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(NEW YORK) -- The chief executive of BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, urged companies to publicly disclose their plans for how they will operate in a world with net-zero emissions by 2050.

CEO Larry Fink highlighted climate change as a business and investing priority in his annual letter to company leaders Tuesday.

"Given how central the energy transition will be to every company’s growth prospects, we are asking companies to disclose a plan for how their business model will be compatible with a net-zero economy -- that is, one where global warming is limited to well below 2ºC, consistent with a global aspiration of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050," Fink wrote. "We are asking you to disclose how this plan is incorporated into your long-term strategy and reviewed by your board of directors."

Fink also called for a single global standard for sustainability disclosures, saying it would "enable investors to make more informed decisions about how to achieve durable long-term returns," but he also urged companies to "move quickly to issue them rather than waiting for regulators to impose them."

BlackRock, which manages some $7 trillion for investors, made headlines early last year when Fink announced that climate change would be the focus of its investment strategy going forward.

In his letter Tuesday, Fink highlighted how he believes prioritizing climate change is not just good for the planet, but also good for business and investments.

"We know that climate risk is investment risk," he wrote. "But we also believe the climate transition presents a historic investment opportunity."

"I have great optimism about the future of capitalism and the future health of the economy -- not in spite of the energy transition, but because of it," he added.  

His letter comes as a new administration in the White House has notably reprioritized climate change and environmental policies.

President Joe Biden rejoined the U.S. into the international Paris climate agreement -- which Donald Trump took the nation out of -- on his first day in office. The agreement sets a goal to ensure that global temperatures do not increase more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


(NEW YORK) -- Adidas introduced its debut maternity collection featuring performance tops and tights for women throughout all stages of pregnancy.

Expertly created, the new Adidas maternity collection was created closely with women at different trimesters and includes lightweight, high-stretch fabric around the stomach and chest areas, allowing the activewear to be worn throughout pregnancy as well as postpartum.

 Retailing between $25-$45, key pieces from the Adidas maternity activewear collection include the Adidas Maternity 7/8 Tight which has a tailored waistband and lighter fabric to minimize pressure on the belly. It also can be customized to cover the entire stomach or pulled below to be worn as a more relaxed fit -- releasing more heat and moisture, according to the company.

Another piece from the collection is the Adidas Maternity Tank made from high-stretch fabric that works to hug the body without squeezing. Additionally, there is an A-line cut with a longer front portion which gives mothers-to-be full coverage.

Each item has Adidas' signature AEROREADY technology which the company said delivers moisture management to help the wearer keep cool and dry while also offering support through all types of movement.

"We understand that movement can have profoundly positive effects on our personal well-being and truly believe that sport is for everyone, with this collection marking another step in making our offering as inclusive as possible," said Adidas global training general manager Aimee Arana in a statement.

She continued, "With the body experiencing daily change throughout the journey of motherhood, it was paramount we worked closely with a community of expecting women to understand exactly what they need from their activewear, through each trimester and postpartum."

Officially rolling out for purchase online on Jan. 29, the line will be available in a range of cool and earthy tones using PRIMEGREEn which is a series of high-performance recycled materials to support Adidas' ambition to end plastic waste.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


(NEW YORK) -- In today's COVID-19 era, the days of physically trying on makeup before you buy have become slim to none. Platforms such as Pinterest are changing that with the help of augmented reality.

The company recently released its AR Try On for eyeshadow feature which allows you to virtually browse, try on shades and purchase in-stock products that work best for your skin tone.

To access the latest Try On capabilities, Pinners simply open the Pinterest app and click the camera icon in search. Then you scroll through different eyeshadow hues and watch as they appear on your face.

After finding a shade to your liking, you can purchase the item from the retailer's website.

The latest edition of AR Try On for eyeshadow follows the same feature previously introduced by Pinterest for lipstick. Now, you can try both on without any skin smoothing or image altering effects.

Additionally, Pinterest's augmented reality makeup gives users the option to experience over 4,000 shades from brands such as NYX Cosmetics, Urban Decay, Lancome and many more.

It also is integrated with different skin tones, which allow Pinners to filter results by makeup that is closest to their skin tone. Plus, similar shades, as well as inspirational looks to try, are featured for users to experience.

Last year, the image sharing and social media service saw growth for unique makeup looks including pastel eyeshadow (12x), crazy eyeshadow (4x) and butterfly eyeshadow (2x).

In 2019, the company introduced its inclusive search tool which displays a palette of skin tones to give users a more customized experience that feels authentic.

"As a Pinner and woman of color myself, I was customizing my searches to get relevant results and knew we needed to do something about this," Candice Morgan, Pinterest's head of inclusion and diversity, explained to ABC News' Good Morning America.

She continued, "At the same time, I heard from a young Pinner who loved using Pinterest but wasn’t seeing content that was most relevant to her. You shouldn’t have to do extra work like add keywords to find personally relevant ideas, so I got to work with passionate people on the product and engineering teams."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


(WASHINGTON) -- President Joe Biden's administration announced Monday it plans to revitalize the effort to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

"It's important that our notes -- our money -- reflect the history and diversity of our country, and Harriet Tubman's image gracing the new $20 note would certainly reflect that," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a White House press briefing Monday. "So we're exploring ways to speed up that effort."

Psaki noted the U.S. Treasury Department -- led in the Biden administration by a woman, Janet Yellen, for the first time in history -- has already picked back up the effort to put Tubman -- an African American woman celebrated for her work freeing enslaved people during the Civil War -- on new $20 bills, an effort that was delayed under former President Donald Trump.

"The Treasury Department is taking steps to resume efforts to put Harriet Tubman on front of the new $20 notes," Psaki told reporters, noting that specifics on timing will come from the Treasury Department.

Press sec. Psaki: "The Treasury Department is taking steps to resume efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the front of the new $20 notes. It's important that our notes, our money...reflect the history and diversity of our country."

— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) January 25, 2021

Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, also announced Monday that she is reintroducing in Congress the Woman on the Twenty Act of 2021, which would require any $20 bill printed after 2024 to "prominently feature" a portrait of Tubman.

"For several years, I worked directly with the Department of Treasury to plan the release of the new $20 design featuring Harriet Tubman to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment," Beatty said in a statement. "The American people want our currency to better reflect the diversity of our great country."

"I look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration, including the first-ever female secretary of treasury, Janet Yellen, to put a woman on the twenty and make the Tubman twenty a reality," she said.

In 2016, President Barack Obama's Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced plans for Tubman to replace former President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, as part of an effort to get more women on U.S. currency.

The redesign was set to go into effect in 2020.

While campaigning for the presidency in 2016, Trump described the effort to put an image of Tubman on the $20 bill as "pure political correctness."

Trump's treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, told lawmakers in 2019 that he wasn't planning on putting Tubman on the $20 bill in 2020 and that a redesign of the currency would not be issued until 2028.

"The ultimate decision on a redesign will most likely be another secretary later down the road," Mnuchin said in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee in 2019.

Just a few days after that hearing, House Democrats protested on the steps of the Treasury Department, rallying for a congressional measure that would require $20 bills to include an image of Tubman.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Alexander Pohl/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Norwegian regulators announced intentions to hit the popular gay dating app Grindr with a fine of nearly $12 million over alleged data-sharing practices.

The Norwegian Data Protection Authority said in a statement Tuesday that it's notified Grindr of its intent to fine the company 100 million Norwegian krone (approximately $11.7 million). The agency said Grindr has the opportunity to comment until Feb. 15, and then it will make its final decision.

The regulators accuse Grindr of illegally sharing users' personal data from the free version of the app with third parties for marketing purposes.

The data allegedly shared includes location, profile data "and the fact that the user in question is on Grindr," according to the statement.

"Our preliminary conclusion is that Grindr needs consent to share these personal data and that Grindr's consents were not valid," the statement added. "Additionally, we believe that the fact that someone is a Grindr user speaks to their sexual orientation, and therefore this constitutes special category data that merit particular protection."

Bjørn Erik Thon, director-general of the Norwegian Data Protection Authority, said Grindr users weren't able to exercise real control over the sharing of their data and were pressured into giving consent to the app's privacy policy when using it without being properly informed.

Thon noted that Grindr is seen as a safe space, and many users may wish to be discrete, but that their data may have been shared with an unknown number of third parties.

If the fine is finalized, this could be the highest Norwegian Data Protection Authority fine to date.

Grindr pushed back against the allegations, saying in a statement to ABC News on Tuesday that the agency's claims "date back to 2018 and do not reflect Grindr's current Privacy Policy or practices."

"We continually enhance our privacy practices in consideration of evolving privacy laws and regulations, and look forward to entering into a productive dialogue with the Norwegian Data Protection Authority," the company added.

Grindr said that its goal "is to create the leading social and digital media platform that enables the LGBTQ community and other users to discover, share and navigate the world around them."

In addition, it said it is "confident that our approach to user privacy is first-in-class among social applications with detailed consent flows, transparency, and control provided to all of our users."

In a company blog post on Monday, Grindr Chief Privacy Officer Shane Wiley stated that they "share only the most basic information -- which users largely control -- and nothing about a user's Grindr account details."

"This last point," Wiley wrote, "is worth repeating: there is nothing from within a user's Grindr account details that is shared with an ad partner. Full stop."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


(WASHINGTON) -- President Joe Biden announced the ambitious plan of replacing the entire fleet of autos owned by the federal government with electric vehicles as his administration takes steps to embrace clean energy.

Biden also pledged that these new electric vehicles will be made in the U.S.

"The federal government also owns an enormous fleet of vehicles, which we're going to replace with clean, electric vehicles made right here in America, by American workers," Biden said Monday during remarks as he signed his "Made in America" executive order.

The president added that this will create "a million autoworker jobs."

Pres. Biden: "The federal government also owns an enormous fleet of vehicles, which we're going to replace with clean electric vehicles made right here in America, by American workers."

— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) January 25, 2021

The federal government owns some 645,000 vehicles total, according to a 2019 General Services Administration report, with more than 225,000 of those belonging to the U.S. Postal Service and more than 170,000 of those belonging to military agencies.

Of the total vehicles owned by the government, however, only 4,475 are electric vehicles, according to the report.

The president did not give a timeline for when this massive vehicle replacement goal will be implemented.

Shares for U.S.-based electric vehicle companies spiked on Tuesday after Biden's announcement, with Lordstown Motors trading nearly 20% higher and Workhorse Group trading nearly 30% higher.

Biden's "Made in America" executive order, signed on Monday, aims to fulfill a campaign promise to increase the amount of federal spending that goes to American companies. The order essentially closes loopholes that allowed foreign products to be purchased, among other measures to boost American manufacturing.

Biden's push toward electric vehicles is in line with environmental goals and policies he campaigned on that contrast sharply with actions of the previous administration. Biden notably rejoined the international Paris climate agreement -- which Donald Trump took the country out of -- on his first day in office.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Thos Robinson/Getty Images for The Explorers ClubBy ANGELINE JANE BERNABE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A trip to space for private travel may soon be a reality.

Axiom Space announced on Tuesday that it will be launching private citizens into space next year for spaceflight.

Commanding the first flight will be decorated former NASA astronaut, Michael Lopez-Alegria, who holds two NASA records for spacewalks.

“You’ve got to start somewhere,” Alegria told Good Morning America. “Just like commercial aviation back in the 1920s and ‘30s, only very rich people could fly. Now people get on an airplane to go to birthday parties, So that’s going to happen in commercial human spaceflight.”

For $55 million per ticket, the private crew will travel to the International Space Station, where they’ll stay for 10 days.

Despite the cost, the company already has four people lined up for the groundbreaking launch. One of them is 71-year-old real estate investor and philanthropist Larry Connor.

“Somebody said to me, ‘So you realize you’ll be the second oldest person ever to go into outer space,’” said Connor. “And my response, which they already knew, was I think age is overrated.”

Connor, along with the three other space explorers, will also train for 15 weeks with Axiom Space prior to the launch. And despite the potential risks, Connor is thrilled by this trip of a lifetime.

“[My wife’s] seen me do a lot of really unusual things,” said Connor. “So the look is usually like this, ‘And there he goes again!’ And she’s right, here we go again. But she understands that I will never take unacceptable risk.”

The private crew is expected to launch next January and ABC News will have exclusive access to their training this year, so stay tuned.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

DaveAlan/iStockBy JON HAWORTH, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Southwest Airlines has made the decision to no longer allow emotional support animals on their flights following a decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) last month to revise the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation on the transportation of service animals.

According to Southwest Airlines, emotional support animals will be banned from their flights from March 1, 2021.

“With this revision, Southwest Airlines will only allow service dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability to travel with the Customer,” Southwest Airlines said in a statement released on Monday evening. “The types of disability include a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability and only dogs will be accepted (including those for psychiatric service) — no other species will be accepted as a trained service animal.”

The airline said that customers who do travel with trained service dogs must now present a completed Service Animal Air Transportation Form issued by the DOT at the gate or ticket counter at the airport and must include details on the animal’s health, behavior and training.

"We applaud the Department of Transportation's recent ruling that allows us to make these important changes to address numerous concerns raised by the public and airline employees regarding the transport of untrained animals in the cabins of aircraft," said Steve Goldberg, senior vice president, Operations and Hospitality at Southwest. "Southwest Airlines continues to support the ability of qualified individuals with a disability to bring trained service dogs for travel and remains committed to providing a positive and accessible travel experience for all of our Customers with disabilities."

Southwest said that passengers may still travel with some animals for a charge, which has been a standard part of their existing pets program, but those animals must meet all requirements regarding in-cabin stowage and are restricted to cats and dogs only.

The U.S. Department of Transportation changed the ACAA in an announcement on Dec. 2, 2020 saying that passengers had been abusing the privilege of emotional support animals and the practice had "eroded the public trust in legitimate service animals."

The DOT said it was prompted in part by an increase in travelers "fraudulently representing their pets as service animals" to avoid charges for transporting pets. There are records of passengers bringing miniature horses, hamsters, pigs and even peacocks on board airlines which people have claimed as emotional support animals.

Said the DOT in their new ruling on Dec. 2: “The Department received more than 15,000 comments on the notice of proposed rulemaking. The final rule announced today addresses concerns raised by individuals with disabilities, airlines, flight attendants, airports, other aviation transportation stakeholders, and other members of the public, regarding service animals on aircraft.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Spangler Candy Co.By KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Valentine's Day is around the corner, and a new riff on Sweethearts' iconic confections brings 21 love song titles to the mix of sugary sayings.

Spangler Candy Company, the family-owned and operated confectionery manufacturer announced exclusively to ABC News' Good Morning America on Tuesday that it has created a new setlist of sweet messages, inspired by the most celebrated love songs from past generations.

The heart-shaped pastel candies will include song titles like "My Girl," "I'm Yours," "At Last," Sugar Sugar," "Crazy in Love," "10,000 Hours" and more.

"We want some cheerfulness, happiness and nostalgia, so we came up with the idea to create sayings inspired by our favorite heart-themed songs through the decades to be reminded of the melody," Diana Eschhofen, Spangler Candy’s director of corporate communications told GMA.

"We brainstormed hundreds of love songs and lyrics and narrowed it down to 21," she said. "We featured at least one from every decade from the 1950s to present day."

The brand incorporated artists such as Sonny and Cher, Ed Sheeran, Beyonce, The Temptations, the B-52s and Dan and Shay.

"We like to inspire happiness, and music has been scientifically proven to evoke memories and intense reactions -- we like to think we're going to inspire some duets," Eschhofen said.

If she had to pick a new favorite from the fresh batch of Sweethearts, it would be the simple '70s melody, "Lean on Me."

"It's become sort of an anthem to friendship and rising up together in times of trouble, which seems appropriate right now, as well as in any situation," she said.

The candies are available nationwide at major grocery and drug stores in single boxes or five-count packs in an array of flavors: wintergreen, orange, lemon, blue raspberry, banana, grape and cherry.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


(NEW YORK) -- Google announced a series of steps it was taking to support a more equitable and efficient rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, including grants totaling $150 million, updates to its Maps software and offering the use of its office spaces to become vaccination clinics.

"The pandemic has taken a devastating toll on communities worldwide," Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai wrote in a company blog post Monday. "While there is much uncertainty still ahead, the development of multiple safe vaccines in such a short time gives us reason for hope."

"Now the work begins to ensure that everyone can benefit from this triumph of scientific achievement, and quickly," he added.

Pichai noted that the company recognizes "that getting vaccines to people is a complex problem to solve, and we’re committed to doing our part."

While the rapid development of coronavirus vaccines is providing a glimmer of hope to a pandemic-battered nation, the rollout of the vaccines so far has been dogged by delays, confusion and misinformation.

Pichai said Google has committed $100 million in ad grants for the CDC Foundation, the World Health Organization and nonprofits around the globe to help boost information on vaccines. In addition, Pichai said the company was investing another $50 million in partnership with public health agencies to "reach underserved communities with vaccine-related content and information."

"Our efforts will focus heavily on equitable access to vaccines," Pichai wrote. "Early data in the U.S. shows that disproportionately affected populations, especially people of color and those in rural communities, aren't getting access to the vaccine at the same rates as other groups."

He added that $5 million has also been earmarked for organizations addressing racial and geographic disparities in coronavirus vaccinations, such as the Morehouse School of Medicine’s Satcher Health Leadership Institute.

In addition to the grants, Pichai said the company has expanded authoritative vaccine information on its search engine panels to more than 40 countries. Google will also begin showing state and regional vaccine distribution information via search so people can more easily find where they can receive a vaccine. A "Get The Facts" initiative puts out trustworthy information about vaccines.

Pichai noted that these efforts come after the company found that searches for "vaccines near me" have increased fivefold since the beginning of the year.

COVID-19 vaccination locations will soon be available in Google Search and Maps in the coming weeks, he added, and the company will start transforming select Google facilities into vaccination clinics as needed.

"These sites will be open to anyone eligible for the vaccine based on state and local guidelines," Pichai wrote. "We’ll start by partnering with health care provider One Medical and public health authorities to open sites in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area in California; Kirkland, Washington; and New York City, with plans to expand nationally."

Fellow tech giant Amazon announced a similar initiative last week.

Finally, Pichai lauded how the pandemic has "inspired coordination between public and private sectors, and across international borders, on a remarkable scale."

"We can’t slow down now," he added. "Getting vaccines to billions of people won’t be easy, but it’s one of the most important problems we’ll solve in our lifetimes. Google will continue to support in whatever way we can."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


(NEW YORK) -- The pandemic-induced recession is over for the world's wealthiest, but it could take a decade or more for the world's poorest to recover, according to a report published Monday by the U.K.-based nonprofit Oxfam International.

"We stand to witness the greatest rise in inequality since records began," Gabriela Bucher, Oxfam's executive director, said in a statement announcing the report's release. "The deep divide between the rich and poor is proving as deadly as the virus."

"Rigged economies are funneling wealth to a rich elite who are riding out the pandemic in luxury, while those on the frontline of the pandemic -- shop assistants, healthcare workers, and market vendors -- are struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table," Bucher added.

The new report adds more data to bolster some economists' concerns about a K-shaped recovery amid the COVID-19 crisis, where the divide between the have and have-nots deepen as the pandemic rages on. President Joe Biden and his team warned about a K-shaped recovery extensively while campaigning.

The Oxfam report found that the world's wealthiest 1,000 people have recouped their initial pandemic losses within just nine months. It also predicted that it could take at least 14 times longer for the number of people living in poverty to return to pre-pandemic levels than it took for the 1,000 wealthiest people to bounce back.

The report cited Forbes data on the 10 richest people, saying they have seen their fortunes grow by $540 billion since March 18, 2020. The richest people, as of Dec. 31, 2020, were: Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bernard Arnault and family, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, Warren Buffett, Zhong Shanshan, Larry Page and Mukesh Ambani.

The wealth of the world's ultra-elite tends to be more closely tied to the stock market, which has soared to new highs after bottoming out in March.

If inequality increased by 2 percentage points annually and global per capita GDP contracts by 8%, 501 million more people will be living on less than $5.50 a day in 2030 compared to a scenario with no increase in inequality, the researchers concluded based on a World Bank simulation.

While the researchers noted this GDP contraction is the World Bank's worst-case scenario, it said it was in line with many projections for GDP contraction in the developing world.

Moreover, the report said that 87% of 295 economists surveyed from 79 countries expect an "increase" or "major increase" in income inequality due to the pandemic.

The report also reiterated what a handful of previous studies have shown -- that the economic impact of the pandemic is unevenly hitting women and communities of color the hardest.

"Women and marginalized racial and ethnic groups are bearing the brunt of this crisis," Bucher said. "They are more likely to be pushed into poverty, more likely to go hungry, and more likely to be excluded from healthcare."

The report found women are overrepresented in often low-wage professions that have been hit hardest by the crisis. Their data suggest that if men were represented at the same rate as women in these sectors, some 112 million women globally would no longer be at high risk of losing their incomes during the pandemic. In addition, women comprise about 70% of the global health and social care workforce, putting them at a greater risk of contracting the virus, according to the report.

Finally, it cited infection and mortality rates globally being much higher in poorer areas -- noting that in some countries mortality rates in poor areas were double that of the richest areas.

The researchers argued that fairer economic policies are needed for a more equitable recovery from the crisis, recommending a temporary tax on corporations' excess profits to help ameliorate the uneven recoveries.

"Extreme inequality is not inevitable, but a policy choice," Bucher said. "Governments around the world must seize this opportunity to build more equal, more inclusive economies that end poverty and protect the planet."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Kativ/iStockBy JOEL LYONS, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Tasha and Joseph Cochran are breaking one of the biggest taboos around money.

The creators of One Big Happy Life -- a platform where they share financial advice to help people create the lives they want -- very openly talk about their finances.

Once a month, followers get a line-by-line look at the Cochrans' ledger, seeing numbers many people would never discuss in public.

"We have a net worth tracker that we give away for free and encourage people to actually track their own progress," Tasha Cochran, 38, said. "People now come back and say, 'Wow, it's amazing, my net worth is growing.'"

"It's just about educating people on how to do net worth and how that calculation even works," Joseph Cochran, 35, added.

The pair is also tackling the stigma around budgeting with a one-year spending plan, which encourages users to look at their total spending across categories for a year so that they can allocate income accordingly.

"It's a great way for you to take a bird's-eye look at your finances and really see what's possible for you and the kind of life that your money can help create if you plan for it," Joseph Cochran said.

Born out of necessity

The origins of the plan began when Tasha Cochran was 18.

"I became pregnant with my daughter, Alexis," she said. "I was an active duty U.S. Marine. I wasn't making much money."

She said she thought, "'OK, I've got nine months. In those nine months, I'm gonna make nine months worth of paychecks, so I need to plot out when I'm going to buy all of the things that I need.'"

"I used to have to track my spending down to the penny," she said.

But once she got the hang of this method, "every year toward the end of the year, I would just create a whole new one-year spending plan for the next year."

Eventually, she began "chaining them together," so she had a two-year spending plan, a three-year spending plan and so on.

The plan further evolved years later when she met Joseph Cochran when the two were doing work for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Dallas.

"Joseph was assigned as my mentor, and we became friends and eventually started dating," Tasha Cochran said.

She noted that they were both going through divorces, and with that came a lot of debt. When they eventually combined their finances, they were compounded by $300,000 in combined law school debt.

"We found ourselves getting frustrated with our debt when the amount that we were paying toward debt was really stopping us from accomplishing our other goals," Tasha Cochran said.

From debt-controlled to controlling debt

Over the course of eight years, the Cochrans paid down that $300,000 worth of debt and grew their nest egg to nearly half a million dollars, all while being able to take their children on vacations.

"Your money is not just this single gold bar that's this block that you can only do one thing with," Tasha Cochran said. "Your money can do multiple things for you at the same time, so you can build wealth, work on paying off your debt and also work on enjoying your life at the same time."

"It's all about being intentional with your money," she added.

"I didn't realize that I could spend money on entertainment and still accomplish my goals," Joseph Cochran said. "Sometimes it's all or nothing with a lot of other plans out there … you don't have to be uber frugal to accomplish financial goals."

"We say one-year spending plan, not one-year budget, because we want people to stop associating negative feelings with their spending plans and how they're planning their finances," he added. "We want them to know that they're empowering themselves and they're choosing how to spend their money, which is fun."

How to complete your own one-year spending plan:

1. Think about the vision that you have for your life

"Think about what matters to you and identify the things that you want to be able to spend your money on," Tasha Cochran said. "That's going to be reflected in this plan that you're creating."

2. Add your income

"Take your take-home pay annually, divide that by 12, and then put that in for each month so that you know how much money you're working with in your spending plan," she added.

3. Add your mandatory monthly expenses.

The Cochrans said the best way to figure out what your expenses are is to look at what you spent last month and then tweak as you move through the process.

Expenses that fall in this category include rent or mortgage, utilities, anything that is under contract such as cable or a phone bill, and your minimum grocery budget.

4. Calculate your monthly budget surplus

To calculate this, take your income and subtract monthly expenses.

"Your monthly budget surplus is the amount of money that you have every month to put towards your big financial goals and towards your lifestyle goals, like maybe taking a family vacation in a few months," Tasha Cochran said.

"It's kind of your discretionary income that you get to then allocate toward all of these goals and things that you want to accomplish," Joseph Cochran added.

5. List out financial goals, how much they cost and when you want to reach them

Here, the Cochrans said to think about the goals you might focus on next year as well as even longer-term things, such as retirement

"Ideally, you'll be putting money away long term, investing to grow your wealth," Tasha Cochran said. "You'll also be putting some amount of money into building your financial stability through your sinking funds, like for an emergency fund or car repair fund."

She added that once you know what those goals will actually cost, you can start plugging them into your spending plan.

6. Add focus goals to your budget

"This is where you take the list of financial goals you created in the step before and choose which priorities you want to focus on this year," Joseph Cochran said.

"For example, if you want to spend $7,000 on a family vacation in July, well, you divide that by seven and set aside $1,000 a month up until July," Tasha Cochran added. "If you are going to be spending money on something, it should be in your spending plan, because when people spend money and they didn't plan for it, their debt increases."

7. Add in your lifestyle spending

"You want to set a certain number of financial goals that you hit every year," Tasha Cochran said. "But that doesn't make it so that you don't have any room for fun spending, which is what can happen when people decide to pay off debt."

"Life is what happens to you in between now and those financial milestones," Joseph Cochran added. "You can't just ignore it and only celebrate when you reach retirement age. You need to celebrate these little wins, you need something to motivate you and keep you on track and happy with your spending plan."

8. Tweak your budget as you go

"The one-year spending plan is not fixed," Tasha Cochran said. "It's meant to be a living, breathing spending plan for your life, and you get to decide if you want to spend more in one category or less in another category in any given month."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


(NEW YORK) — Audi's RS 6 Avant station wagon has all the luxury trappings and space of any sport utility vehicle on the market. Fill it up with kids, pets, sporting gear, beach chairs, groceries, you name it, there's room.

Stomp on the throttle, however, and brace for liftoff, engine screaming, 22-inch wheels spinning, as you sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds.

This is no ordinary wagon nor the one your parents drove in the 1970s and 1980s (you know, the "lumbering family hauler" that was likely decked out in fake wood and vinyl applique).

Automakers are reinventing wagons behind the scenes, making them stylish, trendy and ridiculously fast even as they crank out SUVs at a dizzying pace. Wagons may never sell outsell SUVs but an increasing number of consumers are choosing them for their cargo space, good looks, driving responses and anti-SUV 'tude.

The RS 6 rivals nearly any supercar and it delivers more joy and driving pleasure than the majority of sports cars Americans buy, enthusiasts declare. With a top speed of 190 mph and a twin-turbo V8 powerplant that produces 591 hp and 590 lb.-ft of torque, the RS 6 can rightfully crow about its performance stats, handling and versatility. Owners can also analyze and record their lap times (err, road times), tire pressure and brake temperatures with Audi's virtual cockpit. Carbon ceramic brakes, a sport exhaust and black optic accents on the grille and side blades give the RS 6 a menacing, macho vibe too.

"Part of the allure of driving this sleeper wagon is that you press a button and it turns into a high performance race car," Anthony Foulk, product manager for the RS 6, told ABC News. "You can see how many G's you pulled.”

Audi's first foray into high performance wagons started in 1994 with the RS 2 Avant. The RS 6 made its grand U.S. entrance last year and 455 units were sold from September to December. Some customers even pre-ordered theirs eight months before the wagon officially went on sale.

"Wagons really stand out," Foulk said. "There is definitely a following. People who buy these don't want something that looks like everything else on the road."

Audi's main competitor is the Mercedes AMG E63 S wagon, a 603 hp ferocious beast that boasts a 0-60 time of 3.4 seconds, a smidgen quicker than the RS 6 (for those keeping tabs). Unlike Audi, Mercedes encourages its E63 owners to show off what a five passenger vehicle is capable of on a track, especially one built with a twin-turbo V8 engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

"Every year we sell a few hundred E63 S wagons in the U.S.," Brian Cotter, AMG product manager at Mercedes-Benz USA, told ABC News. "The customer is very loyal. It's not a car for everyone but these E63 buyers know exactly what they want.”

Mercedes has sold wagons in the U.S. for more than four decades. Its first AMG version -- the E55 -- did not arrive until model year 2005 (the wagon got a new name, the E63, and larger engine in 2007). The latest iteration of the E63 S comes with aerodynamically optimized 20-inch light-alloy wheels, a reshaped, aggressive grille and front bumper and completely redesigned headlights. The whole suspension was also reworked to give owners a smoother, more comfortable ride, even when they're hurling it around serpentine roads and fast curves. Demand for E63s is particularly high in California and New England, according to Cotter, who lamented that so few wagons are available in the U.S.

"A revival would be exciting," he said. "Performance and dynamics are not sacrificed in wagons even with the utility."

Wagons accounted for 0.15% of U.S. vehicle sales in 2020, according to automotive site Edmunds. Electric vehicles, which are also struggling to catch on with consumers, did slightly better at 1.6%.

"Right now the wagons on the market are truly meant to appeal to die-hard enthusiasts," Ivan Drury, senior manager of insights at Edmunds, told ABC News. "If they become fashionable or less expensive, young people will buy them.”

The RS 6 Avant starts at $109,000. The E63 S has a sticker price of $112,450. Owners can drop another $20,000 to $40,000 on various packages, trims, fancy brakes and custom paint colors.

"The cost is the downside. They're absurdly expensive," Rory Carroll, editor-in-chief of Jalopnik, told ABC News.

The three automakers behind wagons -- Audi, Mercedes and Volvo -- are all luxury marques, Joe Brown, group editorial director at Hearst Autos, pointed out.

"A lot of rich people buy wagons. They're the rich person car," he said. "The customer who buys the E63 S is even richer than the [Mercedes] G-wagen customer."

Carroll, though, sees many advantages of owning a wagon: Better fuel economy, improved safety since they sit lower to the ground and stellar styling versus an SUV.

"Wagon fans are begging, 'Please help us make a market for this,'" he said with a laugh. "Wagons are different -- they're an expressed a kind of connoisseurship. They play an outsized role in the minds of enthusiasts."

American families happily drove wagons in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Elegant, functional and easily identifiable with a sleek, long hood, wagons were the premier mode of transportation -- until automakers unveiled their latest conveyance.

"Wagons fell off the wagon when minivans became the more practical solution," Eric Minoff, a specialist in the motoring department at Bonhams, told ABC News. "They were maligned as a 'mom car' which has never been a super popular aspirational vehicle."

Minivans ultimately got the same treatment as wagons, shunned by motorists who sought a "tough brawny look" and higher viewpoint in SUVs, Minoff noted.

"When people's opinions on SUVs change, wagons may come back," Minoff said. "Right now it's a narrow but very ravenous market. Wagons are a wink and nod thing. You can slip around the radar and drive it around and enjoy it. Other fellow lunatics will appreciate and love what it is."

Brown argues that crossovers, the smaller cousins of SUVs, are actually "wagons in disguise."

"They're vehicles built on a sedan platform -- a lot like a wagon but jacked up," he said.

The RS 6 Avant and E63 S are not the only options available for consumers interested in wagon culture. Audi also makes the A4 allroad ($44,600) and A6 allroad ($65,900), the latter of which is geared for the outdoorsy, rugged types. Mercedes' E450 All-Terrain wagon ($67,600) may not be blisteringly fast but drivers will still be pleased with the output from the turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine.

Subaru denies that its celebrated Outback SUV is, well, a wagon, though any consumer or enthusiast would disagree. The company does build one wagon, the chiseled Levorg. It's just not sold in the U.S.

Some of the best-known and lauded wagons of all-time come from Sweden. Volvo's wagon heritage dates back to 1953 with the release of the Duett, the first Volvo wagon and the foundation for future models. The company currently offers five wagons, including the plug-in hybrid $67,300 V60 Recharge, a "halo car" that produces 415 hp and 494 lb.-ft of torque (0-60 time is an impressive 4.3 seconds).

Wagons represent 6.5% of Volvo's business and the best-selling version is the $45,450 V60 Cross Country.

"The Cross Country was about keeping the utility of wagon and adding the capability of an SUV in a low silhouette. That proved remarkably successful for us," Frank Vacca, head of product planning at Volvo, told ABC News.

In 2001, Volvo delivered 42,000 wagons to U.S. customers, the most the company has ever sold. Last year Volvo moved nearly 6,200 wagons, up from 4,200 in 2019. Vacca, who admittedly has a "soft spot" for wagons, said consumers will decide the longevity of wagons with their pocketbooks. In the meantime, "we're happy to sell them," he said.

"Wagon owners tend to be Volvo loyalists," he pointed out. "Wagons retain Volvo owners.”

Stefan Chodkowski loved his father's sporty, maroon Volvo wagon so much that he decided to buy one for his growing family two years ago. The 34-year-old Boca Raton resident traded his Porsche 911 sports car for the Mercedes E63 S -- the "godfather of wagons" as he calls it.

"That Volvo planted the seed," he told ABC News. "We took it skiing, surfing, snowboarding, everywhere."

Chodkowski waited months for his $140,000 custom built wagon to arrive from Germany. Now it's become the consummate family car.

"I've gone to Home Depot, filled up the back with balloons and flower arrangements and put a Christmas tree inside," he said. "I am about to wedge a second car seat in the back."

Chodkowski said driving his family around in a hulking or garden-variety SUV was never an option.

"I did not want to get an SUV when my wife was pregnant. I'm a car guy at heart," he said. "The coolest dad move possible is to get an AMG wagon."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

youngvet/iStockBy EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The Mega Millions jackpot has increased to $1 billion for Friday night's drawing.

If a lucky lottery player wins, this will mark the second-largest jackpot in Mega Millions history and the third-largest in U.S. lottery history, Mega Millions lottery officials said.

On Wednesday, a winning Powerball ticket worth $731.1 million was sold in Allegany County, Maryland. The ticket was the fourth-largest in Powerball history and the sixth-largest in U.S. lottery history. Lottery winners in Maryland have the right to remain anonymous.

Powerball's jackpot is resetting to $20 million for Saturday's drawing.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


(NEW YORK) -- With many hunkered down at home amid the coronavirus pandemic, there’s been a surge in home repairs.

In November, Home Depot reported sales up more than 20% on items including appliances and vinyl plank flooring. And the company also saw growth among DIY customers, which led to a surge in sales on items from garden to seasonal categories like soil, ceiling fans and power tools.

“As these customers complete a project, they are gaining the confidence to tackle their next project ...,” Craig Menear, chairman, CEO and president of Home Depot, said during a November 2020 earnings call.

In addition, Lowe’s pointed out in its third quarter earnings report, that sales of appliances like refrigerators and freezers have spiked since last March.

But in the event that your appliances stop working at home, and you can’t afford to drop money on repairs or a new purchase, some experts say that fixing the problem yourself could cost you close to nothing.

Read below to see how you can fix some of your appliances at home with these simple repair techniques:


If you’re noticing that your fridge isn’t keeping food as cool as it once had, Sara Morrow, deputy content editor at Consumer Reports, said cleaning the condenser coil may do the trick.

“This is something that you should really do every six months,” Morrow told ABC News' Good Morning America.

In a 2019 report, Consumer Reports said that condenser coils “collect dust, dirt, hair and debris, which restricts their ability to dissipate heat, limiting efficiency and potentially causing a breakdown.”

To prevent this from happening, use a soft brush attachment to gently vacuum the coils. You can locate the condenser coils on the underside or rear of the refrigerator.


If your dishwasher isn’t doing a good job cleaning, check the filter and spray arms to see if they’re clogged and clean them.

To clean the filter, Morrow suggests using water and a soft brush. The spray arms of the dishwasher can also be removed to clean as well. Morrow suggests a cotton swab to remove any food from the spray arms’ holes and to run water through them to see if you’ve removed water and debris.

Then, wipe away any more food that you may find in the dishwasher with a soft sponge.

Electric dryers

If you’re noticing that clothes are taking longer to dry, Morrow suggests investigating the duct behind the machine.

First, disconnect the dryer from the main power source, then pull the dryer from the wall and separate the vent. After, vacuum both the vent and the duct to remove any lint, which can be a potential fire hazard if not frequently cleaned out.

Last resort…

If all else fails and you can’t do a repair on your own, Morrow suggests visiting, where you can find appliance parts for sale, 5,000 how-to videos for repairing appliances, 10,000 repair instructions and schematics and a 24/7 phone number to call for advice.

“We’ve seen demand for services increase because more and more things are breaking, there’s a tremendous need,” Bob Burke, Repair Clinic chairman and CEO, told Good Morning America. “There’s also a need to save money.”

In addition, local repair shops may be able to provide advice over the phone.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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