Richard Branson calls for face-to-face conversations on R U OK? Day; expands into the US: Midday Roundup

Richard Branson calls for face-to-face conversations on R U OK? Day; expands into the US: Midday Roundup

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has used his visit to Australia to urge people to have genuine, face-to-face conversations with friends, families and work colleagues about mental health for R U OK? Day.

Branson said that while social media and email is a fantastic way to communicate, it may not provide an accurate picture of how people are really feeling.

“It can be easy to misinterpret whether people are OK if all you can see is a ‘best of’ version of their life,” Branson said.

“I love social media and really enjoy it as a communication tool – but sometimes nothing does the trick like picking up the phone to an old friend to check in and see how’re they’re doing. I wouldn’t have been able to get through the hard times without being able to have real and honest conversations with the people around me.”

Australians spend on average two and a half hours a day communicating on social media and email, but just 20 minutes on the phone with friends and loved ones, according to research released by Virgin Mobile today. expands into the US

Homegrown financial comparison site has expanded into the US in a bid to rapidly scale and grow its user base. was launched in 2006 and now employs a team of 70 people.

Co-founder Fred Schebesta said he couldn’t wait for to be the go-to site for Americans wanting to make better financial decisions.

“We’ve always had that dream of doing this on a global scale,” Schebesta said.

“Now we’ve grown into an international team that’s driven by that same desire – and boy does America need it. There are about 14 times more Americans than Australians and they have $906.5 billion worth of credit card debt compared to Australia’s $51.6 billion.”


Shares down on open

Aussie shares are trading lower this morning due to a poor showing from Wall Street and continued volatility in other international markets. 

Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist for CMC Markets, said Australian shares will be under pressure today.

“Bank stocks are likely to hold the key in light of their market leading 3% gains yesterday,” McCarthy said.

“If the international support for the sector re-appears, today’s losses will be moderated. This is a reasonable expectation in light of the lower levels of Australian dollar this morning.”

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was down 2.24%, falling 114.2 points to 5106.9 points at 11:15am AEST. On Wednesday, the Dow Jones closed down 1.45%, falling 239.11 points to 16,253.57 points.


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