Posts by Rick Newman

  • Got $172? That's the typical Obamacare penalty

    Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance 3 days ago

    One of the last big unanswered questions about the Affordable Care Act is how taxpayers will react when they have to pay penalty fees for the first time this tax filing season. We’re beginning to find out.

    Obamacare, as the ACA is known, requires most Americans to have health insurance or fork over a “shared responsibility payment” — aka, a penalty fee -- which is assessed each year when people file their tax returns. The fee for 2014 is $95 or 1% of your income, whichever is more. But a long list of exemptions provides an out for many uninsured people, and this year is the first test of whether the penalties and exemptions will generate outrage or generally seem fair.

    [Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App]

  • Americans still want bigger homes -- even though they should downsize instead

    Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance 4 days ago

    Don’t do it, people!

    New research from real-estate data firm Trulia shows that Americans still crave big homes, even after a brutal housing bust proved the perils of overspending on real estate. In a Trulia poll, 43% of people said their ideal home is bigger than the one they live in now, while just 16% said they’d prefer a smaller home. Forty percent said they’re satisfied with the size of their current home.

    There’s nothing wrong with dreaming, of course, but the trend toward purchasing ever-bigger homes seems to have resumed after the disruption caused by the housing bust that began in 2006. The average size of a new home has dipped in recent months, according to data from the National Association of Home Builders, but at about 2,600 square feet, it’s still close to record highs, as this chart shows:

    Rick Newman’s latest book is Liberty for All: A Manifesto for Reclaiming Financial and Political Freedom. Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman .

  • Hillary Clinton paid $300,000 to explain what ails the middle class

    Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance 5 days ago

    She’s identified the problem. Now, assuming she runs for president, Hillary Clinton will have to come up with ways to solve it.

    During a speech in Silicon Valley, Clinton, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, highlighted the displacement many workers have suffered as new technology has made many jobs obsolete. “The old jobs and careers are either gone or unrecognizable,” Clinton said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The old rules just don’t seem to apply, and, frankly, the new rules just aren’t that clear. “[If] we want to find our balance again, we have to figure out how to make this new economy work for everyone.”

    [Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App]

    But that comes after getting elected president, and for now, Clinton has at least identified the right issue for debate: Finding new ways to assure the digital economy does more good than harm for the largest number of Americans. At the moment, there’s no app for that.

  • How to bank hundreds of dollars more each month

    Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance 6 days ago

    Robert Shiller, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, offered some simple advice for people trying to get ahead when he visited Yahoo Finance recently: Live like a student.

    “My students are living alright,” Shiller said. “I’ve suggested to them, why don’t you just continue to live at that level after you get a job? It would pile up into a lot of money.”

    Struggling workers might take offense at a comfortable, accomplished Yale professor suggesting middle-class Americans should subsist on ramen noodles and hand-me-down furniture. But Shiller, like other economists, is addressing a stark reality: Many Americans live beyond their means, with 20% of adults spending more than they earn, according to the Federal Reserve. Less that half of all adult Americans have enough money saved to cover a $400 financial emergency. Millions more are far short of the funds they’ll need to retire comfortably.

    Estimated savings from caring less about my house: $300 per month.

  • Working women earn more than Patricia Arquette may realize

    Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance 7 days ago

    Academy Award winner Patricia Arquette used her 80-second acceptance speech at Sunday night's Oscar ceremony to champion women’s rights, declaring, “it’s our time to have wage equality once and for all!” The crowd roared, with Hollywood royalty such as fellow Oscar winner Meryl Streep cheering in solidarity. Many viewers no doubt did the same at home.

    Arquette continued her equality push on Twitter following the Oscars, arguing, among other things that "women have been basically paying a gender tax for generations:"

    Women have been basically paying a gender tax for generations.

    Guess which women are the most negatively effected in wage inequality? Women of color. #Equalpay for ALL women. Women stand together in this

    If you are fighting against #Equalpay you are fighting for ALL women and especially women of color to make less money than men.

  • If Apple wants to transform cars, it should build this instead of copying Tesla

    Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance 10 days ago

    The tech world is going gaga over the prospect that mighty Apple will enter the car business and teach those fumblebums at General Motors (GM), Toyota (TM), BMW and Tesla (TSLA) how to build a 21 st -century vehicle.

    There are plenty of reasons to beskeptical that Apple will ever manufacture cars for public sale. The car business is a low-margin heavy industry, for instance, whereas Apple (AAPL) is a high-margin consumer-product company. It does make sense for Apple to get more involved in cars as a supplier of information, software and control systems, but not as a manufacturer running its own assembly lines.

    More from Yahoo Finance

  • The future price of oil? Nobody has a clue

    Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance 12 days ago

    Oil prices could plunge to as low as $10 per barrel. Or they could soar to an unprecedented $200 per barrel.

    This is the rather wide range of estimates coming from some of the financial world’s most knowledgeable forecasters. Some will turn out to be right, but many will end up being very, very wrong. Predicting something as volatile as oil prices is a fool’s errand, of course, yet that doesn’t stop analysts from insisting that this time, they really know what’s going to happen.

    History, however, shows they don’t. Here, for instance, are some of the predictions from a year or so ago, for the price of West Texas crude -- the U.S. benchmark -- in 2014:

    Goldman Sachs (GS): $90

    Barclays (BCS): $97

    International Monetary Fund: $102

    [Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App]

  • Forget the rumor: Apple will never build cars

    Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance 13 days ago

    Wouldn’t it be cool -- an Apple (AAPL) minivan, bringing Cupertino chic to the otherwise dowdy world of people movers?

    That seems to be the fantasy of Apple fanatics who are rather liberally interpreting the news that Apple has hired several hundred automotive experts and started something called Project Titan to supposedly develop an electric car. Among the rumors: Apple design chief Jony Ive has a passion for cars and thinks most current models are dreary. The company already has a secret testing prototype (which happens to be a minivan) outfitted with all kinds of funky gear. And since Apple has been hiring talent from electric-car maker Tesla (TSLA), it can only mean an iCar will be coming soon to revolutionize …. something …. about driving.

  • Gas isn’t as cheap as you think

    Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance 17 days ago

    The sharp drop in oil and gas prices since last summer suddenly seems like a revenue-raising opportunity to officials in several states and even in Washington. Since consumers are saving so much money, the reasoning goes, they might barely notice if gas taxes went up, providing more money for roads and other transportation projects.

    At least a dozen states are considering raising gasoline taxes, including some with anti-tax Republican governors, such as Iowa, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah. In Washington, a few Republicans and many Democrats favor raising the federal gas tax to replenish the Highway Trust Fund, which runs out of money every year and gets topped off with cash from other Treasury accounts.

  • Why I’m spending $143 on Valentine’s Day

    Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance 17 days ago

    Nobody has a knack for turning a modest expression of affection into a spending orgy the way America does.

    To cultivate love and romance (and, perhaps this year, bondage), Americans will spend about $19 billion on Valentine’s Day paraphernalia to express what mere words and gestures can’t: I love you! So here, pig out on chocolate! We do this to honor the ancient tradition of obeying marketers when they tell us to spend money.

    This midwinter festival of love apparently dates to the imprisonment, torture and beheading of a Roman priest named Valentine in the third century. Isn’t that romantic? Valentine served under the emperor Claudius II, aka Claudius the Cruel, who banned marriage as a way of freeing young men from the clutches of women so they’d be easier to conscript into the army. Valentine found this appalling and performed marriages in secret, until the emperor busted him and had him executed on February 14, 270 A.D.