Earn / Taxes

This Week In Your Wallet: Back In Business

Jean Chatzky  |  January 29, 2019

After 35 long days, the government is back in business — at least for now.

And while it’s definitely a cause for celebration, we may feel the shutdown’s impact for some time — especially as we launch into tax season. Yesterday, the IRS began processing 2018 federal tax returns, but it may take a minute for them to get back in gear. Why? The government shutdown started just as IRS employees were being briefed on the major overhaul to the tax code that happened in 2017. The delay means employees may not be fully equipped to help people like you and me with tax questions and problems. As for your refund? As long as you file electronically and elect to have your refund directly deposited, you’ll get it in the vast majority of cases within three weeks. Two other pieces of note: If you underpaid taxes in 2018 because of changes that came about from the new tax law, the IRS is waiving penalties. And finally, a TurboTax glitch has impacted some users who moved last year’s data electronically into this year’s return. The service has notified potentially impacted customers that some pieces of information may have been inadvertently left out. The solution: Clear the return and start over — gratis. If you’re impacted, TurboTax is giving you tax filing for free.

Love & Money

Love and money go together like peanut butter and jelly — that is, if you’re open and honest about money with your significant other. Unfortunately, not all of us are. According to new research from CreditCards.com, an army of about 15 million is hiding a credit card or bank account from their significant other. That’s pretty alarming considering a third of us think that financial infidelities are worse than cheating physically. So what causes us to commit financial infidelity, and what can we do to stop it? I explored this in a piece I recently wrote for NBC News Better. Many people commit financial infidelities for the same reasons they commit romantic ones — they don’t plan it, it just happens. And, unfortunately, once you tell the lie (or fib, or whatever) it’s all too easy to dig yourself in deeper. The solution is to take a deep breath and come clean. Sit down with your significant other and look at your bank and credit card statements and have an open dialogue, particularly about spending. The most successful relationships are those where both partners have a clear view of the money that’s coming in and going out. And if you haven’t given each other enough autonomy to do some independent spending (without asking permission), consider that this year’s Valentine’s Day gift.

Speaking of love and money: In case you haven’t heard, Jeff Bezos — the genius behind Amazon and the richest person on the planet — and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos, are getting divorced. And because there was no prenup, Washington State (a community property state) dictates assets be split right down the middle. Fair? Not fair? Who knows. Much has been written about the important role MacKenzie Bezos played in the early years of the company. But it is a reminder that prenups should be put into practice more than they are. They can be a smart financial tool that can protect you, your spouse, your families and your businesses — not just in case of divorce, but also death. Read more here.

Under The Heading Of Wayyyy TMI

For those of us of the female persuasion, that time of the month is rarely fun. We can be moody, cramp-ridden and our stomachs feel like bottomless pits. Recently — and we’re not sure how we feel about this (but would love for you to weigh in) some period-tracking apps are trying to profit off of our pain. Today about 100 million women worldwide use menstruation-tracking apps like Flo, Glow, Ovia and Clue. And these apps are tracking women’s data and making money off of it because they don’t have to meet the “same reliability or privacy standards that medical professionals do,” according to this Bloomberg article. One app, Ovia, is pitching a version of its app to insurers and large employers that will notify them on how many of their employees or insurance members are planning to get pregnant. Maybe it’s time for a good old (paper) calendar instead?

Thrifting Is Thriving

Thanks to Marie Kondo, there’s never been a better time to shop secondhand. Thrift and consignment stores (on and offline) like Poshmark, thredUp, Buffalo Exchange and eBay are seeing a record number of items put up for sale since the premiere of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. Fashion resale site thredUp saw a 50 percent increase in site traffic since the show’s release, while Poshmark saw a 64 percent increase in listings in the first week of January 2019, compared to January 2018. At HerMoney we’ve found a lot of ways you can Marie Kondo your life other than your closet. I’d encourage you to give some of these pieces a read if you are looking to “spark joy” with your finances or your career.

Have a great week,

Jean


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