While the Federal Reserve’s decisions certainly impact the US (and global) economy, it’s important to know that the Fed does not set economic policy. The Fed does, however, control monetary policy in an attempt to influence the direction of the US economy. Let’s explore the history of the Federal Reserve, its role and how it carries out its mandate.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a measure that has been characterized as the first major reform of the Internal Revenue Code in 31 years, received final approval from the House and the Senate on December 20, and was signed into law by President Trump two days later on December 22.
The legislation slashes the top corporate tax rate to 21%, lowers the top marginal rate for individual taxpayers to 37%, eliminates or scales back several popular deductions, reduces taxes on business income earned by pass-through businesses, doubles the estate tax exemption, and substantially enhances immediate expensing of capital investments.
Loans can be a convenient source of financing when you don’t have cash to spare. If you’re in your 20s or early 30s, odds are you may be juggling several different types of loans.
According to a 2016 Gallup poll:
35% of millennials have student loan debt
30% are paying down a car loan
23% have a personal loan
47% are carrying credit card debt
If you fall into any of these categories and are conflicted about whether you are managing your debt effectively, there’s no need to panic. Here are two practical ways to manage your debt so that you can build a brighter financial future.
Waiting until just before April 15 to start thinking about your taxes may prove to be a costly mistake. Advance tax planning is especially important if your circumstances have changed over the past year due to events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or the death of a family member.
Deferring income into the next tax year and accelerating deductions into the current year can reduce your adjusted gross income (AGI). Lowering your AGI could make you eligible for certain tax breaks that phase out at higher income levels, such as personal exemptions and education credits. Now that the tax reform has passed, here are some strategies that may help you trim your tax bill:
Saving for the future takes commitment and patience. The results are clear when you look at people who have been invested in their 401(k) for over a decade…
This Halloween, when you open the door, you may find Thor, Captain America, Green Lantern, or the X-Men standing outside looking for tasty treats. Or, you may find characters you don’t recognize at all! Keeping up with pop culture is no easy task. This year, watch for:
- Anime characters: If you’re not a fan of Japanese anime comic books, graphic novels, or video games, you may not recognize Chibi Moon or Uzumaki when they appear at your door.
- Steampunk characters: Steampunk culture shows what the digital age would look like if it had happened 100 years ago.
Last month we wrote about American’s vulnerability to the growing threat of SPAM in your emails, and the historically unfavorable returns of August and September. On September 7th, Equifax decided to layer another level of doom to our readers when the company announced that 143 million American’s information, including social security and driver’s license numbers, had been stolen by hackers. This is the largest threat to personally sensitive information in years, and the third successful hack into Equifax in 2017 alone.
From the title, you may be thinking about the iconic American meat that arrives in a rectangular 12-ounce tin (and is inexplicably popular in certain island states and American territories). However, your true worry should focus on the “spam” that arrives digitally as email, text, and social media messages.
The latter type of ‘spam’ took its name from the former. You may be familiar with a sketch from the 1970’s movie, Monty Python. The performance introduced a café that offered Spam in almost every dish, much to the dismay of a customer whose palette did not favor the processed meat.
It’s been a busy year in Washington D.C. with a mixed view on accomplishments. Next on the agenda, Congress is beginning its shift (for the time being) to tax reform; lower taxes are expected to create improvements in the economy by increasing the rate of money flow (how fast it changes hands). On the surface, tax-reform has a good vibe and theoretically puts more money in consumer’s pockets. Granted, personal consumption expenditures represent 70 percent of gross domestic product, but journalists should know from Econ 101 that GDP only measures the value of final output. It deliberately leaves out a big chunk of the economy—intermediate production or goods-in-process at the commodity, manufacturing, and wholesale stages—to avoid double counting. We calculated total spending (sales or receipts) in the economy at all stages to be more than double GDP (using gross business receipts compiled annually by the IRS). By this measure—which we have dubbed gross domestic expenditures, or GDE—consumption represents only about 30 percent of the economy, while business investment (including intermediate output) represents over 50 percent.