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This 25-year-old renovates a $31,000 van inspired by Taylor Swift



After living in her car during a cross-country road trip in 2019, Tory Delury, 25, decided she loved the journey so much that she wanted to make mobile living a permanent thing.

In 2020, Delury purchased a 2015 van with 24,000 miles for $31,000.

She paid a $10,000 down payment on the van using money she’d saved from selling customized jackets that went viral after the Jonas Brothers shared them on social media.

For the remaining $21,000, Delury is on a payment plan. She pays $300 a month.

The rest of her expenses include: $75 a month for insurance, $10 a month for Planet Fitness, which she uses for showering and going to the bathroom, an average of $150-300 on gas, and about $175 in groceries.

To cover her monthly expenses, Delury takes on odd jobs in the places she’s living at the time.

In Pennsylvania, she learned how to manufacture guitars. And in Vermont, she made ice cream at the original Ben and Jerry’s factory.

Delury told CNBC Make It that according to her calculations she’s saved $10,000 since moving into her van two years ago.

“The way I see it, it’s better than having to pay rent every month because I put that money into myself and into something that I love,” she said.

Tory Delury’s #vanlife finances

‘I’m going to live by the things that I love and that make me happy’

After purchasing the van, Delury parked it at her parents’ house in Pennsylvania and watched hundreds of YouTube videos to learn how to renovate the vehicle herself.

“I would say there were plenty of times when I thought I was never going to be able to do it and wanted to just pay someone instead,” she said. “Now I never think I can’t do something because I built a house. It’s a huge confidence builder.”

Delury says she decided to paint the inside of the van pink as a statement against the sexist and negative comments she started receiving after sharing that she was going to DIY the van herself on social media.

Tory Delury wanted the inside of her van to be as girly as possible, which is why she wanted everything to be pink.

Tory Delury

“I started thinking of myself the way I would want Taylor Swift to think of herself. It was a moment for me when it wasn’t just about her music anymore; it was about a woman who genuinely inspired and changed my life,” Delury said.

“She taught me that it was ok to allow myself to move on from what happened to me and that the best revenge is just going on being happy and finding things that you love.”

In an additional homage to Swift, Delury painted lyrics of the song “Daylight” from Swift’s “Lover” album around the van and has several of the singer’s albums hanging in a corner too.

“It’s a reminder that I’m not going to be defined by the things that people have done to me before; I’m going to live by the things that I love and that make me happy,” she said.

In September, Delury’s van was featured in a viral YouTube video. At the time, she was living in New York City but has since left the state because of safety concerns after she started receiving death threats in the comments.

Delury listened to Taylor Swift’s music nonstop during the year she was renovating her van.

Tory Delury

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Kim Kardashian, Floyd Mayweather crypto scam lawsuit dismissed



A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit by investors against the founders of the cryptocurrency EthereumMax, as well as celebrity endorsers including Kim Kardashian and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. over their promotion of the cryptocurrency on social media.

Investors who bought EMAX tokens alleged they had suffered losses after taking the word of the celebrity influencers about the value of the crypto. The suit claims the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to artificially inflate the value of the EMAX tokens.

Judge Michael Fitzgerald wrote that he recognized that the lawsuit’s claims raised legitimate worries about “celebrities’ ability to readily persuade millions of undiscerning followers to buy snake oil with unprecedented ease and reach.”

“But, while the law certainly places limits on those advertisers, it also expects investors to act reasonably before basing their bets on the zeitgeist of the moment,” wrote Fitzgerald, of the Central District of California.

The judge found that the plaintiffs’ allegations were insufficiently backed, especially “given the heightened pleading standards” for fraud claims, according to his ruling in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

In addition to Kardashian, Mayweather and former Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce, the defendants in the case included Steve Gentile and Giovanni Perone, the co-founders of EthereumMax, and Justin French, a consultant and developer for the cryptocurrency, court documents state.

Fitzgerald in his ruling said he would allow lawyers for the plaintiffs to refile their suit after amending some of their claims under a number of the statutes cited in the original complaint, which included the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, also known as RICO.

“We’re pleased with the court’s well-reasoned decision on the case,” Michael Rhodes, a lawyer for Kardashian, told CNBC.

The dismissal came weeks after investors in fallen crypto exchange FTX filed a class-action lawsuit against former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and celebrity advertisers for the company, among them NFL superstar Tom Brady, for allegedly overstating the value of the crypto tokens in promotional messaging.

And the ruling came two months after Kardashian agreed to pay $1.26 million, and not to promote cryptocurrency for three years, to settle claims by the SEC for her failure to disclose a $250,000 payment touting EthereumMax on her Instagram account.

Fitzgerald in his ruling Wednesday said the EthereumMax lawsuit reflects a broader conflict surrounding celebrity and influencer promotional schemes.

“This action demonstrates that just about anyone with the technical skills and/or connections can mint a new currency and create their own digital market overnight,” Fitzgerald wrote in his dismissal.

Investors sued EthereumMax and its celebrity advertisers in January after a slew of influencers started snagging sponsorships to promote cryptocurrencies to their millions of social media followers.

Kardashian’s Instagram post in June 2021 had written, “Are you guys into crypto??? This is not financial advice but sharing what my friends told me about the Ethereum Max token.”

Her post included “#ad” at the bottom, indicating she had been sponsored. But it did not disclose her $250,000 payment from EthereumMax.

Mayweather promoted EMAX at a boxing match and a large Miami bitcoin conference in June 2021.

But by January, the cryptocurrency had lost 97% of its value.

Fitzgerald at a hearing last month indicated he was inclined to dismiss the case.

Bloomberg News, in an article about that hearing, said that an attorney for the plaintiffs in the suit asked the judge to allow him to revise the suit’s racketeering claims to show how the statements by the celebrity defendants harmed the investors.

“If plaintiffs had known the true facts related to the promoters’ financial interest in the tokens, and that they were being paid to shill these tokens, they wouldn’t have paid as much for the tokens as they did,” the attorney, John Jasnoch, told Fitzgerald, according to a transcript cited by Bloomberg.

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Cathie Wood says the Fed is making a serious mistake as bond market flashes worst signal since 1980s



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How the U.S. became a global corn superpower



The United States has just about 90 million planted acres of corn, and there’s a reason people refer to the crop as yellow gold.

In 2021, U.S. corn was worth over $86 billion, according to calculations from FarmDoc and the United States Department of Agriculture.

According to the USDA, the U.S. is largest consumer, producer and exporter of corn in the world.

“We’re really good at [corn production],” Seth Meyer, chief economist at the USDA, told CNBC. “And that’s why you see big acres, big demand, export competitiveness.”

It’s not just what we eat.

“We turbocharged the value of corn through the application of science,” Scott Irwin, agricultural economist and professor at the University of Illinois, told CNBC.

Corn is in what we buy, including medications and textiles, and corn is turned into ethanol, which helps to fuel cars across the nation.

The rest of the world relies on U.S. corn, too. 

At $2.2 billion in 2019, corn is the most heavily subsidized of all crops in the country.

“A lot of these subsidies … do get embedded into the cost of farmland and they essentially bid up the price of farmland marginally,” Joseph Glauber, senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute and former USDA chief economist, told CNBC. “So the benefits accrue largely to those who own land.”

The federal crop insurance program’s net spending is forecast to increase to nearly $40 billion from 2021 through 2025, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

At the same time, farmland values have reached all-time record highs.

“Do we get the corn acres because we’ve got the support, or do we have the support because we have the corn acres?” Meyer said, posing the chicken-and-egg question about the nation’s grain superpower.

Watch the video above to learn more about how corn fuels the U.S. economy from its people to its vehicles, the power of the corn belt states, the role of subsidies and where government policy for the industry may go from here.

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