) falling 3 points.

China's e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba is pushing further into the entertainment business. It has just signed a deal with Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) to distribute hit shows like Mad Men and box office draws like Twilight through its set-top boxes as Chinese viewers are increasingly drawn to entertainment that can be enjoyed from the comfort of their couches. This is Alibaba's first content deal with an American company and comes as the firm is trying to grow its business as it gears up for a much anticipated U.S. listing that could be one of the largest in history.

And finally, you might think the top CEO of the year award should go to a hot tech company like Facebook (FB), (AMZN) or Tesla (TSLA). Well, the editors at Chief Executive magazine think otherwise and have instead given their annual award to an old media titan -- Walt Disney's (DIS) Bob Iger. Iger, who has been the top dog at Disney for nine years, is lauded for smart acquisitions, which include its purchases of Pixar and Marvel. The stock reached an all-time high last February, tripling in price since Iger took over in 2005.

The 7 Biggest Financial Mistakes 40-Somethings Make
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Money Minute: Apple, IBM Team Up to Boost Business Apps
If you've been making mortgage payments for a while now, it may have become just another task you do automatically each month. But it's time to start thinking about your end game. When will your house officially be paid in full, and how will that date intersect with your other plans? Do you need to adjust anything to make your "mortgage freedom" date align with the rest of your life? For example: Do you want to have your house paid off by the time your kids leave for college? If so, start scrutinizing the timing, so you can figure out if you need to make extra payments.
The average student graduating in 2014 emerged with $29,000 in student loan debt. There's no predicting what that number will be once your children are ready to don a cap and gown. But you don't want your kids to be saddled with tens of thousands in debt as they begin their adult lives (or potentially live in your basement well into their 30s because of that debt).

While your children should absolutely apply for every scholarship they can, you can't count on them getting what they'll need. So. there's no time like the present to start seriously building up their college funds. If you're not quite sure about the best ways for you to do that (529 plans are great, but they're not the only good choise), a fee-only financial adviser can walk you through your options.
Are you putting aside enough for retirement? Aim to replace 70 percent to 85 percent of your current income, or save 25 times your current annual expenses. Once you have that final number in mind, use an online retirement calculator or sit down with a financial adviser to come up with a plan for how much you'll need to save each year to reach it. If you haven't already done this, don't delay another day. Future You will thank you.
Credit card debt is a shackle that can prevent you from reaching every other monetary goal on your list. One of the first things you need to do to get your financial house in order is to eliminate all consumer debt -- the sooner, the better. Otherwise, you're losing money each month that could be put to better use elsewhere.

Make debt payoff a top priority. Try an aggressive method like the "debt snowball," where you throw every extra dime you can at your smallest balance until you've decimated that bill. Then move to the next one on the list and continue amassing "victories" until you're done with every debt. Where can you find the money to accelerate your debt payoff? Reduce your  expenses or take a temporary second job, if necessary. The sooner you free yourself from debt, the better.
Your current vehicle won't last forever, no matter how diligent you are at taking care of it. When it comes time to buy a new car, will you have saved enough to make the purchase in cash? As you get older, you should be systematically reducing the number of financial obligations you're saddled with -- not adding on new ones. Car loans take from three to seven years to pay off. (The current average length is around 5½ years.) Even if your current car lasts you well into your 50s, financing a new one could mean that you'll be facing loan payments into your retirement years. Instead, plan ahead so you can pay cash.
If you're married, have children or support your parents financially, you should have term life insurance. Tragedies can happen at any time, and term insurance can help you create a Plan B for the benefit of those who rely on you. If you're healthy, you can get term life insurance coverage with a $500,000 benefit for roughly $29 a month. That's a small price to pay to know your family will be cared for if anything happens to you. The longer you wait to get that coverage, the higher your price will be.
Just like life insurance, disability insurance is a wise investment. (And, just like life insurance, the longer you wait to get it, the higher your monthly payments will be.) Should you fall ill or get injured and be unable to work for a period of time, disability insurance can pay out 50 percent to 70 percent of your income. Hopefully, you'll never need to use it -- but you never want to be in a spot where you do need it and you don't have it.
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