Good News: We might be in for a mild flu season.
Preliminary data suggests that flu infections in the southern hemisphere have been down signficantly this year. The Economist investigates how covid-19 precautions may have slowed the spread of another potentially deadly virus during that hemisphere’s winter the last few months.
How did Americans use their stimulus checks?
According The Economist under half of the $2.2 trillion was spent. Americans put 27% of the funds into savings while they used 31% to pay down debts. Furthermore, 40% of recipients did not spend ANY of the funds given them by a federal government hoping to boost consumption during the pandemic. What might these numbers mean for future stimulus legislation?
If a Financial Advisor Can’t Say “Yes” to These Two Questions…
“Conflicts of interest in retirement advice cost American families an estimated $17 billion a year.” Pam Kruger from MarketWatch offers advice on how to investigate whether a financial advisor is working in an investor’s best interest. Fee-only financial planners have a fiduciary responsibility to act in clients’ best interests whereas registered representative earn commissions on trades and sales. While “Reg BI” was enacted last year to increase brokers’ fiduciary responsibilities, its definition is nebulous and does not prohibit them from making tons of commissions by recommending new investment vehicles.
IRS Issues Guidance on Changes to Loans and Withdrawals due to COVID Hardship
Brian Herschberg wades into some of the changes to impacting retirement plans in this Barron’s summary. Since the passage of the Cares Act in March, the IRS has issued guidance on changes to loans and withdrawals due to coronavirus-related financial hardships to allow for non-penalty sources of funds for many Americans. The government is also providing flexibility for required minimum distributions from IRAs including those that are inherited. While many questions remain, Barron’s provides some answers.
Work from Home Tips
Justin Bariso's advice in his recent Inc. article on meeting the unique challenges of working at one's kitchen table including distractions, scheduling and cranky officemates. Self care should be part of this new work-life scenario such as staying hydrated, eating well and taking a break to fit in some vitamin D and exercise with a walk around the block instead of a trip down the hall.
Market Watch on Seeking Financial Advice
In this time of uncertainty, professional advice is more important than ever. Many financial planners, like Chatham Wealth Management, are adjusting to this new environment. As in any market, it is important to create a financial plan and craft a portfolio around it.
Mark Cuban on Side Hustles
The "Shark Tank" star told CNBC that he would learn to script voice commands and skills for AI enabled devices such as Alexa, Cortana, Echo, or Home.
“If I were 16 years old, I would learn Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft stuff and learn how to create scripts,” he said. “Then go to my neighbors’ homes ... and charge $30 an hour to set it up in their house.”
GZERO with Ian Bremmer
Ian Bremmer, a renowned political scientist, entrepreneur and bestselling author, shares his perspective on recent global events and interviews the world leaders, experts and newsmakers shaping today’s international politics. Distributed nationally by American Public Television(opens in new window).