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6 Ways to Make Saving Money Fun

Let’s face it. Saving money is a challenge at best – and really hard the rest of the time. But what if you made it a fun game to inspire yourself to save? Here are a few ways to do just that. Keep the Change Challenge Anytime you receive or find loose change in your pockets or house, put it in a jar. Don’t touch it for a year, and then see how much you save. But here’s a great plus-up for this habit: download a money-saving app like Acorns and watch your savings grow. Anytime you buy something, Acorns will round up the total and deposit the difference into… Read More

Real Estate Opportunities in 2021

Even before the pandemic began, the U.S. residential real estate market was short on houses, with more people looking to buy than those who were selling. And yet, unlike the 2008 recession, any economic woes related to the pandemic did not undercut housing prices. If anything, real estate had a banner year as home prices continued to rise. In April of this year, the median sale price of existing homes rose by 19.1 percent to a record high of $341,600. There are several reasons we haven’t seen a repeat of the housing crisis that we experienced during the Great Recession. Today’s market is different from 2007, when the economic decline… Read More

Will The Federal Reserve Create a Taper Tantrum in 2021?

With the economy reopening and more Americans receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, the economy is expected to be operating on all cylinders. However, some economists and market analysts are afraid The Federal Reserve may create a “taper tantrum” if and when it starts to reduce its purchase of U.S. Treasury debt. The Fed’s current track of purchasing $120 billion of U.S. Treasury debt every month has kept the 10-year yield moderated. However, if The Fed signals fewer monthly purchases from current levels, recent history has already seen higher 10-year yields and increased market volatility. As the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis outlines, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) holds meetings eight… Read More

Vaccine Hesitancy: Why We Have It and How It Affects Employers and Employees

According to a Tufts University survey, six in ten of those surveyed are now vaccinated against COVID-19. However, almost 40 percent of the unvaccinated respondents said they won’t get the vaccine. Only 28.5 percent of the remaining unvaccinated respondents said they will get vaccinated against COVID-19 in the future, with the remaining unvaccinated respondents unable to decide whether they will take the vaccination. With vaccine hesitancy a concern, how can employers encourage more people to get the vaccine? It is important to understand why some view vaccines skeptically in order to overcome vaccine hesitancy among employees. The Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center attributes vaccine hesitancy to these factors: The… Read More

The Biggest Winners and Losers in President Biden’s Proposed Individual Tax Plan

President Biden presented his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, which focuses on expanding benefits for education, children and childcare. The Biden administration intends to pay for the plan with a series of tax hikes on certain individual taxpayers. Depending on your income and source of wealth, there are some clear winners and losers of this proposal, so let’s look at each and start with those who lose. Losers Under the Plan High Earners: The proposed plan would increase the highest individual tax rate from 37 percent up to 39.6 percent. Currently, this tax bracket starts with those earning more than $523,000 for singles and $628,000 for taxpayers who are married… Read More

Advancing Healthcare Initiatives, Small Business Funding and Protecting the Elderly from Scams

FASTER Act of 2021 (HR 578) – This bill expands the definition of major food allergens for food-labeling purposes to include sesame. It is designed to protect Americans with food allergies and related disorders that could be affected by anaphylaxis, food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome, and eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases. It also authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services to report on food allergy research and data collection activities. The bill was introduced by Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) on March 3. It was passed by Congress on April 14 and is currently awaiting enactment by the president. Advancing Education on Biosimilars Act of 2021 (S 164) – This bill was introduced… Read More

E-Invoicing Presents Opportunities for Businesses to Save

Invoicing is an important process in any business. Unfortunately, it’s also a laborious process that requires accuracy. With technology advances, businesses have tried to use various means to ease the invoicing process. Some outfits send scanned invoices; others might transfer PDFs through email; and some still use manual invoices. In this technology age, businesses are choosing to automate functions in a bid to increase overall business productivity and efficiency. E-invoicing is a technology that promises to help entrepreneurs add value to their businesses. What is E-Invoicing? E-invoicing is the exchange of an invoice between a buyer and seller using an integrated electronic format. This allows the buyer to pay online… Read More

7 Ways to Save 10K a Year

If you’re scratching your head and wondering if we’ve lost our minds, please keep reading. You can do this. All you need to do is plan your steps – and stick to it. After all, Confucius says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So let’s get moving. Save Before You Spend This might well be the opposite of what you do: you get your weekly or monthly paycheck, determine what expenses are ahead, then dedicate what’s left to savings. To save $10,000, the first thing to do is put away the money you’ve designated to reach your goal first (50 percent? 25 percent?), then live… Read More

New Rules and Ways to Use HSAs/FSAs

People who own a high-deductible health insurance plan may have the ability to open a health savings account (HSA). They can contribute pre-tax income to an HSA and invest the money for tax-free growth in a variety of mutual funds, stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The funds may be withdrawn tax-free when used to pay for qualified expenses, such as the plan’s high deductible, copayments and coinsurance. The funds also can be used to purchase a wide range of health-related products. However, a recent poll found that 40 percent of respondents who have access to a health savings account do not fully understand them. Perhaps that is why legislation passed… Read More

How Will a Steepening Yield Curve Impact Markets?

Based on data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the spread between the 10-year and two-year constant maturity Treasury rates increased by 66 basis points – from 0.48 percent in July 2020 to 1.14 percent by February 2021. Due to the Federal Reserve’s open market operations, two-year notes have fallen to near 0 percent, while the 10-year yield has risen higher. Experienced investors and financial institutions such as the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis would see this change in the slope of the yield curve of the two U.S. Treasury rates and call it a steepening yield curve. This recent widening spread illustrates what a steepening yield… Read More