A new report from the Consumer Federation of America asserts that some large insurance companies are often charging higher auto insurance premiums for those with lower income, even if they have a clean driving record.
Low-income consumers pay more for auto insurance
“We were finding that low-income people with low-income jobs and less education were being charged more than even people with auto accidents that have higher income jobs and more education,” said J. Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America.
The Consumer Federation of America is a nonprofit consumer advocacy group. Its report finds that larger insurance companies [...]
Book lovers may lament the public’s shift toward digital formats for their reading pleasure. But the writing on the wall is clear. Barnes & Noble, the world’s largest bookseller, says it will close as many as a third of its stores in the upcoming ten years.
Barnes & Noble growth rate in decline
At the end of 2012, Barnes & Noble had 689 brick-and-mortar stores and 674 college stores across the United States. But its CEO Mitchell Klipper told the Wall Street Journal that it expects to have only 450 to 500 stores by the end of 2022.
That decline assumes an annual [...]
One town in New Jersey is trying a little economic stimulus of its own. The residents of Marlboro can now get a break on their property tax bill if they infuse the township’s economy by spending locally.
Spending locally feed local economy
A local economy is like the national one in that it is fed by consumer spending. The mayor or Marlboro, N.J., Jonathan Hornik, knows that full well. “The only way we help the local economy is if we spend our local tax dollars,” Hornik told reporters.
“Every local elected official has to do their part to help us get out of [...]
More bank branch offices closed than opened last year, says an annual report from the research firm SNL Financial. It was the largest number of closures in any year since the firm began keeping track back in 2005.
More than 1,000 bank branch offices close
A total of 2,267 bank branches were shuttered in 2012, while 1,149 were opened, for an aggregate total of 1,118 bank branches closing nationwide.
More regulation and more customers going online
One reason for the trend is as a cost-cutting measure in the wake of stepped-up regulations from federal regulators.
“All the costs of regulation are pressing on banking as [...]
Unemployment is high in America, and has been for several years, with the rate stubbornly resistant to increase. There may be more behind that, however, than the recession, the subsequent economic downturn, job outsourcing and the policies of this or the previous administration. A new report suggests that, as technology gains ground, so middle class jobs for human beings decrease.
Middle class jobs killed by technology
The AP report, the first in a three part series on the dwindling middle class, asserts that an increasing number of jobs are being replaced by robots and computers. Most of those jobs will never come [...]
Valentine’s Day is coming up so I checked out the movie releases coming out on February 14 to see what Hollywood is targeting lovers with this year. What I found was a whole lot of testosterone.
Romantic movie releases?
In the past, when I was younger (weren’t we all?) it seemed to me there were plenty of movies in theaters on February 14, courting the romance ticket buyer. Generally, these were movies that, any other day of the year, would be pitched to female audiences. Guys didn’t look forward to seeing the “chick flick,” but they were pleased with themselves for showing [...]
Lowes has good news for job-seekers across the nation, as well as for the state of the country’s housing recovery. It will be adding 45,000 seasonal workers to its payroll this spring. Another 9,000 permanent part-time associate positions will also be added to its retail stores across the nation in the coming months.
Lowes hires as construction picks up
The hiring, says the Detroit Free Press, suggests that rising new housing construction and renovations are creating jobs across the United States.
Temporary and permanent hires added
The retailer, based in Mooresville, N.C., said on January 22 that those new seasonal hires will work an average [...]
People who are old enough remember the impact Atari had in the neophyte days of video game development. Many, however, will be surprised that the company is still in business. The U.S. arm of the company has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to separate from its parent company in France. That parent is likewise making a similar move it its country.
Atari cutting edge in 1980s
Those who were coming of age in the 1980s no doubt remember playing Asteroids, Centipede and that ancestor of all video games, the frustratingly dull Pong. Atari launched its Video Computer System, a.k.a. the Atari [...]
The IRS says it will not start processing tax returns until January 30. That could lead to delays in refunds. Until then, you should also be receiving your W-2(s) from your employer(s) before the end of the month. The numbers on that form will determine if your get money back this year, or if you will owe the IRS.
The Big Three boxes on your W-2
There are three important boxes on the form that determine whether you will receive or pay money this year.
Box 1 – Total wages, tips and other compensations. This is all the money you earned from your [...]
Thanks to new laws mandating federal and state prisons to share inmate information, the Internal revenue Service is detecting more and more cases of inmate tax fraud schemes. The IRS has released a new report, showing that the number of cases being detected is on the rise.
Inmate tax fraud on the rise?
In 2010 the IRS stopped around 91,000 prison inmates from claiming $758 million in bogus refunds, according to CNN. That was more than double the number of cases seen in 2009. In 2012, the IRS blocked more than 173,000 fraudulent filings for refunds worth $2.5 billion combined.
It is difficult [...]
A new study says that more than a quarter of Americans with 401(k)s and other retirement accounts are dipping into those accounts before retirement to make ends meet.
More raiding retirement accounts than ever before
According to a new study from the financial advisory firm HelloWallet, more than $70 billion is drawn out of retirement accounts each year in cash or loans to pay for non-retirement needs. People in their 40s are the worst violators, with nearly a third raiding their retirement accounts for daily expenses.
The Financial services firm Vanguard also reports that the number of people taking loans or drawing funds [...]
Medical science, in which we all have invested as a nation and as taxpayers, is seeing the fruit of its labors as the cancer death rate continues to decline in the United States. Others, however, dispute the conclusions of a new report.
Cancer death rate declining for two decades
The “Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer” from the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society and other groups has been released. It found a slight decline in the death rates for most types of cancer, a trend that has been continuing since the early 1990s. However, the number [...]
Taxpayers who want to claim deductions for their home offices — a move that is notorious for raising red flags with the The Internal Revenue Service — will find an easier go of it under the revised tax code for 2013.
Home office deduction made easier
The IRS said Tuesday, January 15, that it will be simplifying the process for entrepreneurs and small business to deduct rooms in their homes as a place of business this year.
In 2010, the most recent years statistics are available for, 3.4 million Americans claimed deductions for home offices, according to the IRS.
Section 280A of the tax [...]
The consumer price index remained unchanged in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly report. The CPI seeks to measure inflation as it relates to consumers. Inflation rose by the same 0.1 percent seen in the previous month.
Consumer Price Index sames as in November
The Labor Department‘s report, released Wednesday January 16, showed that food prices increased by 0.2 percent last month. Rents and airfare also increased. But those increases were countered by lower gas prices, which fell a seasonally adjusted 2.3 percent. December’s CPI is identical to the growth seen in November.
Inflation decreased somewhat over the year. Consumer [...]
Tipping has become more of a touchy issue in recent years because of the economic downturn and snail-slow recovery. How much are you expected to tip? Have higher prices and stagnant wages made tips a lesser priority than in the past? Here are some tipping rules and suggestions.
Tipping and stiffing
As reported in Detroit News, one diner in California recently stiffed a waiter, leaving a card instead of a tip. On the card the deadbeat wrote, “I must cut back on discretionary spending and gratuities. I wish it didn’t have to be this way for both of us.”
Workers depend on tips