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Digital Strategies Help Small Businesses Compete

(NewsUSA) - Now more than ever, building relationships is important to small businesses so they can compete in the global marketplace.

  • icon Posted: May 21

Pet Central

pets

Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>

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Fitness

Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>

Crosswords

Crosswords

Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>

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Sudoku

Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>




Pet Central

pets

Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>

Fitness

Fitness

Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>

Crosswords

Crosswords

Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>

Sudoku

Sudoku

Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>




Recent Headlines

Tuesday 05/19/2020
Survey Reveals Many Americans Inspired to Give More to Charity Than Last Year [Video]
Posted: May 19, 2020

How to save for retirement and pay for college at the same time
Updated: May 25, 2020 - 2:32 am

Wednesday 05/13/2020
Safeguarding Inactive Vehicles [Infographic]
Updated: May 25, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - There may be times when you are less likely to have your car on the road, whether that means it is sitting in your garage or stored in a facility. Even if you aren't using your vehicle for an extended period of time, there are still financial and physical aspects to taking care of your car. With a little bit of maintenance, you'll be able to save on costly repair bills while also boosting your vehicle's resale value.

4 Steps to Create a Household Budget with Staying Power
Posted: May 13, 2020

(StatePoint) These uncertain times are forcing more people to reexamine finances and rewrite their household budgets. According to the Pew Research Center in a survey conducted soon after the COVID-19 crisis began, 33% of Americans either lost their jobs or suffered a pay cut or reduction in work hours. Plus, 49% said the outbreak is a major threat to their personal finances.

Tuesday 05/12/2020
7 ways to bank remotely during COVID-19 [Infographic]
Posted: May 12, 2020

(BPT) - Mobile banking helps you manage your finances without having to leave home. Many mobile banking apps can help you do everything from depositing checks, to paying bills or sending money, all without visiting a branch or ATM.

What to do if you’re losing insurance through job loss
Updated: May 25, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - During these difficult times, millions of Americans have been furloughed, laid off, or may yet lose employment due to the pandemic. And because insurance is tied to employment for a vast majority of workers, this can mean facing the loss of insurance coverage as well as your income.

Friday 05/08/2020
Ticket To Work Helped Matt Build His Future
Updated: May 10, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NAPSI)—It may be easier for people with disabilities to achieve financial independence than they realize with Social Security’s free and voluntary Ticket to Work (Ticket) program.  Adults ages 18 through 64 who receive who Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) due to a disability qualify.  The program connects eligible individuals with Ticket program service providers—Employment Networks (EN) or State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies—that can help with career counseling and job search assistance. Some can also help people understand how work will affect their benefits.

For example, Matt, who received SSDI due to hearing loss and other medical issues, was ready to explore work. He connected with an EN and created an employment goal of finding a job in the human services field and a plan to achieve it. Because he needed a sign language interpreter to work, Matt was uncertain about his prospects. If he asked an employer for things other candidates didn’t need, would it hurt his chances? In addition, the thought of losing his benefits worried him. What would happen if his disability interfered with work? Matt’s EN put his concerns to rest.

His EN told him about his right under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to request that an employer provide reasonable accommodations. These are adjustments that make it possible for a qualified employee with a disability to perform a job. Matt was reassured that good employers would comply with the ADA.

Next, Matt learned about Social Security’s Work Incentives. These rules and programs make it easier for ­people to work by allowing them to maintain their benefits as they start working. Matt was relieved that he would not immediately lose his SSDI or Medicare when he began working. He’d have time to see how employment would work for him.

With many of his concerns addressed, Matt pursued his goal and started working as a Human Resources Assistant. “I am in a supportive environment and position that [are right] for me,” he said, “...now I can afford things I could not have before.”

Matt’s work gives him the stability to build the future he wants. In 2019, he purchased a home, an achievement that seemed so remote years ago. Ticket to Work made it possible. Matt made it happen. 

This could be the year to find out what’s possible for you. To learn more, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET or visit https://choosework.ssa.gov

 

Monday 05/04/2020
Finances During A Pandemic
Posted: May 04, 2020

(NewsUSA) - Sponsored Content -Now that the initial shock of the pandemic has started to wear off, it's time to take a step back and really start planning. Everyone is living through an unprecedented time. The uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic is enough to rattle even the strictest saver. Things may feel that they are all out of your control, so focus on what you can control. First things first. Listen to healthcare professionals and follow guidelines to protect yourself and others. If you are financially impacted by Covid-19 for any reason, there are steps you can take to help minimize that impact.

Saturday 04/25/2020
Learning at Home: 5 Tips for Teaching Children Financial Literacy
Posted: April 25, 2020

(StatePoint) If you have school-age children, you are probably one of the many parents facing the challenge of educating your kids at home. While there are countless learning options available—from virtual music classes to videos about zoo animals—financial literacy is one important subject that should not be overlooked.

Thursday 04/23/2020
Companies and Community Seek to Help Furloughed Workers
Posted: April 23, 2020

(NewsUSA) - Sponsored News - The coronavirus has spread throughout the United States like wildfire. Workers are being furloughed, resulting in almost 17 million unemployment claims between March 15th and April 4th.

How to Make the CARES Act Part of Your Financial Plan
Posted: April 23, 2020

(StatePoint) For many Americans, the current state of the economy is creating real financial challenges and concerns. However, the federal government’s recently enacted CARES Act is intended to provide some financial relief to families and business owners who may be struggling to manage their finances, using cash disbursements, expanded unemployment benefits, and different loans and tax credits.

Tuesday 04/21/2020
What to Do if You Have A Vaccine Injury
Updated: May 23, 2020 - 2:30 am

(NewsUSA) - Currently, 16 vaccines are covered under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) in the United States: influenza, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), measles, mumps, rubella, human papillomavirus, meningitis, diphtheria, chicken pox, polio, rotavirus, haemophilus influenzae type b, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and the pneumonia conjugate vaccine.

Monday 04/20/2020
Fraud And Coronavirus
Updated: April 22, 2020 - 2:30 am

(NAPSI)—The warning bells are ringing. From regulators, law enforcement agencies and consumer organizations around the globe, the message is clear: Fraudulent schemes related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have arrived, and they are coming in many forms, from investment fraud to fake CDC emails to phishing scams. 

Job loss, financial strain, and social distancing are conditions that present fraudsters with an opportunity to pounce. A study by the FINRA Foundation, the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, Stanford, and the Federal Trade Commission found that social or physical isolation can increase anyone’s susceptibility to schemes. 

In times like these, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. Now is the time to move slowly, pay attention to details and not make rash decisions. Dramatic news coverage of viral outbreaks and pandemics can be an opportunity for scammers to pump inaccurate information into the marketplace to try to manipulate markets and investors. Following these hints can help you keep your money and personal information safe: 

Tips for Avoiding Coronavirus Scams

 

1.Ask and Check. Before you make any investment decision, ask and check to verify information about any individuals you are dealing with and any investment product you are considering. You can use FINRA BrokerCheck, a free online tool, to get information on brokers and investment advisers. 

2.Be skeptical. If an unknown company becomes the subject of press releases, emails, and promotional materials hyping the company and its products to cure the latest pandemic, hit pause. Be wary if you are flooded with information over a short time, especially if the communications only focus on the upside with little or no mention of risk.

3.Read a company’s SEC filings.  Check the SEC’s EDGAR database to find out whether the company files with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Verify these reports against promotional information put out by the company or third-party promoters. Exercise caution if they don’t align. And be suspicious of solicitations to invest when products are still in the development stage, where no actual products are on the market, or if the company’s balance sheets only show losses.

4.Question companies new to the “cure” market. Changes to the name or business focus of a company to capitalize on pandemic fears may be a sign that a company is engaged in, or the subject of, a potential fraud. These changes can turn up in company press releases, Internet searches and, if the company files periodic reports, in the SEC’s EDGAR database.

5.Run it through the Scam Meter. Before you make any investment decision, the FINRA Scam Meter can help you tell if an investment you are thinking about might be a scam.

Reliable Resources on Scams and Coronavirus

 

Fortunately, there are a number of resources that provide accurate, unbiased information to help you spot and avoid coronavirus-related scams:

•FINRA

•Securities and Exchange Commission  

•Federal Trade Commission 

•Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 

•Better Business Bureau.

Learn More

For further ideas on how to protect your money, or to file a complaint or a tip, visit www.FINRA.org/LearnMore.

 

Saturday 04/18/2020
6 Steps to Get Your CARES Act Funds Fast
Posted: April 18, 2020

(StatePoint) Millions of U.S. residents will receive government stimulus payments (also known as Economic Impact Payments) under the CARES Act. Payments to eligible recipients will arrive by either direct deposit or a paper check.

What You Need to Know About Filing Your 2019 Taxes
Posted: April 18, 2020

(StatePoint) Spring is the season of warmer weather and blossoming flowers, but it is also – usually -- the season of taxes. Tax Day is typically April 15, but the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently extended the deadline for filing and paying your 2019 federal income taxes to July 15, 2020.

Tuesday 04/14/2020
How to Get Wages to Your Workers Immediately
Updated: April 16, 2020 - 2:30 am

(NAPSI)—Amid the economic fallout stemming from the COVID-19 crisis, many lower-income and hourly workers need access to their earned wages immediately, versus waiting the traditional two-week pay cycle. PayActiv, the leading provider of employee earned wage and tip access, has been committed to solving this problem since 2013, and today has waived its access fees until further notice to help employers compensate their workers on-demand. 

More than 1,000 employers across healthcare, retail, food services, and business processing services have signed up for the PayActiv financial wellness platform to manage their cashflow challenges and cut costs, while lifting employee morale for the more than two million workers already enrolled. The PayActiv platform helps essential workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis in America’s hospital systems, senior living centers, and recovery clinics. The workers get timely access to their wages and tips, the ability to purchase supplies, and a means to avoid overdraft fees, late fees or payday loans. Payout is immediate on the PayActiv prepaid card and other debit cards. Additional options include direct deposit, cash pick up, and more. Employees can also pay bills within the app or order an Uber® from the app using earned-but-unpaid wages.

In a sign of how dire the COVID-19 crisis is for many workers, a recent PayActiv survey found that 82% of workers said their greatest concern is their finances, 60% have no sick leave, and 58% have seen their expenses rise since the outbreak. Even before the crisis, studies found that 78% of U.S. workers live paycheck-to-paycheck. This problem is compounded by many workers now facing new medical costs. PayActiv has seen workers enroll in its services at a 200% increase week-over-week since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, with much of that increase stemming from the healthcare and delivery industries.

“The ongoing situation isn’t sustainable. People need access to their earned wages without having to wait two weeks,” said Safwan Shah, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of PayActiv. “Our fundamental mission is to get earned wages into the hands of workers when, and how, they need them most.”

PayActiv is a certified B Corp and Public Benefit Corporation, committed to the public good. The company offers a range of other benefits, including prescription discounts, financial counseling, and budgeting advice. PayActiv has recently partnered with Paychex, a leading provider of HR, payroll, benefits, and insurance solutions, to offer $250 to every Paychex business customer that signs up for the PayActiv platform, and with OnShift, a leader in human capital management software for post-acute care and senior living, to provide more than 175,000 healthcare workers with earned wage access. Additional PayActiv clients include Walmart, American Senior Communities, Pizza Hut, and Subway, as well as many small businesses forming the backbone of the U.S. economy. 

Companies or employees wishing to learn more can visit www.PayActiv.com

 

Federal Program Offers Loan Repayment for Primary Care Providers
Updated: May 25, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - The health care system faces many challenges, including the availability of quality care for millions of Americans. While clinicians are struggling to pay off student loan debt, patients in geographically isolated areas, such as rural and underserved communities, have limited access to care and are most in need of obtaining it.

Tips for managing unexpected expenses
Updated: May 25, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - Even when times are good, it’s tough for most people to handle unexpected expenses. According to Forbes, nearly 78% of U.S. workers live from one paycheck to the next, with little or no money set aside for an emergency. But especially during uncertain times, any unexpected occurrence — from a broken appliance to a punctured car tire — can send a family into a downward spiral of debt that just makes the situation worse.

Mortgage Relief and COVID-19 Scams: What You Need to Know
Posted: April 14, 2020

(StatePoint) Unfortunately, during times of hardship, families are often targeted by fraud artists attempting to take advantage of those needing assistance. The COVID-19 crisis is no exception, with many scammers pretending to extend a critical lifeline to struggling homeowners through so-called “foreclosure rescue fraud.”

Friday 04/10/2020
NCOA Website Offers a Treasure Trove of COVID-19 Help for Older Adults
Updated: May 16, 2020 - 2:31 am

(NewsUSA) - The COVID-19 pandemic is generating fear, confusion, and economic uncertainty for many older Americans, especially those living on a fixed income.

Thursday 04/09/2020
Bartering is Back in Coronavirus Economy
Updated: May 07, 2020 - 2:33 am

(NewsUSA) - The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to impact the economy in many ways, one of which has been the surge in popularity of the barter economy.

Wednesday 04/08/2020
In volatile times, understanding your finances is more important than ever
Posted: April 08, 2020

(BPT) - Wild swings in the U.S. stock market marked the past weeks as the nation reeled from the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, oil price wars and trade disputes, causing havoc to Americans’ finances.

Tuesday 04/07/2020
Protecting Your Financial Health in These Uncertain Times
Posted: April 07, 2020

(StatePoint) With expected delays in bill payments, unprecedented layoffs, hiring freezes and related hardships, many Americans are facing new financial challenges.

Monday 04/06/2020
Retirement planning during uncertain times: Lessons for each generation
Updated: May 25, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - By Kelly Greene, TIAA Sr. Director and co-author of The New York Times bestseller The Wall Street Journal Complete Retirement Guidebook

Friday 04/03/2020
Tips to Protect Yourself From COVID-19 Related Scams
Posted: April 03, 2020

(StatePoint) As more Americans take precautions to stay safe from COVID-19, scammers are cooking up new schemes and exploiting every angle to profit off these unusual times -- from offering testing equipment to pretending to have in-demand products.

Friday 03/27/2020
Expert Series: Financial Spring Cleaning: It’s Time to Care for Your Financial Health
Updated: May 25, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - By Cetera Financial Group

Tuesday 03/24/2020
Book Reveals How to Have 300 Percent More Retirement Income
Updated: April 28, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NewsUSA) - In these times of market uncertainty, investors are looking for alternatives, and one company, SmartWealth, has their backs.

Wednesday 03/11/2020
Life insurance isn’t just for older folks — here’s why
Updated: May 25, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - If you are a young professional, you are likely already making financial choices at work and home that critically affect your future. But are you taking advantage of every available opportunity to help protect your assets? Perhaps no aspect of financial planning gets overlooked more than life insurance.

Tuesday 03/10/2020
An IRS Incentive To Save For Retirement
Updated: March 12, 2020 - 2:31 am

(NAPSI)—Saving for retirement can be challenging when juggling competing financial priorities, such as building short-term savings, paying off debt, and just covering basic living expenses. The good news is that the Saver’s Credit—a little-known tax credit made available by the IRS to eligible taxpayers—could reduce your federal income taxes when you save for retirement through a qualified retirement plan, such as a 401(k) plan or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).


The 19th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey found that fewer than four in 10 U.S. workers (38 percent) are aware that the Saver’s Credit exists. “On top of the tax-advantaged treatment of saving for retirement in a 401(k), 403(b) or IRA, the Saver’s Credit is an additional benefit that may reduce a worker’s federal taxes,” says Catherine Collinson, president of nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies®. “Many eligible retirement savers could be confusing these two incentives, simply because the idea of a double tax benefit sounds too good to be true.”


What Is the Saver’s Credit?

It is a non-refundable tax credit for contributions an eligible taxpayer makes to a 401(k), 403(b) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan, a traditional or Roth IRA, or an ABLE account. The maximum credit is $1,000 for single filers or individuals and $2,000 for married couples filing jointly.


Tips for claiming the Saver’s Credit:
1.    Check Your Eligibility
To be eligible, the maximum Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for single filers is $32,000 in 2019 and $32,500 in 2020. For the head of a household, the AGI maximum is $48,000 in 2019 and $48,750 in 2020. For those who are married and file a joint return, the AGI maximum is $64,000 in 2019 and $65,000 in 2020.


You must be 18 years or older by January 1 and cannot be a full-time student or be claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return.


2.    Save for Retirement

To claim the Saver’s Credit for 2019, you must have contributed to a 401(k) or 403(b) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan, a traditional or Roth IRA, or an ABLE account.


Save for retirement in your employer’s retirement plan, if offered, or in an IRA. In general, for every dollar you contribute to a qualified retirement plan or IRA (up to the lesser of the limits permitted by an employer-sponsored plan or the IRS), you defer that amount from your current overall taxable income on your federal tax return—and you may also qualify for the Saver’s Credit. After-tax contributions, such as those made to a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k), are also eligible for the credit, but rollover contributions are not eligible.


You have until April 15, 2020 to make a contribution to an IRA for tax year 2019.


3.    File Your Tax Return and Claim the Saver’s Credit

When you prepare your federal tax returns, you can claim the Saver’s Credit by subtracting this tax credit from your total federal income taxes.


Workers who are eligible to claim the Saver’s Credit are also eligible to take advantage of the IRS Free File program for taxpayers with an AGI of $69,000 or less. Ten commercial software companies make their tax preparation software available through the Free File program at www.irs.gov/FreeFile.


•    If you are using tax preparation software to prepare your tax return, including those programs offered through the IRS Free File program, use Form 1040, Form 1040-SR, or Form 1040-NR. If your software has an interview process, be sure to answer questions about the Saver’s Credit, also referred to as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, or Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions.


•    If you are preparing your tax return manually, complete Form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions, to determine your exact credit rate and amount. Then transfer the amount to the designated line on Schedule 3 (used with Forms 1040 and 1040-SR) or Form 1040-NR.


•    If you are using a professional tax preparer, be sure to ask about the Saver’s Credit.


•    If you receive a refund, consider directly depositing it into an IRA to boost your retirement savings further.


Don’t overlook this important tax credit; it may help reduce what you owe in federal taxes or increase your refund. Help spread the word about the Saver’s Credit by telling family, friends, and colleagues. It may meaningfully impact an individual’s long-term savings, and even inspire non-savers to start saving for ­retirement.


For more details and resources on the Saver’s Credit in English and Spanish, visit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® at www.transamericacenter.org/SaversCredit.


Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® (TCRS) is a division of Transamerica Institute®, a nonprofit, private foundation.

 "The #SaversCredit can reduce your federal #incometax when you save for #retirement through an eligible plan. #IRS #401(k) #IRA #403(b)http://bit.ly/3azCB17"

How to pick a tax professional
Posted: March 10, 2020

(BPT) - Choosing the right tax professional is an important decision. Their expertise could positively or negatively impact your refund, the largest single financial transaction many people have all year. Tax pros review your financial info and have access to your personal data. Unfortunately, not all tax preparers have your best interest in mind. The IRS is even warning people to watch out for unethical “ghost” preparers who are looking to make a fast buck through fraudulent refund claims and direct deposit scams.

Monday 03/09/2020
5 Financial Planning Tips for Women
Posted: March 09, 2020

(StatePoint) The demographics of women have rapidly evolved over the last half-century. Now a prominent component of corporate America and the global business landscape, women are increasingly assuming stewardship of family and business finances.

Friday 03/06/2020
3 Things to Know About 401(k)s in 2020
Posted: March 06, 2020

(StatePoint) Workplace retirement plans, including 401(k)s, 403(b)s and 457 plans, provide an important long-term savings tool for many Americans. About 55 percent of U.S. workers across public and private sectors participated in workplace retirement plans in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Thursday 03/05/2020
Tax preparation services should be transparent to customers
Posted: March 05, 2020

(BPT) - For many Americans, the tax refund represents the most significant financial event of the year, with 86% of Americans saying their tax outcome impacts their financial confidence for the entire year, according to a recent H&R Block survey.

In Honor of Women: Gender Gaps At A Glimpse
Updated: March 09, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NAPSI)—As we honor America’s approximately 169 million women this month, let us keep in mind where progress has been made while also calling out where access to opportunities are still not equal.


While women average fewer earnings than men—and women of color earn even less than that, according to the 2018 American Community Survey, single women own 1.5 million more homes than single men. Women are also seeing more success when it comes to managing their money. According to Fidelity Investments’ ‘Who’s the Better Investor, Men or Women 2017,’ women save more money than men and their investments also earn more money annually.


However, despite these facts, women have typically had less access to tools that promote financial stability. Only one in three women own individual life insurance, according to LIMRA’s ‘Life Insurance Ownership in Focus, U.S. Personal Trends: 2016.’ Women are also 80 percent more likely to be impoverished in retirement (National Institute on Retirement Security  2016).


Companies like Jenny Life are building financial products that help women and families gain equal access to tools promoting financial stability. For more facts and free resources visit www.jennylife.com and download the app on iOS and Google play.

Wednesday 03/04/2020
Survey: Nearly 1 in 3 DIY tax filers admit they need to do a better job at saving money [Video]
Posted: March 04, 2020

Monday 03/02/2020
8 Tips for Avoiding Credit Card Debt
Posted: March 02, 2020

(StatePoint) Americans’ credit card debt totaled $930 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, a $46 billion increase over the third quarter, according to recent data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. At the same time, the proportion of borrowers whose credit card payments were 90 days late or later increased to the highest percentage recorded in almost eight years.

Friday 02/28/2020
Prudential’s impact investment portfolio hits $1 billion milestone
Updated: May 25, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - By Kara Corridan

Seven Myths You May Mistakenly Believe About Long-Term Care
Updated: March 01, 2020 - 3:09 am

(NAPSI)—As you develop your retirement plans and think about how a potential need for long-term care may impact those plans and your loved ones, certain misconceptions may prevent you from taking action.

Poll Finds Illinoisans Support Energy Industry And DAPL Optimization
Updated: March 01, 2020 - 3:07 am

(NAPSI)—On March 5th and 6th the Illinois Commerce Commission will gather to consider the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) Optimization plan to increase crude oil throughput of the pipeline. Safely operating since 2017, Dakota Access has an important footprint in Illinois. Construction of the initial pipeline relied on the skill of Illinois’ labor unions and plans for the optimization also include the use of skilled labor.


With Illinois playing host to the Patoka Oil Terminal, the second-largest pipeline terminal in the Midwest, the state serves as a center point to the region’s energy security and needs. Importantly, Dakota Access Optimization is the type of energy project that has the broad support of Illinoisans across the state.


A recent statewide poll found nearly two-thirds of Illinois residents support optimization of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Nearly 85 percent of residents recognize the important role it plays in contributing millions of dollars in state and local taxes to help fund schools, social services, and other emergency services. The vast majority of residents, 84 percent, believe the pipeline is a safer means of transportation of energy resources compared to the alternatives of truck and rail.


The poll also found broad, bipartisan support for the energy industry across the state. In fact, nearly 9 out of 10 respondents believe the industry plays an important role in the state’s economy. Furthermore, 92 percent of Illinoisans reported it was important the United States produce all of its own energy and become more energy independent. The energy industry already plays an important role in the state with Illinois employing more than 110,000 workers in the energy industry and projects like Dakota Access Optimization can help do more.


If approved, Dakota Access Optimization would install a new pump station along the pipeline’s route in Illinois, without any new mainline construction or added mileage. Pump station construction and operation are built to comply with the same state and federal regulations guiding pipeline infrastructure.


The need for the optimization of the Dakota Access Pipeline was born out of strong and sustained oil production in the Bakken region of North Dakota. With the Dakota Access Pipeline responsible for transporting as much as 40% of daily Bakken production, and production reaching 1.46 million barrels per day in November of 2019.

 
Illinois’ role in the country’s energy security has never been more important with the Patoka Oil Terminal servicing five major crude oil pipelines in the region through its 19 million barrel storage capacity. Outbound crude oil is delivered by pipeline to a number of refineries across the Midwest including Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana. The processing capacity of the Patoka Oil Terminal is an integral part of the U.S. energy mix; however, short-sighted opponents continue to fight the proposed project.


Unfortunately, many of those opposed form some of the same groups that fueled the months-long Dakota Access Pipeline protests in 2016 and 2017 – protests that left taxpayers on the hook for nearly $40 million in damages. These same opponents have encouraged followers to upend public hearings and pester policymakers without the facts in hand. In light of the recent poll showing broad support for the Dakota Access Pipeline and the state’s energy industry, it is clear these opponents are in the vocal minority.   


Record production in the Bakken and key infrastructure such as the Dakota Access Pipeline have been leaders in the country’s remarkable energy resurgence. Optimizing the Dakota Access Pipeline seizes the moment to add critical capacity to an important energy lifeline. Most importantly, the proposed project prioritizes safety and efficiency while supporting jobs, bolstering the nation’s energy security, and promoting new economic opportunities for Illinois.


Stevens is a former senior advisor to U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman and the spokesman for Grow America’s Infrastructure Now (GAIN).

Wednesday 02/26/2020
Ten Great Gigs For Boomers
Updated: February 28, 2020 - 2:51 am

(NAPS)—For Baby Boomers looking to keep active, supplement their income, meet people and learn new things, the gig economy is a major boon. What’s more, many of these jobs can be done remotely.

Monday 02/24/2020
Retirement experts share 6 steps to help you make saving a priority
Posted: February 24, 2020

(BPT) - If you’re like most people, you worry about finances. In fact, nearly six in 10 American workers say that financial matters are the source of more stress than anything else in their lives. The best way to reduce this worry and gain confidence in your financial future is by taking proactive steps today.

Thursday 02/20/2020
Evaluating Your Debt
Updated: April 09, 2020 - 2:30 am

(NewsUSA) - Sponsored Content -Debt is a burden that the majority of adult Americans carry. Per CNBC, the average American carried $38,000 in debt in 2018, not including mortgages.

2020 Is A Year for Savings - 8 in 10 People Plan to Save More
Updated: March 28, 2020 - 2:31 am

(NewsUSA) - Most Americans don't have $400 saved to cover for an unexpected emergency, but a recent poll from Chase found that consumers may be ready to change that this year. 80 percent plan to save more and 51 percent say emergency savings is their goal.

Friday 02/14/2020
How To Save Time And Money This Tax Season
Updated: February 16, 2020 - 2:30 am

(NAPSI)—Tax season is upon us, and you should have received all the documents needed to file your taxes and (hopefully) get a refund. To help reduce the stress that comes with filing taxes, Glinda Bridgforth, a leading financial expert who explores the emotional and cultural factors that block financial success, identifies a few ways to save time and money this tax season:


1. Get organized. Whether you visit a tax professional or do it yourself, gather all documents ahead of time, such as your employer W-2s and any 1099 forms you may receive for interest income, retirement plans, or gig work such as driving for Uber. Don’t forget to check your online accounts where you might need to download tax documents.


“Avoid the panic and stress that comes from disorganization,” says Bridgforth. “Also, look at last year’s return, which can serve as a good guide.”


2. Start (and finish) early. Don’t wait until April. Starting the process early will let you get organized, and have more time if you need it. Filing early will not only help you get your refund faster, it may also help you avoid tax-related identity theft since you will already have filed using your own Social Security number before someone else tries to. Speaking of identity theft…


3. Watch out for scams. Where there’s money there’s a con, and criminals have become very good at exploiting tax season. Be wary of threatening phone calls from “IRS agents” and phishing e-mails “from the IRS” seeking your personal information. Also, while all tax preparers and DIY websites aim to minimize taxes and maximize refunds, beware of promises for more than your fair share. Unscrupulous “tax preparers” entice unsuspecting taxpayers with hopes of a high refund, only for them to lose it all. The IRS just launched “Identity Theft Central” (IRS.gov/identitytheft) to help taxpayers report identity theft and learn how to protect themselves against crimes.


4. Get all your tax breaks. Did you get married? Have children? Change jobs? Take all the deductions you deserve.


“Even if nothing has changed in your life, you may have missed credits in the past that you’re entitled to,” notes Bridgforth. “For example, according to the IRS, one in every five eligible workers fails to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).”


If you find out you qualify for the EITC this year and didn’t claim it in the past, you can even file amended returns for 2016, 2017, or 2018. The IRS provides a wealth of this type of information online at IRS.gov/eitc.


5. Look for tax prep discounts and promotions, then use direct deposit. The full service tax prep companies, as well as the DIY websites, are competing for your business, so be sure to shop around and look for coupons or rebates to find the best deal. Many free options are also available to those who qualify. Just go to IRS.gov/freefile to check eligibility.


And for the fastest and most secure delivery of your tax refund, opt for direct deposit instead of a check.


“If you don’t have or don’t qualify for a traditional branch bank account, there are new digital options to consider,” says Bridgforth. “Several FDIC-insured digital bank accounts and prepaid debit cards are available to open online or on your mobile phone, such as Green Dot Bank’s Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account, or Intuit’s Turbo Card prepaid debit card for those who use TurboTax.”


In addition, if you direct deposit your federal tax refund into your Green Dot account, not only will you get it faster, you’ll be entered in the Green Dot Extreme Tax Sweepstakes for a chance to win one of fifty $1,000 prizes. Details and official rules can be found at greendot.com/ExtremeTax.

The 2 Keys to America's Improved Retirement Score
Updated: March 21, 2020 - 2:31 am

(NewsUSA) - Credit increased savings - and something else that doesn't get talked about enough - for American investors being better prepared financially for retirement.

Thursday 02/13/2020
Gen Z and Taxes: There’s an App for That [Video]
Posted: February 13, 2020

Get Kids Access To Dental Care
Updated: February 15, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NAPS)—Here’s something many parents may be surprised to learn: tooth decay is the most common preventable chronic disease among children in the United States.


The Problem
If left untreated, it can hurt more than your kid’s mouth. Your child’s physical and social development—as well as his or her school performance—can also be affected. More than 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental-related illness. Kids with healthy teeth have fewer sick days and less distractions from learning.


The Good News
Parents may be surprised to find that getting their child’s teeth checked is easier and less expensive than they think. Under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), essential health care services like preventative care and dental health are covered. For more than 20 years, CHIP has been instrumental in reducing the number of uninsured children to historic lows. Medicaid and CHIP cover more than one-third of all children in the U.S. and have helped insure 95 percent of the nation’s children—an estimated 35.5 million currently are covered.


How It Works
Dental coverage includes access to regular check-ups, x-rays, fluoride treatments, dental sealants, fillings and more.


Parents can look online to see whether their children are eligible. In most states, children and teens up to age 19 can enroll. Depending on income, many families qualify for free or low-cost health coverage. In general, children and teens in a family of four earning up to $50,000 a year—and in some places more—may qualify for Medicaid and CHIP.


Children and teens can stay covered for as long as they qualify. Families can enroll at any time of the year, but need to renew coverage each year.


More Good News
Even if your application for Medicaid and CHIP has been denied before, you and your children may now be eligible. Parents may qualify for Medicaid as well, but you don’t have to be eligible for your child to get coverage.


Who Can Help
More kids can be covered with the help of Medicaid and CHIP. With that as the goal, the Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign, a national outreach and enrollment initiative, informs families with children and teens about Medicaid and CHIP eligibility. Families enroll through their states. Call 1-877-KIDS-NOW or visit InsureKidsNow.gov to be connected to program offices in your state.


Learn More
For more information and to see eligibility requirements, visit www.InsureKidsNow.gov.

Wednesday 02/12/2020
Protect Yourself From Social Security Scams
Updated: February 14, 2020 - 2:43 am

(NAPSI)—Calls and e-mails from scammers pretending to be government employees are widespread. Social Security phone scams are the #1 scam reported to the Federal Trade Commission. Chances are you, a friend, or a family member have received a call like this.


You don’t have to be receiving benefits to become a victim. You may get a call saying there is a problem with your Social Security number or account. Everyone, regardless of age, income, and geography, is at risk. Scammers will try to scare and trick you into giving them your personal information or money.


Is It A Scam?
The best way to protect yourself and your money is to recognize a scam. Scammers use intimidating language and often offer a “solution” to fix what they say is a serious problem with your Social Security number or account. How can you tell when it’s a scam? Social Security will not:


•    Say your Social Security number has been suspended.
•    Promise a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information.
•    Call to demand an immediate payment.
•    Insist you pay a debt without the ability to appeal the amount you owe.
•    Require payment by retail gift card, pre-paid debit card, Internet currency, wire transfer, or by mailing cash.
•    Ask for your personal information.


Scammers prey on your fears. The stories they tell you would scare anyone. No matter how horrible the story, if they do anything above, it’s a scam.


What Should You Do?
If you receive a suspicious call, the safest thing for you to do is:


1.    Hang up!
2.    Don’t share personal information or make a payment.
3.    Report the scam to the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General at https://oig.ssa.gov.


And, if you receive such threats via e-mail, delete the e-mail and do not click on any links or download any attachments. Even if the e-mail or an attachment contains Social Security’s seal or names of real people, ignore it. Then, report the scam.


Other Tips
How about if Social Security needs to contact you? Generally, they will mail you a letter and only contact you by phone if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with them.


Usually, Social Security will mail you a letter that contains telephone numbers for contacting them. You can also contact Social Security by calling 1-800-772-1213 or visiting SSA.gov.


Scammers are always looking for the next way to trick someone. No matter how someone might try to scam you, learning the warning signs shared here can go a long way to protecting yourself and someone you care about from identify theft and financial loss.


If you think you have been scammed, don’t be embarrassed. Report the scam to Social Security’s Office of the Inspector General at https://oig.ssa.gov and share this important information with your family and friends.

Millennials May Be Getting A Bad Rap When It Comes to Money
Updated: March 19, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NewsUSA) - Maybe it's time to reconsider what you thought you knew about Millennials.

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