8 Fascinating Reads

By Markets Fool.com

Happy Friday! Here are eight great things I read this week.

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Less strain
Between a recovering economy and the new healthcare law, financial hardship due to medical bills is dropping:

The cost of medical care remainsa financial hardship for many Americans. According to the survey, the percentage of Americans who experienced trouble with a medical bill or medical debt in the last year declined from a high of 41 percent in 2012 to 35 percent in 2014.

"A" for effort
Colleges are cracking down on students skipping class:

At Villanova University, student ID cards track attendance at some lectures. Administrators at University of Arkansas last semester began electronically monitoring the class attendance of 750 freshmen as part of a pilot program they might extend to all underclassman. And at Harvard, researchers secretly filmed classrooms to learn how many students were skipping lectures.

Optimism
For the first time since before the last recession, more small businesses say finding quality workers is a bigger problem than sales:

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Flashback
Gas is under $2 a gallon at most gas stations:

Gas for less than $2 a gallon is now available at most U.S. gas stations.

The percentage of stations with gas under two bucks now stands at 52%, according to the Oil Price Information Service, which tracks 130,000 gas stations for AAA.

The average price on a nationwide basis is slightly higher, at $2.10 a gallon, according to AAA. Prices have plunged about 46 cents a gallon in the last month and are down $1.21 a gallon in the last year.

New era
A Saudi billionaire says $100 oil is done:

Saudi billionaire businessmanPrince Alwaleed bin Talaltold me we will not see $100-a-barrel oil again ...

"If supply stays where it is, and demand remains weak, you better believe it is gonna go down more. But if some supply is taken off the market, and there's some growth in demand, prices may go up. But I'm sure we're never going to see $100 anymore. I said a year ago, the price of oil above $100 is artificial. It's not correct."

Who pays the most?
Federal taxes are progressive. State taxes, not so much:

According to the study, in 2015 the poorest fifth of Americans will pay on average 10.9 percent of their income in state and local taxes, the middle fifth will pay 9.4 percent and the top 1 percent will average 5.4 percent.

"Virtually every state's tax system is fundamentally unfair," the report concludes. "Unfair tax systems not only exacerbate widening income inequality in the short term, but they also will leave states struggling to raise enough revenue to meet their basic needs in the long term."

Wealth
Warren Buffett explains the easy path to investing success:

Asked for the secret to his investing success, the "Oracle of Omaha" took a leaf from Nike.

"The most important thing to do is just do it. Pay no attention to the headlines in the paper or people on television. Just put aside a little money every month -- put it in a very low-cost index fund," he told Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert and president Jay Farner.

Wisdom
This is a great quote by Will Bonner:

...you don't win by predicting the future; you win by getting the odds right. You can be right about the future and still not make any money. At the racetrack, for example, the favorite horse may be the one most likely to win, but since everyone wants to bet on the favorite, how likely is it that betting on the favorite will make you money? The horse to bet on is the one more likely to win than most people expect. That's the one that gives you the best odds. That's the bet that pays off over time.

Have a great weekend.

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The article 8 Fascinating Reads originally appeared on Fool.com.

Contact Morgan Housel at mhousel@fool.com. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.