Amazon Prime day begins today and will run through tomorrow evening as shoppers begin to look for deals and prepare for the Holiday season! Americans are expected to spend billions of dollars in the next two days as they start seeking out bargains. The discounts are not only expected to run on high ticket priced items but also on Amazon-brand essentials. Unfortunately, shoppers won’t see major bargains this week on some items because of the Covid pandemic such as high-demand items. Some extra advice from the article is not to buy oversize items like TV’s and furniture and to wait until later to buy toys and winter clothing. Happy shopping.
We all know that the airlines industry, along with cruise lines, hotels and restaurants have been some of the hardest hit industries since Covid-19 hit but we are starting to see some recovery in some of these companies. United Airlines 52 week high was $95.16. They are currently trading at 1/3 of that price at just $36.88. Unless Congress approves another $25 Billion bailout in the airlines industry, United is planning on furloughing as many as 16,000 workers – this is fewer than originally expected. The reason for the number being significantly less than originally expected is that many employees have already taken early retirement, buyouts or long-term leaves of absence. Any way that you look at it, this is better news for the airline industry and we hope that travel picks up sooner rather than later.
When it comes to going to the Social Security office, a lot of people cringe at the thought. Long lines and wait times are just the beginning and it doesn’t get much better. In today’s age, you can manage your own Social Security profile and execute many critical moves yourself online. By setting up a free MySocialSecurity account at www.ssa.gov, you can manage many details as well as protect against fraud. On this site you can do things like estimating your Social Security benefits, reviewing your earnings history, apply for Medicare benefits and even appeal a Social Security decision. Take a look at the website and pull up your current benefits statement.
The IRS announced Monday that it has begun accepting Forms 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, electronically, which it calls a “major milestone in tax administration” (IR-2020-182). According to the IRS, it has put years of effort into developing the ability for taxpayers to e-file Form 1040-X, “and the enhancement allows taxpayers to quickly electronically correct previously filed tax returns while minimizing errors.” The IRS announced in late May that Form 1040-X e-filing was coming sometime this summer.
I have personally been curious to what people did with the $1,200 stimulus checks they received earlier this year. More than half of the people who received checks used it to pay down debt while another one third saved their check. One of the major goals for these checks was to help spur economic activity via consumer spending which is one of the driving forces of the U.S. economy. So, it appears that only approximately 15% of people who received checks used the funds for this purpose. We await to see if there will be more stimulus after the last round.
Dividend investing has been big in the last several years and it was looking like it was going to be another great year. Well, I think we all know what changed this – yes, the Coronavirus. U.S. Gross Domestic Product fell at a 5% rate in the second quarter and could go down as much as 39.5% according to the Atlanta Federal Reserve. With that being said, companies cut dividends by $5.5 Billion in the first quarter of the year. In the second quarter, dividends were cut by $42.5 Billion. Most companies made this move to preserve cash and we do feel when the pandemic is over that dividends will be back on the way up. However, this could be a 3-5 year period before we get back to the levels that we were at pre Coronavirus.
With all of the doom and gloom in the world these days we wanted to provide a more upbeat article for you to read. This article looks into retirement and what are the best states to live in during your retirement. Florida came in as the best state to live in. A quarter of the state’s population is age 60 or older and it obviously has sandy beaches and warm weather. The average home price in Florida is not at $252,000. We could give you 5 guesses on who came in at number 2 on this list and we doubt that anybody would come up with the 2nd best state to live in during retirement – Minnesota!!!
This article makes a lot of great points regarding 401(k) investing and the need for employees to continue saving in their retirement accounts no matter what the circumstances. If an employee were to review their first quarter statement they may have found themselves down 30 – 40% or more on their 401(k). That turned around very quickly in the 2nd quarter and they may find themselves closer to breakeven now. Fidelity Investments did a survey of 302 companies and found that 82% aren’t considering a match reduction or suspension of their plan. While 9.6% of companies have cut or suspended their match, about half say they have active plans to reinstate it in the future. Another important topic from this article is that if you have lost your job during this pandemic, don’t ignore your 401(K) account. You should consider rolling it over to an IRA account and manage the account that way. Just because you lost your job doesn’t mean you need to lose your 401(K) as well.
With interest rates at all time lows, that has also brought mortgage rates down to all time lows. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate this week was at 3.18% while the 15-year is at 2.62%. However, banks and lenders have retained tight underwriting standards for home loans, pushing the average credit score above 700. This is causing younger buyers to delay their home purchase. The average credit score among buyers between the ages of 30 and 39 is 673, which disqualifies them from financing a home. Lenders have done this in order to reduce their risks and not put themselves in a position again like the 2008 housing crisis.
Elon Musk – the CEO of Tesla is walking a fine line. He is opening back up his production facility for cars in California and the electric battery facility in Nevada without a plan in place. He has also stated that employees who are “no-shows” when the facilities open back up are at risk of having their unemployment insurance claims denied. While we believe that opening up the economy is the right thing to do, we also believe that you must have a plan in place. Without a plan in place, we risk a second wave of the Covid-19 virus to be spread which could cause significantly more harm to the World economy.