Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

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This week: A look at hedge funds, teaching your kids to be entrepreneurs, maximizing credit card rewards, fixing your own clothes and the biggest killer of workplace productivity.

1. The Biggest Workplace Productivity Killers

[Credit.com] “… 83% of workers have smartphones, and 82% keep it within eye contact while working, according to a new survey. About two-thirds of people with smartphones use them several times throughout the workday. So it should come as no surprise that 55% of employers say that cellphone use is the most common cause of productivity loss.”

If you use your smartphone at work, this article will let you know you have plenty of company. It’s a brief reminder that mixing your personal life with your work life can cost your company money and can conceivably cost you a job.

2. 7 Simple Clothing Fixes You Can Do

[The Dollar Stretcher] “A button just popped off of your favorite shirt. Do you pick up the button and put it aside to fix and then find it three years later? Or maybe you put it on the pile of stuff for the dry cleaners, knowing it will cost a few extra dollars. Or do you throw up your hands and toss the shirt, deciding it is easier to buy a new one?”

I’ve sewn on many a button in my day, but that’s about the extent of my ability. This article offers simple instructions for replacing buttons, hem repair, fixing small holes, eliminating stains and simple alterations. Maybe I’ll try some of these DIY ideas the next time the need arises.

3. Is Your Credit Good Enough to Get the Most From Your Credit Card Rewards?

[Credit Sesame] “You’ve no doubt heard the stories about people earning free flights or free stuff from racking up points, or who max out the cash back rewards amounts their credit cards offer. It seems like ‘free money’ and something we should all be doing, right?”

This article suggests strategies to maximize your credit card rewards. We’ve suggested most of these strategies before, like using your rewards card to purchase discounted gift cards, which you then use to buy whatever you need. A little extra hassle? Sure. But if you’re spending on a big project, strategies like these can translate into free plane tickets and/or major cash back. Check out the article for other ideas.

4. How to Teach Your Kids to Be Entrepreneurs

[Nav.com] “Clearly, many young Americans will have to develop entrepreneurial skills to simply survive in the new economy. But since entrepreneurship is not part of most children’s formal educations today, the job of guiding the next generation of self-starters will largely fall to parents.”

I’ve been self-employed for 35 years, but I certainly didn’t learn entrepreneurship from my parents. They found the idea of risk and uneven paychecks disconcerting. If you don’t, and you want to raise entrepreneurial offspring, this post will help with some ideas to introduce basic concepts at a young age. Tips include everything from financing their ideas to helping them learn from failure.

What I found most interesting: Writers are still using lemonade stands as an example of kid-run businesses, same as when I was a kid.

5. What Are Hedge Funds, Anyway?

[Wise Bread] “Few of us have the savvy — or the scratch — to invest in hedge funds, but they are still key players in the world of investing. So, what are they, and why do they matter?”

I’ve explained hedge funds many times over the years (most recently here), so I’m always curious to see how other writers will approach the topic. This one did a solid job. Not sure how hedge funds work? Check out both articles for a simple explanation of a complex investment vehicle.

Don’t forget to share your thoughts and reactions in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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Read Next: Ask Stacy: 7 Things You Need to Know About Social Security

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