Posts by Lisa Scherzer

  • The IRS struck its first blow against Obamacare mandate

    Lisa Scherzer at Yahoo Finance 6 days ago

    In what looks to be the first real blow to Obamacare before its inevitable death, the IRS is following President Donald Trump’s directive to ease up on the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that everyone have health care or pay a penalty.

    The ACA requires most people to have health coverage, and to indicate whether they did by filling out line 61 of their 1040 forms when they file taxes. Following the president’s executive order last month which directed federal agencies to exercise authority and discretion available to them to reduce potential burden,” the IRS said in a statement to Yahoo Finance, it will allow electronic and paper tax returns to be accepted for processing in cases where a taxpayer doesn’t indicate their coverage status.

    But following the president’s executive order, the IRS will now process returns without the coverage information, so they are “not systemically rejected, allowing them to be processed and minimizing burden on taxpayers, including those expecting a refund,” the IRS said.

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  • Shortage of starter homes signals pain for first-time buyers

    Lisa Scherzer at Yahoo Finance 13 days ago

    There’s a widening gap between real estate listings and searches that underscores the difficulty homebuyers face in finding the right house at the right price, according to Trulia’s latest research published Wednesday.

    In the fourth quarter of 2016, the average “market mismatch score” across the starter, trade-up, and premium home price tiers rose 1.8 percentage points to 7.4 percentage points. (The price ranges that Trulia used are unique to each metro area. Starter homes are defined as the bottom third of the market based on home values, followed by trade-up homes as the middle third, and premium homes as the upper third. A “starter” home in San Francisco is anything cheaper than $904,086, but in Akron, Ohio, it’s anything below $94,713.)

    Here’s the crux of the mismatch: Most buyers were looking for starter and trade-up homes in Q4, but most listings they saw were for premium-priced homes.

    “In most major metros, there are disproportionately more house hunters who are searching for starter and trade-up homes than what is actually available on the market,” says Felipe Chacon, Trulia housing data analyst.

  • Tax refund delay means 'a pothole in consumer spending'

    Lisa Scherzer at Yahoo Finance 13 days ago

    Thanks to IRS efforts to prevent fraud, tax refunds will be delayed for households claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until the week of Feb. 27.

    That means a lot of folks — somewhere on the order of 25 million-30 million households — will have to wait to get their refunds. And according to a Goldman Sachs research note published Wednesday, it also portends “likely cash flow disruptions” in February and March. Why? Mainly because most people who get refunds tend to spend the money right away.

    The federal government distributes around $275 billion each year in individual income tax refunds between January and May. And in recent years these refunds have come earlier in the tax season, Goldman says, with a large chunk of refunds paid over the course of a few weeks in February and early March.

    This year, though, refunds will be sent out later — tax refunds received by those 25 million-30 million American households constitute about 20% to 25% of the dollar value of all refunds.

     

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  • Your money under President Trump

    Lisa Scherzer at Lisa Scherzer 3 mths ago

    President-elect Donald Trump’s election win hinged, to a large extent, on his economic promises. He had more to say on some issues (growing GDP by 4%, slashing federal regulations, Obamacare, trade) than others (Social Security benefits, student debt). Here’s a look at some of Trump’s policies and how they might affect everyday Americans’ pocketbooks.

    In a speech in October in Ohio, Trump addressed the high costs of college, in perhaps the most elaborate comments he has made about higher education during the campaign. In it now President-elect Trump said “we will lower the cost of college and solve the student loan crisis.” Americans owe nearly $1.3 trillion in student loan debt — a figure he cited — spread out among about 44 million borrowers.

    Trump also said he will take steps to get colleges to “cut the skyrocketing cost of tuition,” and wants to incentivize colleges — which he said are suffering from administration “bloat” — to reduce tuition.

  • Aging parents: Your adult kids aren't total ingrates like you think they are

    Lisa Scherzer at Yahoo Finance 7 mths ago

    Parents getting closer to retirement might be (pleasantly) surprised to learn their offspring expect to help them out. According to a new Fidelity Investments Family & Finance Study, most parents (93%) feel it’s wrong to become financially dependent on one's kids, but only 30% of adult children surveyed feel the same. So parents might not want to become a financial burden — despite the fact that their kids expect and are willing to step in and help.

    See, parents, your children aren’t total ingrates: All those years supporting them might finally pay off.

    The findings “point to the fact that adult children are looking at their parents and their parents’ need for help not as an obligation, but as an opportunity to help, to pay them back,” says Suzanne Schmitt, vice president for family engagement at Fidelity Investments. Parents are often under the impression that they must be entirely self-sufficient in retirement, and they make decisions based on that assumption — including where they are or aren’t able to travel and generally what kind of lifestyle they can afford.

    “If they knew their kids might help out, it could radically improve their life,” she says.

  • Lessons one rabbi learned from listening to Warren Buffett

    Lisa Scherzer at Yahoo Finance 9 mths ago

    Warren Buffett is universally admired for his wide-ranging wisdom. His sage insights on investing, as well as pithy quips on everything from leadership to marriage to Harley Davidson, have been quoted countless times.

    Adding to the library of books mining the Berkshire Buddha’s wise investing principles is a new one that aims to draw parallels between Buffett’s philosophies and Jewish teachings.

    In “ Values Investing : An Omaha Rabbi Learns Torah From Warren Buffett,” Rabbi Jonathan Gross, who served as a rabbi of the only Orthodox synagogue in Omaha from 2004 to 2014, says he became a student of Warren Buffett, but not in the financial sense. “I have read his teachings looking for deeper meaning and I have found lessons about morality, ethics, and character development that are consistent with the values of the Torah and Jewish tradition.”

    Salad Oil

    Value investing

  • Passover for the rich: Inside the lavish getaways where you might run into Odell Beckham, Jr.

    Lisa Scherzer at Yahoo Finance 10 mths ago

    At first blush, it sounds like your typical sports celebrity meet and greet. Avi Herman, 10, and his brother, Jonah, 7, were waiting patiently for Odell Beckham, Jr. to arrive. Before the New York Giants wide receiver came, there was a football clinic where a few NFL coaches gave throwing pointers to the some 100 kids gathered around. After about two hours, Beckham—he, of the now-iconic meme catch —finally showed up and was promptly mobbed, by both children and their parents alike. The NFL pro then spent the next two hours signing footballs and posing for photos with his fans. Both got signed footballs, baseball caps and jerseys.

    But Avi and Jonah weren’t at an NFL pre-game or some sort of football camp. They, along with their parents, were guests at a Passover program last year at the St. Regis hotel at Monarch Beach in California. “It was the highlight of the kids’ program and they were very excited, especially about showing their friends at home,” says the boys’ father David Herman, 39.

    Passover ‘of a lifetime’

    Then there’s the food

  • When retiring isn’t an option: 'I couldn't retire if I wanted to'

    Lisa Scherzer at Yahoo Finance 10 mths ago

    People just aren't prepared. According to a study on retirement confidence by the Employee Benefit Research Institute published last week, less than half of those surveyed have tried to calculate how much money they'll need in retirement, and 39% simply guess rather than doing a systematic analysis. And it gets worse. Last month the New York Federal Reserve released a report that found that people over 50 are carrying more debt than they had in the past. It found that the debt held by younger borrowers dropped slightly from 2003 to 2015, whereas debt held by people between ages 50 and 80 spiked by 60% over the same period.

    What types of borrowing play the largest role in the observed surge in debt at older ages?