I was pleasantly surprised to learn of a new tax credit of up to $400 ($800 for married filing jointly). It’s called “Making Work Pay,” and pretty much everyone is eligible. The thing about this credit is that it’s easy to miss—you have to claim it on the main tax form and fill out Schedule M. And keep in mind that this is a tax credit, not a deduction. You calculate the amount you owe and then subtract $400.
Archive for the 'Money' Category
I’ve been a member of USAA since 1986 and have had a USAA checking account for quite some time. USAA is by far the best bank I’ve ever used. Even though it’s located in Texas, it deals with military members scattered throughout the world, and therefore makes long-distance banking quite easy.
USAA offers different services, based mainly on whether or not you (or a parent/spouse) is serving or has served in the military. Membership has its privileges, and I recommend joining if you qualify. But many of the banking services are available to the general public. The USAA website has more information about membership requirements and benefits, and the linked article discusses the banking aspect in more detail.
According to the New York Attorney General, three major banks paid out nearly $18 billion in bonuses, yet only managed to drum up $9.6 billion in revenue. That’s revenue, not profit. They gave bonuses worth almost twice their total income. Seems pretty absurd to me.
The linked article has some interesting facts about the US penny. Personally, I’m all for getting rid of them, especially since each penny costs 1.4¢ to create. Pennies account for half of all coins minted in the US, with a total yearly cost of about $75 million. Seems like a practical method of cutting the budget. And it’s not that difficult to implement—prices are simply rounded to the nearest multiple of five. The US military already does this overseas in its AAFES stores.
One of the banks in my area is offering a free iPod Shuffle to people opening new accounts. Here’s the story of a guy who chose his bank based on a free gift, and he more than paid for it. All I can say is TANSTAAFL (with thanks to Robert Heinlein).
Here’s a trillion dollars put into perspective. And keep in mind these are $100 bills they’re using.
Wired has a technical-but-understandable explanation of the key factor behind the near-collapse of the banking, mortgage, and investment industries.
The linked article lists the major effects that the stimulus bill will have on everyday Americans. There’s some pretty good stuff. Of note:
- Tax credits in 2009 and 2010
- Subsidies for COBRA premiums
- Higher unemployment payments, for a longer period of time, with less tax
- New vehicle taxes are deductible
Back in 1961, astronaut Gus Grissom took two rolls of dimes into orbit on the Liberty Bell 7 spaceflight. Upon returning to Earth, Grissom’s capsule sank in deep ocean waters and he was forced to leave the coins behind. The capsule was retrieved in 1999, and the dimes now reside in a space museum.
It’s Y2K all over again! The National Debt Clock no longer has enough digits to accurately display the US national debt. They’ve got a temporary workaround, but we’ll have to wait until next year for a new clock with two additional digits. (God forbid the national debt should ever reach $1 quadrillion in my lifetime…)
Back on Monday, September 8th (yes, the Chad’s News submission queue is getting a bit long) United Airlines stock lost 75% of its value, or $1.14 billion, and its trading was temporarily halted. It all turned out to be a misunderstanding, and by the end of the day the stock had mostly rebounded to its previous price. There’s been a lot of finger-pointing and inconsistent announcements, but here’s the best take on what happened:
- Nobody is sure why, but the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s website republished a six-year old Chicago Tribune story about United’s 2002 bankruptcy filing. The article showed up in the current news section with only the current date (Sep. 7th) on the page.
- The automated Google web crawler picked up the story and, because of the incorrect date, classified it as current news.
- A financial industry worker did a Google search on bankruptcies and encountered the outdated story. Despite claims that information in the article “would clearly lead a reader to the conclusion that it was related to events in 2002,” this worker distributed an alert through the Bloomberg News Service.
- Traders received the alert and cried “Sell! Sell! Sell!”
So the headline of this article isn’t completely accurate, but in the confusion following the event Google was one of the parties being blamed.