Our live blog this Saturday March 19 brings you all the latest financial news from across the USA, outling the various benefits programs on offer, the latest developments in Social Security payments and the government’s response to rising gas prices and inflation.
Many people in the United States have been left wondering what financial support is available in 2022, with stimulus checks now a thing of the past while some programs, like the expanded Child Tax Credit, have not yet been renewed. In this March 19 live blog, we will bring you the latest news and updates on the financial situation in the USA and what is on offer.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not gone away but now no longer carries the same threat as it did, so many of the programs available are for more general needs, such as helping citizens against the rise in inflation, the increase in gas prices and so on.
In response to the rising gas prices, there have been calls from Democrats in California for taxpayers to receive a 400 dollar tax rebate stimulus check, designed to help combat rising inflation and rising costs at the pump. That and other similar initiatives are discussed in more detail below.
As the most important cryptocurrency in the world, it’s always interesting to know which system is the one regulating the price of Bitcoin. Take a look at an in-depth analysis of everything worth knowing about this crypto.
The Lifetime Learning Credit is for qualified tuition and related expenses paid for eligible students enrolled in an eligible educational institution.
The LLC can help pay for undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree courses, including courses to acquire or improve job skills.
There is no limit on the number of years you can claim the credit. It is worth up to $2,000 per tax return.
If your Modified Adjusted Gross Income is between $59,000 and $69,000 ($118,000 and $138,000 if you file a joint return).
The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2022 in the United States was a 40-year high of 5.9 percent due to the higher rate of inflation brought about due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this percentage is set to drop in 2023.
So far, following five months of the measuring period ahead of the January 2023 COLA for retirees, it currently stands at 3.9 percent – a decrease of two percent.
This is, however, a rise of 0.9 percentage points from February in the inflation index utilised to calculate the adjustment.
Read more about the COLA 2023 prediction.
The IRS is inviting U.S. taxpayers to file their taxes electronically this year, and it will be processed promptly.
The agency says Americans should apply for tax refunds – if they are due one – by direct deposit.
Mortgage rates rose above 4%, which hasn’t happened since May 2019, as a result of the Federal Reserve moving to curb inflation.
The move ends the Fed’s pandemic-era easy money policy after the central bank announced it would raise interest rates for the first time since 2018
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.16% in the week ending March 17, compared to 3.85% the previous week.
There are millions of Social Security recipients across the USA who have begun to receive increased payments this year thanks to the 5.9 percent cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase.
The most recent payments went out on March 16 to those retirees born between the 11th and the 20th of the month. Anyone born from the 1st to the 10th has already had their money come through this March, while those with a birthday between the 20th and the 31st of the month will see their money arrive on March 23.
There are approximately 70 million Americans claiming Social Security payments, with the aforementioned 5.9 percent rise due to the COLA, which is a 1.3 rise compared to last year. Also, the maximum amount of money subject to the Social Security tax has also increased, going from 142,800 dollars in 2021 to 147,000 dollars in 2022. The Social Security tax rates are staying the same, which is 6.2 percent for employees and 12.4 percent for self-employed workers.
Read more about the latest batch of Social Security Payments.
As a result of Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions put upon Vladimir Putin’s country, gas prices in the USA have risen at a sharp rate.
In fact, for the first time in a decade, gas prices even went as high as four dollars a gallon. The previous high was set at 4.103 dollars per gallon back in 2008, but now a new high has been set with 4.104 dollars.
Nevertheless, oil prices are continuing to fall. In the last week the oil price decreased by 30 percent, following the spike caused by Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Democratic state lawmakers in California have suggested that taxpayers could receive a 400 dollar tax rebate check to help with the high costs of everyday expenses such as gas.
Read more about the Rising Gas Prices.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the standard mileage rate for the use of an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes
Taxpayers are advised to apply for the standard mileage rate in the first year that they are using the car for business purposes. Then, they will have the option to choose between this rate and the actual expenses.
The new rates came into effect back on January 1, 2022, and they are related to the use of cars including vans, pick-ups and panel trucks.
Read more about the Mileage Reimbursement Rate in 2022.
Many people across the USA will have been keen to get in their tax returns on time, knowing that down the line they are likely to receive a tax refund.
After all, the sooner that it is filed, the sooner you will get a refund. Since tax season got underway on January 24, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have returned at least 78 billion dollars to the US public.
In February 2021, the average tax refund was 2,880 dollars. However, this year it is 3,536 dollars on average. Therefore, the average amount received as a tax refund has increased 23 percent compared to last year.
Read more about IRS Tax Refunds.
The expanded Child Tax Credit payments has now come to an end in the United States, having been made available during the second half of 2021.
Families were able to receive 3,600 dollars for each child aged under the age of six, and 3,000 dollars for each child aged between six and 17. There was then the option to either receive half of this money on a monthly basis, or it could be received as a full lump sum once the individual had filed their 2021 taxes.
However, this expanded program has not continued into 2022 after an agreement could not be struck across all Democrats to support Joe Biden’s Build Back Better initiative. In particular, Sen. Joe Manchin was the opposing vote that caused the plans for the expanded Child Tax Credit program to fall through.
Read more about the plans with Child Tax Credit.
There has been a proposal from Mitt Romney, the senator from Utah for a new stimulus check to be made available for American families.
Through his Family Security Act proposal, eligible families with children up to five years of age would get $350 per month, while families with children between the ages of six and 17 would get $250 per month.
“Now is the time to renew our commitment to families to help them meet the challenges they face as they take on most important work any of us will ever do-raising our society’s children,” Romney said. It remains to be seen, though, if this measure will pass.
Read more about the Family Security Act 2022.
Given the way in which prices are rapidly rising in the USA, the US Federal Reserve have taken the decision to raise interest rates for the first time since 2018 in a bid to bring things back under control.
The benchmark rate will be lifted by 0.25 percent by the US central bank, and they have warned that further rate rises could follow in the months ahead. This comes against the rise in inflation in the USA, which hit a 40-year high of 7.9 percent in February.
Saints had options at wide receiver in Mel Kiper’s latest two-round mock
The Saints add two offensive players with their first three picks.
Another day, another mock draft. This time it’s ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr.’s recent two-round mock draft (Insider required) that has the New Orleans Saints address their top three positions of need with their first three picks.
A run of receivers in the first fifteen picks, including Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson (8th overall to the Atlanta Falcons), USC’s Drake London (10th overall to the New York Jets), and Ohio State WR Chris Olave (15th overall to the Philadelphia Eagles), left the Saints without a bunch of options at the 16th pick. Tackles Ikem Ekwonu out of NC State (5th to the Giants), Alabama’s Evan Neal (9th to the Seattle Seahawks), and Mississippi State’s Charles Cross (13th to the Houston Texans) left the Saints without many options there either. Quarterback Malik Willis out of Liberty was also off the board, landing in the NFC South to the rival Carolina Panthers 6th overall.
This left some of the top prospects on the board as LB Nakobe Dean out of Georgia, LT Trevor Penning out of Iowa, DT Jordan Davis from Georgia, Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett, and Alabama WR Jameson Williams, all of whom fit with the Saints needs.
In Kiper’s mock, the Saints passed on Kenny Pickett and instead opted to replace Terron Armstead on the left side of the offensive line by selecting Trevor Penning:
Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Speaking of the Saints, I have a hard time believing the trade with the Eagles was to take a quarterback. Why wouldn’t they try to move up higher? (Unless there’s another move to come.) It’s possible they think they are NFC contenders this season and could be put over the edge with two more starters. With that in mind, here’s a tackle who could replace Terron Armstead on the left side. Penning is a nasty, physical blocker who is ready to play immediately.
In the two picks immediately following the Saints’ selection at 16, the pair of Georgia defensive players – Nakobe Dean and Jordan Davis – were picked, leaving the Saints with yet another opportunity to draft Kenny Pickett if the team so desired.
Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Even if Michael Thomas comes back healthy, the Saints should address wide receiver with one of their two first-round picks. Williams would have been in the discussion to be the No. 1 wideout in this class, but he tore his ACL in the national title game in January and could miss a little time in 2022. He could be a superstar once he’s healthy; he has explosive speed and was uncoverable for the Crimson Tide last season. ACL injuries aren’t even close to career-ending anymore, so I don’t see this as a risky pick. Williams is worth it.
Pickett ended up going one pick later to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and fellow RAS-star, Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder, was the first quarterback taken in the second round, 40th overall to the Seattle Seahawks.
When the Saints were on the clock with the 49th pick, they had plenty of options still at quarterback (North Carolina’s Sam Howell, anyone?), and grabbed Ole Miss signal-caller Matt Corral:
49. New Orleans Saints
Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
Corral is a tough evaluation. He wants to play like Josh Allen but doesn’t have the size — he’s only 6-foot-2. He was the only player in the country last season with 3,300-plus passing yards and 500-plus rushing yards. Will he be able to consistently make every throw in the NFL? That’s why I think he’s a safer bet on Day 2. He would make a lot of sense in New Orleans, where he could get an evaluation year behind Jameis Winston.
Options available for the Saints at 49 if they passed on Corral included wide receivers like Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore, Alabama’s John Metchie III, and Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce; Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III; and a pair of tight ends in UCLA’s Greg Dulcich and Colorado State’s Trey McBride.
That left the Saints with QB Matt Corral, LT Trevor Penning, and WR Jameson Williams from their first three picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. Other possible sets include QB Kenny Pickett, WR Jameson Williams, and T Abraham Lucas; DT Jordan Davis, WR Christian Watson, TE Trey McBride; or even LT Trevor Penning, QB Kenny Pickett, and WR Jalen Tolbert.
Which set would you prefer? Would you be happy with Mel Kiper’s mock draft if the board fell that way for New Orleans? Let us know in the comments. Send me presents.
CHARLES ZHANG RECOGNIZED BY FORBES AS #1 ON MICHIGAN’S 2022 BEST IN STATE WEALTH ADVISOR LIST
PORTAGE, Mich., April 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Charles Zhang, CFP® has once again been ranked the #1 advisor in the state of Michigan according to Forbes, who recently released their 2022 Best-In-State Wealth Advisor list. Every year since the inception of Forbes’ Best-In-State Wealth Advisors list, Charles has been the #1 ranked advisor in the state of Michigan.
The annual ranking list spotlights the nation’s top-performing advisors, evaluated based on a methodology developed by SHOOK Research. Advisors are also evaluated based on personal interviews, industry experience and revenue trends, among other criteria.*
Charles was also recently featured on Forbes’ website with an exclusive interview, where he talks about his criteria for taking new clients. One of the most important criteria that he mentions is working with “nice, reasonable people. I always tell new prospects to make sure I like them, and they like me. This is very important.” It’s evident that relationship building has been instrumental to Charles and his firm’s success.
Charles Zhang is the Founder and President of Zhang Financial, a fee-only wealth management group headquartered in southwest Michigan. He, along with his wife and Chief Executive Officer, Lynn Chen-Zhang, have built a firm with $4.7 billion in assets under management.
Another important reason for Zhang Financial’s success, according to Charles, is the fee-only compensation structure that the firm has implemented with all clients. A fee-only advisor is defined as one who is compensated solely from the client. Neither the advisor, or any related party, may receive compensation contingent on the purchase or sale of a financial product.
Unlike Charles and Zhang Financial, the overwhelming majority of financial advisors are sellers of financial products. Some or all of their income may be dependent upon their ability to steer clients into a limited number of financial products. This inherent conflict of interest poses serious threats to the client’s financial well-being.
By eliminating any potential conflicts of interest, Charles Zhang ensures that his clients receive truly objective, unbiased investment advice. Zhang Financial’s investment strategy is built around years of academic research and aims to provide the highest probability of success for their clients. For more information, or to request a consultation, please visit
Florida Gov DeSantis signs 15-week abortion ban | Latest News
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a 15-week abortion ban into law Thursday as the state joined a growing conservative push to restrict access ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that could limit the procedure nationwide.
The new law marks a significant blow to abortion access in the South, where Florida has provided wider access to the procedure than its regional neighbors.
The new law, which takes effect July 1, contains exceptions if the abortion is necessary to save a mother’s life, prevent serious injury or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality. It does not allow for exemptions in cases where pregnancies were caused by rape, incest or human trafficking. Under current law, Florida allows abortions up to 24 weeks.
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