Daily English
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331 Topics: Ask an American: Online money management; don’t worry versus don’t bother; not only; to move/get past a feeling; pronouncing wool versus wall

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Complete Transcript
You’re listening to ESL Podcast’s English Café number 331.

This is ESL Podcast’s English Café episode 331. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is eslpod.com. On it, you can visit our ESL Podcast Store, which has some additional premium courses in business and daily English that you will enjoy, I know. You can also download the Learning Guide for this episode, and every episode. The Learning Guide contains lots of additional information, including a complete transcript of this episode, vocabulary words, definitions, sample sentences, and cultural notes, as well as a short comprehension quiz.

On this Café, we’re going to have another one of our Ask an American segments, where we listen to other native speakers, other than me, talking at a normal rate of speech. We’re going to listen to them and explain what they are talking about. Today we’re going to talk about saving money and using something called online money management tools. And, as always, we’ll answer a few of your questions. Let’s get started.

Our topic on this Café’s Ask an American segment is online money management. “Online” means on the Internet, of course. “Money management” refers to how you spend and save your money. We’re going to look at one of these websites called SmartyPig and listen to some people talk about the whole idea of managing or taking care of your money online. Most of us have bank accounts and we’re used to, perhaps, looking at our bank account, keeping track of – that is, keeping a record of – knowing how much money we have and how much money we have spent. Well, these new online services are designed to help people save money, especially when they are saving for a specific reason – a specific purpose.

We’ll begin by listening to Michael Ferrari, who is going to explain how SmartyPig works. SmartyPig is a website that was started in 2007. A “pig,” of course, is an animal. In the United States we have the tradition, perhaps in other countries as well, of giving children a small container, something to hold money that they get: pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters. We call that a “piggy bank,” and it is often in the shape of a pig. I’m not sure exactly why we put it in the shape of a pig. I had a piggy bank when I was a young boy, five-six years old. “To be smart,” of course, means to be intelligent. “Smarty,” with a “y” at the end is sort of humorous – sounds sort of funny. SmartyPig, then, is the name of this website.

Let’s listen to Michael, and then we’ll come back and explain what he had to say.

[recording]

For example, I’m saving up for a vacation. I want to save 5,000 dollars. I want to meet this goal in three years. SmartyPig will actually calculate how much money you need to allocate every month. You don’t have to move from your existing bank. We’ll actually go in and withdraw those funds on the day you specify every month and we’ll put them into your SmartyPig account, where they’ll actually accrue interest, as well.

[end of recording]

Michael begins by giving us an example of how someone could use his website to save money. He begins by saying, “For example, I’m saving up for a vacation.” “To save up” means the same as “to save.” Remember, in a lot of our two-word phrasal verbs in English we often add another word for emphasis, it doesn’t really change the meaning. “To save up,” then, means the same as “to save.”

Michael is saving up for a vacation – a holiday, as they may say in England. He says, “I want to save 5,000 dollars. I want to meet this goal in three years.” “To meet your goal” means I want to reach it, I want to have accomplished it. “SmartyPig (this website) will actually calculate how much money you need to allocate every month.” “To calculate” means to perform a mathematical operation: addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division, in this case. We can do simple calculations by ourselves, but this website makes or does the calculations for us. The website will calculate how much I need to save every month – how much I need to allocate every month. “To allocate” (allocate) means to save or to set aside something for a particular purpose. “I need to allocate 500 dollars to fix my car.” That means I need to put aside – I need to save a certain amount of money for that. Or if I already have the money, I need to make sure I don’t spend the money on something else. This website will tell you how much you have to allocate each month – how much you have to save.

Michael says, “You don’t have to move (that is, move your banking) from your existing bank,” from the bank where you are right now. You don’t need to go get a new bank. He says the website will “go in and withdraw those funds on the day you specify every month.” “They’ll go in,” meaning they’ll go into your account and they will “withdraw” or take out money from your bank account and put it into another bank account that will be for this specific purpose, a separate bank account that you will be saving your money in. So every month, on a certain day, this website will take money from your bank account and put it into your SmartyPig account, and that is where you will save it. So really, you’re moving it from one bank account to another, but it’s a bank account that the website will control.

In this bank account, you will also accrue interest. “Interest” is money that the bank pays you for saving your money with them. It’s, in some ways, the price of money. When you borrow money from someone else and they charge you interest, you have to pay them additional money, usually a certain percentage; that’s also the price of money. So, the bank will either pay you money or if you borrow money from the bank, you will have to pay the bank money. When the bank pays you money – when they pay you interest, that interest “accrues,” meaning it will become more and more each month. Every month the bank gives you a dollar, after 12 months you’ll have 12 dollars – enough to become a member of ESL Podcast for more than a month! Wow!

Let’s listen to Michael one more time.

[recording]

For example, I’m saving up for a vacation. I want to save 5,000 dollars. I want to meet this goal in three years. SmartyPig will actually calculate how much money you need to allocate every month. You don’t have to move from your existing bank. We’ll actually go in and withdraw those funds on the day you specify every month and we’ll put them into your SmartyPig account, where they’ll actually accrue interest, as well.

[end of recording]

Next we’ll hear from Janet Stauble. She is a “spokesperson,” a person who is responsible for talking with reporters and people in the newspaper or television or radio business who represents a company; that’s what a spokesperson does. Janet is a spokesperson for another financial website called bankrate.com. She’s going to talk about this general trend – this new movement in people using the Internet to help them save money. Let’s listen.

[recording]

There’s all kinds of individuals who have their own blogs who are talking about money, creating videos, making infographics and you just kind of see personal finance information in places that you wouldn’t expect.

[end of recording]

Janet begins by saying, “There’s all kinds of individuals.” “There are all kinds” means there are many different types of people. The word “individuals” just refers to people – human beings. She says, “There are all kinds of individuals who have their own blogs who are talking about money.” They’re also creating videos and making infographics. The word “infographics” is a combination of the word “information” and “graphics.” A “graphic” (graphic), as a noun, is a drawing or a chart or a graph, some image perhaps, that tries to present often statistical or numerical information. It could be a chart; it could be a graph; it could be a map; it could be a drawing or some other kind of image.

In this case, Janet is talking about infographics that relate to how people are saving and spending money. Janet says that these people are making infographics, videos, and are writing on their blogs because of all of this online activity. She says, “you just kind of see personal finance information in places that you wouldn’t expect.” “Personal finance information” would be information referring to how people take care of or manage their money. “Personal finance” can relate to a lot of different things: using checking accounts, having a credit card, saving for retirement, all those sort of things. She says that you just kind of see; she’s speaking informally here. She means you can see all of this information in places you wouldn’t expect. You don’t, perhaps, think you will find information about someone’s spending and saving on their blog, but you in fact do on some of these new websites.

Let’s listen to Janet one more time.

[recording]

There’s all kinds of individuals who have their own blogs who are talking about money, creating videos, making infographics and you just kind of see personal finance information in places that you wouldn’t expect.

[end of recording]

Next Janet talks a little bit more about the sort of things you might find online, what people are talking about on their blogs or on Facebook or other places. Let’s listen.

[recording]

It’s not likely that, you know, you might go to a friend and say, “Hey, I paid off a thousand dollars on my credit card today,” but people write up blog posts about it and they explain how they did it and how much closer they are to their financial goal, whatever it is.

[end of recording]

She begins by saying, “It’s not likely,” meaning it would be unusual, “It’s not likely that you might go to a friend and say, ‘Hey, I paid off a thousand dollars on my credit card today.’” “To pay off” is a two-word phrasal verb meaning to pay all of the money on a loan that you owe someone. So, if you borrow a thousand dollars from the bank and you decide to pay off your loan, you give the bank all of the money back that you borrowed from it plus interest, of course. To pay off a credit card means to use your Visa or MasterCard or American Express or whatever credit card you have, to use it to buy things, then you pay it off. You give all of the money back to the credit card company. If you do that within the first month usually you don’t have to pay interest. That’s how I use my credit card. I hate paying the bank interest. I never have what we would call a “balance” on my credit card – that is, money that I owe that I still have to pay next month to them. Well, if you owe a thousand dollars on your credit card and you pay it off, usually you probably will not go to someone else and say, “Hey! Guess what I did today? I paid off my credit card.” But, Janet says, people now are writing about this sort of thing on their blogs. They’re explaining how they did it – how they saved up the money and how much closer they are to their “financial goal,” the thing, say a vacation or a new car, that they’re saving their money for.

Let’s listen to Janet one more time.

[recording]

It’s not likely that, you know, you might go to a friend and say, “Hey, I paid off a thousand dollars on my credit card today,” but people write up blog posts about it and they explain how they did it and how much closer they are to their financial goal, whatever it is.

[end of recording]

The final American we will ask is a professor at a university, Bentley University in Massachusetts, which is located in the northeast part of the United States. He’s going to talk about this website, SmartyPig, and how it works with other banks in order to do what it does. Let’s listen.

[recording]

For instance, SmartyPig, they are not actually a bank, but they are partnered with a bank, and so what you’re going to see is big banks and little banks that are legitimate financial institutions, but not necessarily the most savvy when it comes to computers or the Internet, they will partner up with other companies that may be doing some of the web material and other assistance, while the actual banking would be done through a bank with which it is connected.

[end of recording]

Steve begins by saying, “For instance,” which is another way of expressing the idea “for example.” He says, “For instance, SmartyPig, they are not actually (they are not really) a bank, but they are partnered with a bank.” “To be partnered” means that you have someone you are working closely with. The verb is “to partner.” The noun, the person you work with is called your “partner,” and that relationship is called a “partnership.” People work as partners because usually one person knows something and the other person knows something different, and together they’re able to do something that neither of them can do alone.

Well, SmartyPig is not a bank, but they are partnered with a bank, so our professor predicts “what you’re going to see (in the future) is big banks and little banks that are legitimate financial institutions, but not necessarily the most savvy when it comes to computers and the Internet, they will partner up with other companies that may be doing some of the web material and other assistance.” Okay, let’s go back and explain that.

We have big banks – large banks, and little banks. Steve describes these little banks as those that are legitimate financial institutions. When we say something is “legitimate,” we mean it’s real, it’s legal, it’s fair, it’s honest, it is actually what it says it is. A legitimate financial institution would be one that follows the government regulations, that does what it’s supposed to do, and so forth. A lot of these small banks, however, aren’t necessarily the most savvy when it comes to computers and the Internet. “To be savvy” (savvy) means to have a lot of knowledge about something, to be very experienced with something. The professor, here, is saying that these banks don’t have the most savvy – they’re not very savvy when it comes to – when it relates to computers or the Internet, so they work with another organization. They partner up with other companies that are doing some of the Internet – the web information, the web materials and assistance. The actual banking – the real banking is done with the bank, but these companies provide all of the other Internet support, you could say. That’s how they are able to work together as a partner. At the end, our professor says that the actual banking would be done through a bank with which it, meaning companies like SmartyPig, is connected – that is is related to, has a relationship, in this case a partnership with.

Let’s listen to Steve one more time.

[recording]

For instance, SmartyPig, they are not actually a bank, but they are partnered with a bank, and so what you’re going to see is big banks and little banks that are legitimate financial institutions, but not necessarily the most savvy when it comes to computers or the Internet, they will partner up with other companies that may be doing some of the web material and other assistance, while the actual banking would be done through a bank with which it is connected.

[end of recording]

Now you can go out and save money by going to one of these websites. Of course, there’s always the problem of security with some of these websites. Sometimes you’re not always certain about how secure they are. But if you trust them, they’re probably something that can help you.

Speaking of helping us, we thank Voice of America for the audio clips in this Ask an American segment, and most of our Ask an American segments.

Now let’s answer some of your questions.

Konstantin (Konstantin) in Russia wants to know the difference between the expression “don’t worry” and “don’t bother.”

“Don’t worry” (worry) or “do not worry” means try not to become upset or nervous or troubled about something. Don’t get concerned about something. “Don’t bother” (bother) means don’t put any additional time or energy or effort into doing something. Often it means simply don’t do that, it’s not worth your time, it doesn’t matter, it’s not important, or perhaps it won’t make a difference. So, “don’t worry” really relates to how you feel about something – what you are thinking, what you are feeling. “Don’t bother” is related to your actions, what you are going to do or not going to do.

We have a similar phrase that is often used by young Americans – younger Americans. I’m a young American – sort of! Although, I did see someone say about my YouTube video – one of my YouTube videos, “His voice sounds a lot younger than the way he looks.” Really? Well, I think that’s true. My voice does sound younger. I look 25, but my voice sounds more like 20. Right? That’s what I thought.

Anyway, young people like me sometimes use the expression “no worries.” “No worries” is a little different than the more common expression “don’t worry.” “No worries” is used when someone does something wrong, or someone hurts you or perhaps says something to you that is possibly something that might bother you, the other person says, “No worries,” meaning you don’t have to worry about my feelings; it’s no big deal; it’s not important. So you’re at a bar, and your friend walks up to a beautiful woman that you were interested in, and the beautiful woman and your friend go over to a table and start talking. And then your friend comes back to you and says, “Oh, I’m sorry. You wanted to talk to that girl also, didn’t you?” And you say, “Oh, no worries. It’s no big deal. I’m going to go now and you can just take the bus home from the bar!”

Our next question comes from Lotfollah (Lotfollah). I’m sure I’m mispronouncing that. I’m not sure where Lotfollah is from. The question has to do with a phrase, “not only.” This phrase sometimes comes at the beginning of a sentence. For example, “Not only are you unhappy, but you are also sick.” “Not only” means not exclusively, it’s not just this one thing but it’s also another thing. “Not only did my best friend go with the beautiful girl that I liked at the bar, he also didn’t pay for his drink when he left that evening.” So, not only did he steal the girl I was interested in, he also made me pay for his drink. What a friend!

Well, “not only” can be used in the beginning of a sentence. It also can be used in the middle, if you will, of a sentence. You could say, “Ken is not only ugly, but also stupid.” Or you could say, “Julie is not only a successful architect (someone who builds buildings), but also a wonderful mother.” Notice when we use “not only” in this case, when we use it with the expression “but also,” the things that come after “not only” and “but also” have to be the same kind of word – the same part of speech, we would say. So if it’s an adjective in the first part, it has to be an adjective in the second part. “Ken is not only ugly (adjective), but also stupid (adjective).” You can’t say, “Ken is not only ugly, but also a boy.” Well, “boy” is a noun, not an adjective, and therefore you can’t use it in this way with this construction of “not only” and “but also.” That particular use is a little more formal in English; you don’t hear it as much in normal conversation. Putting “not only” at the front of the sentence is a little more informal, and you will hear that more in a conversational setting.

Lukas (Lukas) in Germany wants to know the meaning of the phrase “I’m moving past the feeling” or “I’m getting past the feeling.” He heard this in a song. Let’s talk about the meaning of “to get past (something)” first.

“To get past (past)” or “to move past (something)” means that you are getting over something that was very difficult perhaps, something that was emotionally difficult for you. So if you lose your father – if your father dies or your mother dies, that can hurt you, that can affect you emotionally, and eventually you will try to move past the pain or get past the emotional pain that you felt. This is the meaning of “get past” or “move past,” a certain feeling – a certain way that you felt. It’s almost always used when you have had a difficult, negative experience that you need to go beyond. You need now to move forward, we might say, to get past that particular painful event.

Finally, Elena (Elena), also in Russia, wants to know the difference in pronunciation between the word spelled (wool) and (wall). The first word, (wool) is pronounced “wool.” “Wool” is what you get from a sheep; it’s something that you make warm clothing out of. If you go to the country of New Zealand, they have a lot of sheep, and you can buy things that are made from the wool of the sheep. The second word, (wall), is “wall.” “Wall” is, of course, what you have in a building or a house. “Wool, “wall.” “Wool” is what comes from a sheep. “Wall” is what you have in your house.

Our crazy English language certainly has some strange rules for pronunciation or strange cases of pronunciation. For example, (wool), “wool” is pronounced differently than (tool), “tool.” “Tool” is a word describing a hammer or a screwdriver, some instrument you use to fix something else. “Wool” and “tool” are spelled almost the same but have very different pronunciations. That’s what makes English so fun, right?

If you have a question email us at eslpod@eslpod.com.

From Los Angeles, California, I am Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on the English Café.

ESL Podcast’s English Café is written and produced by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse, copyright 2012 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
to calculate – to perform a mathematical operation, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication or division

* Could you please help me calculate how much we need to leave the waiter for a 15% tip?

to allocate – to set something aside for a particular purpose, especially to set money aside; to earmark

* They allocate $450 each month for groceries and eating out.

to withdraw – to take money out of a bank account

* Miguel withdrew $200 from his checking account to lend to his brother.

to accrue interest – for money to earn a small percentage over time and gradually become a larger amount of money

* Pauline finally decided to stop hiding her money under her bed and instead put it in a bank account where it can accrue interest.

infographic – an information graphic; a drawing or image that presents complex information very clearly

* Check out this cool infographic that shows which countries have the highest population.

personal finances – how people use various techniques to manage their own money

* How can you teach a course in personal finances without talking about the dangers of credit card debt?

to pay off – to pay all the money that is due; to pay back all the money owed

* Most people need 20 to 30 years to pay off their home mortgage loan.

to partner – to work closely with another person or organization, often in a relationship called a partnership

* Do you want to partner with me on this project?

legitimate – real, honest, legal, fair, and acceptable

* That contract isn’t legitimate because the signatures aren’t real.

savvy – with a lot of knowledge about something or experience doing it; able to do something without difficulty

* Ollie needs to become more politically savvy if he wants to be elected.

connected – having a relationship with someone or something; interacting with someone or something in some way

* In a global economy, all countries are connected through international trade.

don’t worry – try not to feel nervous, troubled, or upset about something; do not bother to do something

* Don’t worry about what she said. I’m sure she meant it as a joke.

don’t bother – do not use any effort or give any time to doing something

* Don’t bother raking the leaves yet. Wait until they’ve all fallen off the trees.

not only – not exclusively; not just this one thing, used to indicate that something more (often something stronger) is coming in the next part of the sentence

* The project was not only creative, but also very profitable.

to move/get past a feeling – to no longer have an emotion that is negative, such as sadness or anger

* I know you’re upset about not being selected for the job, but you have to move past that feeling of disappointment and apply for other opportunities.

What Insiders Know
Piggy Banks

For many Americans, a “piggy bank” is a “symbol” (an object or image that represents something) of saving and “frugality” (not wasting money). A piggy bank is a small object, usually in the shape of a pig, that is “hollow” (with a large, empty space on the inside) and a small “slit” (narrow hole or opening) in the top. Coins are put in the slit and kept inside the piggy bank.

Once the piggy bank is full, it can either be broken or opened to take the coins out so that they can be used to buy “dollar bills” (paper money) or to spend. “Traditionally” (in the past), piggy banks were broken open with a “hammer” (a heavy tool hit against an object), but modern piggy banks have a hole in the bottom with a plastic “plug” (something that stops the flow of water or another object) that can be removed and “reinserted” (put back in).

Many banks and other organizations “encourage” (try to make something happen) people, and especially young children, to save more money by giving away inexpensive, plastic piggy banks. These piggy banks often have the bank’s “logo” (an image representing an organization) on the side, so they serve as inexpensive advertising for the bank.

Some people use piggy banks as a “receptacle” (an object used for holding something) for the “loose change” (coins) they have in their pockets at the end of each day. Other people use piggy banks to save for a particular purpose, such as going on vacation or buying a new car.