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Now that Minimum Wage is Rising, Is America Truly Doing Better?

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Bankrate conducted a survey and discovered that over 60% of people in the US do not have enough funds to handle even $500 worth in a financial setback. Nearly 50% of those that were part of the study, and make a minimum of $75,000 each year said they had inadequate funds if they were ever to experience a financial emergency. About 20% of those who completed the study stated they believe they would have to cut back on what they are spending if they want money for an emergency fund. 15% of people said that if they were in that situation, they would simply use their credit card to pay for the expenses.

Lauren Berg, a spokeswoman for Simple Finance, says that those who turn to credit may find that it can also become a setback, even if it’s just minor. She added that just a minor setback can still be all it takes to form a serious long-term financial crisis. Berg continued to say that her company strongly discourages people to transfer unexpected expenses to credit cards.

Continuing this type of financial behavior will only make it worse, as people accrue credit card interest. Another 15% of those said if a negative financial situation were to occur, they believe they would be ok because they would find a friend or a family member to borrow it. Sheyna Steiner, reporter and senior investing analyst at Bankrate, said that of you choose to borrow the money to get past a tough bind, it also means you may not have the credit during the times you do need it. She says that if a situation were to arise when you need a line of credit, it is possible it will not be there in the event there are any changes to your report.

Steiner mentioned that one thing that occurred during the great recession was people discovering that their credit lines had significantly lowered. Therefore, if you depend on it to be extended to you when you need it, the answer may not be what you want. Experts say that going the payday loan route during your times of trouble is just as bad as a credit card. Their interest rates are ridiculously high, as much as 400%, and can easily lead someone to a downward spiral.

The same survey conducted by Bankrate found they about 57% of people successfully made it through the year without using any source of financial help. Nearly 40% of people said that they, or someone they knew, experienced a major financial setback in the last year. Steiner says that unexpected expenses can arise often enough that people should prepare for it. Of course, saving money even when you know you need it is not as simple as it sounds for many. There are people, namely young adults, that are still working on paying their student loans back or are finding a job where they can make an adequate income.

Without a proper job that pays enough, it difficult to save anything when someone is living paycheck to paycheck. These adults typically make just enough to pay their bills, and any financial setback would be extremely detrimental to them. Berg, who says she understands and recognizes this, says that saving money can typically feel like a thankless ordeal when someone is faced with that of extreme debt. She recommends that even the smallest effort can make a big difference. The main thing you want to have is to focus on gaining more confidence in money management. She states that it is the foundation of her company philosophy, which is that all consumers should feel completely confident with their cash. Berg adds that that if you can put away even $5.50 away each paycheck, that can amount to $2,000 in emergency savings you can use after a year.

Steiner even says that she advises people to ease a little on their debt payments so they can prioritize saving for an emergency first. She believes it the key is putting saving first and reducing money where you know you can reduce it, even if it is temporary. Steiner says that if you truly want to be fully equipped and prepared for the inevitable, you have to start treating it as if it will happen. Most people are bound to need car repairs sometime down the road or will need to call the plumber. She believes if it’s debt that is the main reason you’re having financial setbacks, then remember to deal with it as best as you can. That alone will save you $500-$1000 in a year that you can use when you need it. Most importantly, it will be money that is now owed. She believes that after you get all that set up, then you can go back to tackling any debt you have.

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Why You Should Consider Filing For Social Security At Age 62

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Why You Should Consider Filing For Social Security At Age 62

Earlier this week we discussed four common regrets that retirees have when they look back at their golden years. One of the most common regrets was filing for Social Security benefits at 62, the earliest possible age. According to the Social Security Administration, about 1 out of 3 people apply for benefits at that age.

The regret is that if they had waited longer to file for their benefits, their monthly check would be much larger. For example, by delaying filing for Social Security until age 70, your monthly benefits can be as much as 75% larger than someone who filed at age 62. That’s because benefits grow by a guaranteed 5% to 8% each year that you delay your claim.

But there are always two sides to a coin. Today we wanted to discuss the benefits of filing for Social Security as soon as possible. With this, you can decide which approach you believe will benefit you the most.

The Case For Filing Social Security Early

The earliest you can file for Social Security benefits is age 62, but each month you file before reaching your full retirement age (FRA) cuts your monthly benefit amount. As an example, if your full retirement age is 67 and you start your claim at age 62, your monthly check will be reduced by approximately 30%.

Despite the reduced monthly benefit that comes with filing early, tens of millions of Americans make that decision every year. And it boils down to one line:

We have no idea what the future holds.

The financial benefits of waiting until age 70 to claim Social Security make complete sense. But we don’t know how long we will live, so we don’t know if the trade-off is worth it. If we knew we would live a long, healthy life until age 100, we would all delay filing until age 70 and reap the maximum reward.

But if you decided to wait until age 70 to claim, and unfortunately passed away before that, you would have foregone all the retirement income from age 62 on.

Waiting to file is a gamble, but so is giving up guaranteed monthly income starting at age 62.

Deciding when to claim your benefits requires serious thought and shouldn’t be a hastily made decision. And we aren’t saying that filing Social Security immediately at 62 or waiting until age 70 is the right choice. Every situation is different. If you are still healthy and working, waiting a few years passed 62 to claim but not all the way to 70 might be a good compromise. You’ll get a larger check than had you claimed right away, and your regular working income can make up for some of the reduced benefit amount since you didn’t wait until age 70.

The most important thing, whether you file at 62 or 70, is to find enjoyment in your golden years.

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Mnuchin: Next Stimulus Coming By End of Month, No More Extra Unemployment Money

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Mnuchin: Next Stimulus Coming By End of Month, No More Extra Unemployment Money

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the next stimulus bill will be much more targeted than previous bills. He also said the goal is to get the next bill approved between July 20 and the end of this month. That time is when Congress will return from their holiday break and before they leave for August recess.

On Broad Stimulus Measures

It appears the White House will not support the type of broad stimulus measures of the previous bills. Instead, it will focus on direct payments to Americans. In an interview with CNBC yesterday, Mnuchin said “we do support another round” of stimulus checks to individuals. This mirrors the $1,200 payments that the government sent out as part of the $2 trillion rescue legislation passed in March.

Mnuchin didn’t mention whether he supported the idea of a $40,000 income cap to receive a check that has been floated by GOP lawmakers. The income cap for the first stimulus check was $75,000. He did say that he spoke with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He also mentioned the “level and criteria” for checks would be discussed when lawmakers return to Washington.

Any new stimulus bill would likely not include proposals from the Democrats that include hazard pay for essential workers. It likely won’t include a longer extension of strengthened unemployment benefits, mortgage and rent relief, and support for state and local governments, too.

Mnuchin reiterated that the White House isn’t in favor of more relief money for states and municipalities to make up for lost revenue. Some state and local governments are considering trimming essential services as costs balloon and revenues drop. He said the administration does not want to “bail out” states that were “mismanaged” before the virus hit.

On Unemployment Benefits

Another critical topic the lawmakers will tackle the end of the enhanced unemployment benefits on July 30. They will do so when they return to Washington D.C.

Mnuchin said the White House has no interest in extending the enhanced benefits any further. Instead, he said it wants to change how they pay benefits. He did not give details. However, he did hint that unemployed workers shouldn’t be able to earn more money compared to full-time employees

“You can assume that it will be no more than 100%” of a worker’s usual pay, Mnuchin said. This echoes many Republicans who argue the additional benefits are preventing some from returning to work. These workers do this so that they make more at home than they would at their jobs.

While Mnuchin says the White House isn’t in favor of extending unemployment benefits, it is extending the Paycheck Protection Program that provides loans for small businesses. Earlier this week the Trump administration released a list of companies that received loans from the government. With that, backlash ensued as numerous businesses tied to wealthy individuals were found to have requested funds. Of the $130 billion remaining in the program, Mnuchin said he wants new relief to be “much, much more targeted” than past rounds of funding.

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PPP Recipients Revealed, 51 Million Jobs Saved

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The Trump Administration released details yesterday on the success of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). They also released the names of the businesses that took out loans from the program.

The program was signed into law in late March as part of the CARES Act. It offered forgivable loans to small businesses in an effort to keep them afloat and their employees on the payroll. The program came as the coronavirus forced the US economy to shut down. Originally, the business had to use 75% of the loan amount to keep employees on the payroll. However, that was later reduced down to only 60% of the loan amount.

The program originally had $349 billion as funding to help small businesses. After those funds ran out, the government replenished the program with an additional $310 billion.

With information provided by the Treasury and Small Business Administration, the White House released the list of companies that received a loan of at least $150,000. Loans of that amount or greater represent nearly 75% of the total dollar amount lent out by the program.

The vast majority of loans, however, were for a much smaller amount. Nearly 87% of the loans approved as part of the PPP were for $150,000 or less, according to the SBA.

PPP Funding and Other Figures

Looking at the information provided by the White House, more than half of funding went to businesses in just five industries. The health care and social assistance industry received just under 13% of the money, while professional and technical services received 12.7% of the funds. 12.4% went to the construction industry, 10.3% went to the manufacturing industry and 8.1% went to restaurants, bars, hotels and other food- and hospitality-service employers.

Other notable figures from the report:

  • The program has approved 4.9 million loans for a total of more than $521 billion.
  • According to the companies receiving the funds, the program has saved or supported more than 51 million jobs.
  • The program has about $132 billion in funding remaining.
  • The average loan size is $107,000.
  • California-based businesses received the most money overall at $68.2 billion. Texas was second at $41.1 billion and New York third at $38.3 billion.
  • Businesses in economically distressed areas as designated by the SBA got nearly 23% of the loan money, while companies in rural areas received about 15% of the funds.

Additionally, public outcry helped return more than $30 billion dollars to the fund. Ruth’s Hospitality Group, which owns the Ruth’s Chris Steak House chain, AutoNation, ShakeShack and even the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers are among those that took out PPP loans that were ultimately returned.

The administration just extended the program, but it has already proven to be a huge success.

“The PPP is an indisputable success for small businesses, especially to the communities in which these employers serve as the main job creators,” SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said in a statement. “In three months, this Administration was able to act quickly to get funding into the hands of those who faced enormous obstacles as a result of the pandemic.”

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