Home » Finance

Category Archives: Finance


Why More People Aren’t Retiring

Retirement used to be something that every American would do. Once your parents reached the age of 62, they were able to start collecting Social Security and get money from their 401K and savings funds without question. Nowadays, you’ll notice a growing trend of people who simply aren’t retiring. One of the main reasons for this is because people aren’t saving up for retirement the way they used to, and this is directly linked to our income to cost of living ratio.


The cost of living has gone up substantially over the past few decades, but minimum wage has only gone up a little bit. This has caused people to live paycheck to paycheck and not have much leftover to put into a savings account. Many people now also feel that they’d rather use all of their income towards living expenses as opposed to putting some of it towards a future account they can’t even touch. After all, if you begin to put money into a 401K plan and want to withdraw on it before retirement age, you’ll pay a pretty hefty tax penalty on the money you take out.


Retiring is an important part of any person’s working career. It allows you to take a breather in your golden years and finally have the time to focus on yourself. In some cases, it can be downright unhealthy to work a full-time job when you’re a senior citizen. It is important that you begin saving up for retirement well in advance to your 62nd birthday. The sooner you start putting money away for retirement, the better off you’re going to be. It never hurts to talk to your employer about opening a 401K plan through your company since many bosses will match what you put into the account so that it grows quickly. Social Security may not be enough for individuals who didn’t earn a lot of money working throughout their lives, so having an extra fund that you can fall back on in times of need is almost a necessity and can save you from working for the rest of your life.


The Federal Reserve Grapples with Interest Rates and Image

The Federal Reserve finds itself mentioned in the news quite a lot. Rarely are the mentions flattering. The clandestine nature of the entity spawns more than a few conspiracy theories about how “The Fed” chooses to stabilize monetary policy. A bit of good news emerged from discussions about the Federal Reserve in the press. The entity has decided that raising interest rates is fine now. For several years, The Fed did not raise interest rates. In addition to making a single raise, two more raises are planned for the next year.


All of this is really good news. The reason the Federal Reserve feels that raising interest rates is a good move is because a strong sense about an improving economy has emerged. So far, the increase in the DOW from the 19,000 range to the 21,000 range would support beliefs that the economy is improving dramatically.


Of course, economies do experience swings in positive and negative directions. An economy that is seemingly stable can take a proverbial dive. The 2008 stock market collapse was a perfect example of how economic fortunes could change overnight. The harsh recession did recede as the current strength of the stock market clearly indicates.


Not everyone cheers the moves made by the Federal Reserve. If the entity chooses to keep interest rates low, people become suspicious. When a decision is made to raise interest rates, suspicions are also raised. While few would consider the Federal Reserve a rogue and dangerous entity, many simply do not understand the role it plays. After all, things are done in a secretive manner.


The word “secretive” comes with ominous overtones, but it shouldn’t. No government agency can operate without some level of internal operations privacy. The Federal Reserve is no different from any government agency or private corporation in the sense privacy helps ensure the smooth performance of tasks.


That said, the Federal Reserve should rethink its public relations processes. The cloud of secrecy surrounding the entity does not exactly help its image with the public. A better image would promote better trust. Better trust would support more faith in the decisions the Federal Reserve makes.




US Economy Grows at Slower Pace

Ensuring stable and gradual growth the overall economy in the United States is very important. While the economy has continued to grow a little bit recently, recent news reports (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-gdp-idUSKBN1711MX) have pointed out that the growth is a little bit slower than initially expected.


According to the US Commerce Department, the overall economy in the United States only grew by 1.6% in 2016. This overall level of growth does show progression in the growth of the United States, but was lower than the 2.5% growth in 2015 and was the lowest level of growth overall since 2011. Overall job growth also remained positive as jobless claims fell to a seasonally adjusted 258,000. This was then the 108th straight week where such claims were below 300,000, a level that has been a milestone marker for jobless claims.


While the overall rate for 2016 seems to be stagnant, it does appear that the growth was slower in the first half of the year than the second. In the fourth quarter of the year, the economy grew 2.1% compared to the prior year and the third quarter grew 3.5% compared to the prior year. The overall growth rate was affected by a number of different factors. On the positive side, the amount of consumer spending in the fourth quarter was higher, but the country also had its highest level of imports in several years, which offset some of the national growth.


The growth of the economy will be a major focus in the coming year. With the change in the administration, it remains to be seen how it will impact the level of consumer spending, job growth, and reliance on imports. The current administration has stated that they will focus on bringing a significant amount of jobs and manufacturing back to the United States, which could lead to an overall increase in the amount of consumer spending, reduction in imports, both of which would have a positive impact on overall growth.


Bitcoin in Crisis

Bitcoin has always had a controversy between those who say it’s the future and others who say it’s a pipe dream. But now Bitcoin supporters are fighting with each other and going for what looks like a power grab. The price of Bitcoin plummeted by 25% because of this infighting.


Opposing Factions:

Digital gold or electronic cash neither is wrong or right, just different strategies.

Those on the side of digital gold would rather have Bitcoins capped with no further mining and have other networks that act more like cash and linked to Bitcoin. Similar to how US dollars are backed by gold. This ideology being supported by Bitcoin Developers.


While the supporters of electronic cash would prefer Bitcoin to act more like the federal reserve and simply print more money. This being supported by Bitcoin Unlimited.


The developers and the miners both need each other but have opposing incentives, so they don’t fully trust each other. “Bitcoin is one of those things where nobody wants to be seen as controlling it,” says Bitcoin developer Andrew DeSantis.


The Current Situation:

The plummet in price was caused by a fear that a small group of people from one of the factions would gain too much control rather than the balance of competing interests.


Roger Ver and Jihan Wu are supporters of Bitcoin Unlimited which has been accused of trying to acquire enough control of Bitcoin that they would then make previous versions of Bitcoin incompatible. Both have denied this and called it a conspiracy.

The Ideological disagreement has become an all-out power struggle


Future Outlook:

DeSantis and other bitcoin developers have brought up the possibility of a nuclear option. They can change the Bitcoin software so that it no longer works on the hardware currently running it. It would be a catastrophe for companies that operate within the world of Bitcoin.


Peter Todd, a bitcoin protocol researcher who is aligned with DeSantis and Core. “I think the most likely scenario is that nothing will happen. I really mean nothing.”


But Eric Lombrozo, a Bitcoin Core developer, says, “I’d rather that not happen. I think it’d be dangerous for the network to go down that route. It’s basically a warpath.


Wells Fargo Bank Agrees to Pay $3.6 Million in Penalties to Settle Claims by CFPB

Wells Fargo Bank, one of the largest U.S. private student loan lenders was accused by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) of illegal loan servicing practices. The company claimed in a New York Times news article on August 27th, 2018 that they were aware of the issues and had started to correct the problem before CFPB began their examination. The examination was a result of thousands of borrowers’ claims accusing the banking institution of providing misinformation concerning payment options. Borrowers also claimed Wells Fargo Bank allocated their payments to maximize late fees.



If they had more than one loan, the loans weren’t consolidated but remained as separate loans. Wells Fargo would split their payments without allowing borrowers to specify how they wanted to allocate their payments. The consent order stated after a thorough examination that Wells Fargo failed to inform customers of their right to allocate payments. The order also stated the student loan servicing institution made it very difficult for borrowers to control costs. CFPB found Wells Fargo Bank used illegal loan servicing practices which cost borrowers higher costs and fees.



Americans owe trillions of dollars in student loan debts. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is doing everything possible to ensure loan servicing institutions, whether private or federal practice fairly with all borrowers. CFPB regulator, Seth Fortman said he noted in a mid-2016 report that borrowers complained often about federal loan servicers. They were accused of making it difficulty for them to enroll in special programs that lower their federal loan payments. Monthly payments are normally based on the borrower’s net earnings and monthly household expenses, including food, housing and etc.



According to New York Times, Wells Fargo didn’t deny nor admit to the findings of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Wells Fargo was also ordered to pay some borrowers $410,000 after finding the bank charged them higher costs and fees for serving their student loans. When consumers file complaints involving private and federal student loan servicers, CFPB has authority to investigate and examine their claims. Wells Fargo didn’t defend their actions, but stated they had already started the process of correcting their student loan servicing practices.


National Mobile Processing Payments Expected to Reach $170 Billion in the Near Future

Mobile payment processing technology is transforming the financial world with its advantages of convenience for U.S. consumers and small businesses. In 2014, more than $5 billion in payments were processed using digital phones in the United States, according to Business Insider. The number of Americans using their smartphones to process payment transactions is also predicted to increase enormously, reaching more than $170 billion in mobile payments processing, in three years. Since 2014, small businesses are taking advantage of recent development of payment processing technology, Mobile Point of Sale.



Companies, such as ShopKeep are benefitting of the increased demand for commercial payment technology. Their Mobile Point of Sale payment app accepts consumers’ payments using smartphones and tablets. The payment technology is compatible with new applications to manage inventory, process payroll and market.



The transformation of mobile payment technology started with Apple Pay and eventually Google, Chase, Android and Walmart developed their payment apps. New developments in payment technology will reduce the number of consumers using cash and credit cards. Access to cash and credit cards is quickly available using smartphones and tablets to make purchases and to pay bills online. Payment processing vendors are planning for the transformation, as cyber shoppers and online stores’ demand increase yearly.



Mobile technology has transformed greatly over the years, beginning with built-in camera, calculator, and clock with alarm feature. Smartphones added other built-in apps, including built-in camcorder, GPS, movie play, and television. New mobile technology will ultimately change the way consumers traditionally process payments. In the 1990’s consumers had to literally write a check or use cash for bill pay to creditors and merchants. Today, millions of U.S. consumers are using digital phones, tablets, laptops and PCs to process bill payments.



Consumers, small businesses and corporations are going digital for financial transactions, including payment processing, receiving payments and online banking. Analysis of the payment technology industry indicates an increase in mobile payment processing technology sales to small businesses and an increase of Americans using smartphones for most payment processing, in the near future. Entrepreneurs are using tablets and phones for running their online businesses, including tracking inventory, processing payments to vendors, and receiving payments from customers. By 2019, consumers and small businesses are expected to contribute to the increase in mobile payments processing.



Global Lender Equities First Holdings Sees a Growing Trend Among Borrowers Who Use Stock as Loan Collateral to Secure Working Capital

Equities First Holdings is a company that works to issue fast working capital to those in needs. For the enterprise, they have also specialized in the issuance of stock-based loans to those who want to secure fast working capital in a manner that is not paralleled in the industry. Equities First Holdings has also seen more traction in the intake of stock-based loans during the onset of the harsh economic conditions during the harsh economic conditions. During these times, banks and other credit facilities tighten their lending capabilities. For this reason, they also increase their interest rates to amounts that scare away most of the borrowers. For this reason, business ends up stagnating. For those who need fast working capital during the harsh economic conditions, they should also consider that Equities First Holdings is one of the most trusted in this capability. For the company, they are looking forwards to the issuance of fast working capital.

While many other options are in existence in the industry, most people have sought to get means of securing fast working capital through the banks and other credit facilities. During the harsh economic crisis, banks tighten their lending capabilities so that few people qualify for the loans. As a Matter of fact, no one has a better understanding of what it takes to develop high-end skills in this industry. For this reason, better business is in the watch out of working issues. If you are willing to develop fast working capital, you might also consider working to meet the high-end needs associated with fast working capital.

Stock-based loans are better than margin loans. While the two loans are characterized by the use of stocks as collateral, its engagement is different. You are required to state the use of the loans for margin loans. However, you can secure the loan without limitations with the stock-based loans.

https://www.linkedin.com/company/equities-first-holdings-llc for more.

ADP Provides Positive Jobs Report

One of the most significant indicators of the overall strength of the economy in the United States is the level of unemployment and job growth. According to a recent news article (http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/08/31/adp-businesses-added-solid-177000-jobs-august/89606368/), the economy and unemployment rate continue to see positive results.


During the last week of August, payroll processor and service provider ADP said that the United States added about 177,000 jobs in August. This was a positive report compared to predictions that the economy would add around 175,000 jobs. The official Labor Department’s results are still forthcoming, but are expected to report something in a similar manner. The amount of jobs added came from all different sources. Small businesses reportedly added about 63,000 jobs, mid-size companies added about 44,000 jobs, and large organizations and corporations added about 70,000 jobs.


The addition of jobs also came in a variety of industries. The professional business services division ended up adding around 53,000 jobs. The trade, utilities, and transportation industries ended up adding around 26,000 different jobs. While most industries saw an improvement in job addition, the construction industry was the one industry that saw a decline. Construction jobs were reduced by about 2,000, which could be somewhat attributable to seasonality as jobs slow down leading up to the winter months.

IRS Levies Taxes on Olympic Athletes

By most accounts, the 2016 international Olympics were extremely successful for the United States. The United States ended up earning more gold medals and total medals than any other country, by a pretty significant margin. While the high medal count proves that it was very successful for the individual athletes, one recent news article (http://nesn.com/2016/08/usas-olympic-medal-winners-must-pay-taxes-as-uncle-sam-wants-slice-of-glory/) points out that it could end up being successful for the Internal Revenue Service is well.


Like almost every other country in the world, the United States provides a financial reward to athletes that earn a medal. Gold-medal winners typically earn about $25,000, silver medal were winners and up earning about $15,000, and bronze medal winners end up winning about $10,000.while the financial reward may seem slim as it is a reward for years of training and hard work, the internal revenue service in the United States will fully tax that income.The amount of the total tax will be equal to each individual’s highest marginal tax rate. Because of this, some people could end up spending much more on taxes than others as the marginal tax rate varies greatly from one athlete to the next.


While the base reward provided by the US Olympic committee is taxed, so are some other areas of income. The recipient of a gold, silver, or bronze medal will also be taxed on the value of the underlying medal at the time of receipt. Due to the high value of gold at the time, the tax on a gold medal could easily be an additional few thousand dollars. Those who receive an award from the US Olympic committee could also end up facing additional taxation from both state and local ordinances. This amount of tax will be dependent on where the athlete resides and does the both of their training.while the total amount of taxation may seem small compared to some athletes salaries, those that do not have lucrative marketing contracts could end up seeing a big dilution in their income due to the taxation.


Oil Prices Increase for Third Straight Day

While there are typically long periods of significant volatility in the financial markets across the globe, one small sector of the financial markets that has seen a lot of volatility as of late has been the oil markets. According to a recent news article (http://money.cnn.com/2016/08/15/investing/oil-prices-jump-opec-freeze/index.html) prices of oil, and particularly futures of crude oil contracts, have increased considerably in price over the past few days.

Midway through the trading day on August 15 the price of a barrel of oil for September delivery jumped to $45.50 per barrel, which was about a three percent increase over the prior trading day. This was the third consecutive day that saw a significant and similar jump in prices for future oil contracts. Overall, the price of oil had increased by about ten percent over the past three trading sessions alone.

The recent increase in oil prices comes after a significant decline in prices over the past year. The price of a barrel of oil had been cut by more than half compared to where it was just a couple of years ago. The price per barrel was very recently below $40 per barrel, which seemed to be a potential floor or stable place for the price of a barrel. There have been a number of rumors regarding why oil prices declined to begin with, which included unnecessary production of oil to make other energy sources seem less attractive than an affordable oil price.

While oil rallies are not that rare, they are typically driven by changes in demand and other factors that have a natural economic influence on the price of a barrel. However, this current rally seems to be based more on the expectation that more will be done by OPEC and oil-dependent nations to drive up the price of oil. Most specifically, it has been rumored that OPEC, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other influential players in the oil industry could be a freeze on production, which would artificially drive down up the price of oil