All the Single Ladies, Which is Everyone, Put Your Hands Up

America is now majority single-people for the first time in recorded history. Cue Beyonce!

Some 124.6 million Americans were single in August, 50.2 percent of those who were 16 years or older, according to data used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its monthly job-market report. That percentage had been hovering just below 50 percent since about the beginning of 2013 before edging above it in July and August. In 1976, it was 37.4 percent and has been trending upward since. … The percentage of adult Americans who have never married has risen to 30.4 percent from 22.1 percent in 1976, while the proportion that are divorced, separated or widowed increased to 19.8 percent from 15.3 percent, according to the economist.

This is great! The more single people there are, the more normal being single is and the less I have to worry about accidentally offending my friends who are dating by seeming either too excited about their romantic prospects or not excited enough, or somehow both at the same time. (Though I mean well, I am constantly messing up. In this way, having single friends is kind of like life!)

But now that we’re an early-Bridget-Jones-type singleton as a nation, what does that mean for us financially? Unencumbered folks have fewer young children to oversee, take out fewer mortgages, and so on. Since basically the only real downside to remaining independent is the fear and expense of dying alone, Bloomberg suggests investing in long-term care insurance while you’re still young because “in most of the U.S., a private room in a nursing home can cost more than $100,000 per year” (!!!) and after you hit 40 or 50, insurers are likely to decline you because you’re already too close to the chasm. Be clear about your end-of-life plans and choices. And enjoy your awesome DINKy lives! Don’t forget to babysit.

Citibike Not Earning Its Keep

New York City's bikeshare system, while popular, is inching towards bankruptcy and bleeding more money every day. So what the hell is going on? One problem is that it's popular with local users who get the yearlong passes with a much lower profit margin than the single-use passes intended to fund the system. The idea of visiting New York City and hopping on one of these bikes on a whim does seem like a bit of a stretch. With, "How to Make a Bikeshare Fair and Functional" Jordan Fraade at the Baffler looks at the bigger picture:

The Way We View Debt

Via our pal Matt Levine, Bloomberg has an interview with Thomas Anderson, the author of a new book out called The Value of Debt. During the financial crisis, many households were overleveraged, which later resulted in a focus on de-leveraging and becoming debt-adverse (we got better at paying down our credit cards, for example, though that kind revolving debt is beginning to rise again). As you can see from his response above, Anderson argues that being too debt-averse is a mistake. He argues that it's all about balance—pay off that high-interest, non tax-deductible debt first, but also hold onto some of your money in case you need it. Do what you need to do to remain secure, essentially.
TV

The ‘Cord Never’ Generation

The pay-TV industry (those who cater to cable subscribers) is closely watching the television habits of a new generation who they deem as "cord nevers," meaning they didn't cut their cable cords—they never had cable in the first place, and with so many online streaming and viewing option, they'll probably won't ever feel the need to subscribe.

Link Roundup!: Popcorn Secrets; Theme Weddings; Return of the King (Bloomberg)

+ All you need to make air-popped popcorn: a microwave; some kernels; a brown paper bag. Cheap and delicious.

+ Theme weddings! Pro or con? The wedding my little family went to this past wedding was at a camp, and the theme of all camp weddings is “let’s pretend we’re kids again, or at least young 20-somethings, and don’t mind cold outdoor showers.” Other themes are more elaborate and, potentially, controversial. But how could anyone argue against Mexican “Star Trek”?

Up until two years ago, I, myself, had never had the privilege of attending any wedding with a theme other than “whoops, she’s pregnant” or “might as well.” Besides going to a lot of weddings, I’ve also been married twice. My first wedding was to a nice dude I met at 21 and married at 22. The wedding was themed “let’s get married.” In August of 2012, I planned on marrying for the second time. This time around I was 30 years old and marrying my partner of the previous five years. After the proposal, it took us maybe 20 minutes to decide on what sort of party to plan. We agreed upon the one thing that always brought us together as a couple, gave us great joy and happiness through the years, and defined us both as human beings. No, it wasn’t a Bruno Mars song or a certain kind of flower. It was Star Trek. We both love THE FUCK out of Star Trek. And since I am from a Mexican family and there is no way I could get married without the inclusion of mariachi music and Mexican food, we decided to have a Mexican Star Trek wedding and call the theme “Trek Mex.” …

Star Trek-themed attire was suggested, but absolutely not required. The only rules were have a good time and if you are white and choose to come as a Klingon DO NOT DO SO IN BLACK FACE. More people than expected showed up in all sorts of costumes. My dad wore a Worf mask that he refused to take off for all of our family photos. 

+ Michael Bloomberg is back in at Bloomberg LP. Yay?

The State With the Highest Minimum Wage Is Outpacing U.S. Job Growth

From Bloomberg, a look at the minimum wage debate via the state of Washington, which has the highest state minimum wage in the country.

Let’s Make a Price, I’ll Give You All of Ten Francs

Add this to the list of things people think about doing when they're down to nothing and figuring out how to make some money: Sell your hair, or breast milk, or even kidneys on the black market ("kidneys" is one of the autofill options that come up when you type "I want to sell my" into Google search). But really, don't sell your kidneys. The teenager who sold his kidney for an iPhone and iPad really regrets it.

Our On-Going Retirement Crisis

The U.S. is facing a retirement crisis with too many Americans who will be hitting their retirement years without very much money saved up: "59 percent of households headed by people 65 and older currently have no retirement account assets, according to Federal Reserve data analyzed by the National Institute on Retirement Security," reports Bloomberg. Nearly 7.2 Americans over 65 were still working last year.

In the Future, We Will All Understand Code

In a story for Mother Jones last month, Tasneem Raja asked, “Is Coding the New Literacy?” This wasn’t a “go to college and study STEM” argument, but rather, a discussion of whether understanding code in an increasingly digital world will just be as important as understanding how to read and write. Reading and writing, Raja points out, became more important in the 19th Century as written information from newspapers to store displays began to bombard people. Literacy rates soared, fostered “through religious campaigns, the nascent public school system, and the at-home labor of many mothers.” Everyone understood that reading and writing was important, though not everyone decided to become a writer. Could it be the same for code literacy? It’s not absurd to think that we may all understand code one day but not all grow up to be programmers.

Kitchen-related Gifts

I'm usually not much of a gift guide person, but I liked Megan McArdle's gift guide for kitchen things because of how sensible it is (a $13 microplane grater is affordable and is something I'd actually would be happy to get). I also have a close friend who seemingly has everything, so my gifts to her are usually to take her out to dinner, but I once bought her a fish spatula for her birthday after remembering the one night we made dinner together where we ruined the fish using a regular spatula and it was kind of perfect. Plus, you could always get a nice oven mitt for the person who doesn't like to cook, but likes frozen pizza.

Death Dinners

As boomers begin to age, more of them are getting together with their families to discuss the difficult question of what should happen in the event of their death. The so-called "death dinners" are hosted by people who invite close family members and friends to discuss things like living wills (70 percent of adults don't have a living will, according to the Pew Research Center), whether or not they'd like to be buried or cremated, and what kind of medical interventions they'd like ("Don't tube me," one mother says. "If I am pooping in my pants or in diapers, I’m out of here.") There are even websites dedicated to helping people plan their death dinners. It's a good idea if none of this stuff has been discussed openly in the family, and bringing everyone together gets everyone on the same page (you avoid the "but mom told me [x]" arguments).