What the experts say
Millennials, meet the stock market
“Millennials are making a costly investment mistake,” said Riley Griffin in Bloomberg.com. Right now almost 1 in 3 are using cash instruments like savings accounts to house their long-term investments, according to market researchers. More than 1 in 5 Millennials are earning less than 1 percent interest on their savings, while 19 percent are not earning anything at all—and even more of them simply don’t know the interest rate on their accounts. With most Millennials’ savings accounts earning less than 2 percent interest, they are “losing buying power” to inflation. Experts say the generation was “frightened out of the stock market” in the wake of the financial crisis. But to improve their long-term financial picture, they will need to become comfortable investing in stocks.
Changes to the ‘kiddie tax’
“Parents and grandparents, beware: The latest version of America’s ‘kiddie tax’ will sharply raise the cost of giving in some cases,” said Laura Sanders in The Wall Street Journal. The levy on a child’s unearned income was designed to keep wealthy taxpayers from shifting assets to their children; it now applies to those under 24 who are full-time students and not self-supporting. According to the IRS, 343,000 children forked out a total $1 billion in kiddie tax in 2015. Last year’s overhaul simplifies their calculations, especially for families with several kids subject to the tax. But it can mean children get taxed at higher rates on some income. So before making gifts to young people, “generous parents, grandparents, and others” should carefully study the income-tax impact.
Cancel those subscriptions
“Your Netflix habit costs more than you think,” said Jessica Dickler in CNBC.com. Americans, including some dropping traditional cable and satellite services, have added a big menu of subscriptions to their monthly outlay. That frequently includes Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify, plus an annual payment for Amazon Prime. Yet most of us underestimate what we fork out each month for all that. “On average, consumers spend more than twice as much as they think they do.” In one study, consumers estimated they spent $111 a month on subscription services, but the figure was actually $237. Try to conduct an inventory of these costs and determine what you’re being charged. Saving $100 a month on subscriptions and investing the money instead can leave you with $17,308 after 10 years.