Our Thoughts

FJY News to Know #49

Online Charity Websites Are Gaining Steam… But How Many Are Legit?

In 2018, Americans donated at least $400M to charitable organizations on ‘Giving Tuesday’ (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving).  This year, that number was expected to pass $500M but it was even more than that if you count online and offline gifting (Giving Tuesday results).  Leading the numbers are younger people, with the advent of the Internet and the fact that many of these organizations are going mobile now.  There are 1.6 million nonprofits in the U.S., but how do you make sure your money is going where it needs to go?  One way is to go to a watchdog site like CharityWatch beforehand.  Also, if the charity asks for a gift card or wire transfer — avoid them.  For more tips on how to donate, go here.

Have Value Stocks Finally Come Into Their Own?      

Growth stocks, which usually take the form of high-tech companies with high valuations — are popular with investors for obvious reasons.  However, lately it’s value stocks that have garnered more attention.  In September, a surge in value stock momentum swung the pendulum:  A steep yield curve produced a bullish signal for value stocks. To learn more about the correlation between value stocks and bonds, visit this link.

How Important Are Apps for Finance Companies and Banks?  

What do Schwab, Wells Fargo, and Edward Jones have in common — Besides their obvious industry?  They’re all gleaning the advantage of having a customer-pleasing app on their side.  All three of their apps scored high in terms of customer satisfaction and use, especially with millennials.  The same can’t be said of Morgan Stanley, TD Ameritrade, and Vanguard — who score much lower.  The icing on the cake for the successful apps is the fact that their customers said they’re more likely to accept solicitations.  For more on this growing trend, visit this page.

Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.5% — A 50-Year Low Mark

The month of November saw 266K jobs added to the workforce, including healthcare, transportation, and leisure industries.  Not only this, but wages — which have usually been held in check — are up 3.1% compared with about a year ago.  Consumers are the primary reason for this fueled economy, and the former is making up for tentative business investments and lackluster manufacturing.  Becky Frankiewicz, president of staffing at ManpowerGroup North America said:  “No one would have ever guessed we could be sitting at 3.5% unemployment with 110 months of job gains.”  To learn about how the trade war is still affecting the economy, please click here.

Time to Check in With Your Flexible Spending Account:  It’s Use It or Lose It!

The FSA can help you save money on some healthcare costs — but only if you use them before it’s too late.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 39% of workers in 2015 had access to a health-care FSA.  However, only about one in five workers took advantage of these plans.  Fortunately, the IRS has instilled some flexibility regarding these accounts:  Some allow a carryover into the next year, whereas others give you until March 15th the next year to submit receipts.  To learn how you can pay for even more items using the FSA, this article will tell more.