As many people make their New Year’s resolutions going into 2016, getting in financial shape is a popular one. So NerdWallet turned to the chief executives at some of the most prominent robo-advisors to get their best ideas for saving money and achieving financial success. Jon Stein of Betterment’s advice is to invest in experiences or in education. Adam Nash of Wealthfront recommends saving year-end bonuses or annual raises, rather than spending it. Bill Harris of Personal Capital advocates diversification. “Stocks that may be hot right now won’t stay that way forever, so it’s important to hedge your bets and maintain a diversified portfolio that isn’t dependent on the whims of a single group or industry,” he said.
Morningstar's Director of Economic Analysis Robert Johnson takes a quick look at just how overly optimistic most of the consensus economic estimates were for the year. At the end of 2014, the consensus on GDP growth was an optimistic 2.9 percent for the 2015; it's going to be 2.2 to 2.4 percent. The biggest miss was on interest rates; the Fed funds rate was supposed to be at 1 percent, now it looks to close out the year around .35 percent. Oil prices, which economists predicted would be $70 a barrel by the end of 2015, are still hovering under $40. The only area where economists were more pessimistic than reality? Housing prices, which have climbed 5 percent this year, compared to the predicted 3.5 percent, largely because of lower than expected housing starts limiting supply. Economists are now calling for 2.6 percent annual economic growth in 2016, which maybe should be taken with the proverbial pinch of sodium chloride.
The Securities and Exchange Commission amended a complaint it made last week regarding an elaborate pump-and-dump scheme to include fraud charges against a Las Vegas financial advisor. The agency claims Donald Toomer bought shares of three microcop stocks in client accounts in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash kickbacks. The original complaint accused a New Jersey man, Samuel DelPresto, of enticing investors to pay inflated prices for four companies he controlled before dumping his shares on the market and pocketing $13 million. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey is also filing criminal charges against Toomer and DelPresto.
Anyone who owes the federal government more than $50,000 in taxes better not have any plans of leaving the country anytime soon. As part of the FAST Act, signed into law earlier this month, the IRS and Treasury Department have the autority to revoke someone's passport if they owe more than $50,000 in taxes. The $50,000 threshold triggers what the law calls "seriously delinquent tax debt," according to CNBC, the kind that might tempt some unscrupulous citizens to take a permenant vacation.