May 1, 2020

More Coronavirus Relief, Plus Beefed-Up Security for Technology, the Elderly, and Children Born to U.S. Citizens Serving Overseas

Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (HR 748) – This legislation provided $2 trillion of stimulus relief in response to the coronavirus crisis. Provisions of the bill include: $1,200 for each American making up to $75,000 a year Additional $600 a week in unemployment benefits for up to four months $100 billion available for hospitals and health providers; increase Medicare reimbursements for treating COVID-19 $750 million for food banks and food assistance to American Indian reservations, Puerto Rico and other territories $500 billion in loans or investments to businesses, states, and municipalities $32 billion in grants to the airline industry Relief for homeowners with federally backed mortgages Delay for student loan payments This bipartisan bill was signed into law […]
May 1, 2020

Heightened Hacking as Corona Pandemic Worsens; How to Avoid Being a Victim

Since the escalation of COVID-19 cases, malicious activity from cybercriminals is also on the rise. Hackers are taking advantage of the coronavirus fear to carry out attacks. This is done by creating websites that claim to have cures for the virus or by spreading emails that contain links to malware. Consider this research by Check Point, where they found an increase in coronavirus domain name registration. Most of these scam websites allege to be selling vaccines against the virus. At the beginning of this year, one of the reported cases was the Emotet malware that was used in a coronavirus-themed campaign in Japan. Phishing victims received an email purporting to report locations where the infection was spreading. Because the email […]
May 1, 2020

Six Industries Hiring During the Shutdown

During the government shutdown as a result of COVID-19, sadly, millions have lost their jobs. However, there is a silver lining: there are some industries that, because of the shutdown, are actually hiring. Here are a few leads to help those who might have been affected. Shipping and Delivery This industry is hiring at what seems like warp speed. It’s reported that Amazon has created 100,000 jobs, specifically for fulfillment and delivery. UPS is hiring, as are courier services. Search “courier services hiring near me” to find opportunities. You might be surprised by what you find. National Retailers In addition to Amazon, there are other giants that are hiring, including CVS, Kroger, and Walmart. See the entire list here. The […]
May 1, 2020

Prospects for Investing in the 2020s

The third decade of the 21st century started out with a vigorous economy, record low unemployment levels, and benign inflation. But late in the first quarter over the span of two weeks, investors faced the fastest stock market correction in history. With an unpredictable assailant like a global virus, short-term actions by Congress and the Federal Reserve will need time to see if they are effective. Ultimately, the fate of the U.S. and global economies, which in turn will impact the investment markets, is dependent on how long the COVID-19 outbreak continues and if there is a second wave. Clearly, both supply and demand have been dramatically reduced, with a ripple effect on companies, workers, consumers, and investors. Once the […]
May 1, 2020

How Will U.S. Employment Figures, Coronavirus Impact Job Markets?

With the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) signed into law by President Trump on March 27, this set into motion major initiatives by the U.S. government in response to the coronavirus’ economic impact. This Act provides $2 trillion in financial aid to the nation, in big part to soften the impact of the coronavirus’ hit to the country’s unemployment numbers. For the week ending April 11, seasonally adjusted jobless claims came in at 5,245,000, a drop of 1,370,000 from the April 9 revised level of 6,615,000, according to an April 16 news release from the U.S. Department of Labor. For the week ending April 18, seasonally adjusted initial claims were reported at 4,427,000, or 810,000 fewer than […]
May 1, 2020

Understanding the High-Low Method

When it comes to cost accounting, the high-low method is an approach that’s used to break mixed costs into either a variable or fixed cost. Although it’s straightforward, it’s important to do multiple analyses because outlier costs from the available data can sometimes misconstrue operating costs. This calculation occurs by looking at the periods with the most and least activity, as well as the total costs for both the high and low periods. In order to get results for the high-low method, the variable cost and the fixed cost must be determined first. Once these are established, they are entered into the cost model formula. Variable Cost is determined as follows: VC = Highest Activity Cost – Lowest Activity Cost […]
May 1, 2020

Be Right About Free Money: Potential Legal Risks of the Paycheck Protection Loan Program

One of the most important provisions of the CARES Act for small businesses is called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP is a $349 billion program designed to assist small businesses (fewer than 500 employees) facing financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic through specifically structured loans. The loan program offers funding to cover payroll for up to eight weeks, with the intent of stemming from unemployment. These loans can be forgiven and essentially become a grant if your business meets certain criteria with no need to repay the money. As the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch – or in this case, free government money. There are potential legal risks that […]
April 1, 2020

Focused Almost Exclusively on Mitigating the Health and Economic Impact of the Coronavirus

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (HR 6074) – Introduced by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), this was the first bill passed to authorize funding in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It was introduced on March 4 and signed into law on March 6. The legislation provides $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. It includes appropriations for the Department of Health and Human Services, the State Department and the Small Business Administration for the development, manufacture and procurement of vaccines and other medical supplies; grants for state, local and tribal public health agencies and organizations; loans for affected small businesses; evacuations and emergency preparedness activities at U.S. embassies and other State […]
April 1, 2020

New to Remote Working? Here are Some Tips for Staying Productive

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a rise in remote working. Even organizations that have always been against it have their employees working from home. With some areas experiencing complete lockdowns, this means you find yourself in an unfamiliar work environment. Remote working means that you have to work outside a traditional office environment. Although some people already have experience working remotely, there are a good number of workers who might have a hard time getting anything done from home. This is particularly true for those  with a family that includes young children. But with the current epidemic, many don’t have much choice other than to agree with the concept that work doesn’t have to be done in a specific place […]
April 1, 2020

6 Financial Tips for an Emergency

The effect of the coronavirus on our lives is unprecedented. While we’re all sheltering in place while trying to manage our daily tasks, it’s undoubtedly taking a toll on us mentally, physically and financially. Here are some tips to help you weather this storm of economic uncertainty. Get Started on Being Liquid Experts suggest having three to six months of savings on hand. However, this might not be realistic for some. Don’t despair: start saving now. If your employer pays you via direct deposit, ask if they’ll deposit a percentage into your savings. If that’s not an option, have your bank withdraw a portion and deposit into your savings on payday. This way, putting aside money for a crisis will […]
April 1, 2020

The Economic Impact of Coronavirus

In the days ahead, the COVID-19 pandemic will likely be described in economic terms as a Black Swan. This phrase is used to describe an event that: 1) was unpredictable; 2) causes severe and widespread consequences; and 3) in hindsight was determined to be wholly predictable. What will be interesting going forward is how much the virus, and its impact on the economy and financial markets, ultimately affects individual portfolios. It’s worth noting that many economists spent the whole of 2019 cautioning that a recession and market correction was imminent. To what extent investors took heed and repositioned their portfolios is yet to be seen. As predicted, the Federal Reserve might have already exhausted the tools it had available to […]
April 1, 2020

Understanding the Oil War between Russia and Saudi Arabia

Over the past six years, domestic crude oil has experienced a volatile ride. 2014 saw the emergence of American shale as producers were attracted to the $114 price levels. However, in 2016 the price for a barrel eventually fell to $27 as a global supply glut developed. 2016 also saw Russia and Saudi Arabia form an oil pact that drew together Russia and OPEC, leading to the so-called OPEC+ to navigate the global oil market. This agreement would eventually culminate into the current crude oil tensions that exist between Saudi Arabia and Russia. Through the early 2000s – up until the financial crisis of 2008 – increasing global demand accounted for the rising price per barrel of oil. After reaching […]
April 1, 2020

CARES Act – Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

U.S. Government Provides Relief to Individuals, Businesses in Midst of COVID-19 Crisis On March 27, President Donald Trump signed into law a historic $2 trillion stimulus package designed to provide economic relief to individuals and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Our aim in this alert is to give a brief overview of both the tax and non-tax provisions of the government’s new stimulus legislation, including what type of assistance is available for individuals and businesses, how to apply for it, and what to do if you become unemployed. The summary is divided into two sections, one for individuals and one for businesses. Individual Provisions Stimulus Payments: Amounts and Eligibility Most adults will receive $1,200; each qualifying child under 16 […]
April 1, 2020

Should You File an Amended 2018 Return?

During the holiday season in December, Congress passed the Consolidated Budget Appropriations Act of 2020. Included in this Act was a tax package that renewed more than 24 tax provisions through what are known as extenders. An extender makes a tax provision effective retroactively. Some of the extender provisions are rather esoteric, so we’ll only focus on those most applicable to the broader taxpayer base. Extenders in More Detail Among the widely applicable extender provisions, there are the following. It’s best to check with your tax professional to see which of the more than two dozen extenders may apply to your personal situation. Deducting PMI (private mortgage insurance) if you itemize The delusionality of some types of tuition and fees […]
March 1, 2020

Supporting Veteran Careers, Protecting the Food Supply, and Reducing Wasted Government Spending

Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act (S 153) – This bill encourages veterans to participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields in a variety of ways, including making veterans eligible for certain National Science Foundation (NSF) programs. The Act directs the Office of Science and Technology Policy to establish an interagency working group to improve veteran and military spouse representation in STEM fields, and authorizes funding for the Government Accountability Office to study 1) the academic success rates of student veterans pursuing an undergraduate degree in STEM and related fields; and 2) the barriers faced by such students in pursuing such degrees. This legislation was sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (D-FL) on Jan. 16, 2019. It was passed […]
March 1, 2020

6506148 B2 Patent: Nervous System Manipulation – Is it Real or Just Paranoia?

Imagine someone manipulating how you feel. Of course, no one wants that. But how about being manipulated unknowingly? This is exactly what is happening to your nervous system every time you switch on your TV or computer. Well, at least according to the 6506148 B2 Patent. The patent named “Nervous System Manipulation By Electromagnetic Fields From Monitors” was filed in 2001 and published in 2003. The patent was filed by one Hendricus G. Loss (perceived to be a fictitious person as no information about who he really is can be traced). Is it Worth Any Attention? We already know that the content displayed on TVs or even on the internet is created in such a way as to influence decisions, […]
March 1, 2020

7 Ways to Avoid Investment Fraud

These days, you can’t be too careful when it comes to investments. And if you’re older, you’re a prime target for fraudsters. That said, anyone of any age is vulnerable. Here are a few key things to keep in mind when you’re considering investing.       Ask Lots of Questions Of course, you’re going to ask questions, but make sure you ask the right ones. Is the product registered with the SEC or state securities agencies? What are the fees? How does the company make money? What things might affect the value of the investment? Are my investment goals aligned with the investment? How liquid is this investment? For more ideas about what questions to ask, check out this comprehensive […]
March 1, 2020

SECURE Act Seeks to Help Americans Save More for the Golden Years

At the end of 2019, Congress passed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act as part of a year-end appropriations package. This bill is designed to address specific issues related to retirement savings plans in an effort to help Americans save more for retirement. Retirement Plan Contributions People are living longer, and a decrease in employer-sponsored pensions has resulted in retirees relying more on Social Security benefits than in the past. So first, the SECURE Act eliminated the age limit on traditional IRA contributions so that people who work into their 70s and beyond may continue to contribute to the traditional IRA up to the annual limit. In 2020, the limit for all IRAs – traditional and […]
March 1, 2020

Coronavirus: Black Swan or Buying Opportunity?

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the spread of the coronavirus will impact the world’s economy. Whether it’s a Reuter’s poll from economic experts projecting growth in China slowing to 4.5 percent in Q1 of 2020, in contrast to China’s Q4 GDP of 6 percent; or the International Energy Agency (IEA) saying world desire for oil will be lower due to the coronavirus; or global companies reducing or temporarily closing their Chinese factories, change is on its way. Based on this data, what does the global economic outlook entail? In order to understand how the coronavirus might impact global economies, it’s important to put this in context of other global events. Based on a February 2020 Monetary Policy Report […]
March 1, 2020

4 Common Liquidity Ratios in Accounting

One way a business can manage its books and viability in the near and long terms is to see how liquid its assets are. Businesses that have better cash positions are naturally geared toward sustaining continued success. One important reason for a business to measure and maintain healthy levels of liquidity is because it promotes better odds that a company will be able to satisfy its short-term debts. There are many ways business can accomplish this, and below are four common ways it can be done.   Current Ratio One of the few liquidity ratios is what’s known as the current ratio. It’s a way to determine how well a company can pay back its debts. The current ratio is […]
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