Money

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.

Money

COVID-19 AND YOUR MONEY

How the federal gov’t is trying to help lessen the impact to your wallet as a record 3 million Americans file for unemployment.

Money

“You may well see significant rises in unemployment and significant declines in economic activity, but there can also be a good rebound on the other side of that.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell explained that while we may be in a recession, it's not a normal recession because there's nothing fundamentally wrong with the U.S. economy. He added the first order of business is to get COVID-19 under control and that will dictate the timetable for the economic recovery ahead.
Money

YOUR HOME

Evictions and foreclosures for renters & homeowners suspended in some cases.

  • Mortgages: 60-day moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for single family homeowners with federally-insured mortgages. Gov’t directed mortgage lenders to do the same – some have done so in states like CA.
  • FYI: Many cities and counties have enacted temporary eviction bans.
Money

YOUR TAXES

  • Federal taxes aren’t due until July 15.
  • Treasury Dept. advises those able to do so to file their taxes by the “normal” due date of April 15 in order to speed up their refunds.
  • FYI: State tax filing deadlines vary by state, but many states are extending.

We provided a resource on our source page for you to check the latest deadlines in your state.

Money

YOUR BUSINESS

  • Small Business Owners: Businesses with 50 – 500 employees must provide limited family & paid-leave to employees affected by COVID-19, but they’ll get 100% back in tax credits, or payments.
  • Self-Employed: Pres. Trump indicated Wednesday that independent contractors and the self-employed will be eligible for unemployment benefits.  Details TBD.
Money

YOUR LOANS

  • Federal student loans: Interest waived for at least 60 days. Borrowers may suspend payments for min. 2 months.
  • Small business loans: Small business owners can apply for a low-interest federal economic disaster loan.
  • The Federal Reserve also has emergency lending powers and can step in to temporarily replace lending powers in arenas where there’s no credit flowing (ex: car loans) if needed.
Money

YOUR PAYCHECK? A third relief coronavirus response bill is being negotiated by congress. The exact details have yet to be approved by both the Senate & House, but it will reportedly include a provision for sending checks to Americans who earn below a certain income.

view sources

Read
Money

The markets, your money and talk of a worldwide “coronavirus” recession.

What to know.
Why it matters.

Money

IMPORTANT CONTEXT

Stock prices have gone up since 2009.

The 11-year run of market gains (also known as a “bull market”) is the longest in American history.

America is near full-employment. The latest jobs report on Friday indicated 273,000 jobs added, 3.5% unemployment in February.

Money

STOCK MARKET

  • Notable This Week: largest single day decline in stock prices since the 2008 financial crisis; stocks entered “bear market” territory.
  • Why Stocks Dropped: Uncertainty, fear over the impact of COVID-19 on global growth, consumer habits.
  • Bear market = stock prices fall more than 20%. This “down market” can last days, weeks, months, or years. A “bull market” references rising stock prices.

 

 

Money

OIL PRICES

  • Notable This Week: Largest decline in oil prices in more than 25 years.
  • Why Prices Dropped: Oil fuels the global economy; slower economic growth due to COVID-19 fears *could* lead to lower demand & lower prices.
  • ALSO: Saudi Arabia wanted to cut oil production along w/other oil producers to raise falling prices (less supply = higher prices); Russia disagreed. A price war has ensued, driving prices lower.
Money

Why Oil Prices Matter:

“If these prices go on for too long, there will be a lot of bankruptcies. You need at least $40 a barrel to break even for production in the United States and most won’t be making money at those prices.”

Oil analyst Jack Allardyce, Cantor Fitzgerald Europe. Oil prices fluctuate but recently dropped as low as $30 a barrel. While lower oil prices may lead to lower gas prices, they can also lead to job losses.
Money

“What we have now is really two epidemics. We have an epidemic of the coronavirus, but we also have an epidemic of fear based around a narrative that is not necessarily keeping up with scientific reality. And, this narrative has been quite striking. It’s a dangerous time for the stock market.”

Robert Shiller, Yale professor and Nobel Prize winner
Money

“We are going to take care of and have been taking care of the American public and the American economy.”

Pres. Trump says the White House will work towards providing some tax cuts and economic support for industries impacted. Expectations of these programs helped steady stocks temporarily, but a reminder - the House of Representatives has the “power of the purse” to tax and legislate economic policy. Details are TBD.
Money

“A global recession is more likely than not.”

Economist Mark Zandi who says nervous consumers pulling back spending may lead to an economic recession. The health of the American consumer remains a major focus for health officials, investors, and economists alike. The American consumer drives two-thirds of the world's largest economy with their spending; any change in their habits can trigger a change for better or worse.
Money

Reminder: Recessions, or periods of when the economy contracts rather than grows, can vary in severity and length of time. Over the last 100 years, recessions ranged from several years during the Great Depression to a period of 6 months.

view sources

Read
Money

HIRING NOW

America has 7.3 million available jobs – the most job openings recorded in nearly 20 years.

Money

Who’s Hiring?

Construction
Hotels & Restaurants
Healthcare

Whoas Hiring Less:

Manufacturing
Federal Govat
Retail

Money

Why It Matters:

  • The trend of a tight labor market continues; a double-edged sword.
  • Positive: Reflects a good economy. Businesses hire when they need & can afford help. A lack of fulfilled jobs may lead to higher pay for current workers.
  • Negative: Job quality matters. Wages havenat risen dramatically (in step with out boom periods); economists wonder why.
Money

aThe labor market continues to heat up. But growth cannot continue for much longer if there is no one out there to work in the factories and shops and malls across America.a

Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG, raising concerns that if companies struggle too much to find workers, it can actually hurt the economy by slowing production.
Money

The most recent data from the end of December 2018 shows there are currently more job openings in America (7.3M) than unemployed people (6.3M). Typically, the opposite is true - the unemployed outnumber job openings.

view sources

Read
Money

Hurt In The Heartland

From meat to milk and the vegetables in between, more American farmers filed for bankruptcy last year than during the financial crisis a decade ago.

Money

aIave been through several dips in 40 years. This one here is gonna kick my butt.a

Kirk Duensing, Nebraska Farmer, who says low prices for soy & corn crops combined with high interest loans has left him more than $1M in debt. He has sold land and equipment to try to stay afloat.
Money

Why Now?

  • Oversupply of crops (at home & overseas) fuels lower prices.
  • High Debt – Farmers currently carrying the highest debt in 4 decades (in part because of borrowing to cover several years of low crop prices).
  • Trade: Tariffs (or taxes) on American grown crops exported to China or Mexico hurts farmers on top of the depressed prices.
Money

aWe thought 2019 would be the year things turned around. Then the trade dispute happened and that really put a damper on things.a

Curt Hudnutt, Head of Rural Banking for Rabobank, one of the biggest U.S. farm lenders, warning bankruptcies among U.S. farmers will increase. The majority of farms lost money last year.
Money

Why It Matters:

Your Kitchen Table: “…bankruptcies are climbing across swaths of the Midwest that produce much of the nationas grain and meat.” (WSJ)

Your Tax Dollars: Pres. Trump created a $12B fund to help subsidize farmers impacted by trade disputes. Only a portion of the funds have been accessed.

Money

The downward trend in prices is predicted to continue for U.S. farmers. U.S. Treasury Sec. Mnuchin is in China today, where he will continue trade talks this week ahead of the March 2nd deal deadline for the two sides to set new terms or continue the trade war.

view sources

Read
Money

TAX TIME

As of this week, the IRS is now accepting your 2018 taxes!

While most Americans got a refund last year, averaging about $3,000, the same may not be true this year.

But it’s not all bad news.

Money

What’s New This Year?

  • The 2017 tax code overhaul was biggest change since 1986.
  • Many benefited from tax reform (ex: lower rates), but deductions changed, causing confusion.
  • If you didn’t update your paycheck withholdings, you may have higher take-home pay, but now owe Uncle Sam.
Money

aWe worry very much that there will be a perception that aMy refund went down, Iam in a worse economic position.’ When, in fact, the reality could be the opposite.a

Mark Steber, chief tax officer, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. Although refunds *may* be lower for some, the tax cuts might've provided benefits throughout the year. If you feel discouraged by your tax refund, remember you may have benefited in other ways.
Money

On The Flip Side:

aFor your average taxpayer itas going to be a record high tax refund season. Much higher than they expected.a

Ellen Zentner, chief United States economist Morgan Stanley. Bottom Line: There's some uncertainty over refunds for 2018 filings. Some Americans will receive a higher refund vs. 2017 taxes due to new tax code; some less.
Money

Tax Prep Tips

  • Its hard to do…but try to do your taxes earlier than later, to eliminate any surprises.
  • Check with your tax preparer about whether or not your withholdings need updating.
  • Folks who took a lot of itemized deductions or have a two-income household are “more likely than others” to see changes in their refunds” (WSJ).

 

Money

Why It Matters:

  • 154 million expected to file taxes (60% of U.S. adult population).
  • Consumer spending is a major impact on the overall economy.
  • Verdict is out on whether tax refund *itself* is an economic stimulus.
  • Remember: you only get a refund if you OVERPAY your taxes. Ultimately the goal would be to get zero refund!
Money

Despite the recent shutdown that impacted 7 out 8 IRS employees, refunds are expected to be "on time" (approx. 3 weeks from filing). If there's another shutdown, we'll be in uncharted territory again.

view sources

Read
Money

OIL’S MAGIC NUMBER

Not too high… not too low… what is the best price for oil?

As crude plummets 30% in 2 months, consumers cheer, but the industry worries.

The debate as the world’s largest energy producers meet.

Money

Oil’s Slippery Slope

  • What? Oil traded at 4-year high in October at $76/barrel and the talk at that time was that $100/barrel was next. Today, it’s trading below $50/barrel.
  • Why? There’s too much oil. U.S. crude inventories have climbed 10-straight weeks to the highest level in a year, just as concerns grow over a global economic slowdown with less oil demand.
Money

“Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World. Enjoy! …Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but letas go lower!

President Trump tweet on Nov. 21st
Money

What is the Perfect Price?

Goldman Sachs warns $50/barrel oil is not good for America, instead says a $65 to $70/barrel range is best for all.

“When you’re in that level it’s not too high & damaging the consumer, but at the same time, it creates a stable environment for the industry.”

Jeff Currie, Goldman SachsA head of commodities research
Money

Why It Matters

As of August, U.S. is now the world’s largest oil producer. Falling prices may weigh heavily on an industry that now represents a larger share of the U.S. economy.

While lower oil prices boost consumers, ultimately energy producers will be forced to cut back, laying off workers which may send prices ultimately spiking higher.

Money

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets Dec. 6th. Its de facto leader Saudi Arabia is arguing for a cut in supplies to prevent a glut. But first, strategists will watch Friday's G20 meeting, including the Saudis, Russia, & U.S., for hints on what's next.

view sources

Read
Money

HONEYMOON OVER?

As more Americans say
“I don’t,” the nation’s largest wedding retailer, responsible for selling 1 out of every 3 bridal gowns, files for bankruptcy.

Money

David’s Bridal Files for Bankruptcy

  • Owes creditors nearly $1B.
  • Filing for bankruptcy to restructure its loans with lenders, hopes to complete process by January.
  • 300+ stores to remain open.
  • Orders & appointments wonat be disrupted.
Money

“Newer entrants feel fresh and contemporary. By comparison, David’s Bridal appears stuffy and old-fashioned.”

Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, on how David's Bridal, which is known for selling affordable wedding gowns below $2,000, has become less relevant in the face of online competition and upstarts like Floravere, Anomalie, & Anthropologie.
Money

Big Picture

  • Marriage rate has steadily declined since 2000.
  • Fewer weddings = fewer brides.
  • BUT those who do get married, pay more on average for a wedding dress (approx $1500).
  • Bottom line:A David’s Bridal caters to lower price gowns so to make $ they need a high volume of weddings – that’s just not happening right now in America.
Money

It's not just David's Bridal... Banana Republic, J. Crew, & Alfred Angelo have all closed down bridal shops in the past 2 years.A In business for 60 years, David's Bridal will have to figure out how to reach a modern bride at the right price point.

view sources

Read
Money

KEURIG FOR COCKTAILS

Could THIS gadget be the fix for slumping beer sales?

 

 

Anheuser-Busch hopes so.

 

 

 

 

Money

NEW ON TAP

  • Drinkworks Home Bar creates “bar-quality drinks at home.”
  • For now, makes 15 different drinksA like a Moscow Mule, Cosmo, Sangria, White Russian & beer -A alcohol included in pod.
  • Drinkmaker costs $299, cocktails $3.99/pod &A beers $2.25/pod.
  • Unlike most of Keurig’s coffee pods, all alcohol pods are 100% recyclable.
Money

WHY NOW?

  • Changing tastes: In 15 years, beer fell from 56% to 46% of alcohol sales. Where’d that 10% go? 2% to wine, 8% to spirits.
  • Experimenting:A Creative new drink options have wide appeal esp. with youngerA millennials eager to switch things up.
  • But still drinking:A Americans are spending more on alcohol, and not because prices have risen.
Money

Drinkworks system, a venture between Keurig Dr. Pepper & Anheuser-Busch, goes on sale first only in St. Louis (Anheuser-Busch's HQ) next Monday - though there are plans to expand to other markets soon.

view sources

Read
Money

And The Winner Is….

After a year-long search, promising a “full equal” to its current Seattle HQ, Amazon splits its second headquarters between *two* cities.

Money

Backstory: Amazon’s Hunt

Required:A metro areaA with 1M population, int’l airport, mass transit, quality higher education, an educated workforce, & business-friendly environment.

Promised: a full equal to current Seattle campus, $5B construction investment & 50,000 jobs.

 

Money

a… much less radical move than many imagined … rich places getting richer.a

Jed Kolko, Indeed chief economist, on Amazon selecting D.C. & NYC-area home bases - the biggest financial and political hubs in America. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says the two cities offer the ability to attract "world class talent."
Money

Crystal City, VA

  • Arlington area, 3 miles west of D.C., eager for new economic energy after 24K federal jobs moved out in the early 2000s.
  • Known for its outdated, ’70-80s commercial buildings connected by underground tunnel with shops & restaurants.
  • Concerns over steep housing prices, congested roads, & pricing out of lower-income residents.
Money

Long Island City, NY

  • NYC neighborhood, 3 miles east of Times Square, is anA old manufacturing area in Queens.
  • Even before Amazon, it is one of the fastest-developing areasA with 9K+ new apartments & homes built in 8 years.
  • Struggling to handle the growth with crowded schools and infrastructure issues like sewage backups with heavy rain.
Money

Bigger Picture:
Why it Matters

  • 238 cities in U.S. & Canada shared taxpayer-funded research trying to woo Amazon.
  • Giving Amazon an invaluable database & insight into what types of incentives communities are willing to offer as the tech giant expands building possible data and logistics centers, etc.
Money

Two, winning cities will split the 50,000 jobs and $5B in investment evenly. Amazon also announced it will open a customer fulfillment center in Nashville, creating 5,000 jobs. The average salary for all 3, new locations? Over $150K, according to Amazon.

view sources

Read
Money

KEEPING SCORE

The gold standard for consumer lending, used by 90% of all lenders in America,A is testing a new way to calculate YOUR credit score.

Money

What is a Credit Score?

Widely used FICO gives consumers a “credit score” so lenders know how risky it is to loan moneyA (i.e. credit card, car loan or mortgage).

  • Based mostly on consumers’ payment histories.
  • 300-850 range (higher # better.)
  • Couple of points make a big difference: 740 is “excellent,” 680 is “subprime.”
Money

New UltraFICO Score?

  • Beginning next year, FICO plans to roll out *new* scoring option.
  • Consumers can choose to share checking or savings account data.
  • Avg. account balance, savings & overdraw history may boost scores for those with bad, little credit history.
  • BUT it isA possible sharing this data could *worsen* your score.
Money

Timing Matters

UltraFICO Score *may* open up credit lines to millions even thoughA consumer loan (credit, car, mortgage) balances reachA record highs:

“Just because somebody will lend you money doesn’t mean you should take it.”

Matt Schulz, Compare Cards.
Money

Something to Consider

FICO has tweaked its credit score formula several times since it began in 1989, but it takes time for lenders to adopt the new scoring system.

More than half of Americans (58%) with FICO scores have “good credit” with scores above 700 – a record high.

Money

About 79M Americans have subprime credit scores, another 53M don't have enough data to generate a FICO score. Big Question: Does the rating system need fixing or has it protected lenders/consumers to help prevent another credit crisis?

view sources

Read
Money

FEELING LUCKY?

Lottery fever is breaking out as two of the biggest jackpots top $1.4 billion dollars combined.

(… never mind theA 1 in 88 quadrillion odds)

Money

Why Have A Lottery?

  • In theory, a lottery raises money (to contribute in addition to taxes) for initiatives like education.
  • A multi-state lottery like Powerball distributes a portion of the sales to participating states.
  • Over the years, many have debated whether or not lottery moneyA significantly contributes to named projects.
Money

Placing Your Bets?
What to Know:

  • MEGA MILLIONS: Drawing Friday at 11pm ET for $970M jackpot (2nd largest lottery prize behindA $1.58B Powerball jackpot won in 2016.) Lump sum payout:A $513 million.
  • POWER BALL: Drawing Saturday at 10:59pm ET for $430M jackpot. Lump sum payout: $248M.
Money

History on Their Side?

  • Lucky 6th Numbers:
    #22 or #9 (Mega Ball)
    #26 (Powerball)
  • State with Most Winners:
    New York (Mega Millions)
    Indiana (Powerball)
  • You pick or let the machine pick?
    Odds are the same.
Money

Why the Monster Jackpots

Powerball & Mega Millions both changed their rules in recent years to increase the chances of winning smaller prizes, but make it more difficult to take home the jackpot.

After the change, odds of winning Powerball lowered, from 1 in 175M to 1 in 292M, analysis found. But the odds of a billion dollar jackpotA are 7.5 times more.

 

Money

U.S. lottery ticket sales totaled more than $80 billion annually, in the most recent data. That's more than Americans spent on movies, video games, books, music and sports tickets combined. Good luck!

view sources

Read
Money

The *New* NAFTA?

An old trade deal evolves.

It will impact those who make the vehicles you drive & those who grow the food you eat.

Money

“It’s not NAFTA redone. It’s a brand new deal.”

Pres. Trump announcing the trade agreement between U.S. & Mexico. The new deal has a new name: United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. The President says it "will send cash and jobs pouring into the United States"; other analysts say the impact on the overall economy will be very little.
Money

Behind The Scenes

  • America, Mexico & Canada have worked on renegotiating NAFTA for weeks.
  • While the U.S. & Mexico came to an agreement in August, a deal with Canada only came together on Sunday night.
  • Pres. Trump felt NAFTA didn’t favor the U.S. and campaigned on changing it.
Money

How It Impacts You:

  • Requires more auto parts & cars built in America – this doesn’t apply to ALL vehicles, but may raise sticker price as companies figure out costs.
  • Gives American farmers *slightly* more accessA to Canadian markets for dairy, eggs, & poultryA products; good news for farmers hurting due to trade tensions with China.
Money

Something To Consider

“My expectation all along was that there would be few major changes and NAFTA would go from being one of the worst deals ever to the one of the best…. The bigger issue is the positive impact on confidence and sentiment.”

Jim O'Sullivan, economist at High Frequency Economics to CNBC.
Money

Important Reminder: Congress MUST approve all trade deals, so while the White House celebrates this achievement, it's not a "done deal" quite yet.

view sources

Read