As millennials, we’ve learned about money the hard way. From the Great Recession to stratospheric student loan debt to a pandemic, there’s been no shortage of life giving us lemons.

While the long-term economic effects of the pandemic are yet to be fully realized, you may have noticed one positive trend in the short term: For once, your debt may have dropped.

Credit card balances fell by $76 billion April through June, the steepest decline on record, according to an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Research by NerdWallet backed that up, finding that credit card balances carried from one month to the next dropped 9.15%, or more than $600 per household with this type of debt. Overall household debt shrank by nearly $1,000 among households carrying any type of debt in the same period.

If stimulus checks, paused student loan payments and sticking close to home have helped you cut down debt, here’s how to keep that momentum going.

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THE BUDGET

The idea of making a budget may have seemed too time-consuming or stressful in pre-pandemic times. But if you’ve taken that first step of looking at your spending and saving patterns lately — as many of us have out of sheer necessity — you’re already on your way toward building a budget.

“Take what you’ve done over the last few months and put it in a spreadsheet,” says Luke Lloyd, a wealth advisor and investment strategist at Strategic Wealth Partners in Cleveland.

You’ve probably focused on essential needs this year and sacrificed wants, or come up with creative solutions to have fun instead. Lloyd says the pandemic has made it clear that “we don’t always have to go out and spend all this money to entertain ourselves.”

The 50/30/20 budget

ICM Partners continued its European expansion with the purchase of London-based sports agency Stellar Group, the biggest acquisition in the 45-year history of the Hollywood talent agency.

Stellar, which ranked fourth last year in Forbes’ annual look at the world’s most powerful sports agencies, represents more than 800 athletes—mostly in soccer but also in track & field, cricket, rugby and the NFL—and manages current contracts totaling almost $3 billion, according to ICM.

“The world is becoming so interconnected and horizontal. The walls are all down with everything. It’s about evaluating talent and what kind of impact you can have with that talent,” says ICM CEO Chris Silbermann, who declined to disclose the price of the Stellar deal. “We feel we can apply a lot of the expertise we employ with celebrities and talent to athletes now as well. There is a natural fit.”

ICM is the smallest of the big four entertainment agencies, which also include WME, UTA and CAA. The Stellar deal heightens the competition with CAA, which launched its industry-leading sports practice 15 years ago. ICM represents stars Ellen DeGeneres, Beyoncé, Samuel L Jackson, J Cole and Khalid, as well as content creators Spike Lee, Shonda Rhimes and Vince Gilligan. With Stellar, it adds global soccer icon Gareth Bale and rising stars Saúl Ñíguez and Mason Mount to the mix.

Silbermann says they will be the foundation of a “multi-faceted” sports business that will be branded ICM Stellar Sports and will eventually include basketball, golf and tennis in the U.S., sports that are currently dominated by

PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP, MI — A chemical company is building a new innovation center and regional headquarters in the Ann Arbor area.

Wacker Chemical Corporation is investing in a nearly 14-acre site at 4950 S. State St. in Pittsfield Township. The North American Innovation Center and Regional Headquarters will house 300 employees, including those in its Adrian headquarters and 70 new “highly-paid” employees within the next five years, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Two-thirds of the Adrian employees will remain to continue production of elastomers, silicone fluids and silicone emulsions.

The company is expected to break ground before the end of the year and complete the project by 2022, MEDC spokeswoman Kathleen Achtenberg said.

“We are excited to move forward with our Innovation Center and Regional Headquarters to be located within Michigan,” Wacker CEO David Wilhoit said in a statement. “Our new facility will enable future growth in the state and serve as an important anchor for our operations across North America. This area is one of the nation’s leading communities for R&D. We look forward to networking with, and recruiting from, this highly educated and skilled talent base.”

Chemical company looking at Ann Arbor area to build headquarters

The company sought out the Ann Arbor area to tap into the local talent pool. Business offices will take up more than 70% of the building and about 30% will be dedicated to research and development, according to the site plan. Pittsfield Charter Township offered a 50% property tax abatement to support the project. The site was last sold to Maui Properties LLC for $890,000 in September 2019, property records show.

The company in 2017, the company established a footprint in Ann Arbor with a research and product development center. The new $51-million headquarters project will receive a $1-million

Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld informed board members of the decision in a letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post.

Terms of the contract have not been finalized, and Metro declined to comment further because the two sides are in negotiations.

“The 8000-Series rail car procurement process remains active, and we are unable to comment at this stage of the process,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said. “We are excited to share information with Metro riders as soon as a contract is awarded.”

Metro plans to order 256 cars, with an option to purchase up to 800. The transit agency told bidders that it will incentivize the building of a local assembly plant for the project, which could potentially last beyond the transit agency’s contract and become a source of new rail cars and jobs for years.

Hitachi Global is a more than 100-year-old Japan-based corporation with rail subsidiaries based across the world. Its main rail headquarters is in Italy. The Washington-based limited liability corporation is a new entity. Records show that the LLC was founded and based in Medley, Fla., in May 2019, according to business data provider Dun & Bradstreet. The lone employee listed in records is Giampaolo Nuonno, the chief executive of Hitachi Rail USA.

Metro’s long search for a manufacturer of the 8000 Series has been an eventful one, marked by protests from lobbyist groups, overtures from a controversial Chinese rail manufacturer and even the passage of a federal law that limited who the transit agency could partner with for the deal.

The new cars will be Metro’s eighth iteration rail car since the system opened 44 years ago. In selecting Hitachi Rail, Metro is turning to a familiar maker. Three of its first four models of rail cars were built by

Adds comments, details on EV market and background

TOKYO, Oct 6 (Reuters)A joint battery venture of Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T and Panasonic Corp 6752.T on Tuesday said it will produce lithium-ion batteries for hybrid cars at a plant in Western Japan from 2022 to meet growing demand for electric vehicles (EV).

The production line at a Panasonic factory in Tokushima prefecture will have enough capacity to build batteries for around 500,000 vehicles a year, Prime Planet Energy & Solutions, Inc said in a statement.

“The global electric vehicle market is expected to continue growing rapidly,” the company said.

Established in April, Prime Planet Energy is 51% owned by Toyota Motor with Panasonic holding the remaining stake. The venture reflects the drive of both companies to become bigger global players in an industry vital for the development of affordable EVs.

Panasonic, one of the world’s biggest EV battery makers, faces intense competition as a battery supplier to global automakers, including Tesla Inc <TSLA.O>. The other leading players are South Korean and Chinese makers such as Samsung SDI Co 006400.KS, LG Chem 051910.KS and CATL 300750.SZ.

Toyota, Japan’s biggest carmaker, last month said it expects annual sales of EV vehicles to reach 5.5 million in 2025, five years earlier than initially planned.

(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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