Thanks to the passage of the CARES Act, many Americans can expect a $1,200 check (or slightly less, depending on your income last year). The Internal Revenue Service is responsible for making these payments, either by mail or through direct deposit. If you filed your taxes last year and opted for a direct deposit option for your refund, you can expect to receive your stimulus check that way. If you opted to have your refund mailed to you, that's how you'll receive your check (likely much later than those who opted for direct deposit). Of course, making sure that every eligible tax payer receives this check is a very large task, and experts have warned that the IRS' antiquated system may struggle to handle the task.
If you aren't sure about the status of your relief check, you can use this tool to check. Unfortunately, over the weekend, many people found themselves unable to access their payment status through the tool. When these people entered their information through the portal, they were met with a "Payment Status Not Available" error.
While it's possible that you're receiving this error message because you aren't eligible for the relief check, there are several more reasons you may be receiving it. Luckily, the IRS updated their FAQ's with more information on the subject.
According to Forbes, a likely reason for receiving the error message is simply that the IRS hasn't finished processing your information: "In other words, they don't know your status because they haven't fully processed your information. If you recently filed a tax return for 2019 or used their Non-Filer form to give them your banking information, they just haven't processed that new information yet. It also doesn't include information for those who receive benefits through Social Security or Veterans Affairs."
Regardless of the reason for the error message, all you can do it continue to check the portal once a day for updates.
When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.