Interest rates are low right now — do these 3 things to earn more money

With interest rates in decline, where can a saver go to pad their portfolio? These three landing spots make the grade. (iStock)

Coronavirus has forced the U.S. Federal Reserve to cut interest rates twice in 2020, the second time (on March 15) bringing the benchmark federal funds rate down to a range of 0 to 0.25 percent.

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The Fed cuts rates — which, in turn, led mortgage rates, refinance rates and beyond to reach all-time lows — to spark more lending and credit through a now weakened U.S. economy. On the downside, though, Main Street bank savers are scrambling to find more robust rates on traditional rate-return financial tools like bank accounts and U.S. Treasury bonds after the rate drop amid the coronavirus pandemic.

That scramble hasn’t been easy, financial experts say.

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“The flip side of low-interest rates means that lending tools such as money market accounts, certificates of deposits and bonds have low-interest rates, too,” said Ryan Moore, founder and CEO of Kingman Financial Group, in San Antonio, Texas. “Storing money in these types of instruments currently won't provide the same opportunity and rewards that have been seen in days past. Some may even be detrimental if rates increase in the future.”

That said, Moore is optimistic that traditional savers can find some upside in record low-interest rates. “Don't let it discourage you,” he said. “Instead let it provide the inspiration to examine alternatives and opportunities to grow.”

The path forward for savers in a low-rate environment requires some patience, discipline and a dash of creativity. If you're financially stable, here are three things you should do that can help save money, earn more toward savings and get out of debt.

1. Pay down debt at lower rates

The coronavirus pandemic has allowed U.S. interest rates to hit a record low, providing opportunity as well as some incentives to change a financial consumer’s existing habits.

“With interest rates so low, borrowing money is the cheapest it has been in a long while,” Moore said. “It’s a great opportunity to save money on existing debt, mortgages and business loans.”

If you already have a mortgage, for example, you may want to consider refinancing while rates are at a record low. To see how much you could save on your monthly mortgage payment, compare rates using Credible's free online tool. Within minutes, you can see what multiple mortgage lenders are offering.

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If you have student loans, it's also a good idea to consider a refinance (particularly if you have private loans — as the rate cut doesn't affect federal student loans). The rates and repayment terms of student loans vary depending on lenders. Credible uses your loan balance and estimated credit score show you your potential savings.

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It's also wise to crunch the numbers into a student loan refinancing calculator as you work on financial planning.

SHOULD YOU CONSOLIDATE OR REFINANCE YOUR STUDENT LOANS?

According to Moore, savers can also take advantage of low-interest rates by moving outstanding debt (like credit card debt) and replacing it with a much lower interest rate.

“However, it's important to be aware of closing cost that may offset any advantages,” he said. “Shop around banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, not only in your area but nationwide, to ensure you receive the best rates possible.”

2. Get creative with bank savings rates

Look into a money market account, which historically generates higher rate returns than bank savings or checking accounts.

“A money market account is fairly similar to a savings account, with some extra characteristics,” said Anna Barker, personal finance expert and founder of the LogicalDollar personal financial website. “In particular, they usually require a higher minimum deposit or balance to be maintained.”

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However, they also generally offer higher interest rates than a standard savings account. “That makes them a good option for someone looking to earn more from their savings,” Barker said.

Take a closer look at online savings accounts, as well, Barker said. “If you're not currently using an online savings account, online savings accounts are a good idea. By and large, they have interest rates that are slightly higher than those offered by traditional banks.”

3. Ladder certificates of deposit

Done correctly creating a CD ladder can lead directly to more robust savings rates.

“A certificate of deposit – or CD – allows customers to have access to higher interest rates for a certain period of time, on the condition that they not touch the deposit during that period,” Barker said. “Otherwise, you have to pay an early withdrawal penalty.”

The main benefit of a CD, especially during periods such as these where there's a chance another rate cut could happen, is that the interest rate is locked in for the entire term. Consequently, laddering CDs can be a good strategy for savvy savers.

“With a laddering approach you buy various CDs with different maturity rates,” Barker noted. “For example, say you put your money into three CDs with intervals of one, two and three years. At the end of the first year, the money in that CD will become available for you to either spend or put back into your savings.”

A laddering strategy frees up savings at the end of each interval, which provides some flexibility to CD investors, too.

“You might need the money, depending on your financial goals and when you want to use the cash,” she added. “At the same time, it lets you take advantage of the potentially higher interest rates that the CD offers.”

The takeaway on finding good savings rates

One last point. The more financial consumers shop around for higher savings rates on different investment vehicles, the stronger their odds of digging up some great rate deals.

Credible is a great resource when it comes to comparing multiple lenders to ensure you'll meet your financial goals. Their tools enable savers to instantly and accurately compare various savings rates, completely free of charge.

HOW TO GET THE BEST MORTGAGE REFINANCE RATES

By comparing rates and deploying creative strategies like leveraging lower rates to reduce debt and build a CD ladder to optimize bank savings rates, savers can better manage their money and find strong savings rates — even in a downward spiraling economy.

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US consumer spending sinks by record 13.6% in face of coronavirus

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JPMorgan credit card users’ spending is down significantly. FOX Business’ Lauren Simonetti with more.

WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer spending plunged by a record-shattering 13.6% in April as the viral pandemic shuttered businesses, forced millions of layoffs and sent the economy into a deep recession.

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Last month's spending decline was far worse than the revised 6.9% drop in March, which itself had set a record for the steepest one-month fall in records dating to 1959. Friday's Commerce Department figures reinforced evidence that the economy is gripped by the worst downturn in decades, with consumers unable or too anxious to spend much.

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Even with employers cutting millions of jobs during the month, personal incomes soared 10.5% in April, reflecting billions of dollars in support through government payments in the form of unemployment benefits and stimulus checks.

The depth of the spending drop is particularly damaging because consumer spending is the primary driver of the economy, accounting for about 70% of economic activity. Last month’s figure signaled that the April-June quarter will be especially grim, with the economy thought to be shrinking at an annual rate near 40%. That would be, by far, the worst quarterly contraction on record.

Friday's report showed sharp declines in consumer spending across the board — from durable goods like cars to non-durable items such as clothing and services ranging from doctor visits to haircuts.

In April, the nation's jobless rate was 14.7%, the highest since the Great Depression, and many economists think it will top 20% for May. States are gradually restarting their economies by letting some businesses reopen with certain restrictions, and some laid-off employees are being recalled to work. Still, the job market remains severely depressed, and the outlook for the rest of the year is still bleak.

Some financial support for the tens of millions of consumers who have been laid off over the past two months is coming from weekly unemployment benefits. Besides whatever unemployment aid states are providing to laid-off workers, the federal government is providing $600 a week in additional benefits.

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A debate in Congress over whether to extend the $600 a week in federal unemployment aid looks sure to intensify, with the number of people receiving that aid now topping 30 million — one in five workers. The money is set to expire July 31. Yet with the unemployment rate widely expected to still be in the mid-teens by then, lawmakers will face pressure to compromise on some form of renewed benefits.

The Trump administration asserts that the economy will begin to regain its health in the second half of the year, with businesses increasingly reopening and restoring jobs and consumers increasing spending. Most economists say, though, that the lingering effects of the job losses and likely business bankruptcies will take longer to overcome, especially if a second wave of the coronavirus erupts. Analysts generally believe the economy won't manage to sustain a solid recovery until a vaccine is widely available.

And until Americans resume spending at something close to their previous levels, jobs won't likely return in a significant way. Data from Chase Bank credit and debit cards shows that consumers have slowly increased their spending since the government distributed $1,200 stimulus checks in mid-April.

But most of that increase has occurred in online shopping. Spending in regular brick and mortar stores, which makes up the vast majority of consumer spending, is still down 35% from a year ago, according to Chase, after having plummeted 50% at its lowest point.

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Get the best mortgage rates by following these 5 steps

Coronavirus has brought mortgage interest rates down near historic lows. Here’s what you can do to ensure that you get the best rates when you purchase a home or refinance.

There’s no denying the coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on the economy, including mortgage rates. A series of emergency rate cuts by the Federal Reserve has dropped mortgage and refinance interest rates to near historic lows, which has led homebuyers and homeowners alike to do their best to take advantage of these rate trends while they last.

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If you’ve been wondering how you can save with current mortgage rates, read on below. Here are five ways to ensure you’re getting the lowest mortgage rate possible to meet your financial goals.

Shop, shop, shop

Not all mortgage rates and refi rates are created equal. In fact, the mortgage and refinance rate you’re given can vary from day to day and from lender to lender. That’s why everyone who’s thinking of buying a home or doing a home refinance should shop around to ensure they’re receiving the best rate available.

However, shopping around doesn’t have to mean spending all day driving around to different mortgage lenders. These days, online tools like Credible can help you compare rates from different vendors quickly and easily, all from the comfort of your own home.

If you're looking to refinance, you can compare lenders and save on interest by filling out your information here.

MORTGAGE RATES HIT NEW RECORD LOW — HOW REFINANCING NOW COULD SAVE YOU MORE MONEY

If you're a first-time homeowner or looking for a second home, you should use an online mortgage calculator to customize your costs. To work toward closing on your dream home, then you'll want to find a cost-saving mortgage. You can also insert what you're looking for below and find the perfect mortgage loan type for you.

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Get your credit in order

The strength of your credit card history is another factor that plays into the interest rate you’re given by each lender. Typically, those with the best credit scores can expect to receive the best rates.

For example, based on the current interest rates at the time of publication, a homebuyer with excellent credit (a score of 740+) could get a 30-year fixed-rate loan at an interest rate of 3.25 percent. Meanwhile, a borrower with a good credit score (720-739) could expect to see a rate of 3.38 percent.

Find out what kind of mortgage rates you qualify for within three minutes through Credible's free online tool.

HOW TO GET THE BEST MORTGAGE REFINANCE RATES

Build up your down payment

For buyers, another way to lower the interest rate you’re given is to take the time to build up your savings account so you have a large down payment. Mortgage lenders usually offer lower mortgage rates to those who have a lower loan-to-value ratio, or who are borrowing less money overall. After all, the less money they lend you in a home loan, the lower the risk of not being repaid.

To that end, you can expect to see a lower interest rate if you’re prepared to come to the closing table with a down payment of 20 percent or more.

HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU NEED FOR A DOWN PAYMENT ON A HOUSE?

Consider a different loan term

Another way for you to lower your interest rate is to choose a different loan term. While taking out a 30-year loan might be considered standard, it is far from the only option. Depending on what your lender offers, you might be able to choose from a 20-year, 15-year, or even a 10-year option.

Keep in mind the shorter your loan term is, the higher your monthly mortgage payment will be. With that in mind,  you should talk to your lender to ensure you can handle the monthly payment before committing to any loan. However, if you feel okay making a higher monthly payment, a shorter loan term is definitely something to consider when purchasing or refinancing your house.

5 TYPES OF MORTGAGE LOANS FOR HOMEBUYERS: WHICH IS BEST FOR YOU?

Solidify your income

The last thing that lenders check before determining your mortgage rate is your income and employment history. Put simply, lenders look at your work history over the last two years to get a sense of your income stability. If you have a spotty work history or have been recently unemployed, that may not disqualify you from getting a loan entirely, but you may be charged higher than the average rates.

The bottom line

With all that said, if you’re wondering who gets the absolute best interest rates available, it’s a homebuyer or homeowner who meets the following qualifications: has a credit score of 740+, can put at least 20 percent down, can handle a higher monthly payment in exchange for a shorter loan term, has a solid work history, and made sure to shop around for the best rate.

Based on all the information above, if you think you’re ready to shop around for your interest rate, consider using Credible to help you easily compare rates from the comfort of your own home.

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Coronavirus puts full Social Security benefits at risk years earlier than expected, researchers say

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Financial expert Chris Hogan discusses how to manage finances and retirement savings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Economists are warning that the government needs to begin thinking seriously about the longer-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic  – including how it will negatively affect Social Security in a "significant" way.

A new analysis conducted by researchers at the Penn Wharton Budget Model showed that Social Security is at risk of running out of funds as many as four years earlier than anticipated – in 2032 – depending on the shape of the U.S. economic recovery. Prior to the pandemic, the group had a 2036 estimate for the OASDI trust fund.

“In the Social Security world, this really isn’t very long [off],” Penn Wharton Budget Model Faculty Director Kent Smetters told FOX Business. “Clearly people are focused on the here and now, but it’s time to start focusing on the longer-run trade-offs … we just lost four years [from Social Security].”

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If the U.S. economy were to bounce back sharply – and the recovery resembled more of a “V” shape – then reserves would be depleted in 2034. Unfortunately, Smetters said this scenario is less likely than a more gradual “U-shaped” recovery, under which the PWBM forecasts the 2032 timeframe.

(iStock)

A good way for retirees to think about the problem is to consider their 401(k) savings – it is similar to being told account balances will lose 25 percent of their value in the near future, Smetters said.

A benefit reduction wouldn’t just affect future retirees, across-the-board cuts would apply to people currently collecting benefits, too.

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A decline in payroll taxes is expected to be primarily responsible for draining Social Security’s coffers more quickly, given the dramatic rise in unemployment numbers.

As of last week, more than 38 million Americans had filed jobless claims.

Unemployment benefits are not subject to payroll taxes, which fund Social Security and Medicare. Employers and employees each pay 6.2 percent for Social Security and 1.45 percent for Medicare, and an additional 0.9 percent is levied on the highest earners.

Low interest rates also affect reserves, as they reduce income on bonds held by the fund.

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Smetters noted the timeline could even be more accelerated than either PWBM forecast suggests – if the recovery takes an “L-shape,” as it did in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

The annual trustees’ report, which was released last month, did not take the effects of coronavirus into account when it estimated that the program’s reserves would be depleted by 2035. At that time, continuing tax income was expected to be sufficient to cover 79 percent of scheduled benefits.

A separate analysis, which did take into account the effect of the pandemic, estimated that Social Security’s funding may run dry as soon as 2029.

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As of March, more than 69.4 million people were receiving Social Security, Supplemental Security Income or both. The average benefit was $1,387.26.

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US growth revised lower in first quarter, with economy shrinking by 5%

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BNY Mellon Investment Management chief strategist Alicia Levine discusses whether the market is finding its footing as small-cap stocks begin to outperform larger-cap tech stocks.

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The American economy shrank more than expected in the first quarter of the year as the coronavirus pandemic triggered an unprecedented lockdown of the nation, according to new figures published by the Commerce Department on Wednesday.

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, fell at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5 percent in the three-month period from January through March, the Commerce Department said in its second reading of the data Thursday.

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GDP was expected to remain unrevised at 4.8 percent, according to economists surveyed by Refinitiv.

"This is a dramatic result, given the strong position the US economy was in during January-February," said Cailin Birch, global economist at The Economist Intelligence Unit. "The imposition of stay-at-home orders across much of the country in only the last 2-3 week of March was enough to prompt the steepest quarter-on-quarter contraction in recent history. This is a major concern looking ahead to the rest of 2020."

It was the worst drop since the first quarter of 2009, when the economy contracted by 4.4 percent in the midst of the financial crisis.

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The revision, which relies on more complete data, reflected a drop in weaker investment by businesses in their inventory, which was partially offset by stronger consumer spending.

Still, the severity of the coronavirus-induced downturn will be reflected more accurately in the second quarter, when the nation’s economy came to a near standstill to mitigate the spread of the virus. Estimates vary widely — Goldman Sachs forecast a decline of 34 percent — but economists agree it’ll be grim, possibly surpassing the worst of the Great Depression. 

The economy is expected to see a rebound in the third- and fourth-quarters of the year; the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan agency, has forecast that GDP could increase by 23.5 percent in the third quarter and 10.5 percent in the fourth.

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Varney: Coronavirus will forever change New York City

Varney: NYC will recover from coronavirus, but it won’t be the same

FOX Business’ Stuart Varney discusses how the coronavirus will impact New York City.

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FOX Business’ Stuart Varney, in his latest “My Take,” argues New York City will be forever changed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“New York is America’s biggest city. It’s been shut down for over two months,” Varney said. “It will come back, but it will not be the same.”

Varney noted that 6th Avenue in Midtown was “almost deserted” Wednesday morning.

“To bring this back to life, the giant office buildings which line the street have to staff back up again,” he said. “In the age of social distancing and liability lawsuits, that's unlikely to happen anytime soon. That means fewer jobs, less tax revenue and sharp downward pressure on apartment and office rents.”

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People talk through their masks as they stand next to the Hudson River as the sun sets on lower Manhattan and One World Trade Center in New York City on May 4, 2020 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/FOX News)

Varney also noted that theaters and entertainment venues, like Radio City Music Hall, won’t be filled for a long time.

“That means a serious downturn in the city's entertainment industry, which is a backbone of the city and a huge money earner,” he said. “How many aspiring actors, stagehands, musicians, ushers, makeup artists, cleaners and security people will not be coming back to work? And how many tourists will not turn up, and will not occupy a hotel room?”

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Varney added that the city's social scene will suffer as well.

“Many [resturaunts and bars] will not reopen. Bartenders, waiters and cooks out of work and probably going out of town,” he said. “I know a lot of young up-and-comers who ask: What's the point of living in a city, in an expensive apartment box, when meeting other young people is more difficult and there are fewer young people anyway?”

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People walk past the Shubert Theatre after it was announced Broadway theatres will close for a month on March 12, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

Varney said he’s not blaming anyone but simply pointing out the largest city in the U.S. is “undergoing radical change.”

“It will not look and feel like the New York City we've known,” Varney said. “Even if it was opened up 100 percent tomorrow with no restrictions, it would still not be the same. That's the new reality.”

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Big Oil loses appeal, climate suits go to California courts

Oil demand is picking up but will be muted this summer: Analyst

The Schork Group principal Stephen Schork argues oil demand is picking up but that it is partially due to barrels moving into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

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Big Oil lost a pair of court battles Tuesday that could lead to trials in lawsuits by California cities and counties seeking damages for the impact of climate change.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments by energy companies and ruled state courts are the proper forum for lawsuits alleging producers promoted petroleum as environmentally responsible when they knew it was contributing to drought, wildfires, and sea level rise associated with global warming.

The lawsuits claim Chevron, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and other companies created a public nuisance and should pay for damage from climate change and help build sea walls and other infrastructure to protect against future impact — construction that could cost tens of billions of dollars.

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The ruling overturned a decision by one federal judge, who had tossed out lawsuits brought by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland.

“It is time for these companies to pay their fair share,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement applauding the ruling. “They should not be able to stick taxpayers with the bill for the damage they knew they were causing. We will continue to hold these companies accountable for their decades-long campaign of public deception about climate change and its consequences.”

While the rulings were victories for the coastal counties and cities — all in the San Francisco Bay Area except for the tiny city of Imperial Beach in San Diego County — and cheered by environmental groups, it could take years before they ever get to a jury, if they make it that far.

The 3-0 rulings are expected to meet continued challenges that could include a review by a larger 9th Circuit panel and, eventually, review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

An appeals court in Virginia ruled that a similar case brought by Baltimore belonged in Maryland courts and lower federal courts in other cities have issued similar decisions.

A group that is a project of the National Association of Manufacturers issued a statement saying climate liability lawsuits should be resolved by the Supreme Court to prevent years of court proceedings.

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Chevron did not say how it would proceed but said the cases involve issues of national law and policy and do not belong in state courts.

“In whichever forum the cases are ultimately determined, these factually and legally unsupported claims do nothing to sensibly address the significant national economic, legal and policy issues presented by climate change,” said Sean Comey, a Chevron spokesman.

Ann Carlson, an environmental law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the rulings move the cases closer to the discovery process and requesting potentially damaging documents.

“This means they can depose top executives about what they knew and when they knew it and what oil companies did to fund a campaign to dissuade the American public that climate change was happening,” said Carlson, who has provided free counsel to cities in the cases. “The oil companies’ strategy is to keep the light from shining on their own behavior. This gets closer to allowing plaintiffs to shine that light.”

The ruling written by Judge Sandra Ikuta, picked for the court by President George W. Bush, moves the cases back to state courts, where they were initially filed. The other judges on the panel were nominated by Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Oil companies got the cases transferred to San Francisco federal court, where two judges reached different conclusions.

After holding a unique five-hour “tutorial” by top researchers on the science of climate change, U.S. District Judge William Alsup in 2018 threw out the Oakland and San Francisco litigation. He ruled Congress and the president — not the courts —- were best suited to address the contribution of fossil fuels to global warming.

“The problem deserves a solution on a more vast scale than can be supplied by a district judge or jury in a public nuisance case,” Alsup wrote.

In cases brought by the the counties of San Mateo, Marin and Santa Cruz, and the cities of Richmond and Imperial Beach, Judge Vincent Chhabria ruled the cases belonged in state court, but he allowed the oil companies to appeal.

The companies had argued that federal law controls fossil fuel production, and Congress has encouraged oil and gas development. They said the harm claimed was “speculative” and part of a complex chain of events that includes billions of oil and gas users and “environmental phenomena occurring worldwide over many decades.”

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Americans tapping retirement savings after coronavirus-led job loss, study finds

Coronavirus is opportunity to look into finances, retirement savings: Financial expert

Financial expert Chris Hogan discusses how to manage finances and retirement savings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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The coronavirus pandemic has triggered an unprecedented avalanche of job losses, with 38.6 million Americans joining the unemployment ranks since the crisis began more than two months ago.

The sudden loss in income is causing a growing number of Americans to tap their retirement savings accounts, according to a new study released Wednesday by Bankrate.

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About 31 million workers, or roughly 27 percent of working and unemployed individuals, are raiding, or plan to access, their retirement accounts to make ends meet, the study found. Fourteen percent of Americans have already used funds from their retirement accounts, and 13 percent plan to do so.

The number is even starker among unemployed Americans, half of whom have either withdrawn money from the account or plan to do so, compared with 22 percent of employed individuals.

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Most likely to dip into their retirement savings were millennials, or those between the ages of 24 and 39, and the lowest-income households (earning less than $30,000). One in five millennials with a retirement savings account said they had used some to supplement their income since the outbreak, compared with just 8 percent of Gen Xers and 10 percent of baby boomers.

“This is most pronounced among younger households, who may miss out on decades of future compounding if forced to turn to their retirement savings during these trying times," said Greg McBride, Bankrate's chief financial analyst.

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Overall, 18 percent of working or recently unemployed adults are contributing less to their retirement accounts than they were before the crisis started. About 50 percent are contributing the same amount. Only 8 percent are contributing more.

The top reason for the drop in contributions was a loss of income (62 percent) and wanting to keep more cash on hand (33 percent).

Contributions remained fairly high among higher-earning households, however. More than half — 59 percent — of Americans earning more than $50,000 continued to set aside the same amount for their retirement accounts, compared to 39 percent of those earning less than $50,000.

"The runaway culprit is loss of income, cited nearly twice as often as the next most common reason of keeping more cash on hand," McBride said.

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Where Americans are spending and saving money in coronavirus pandemic

Consumer spending ramping up amid coronavirus: Bank of America CEO

Bank of America Chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan discusses the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program as big banks face scrutiny for prioritizing loans, earnings, and reopening American business amid the coronavirus.

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The novel coronavirus profoundly altered our daily routines and spending habits.

As the pandemic shut down much of the country, Americans spent more on essential goods and home entertainment and spent less on travel and eating out, according to a TD Ameritrade survey obtained exclusively by USA Today.

TD Ameritrade surveyed 1,008 Americans who were at least 24 years old from April 24 to May 4.

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Roughly 57 percent of Americans forked over more money on groceries while quarantining at home, according to the numbers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly Consumer Price Index report indicated that grocery bills increased in April, rising an average of 2.6 across households.

Carmen Zamora shops at Northgate González Market in Santa Ana, California, during an early-hour shopping time for those over 65 and the disabled on March 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

More than half of Americans, 53 percent, were quick to dole out more on cleaning products. Thirty-three percent of Americans spent more on takeout, and 32 percent spent more on streaming services. Netflix, for example, picked up nearly 16 million global subscribers during the first three months of the year.

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Forty-five percent surveyed said they spent more during quarantine.

With travel limited and restaurants closed, nearly 80 percent said they saved money on dining out while 75 percent said they saved on vacation, the survey indicated.

With retail shops closed, 73 percent saved on buying clothes. And although more than half of the parents surveyed saved a hefty chunk on childcare, an average of $366, most doled out nearly $200 on entertainment and educational resources for their kids.

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Overall, those surveyed indicated that the crisis has taught them critical lessons when it comes to money.

About 74 percent of millennials, who are increasingly tracking their spending due to the virus, say they are starting a more substantial emergency fund. During the crisis, a majority of millennials and Gen Xers discovered their current emergency fund could only cover them for three months or less of day-to-day expenses, according to the data. Comparatively, Baby Boomers have enough to last half a year or more if needed.

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While a majority have learned new ways to cut back on spending, roughly 82 percent say the crisis helped them realize that they don't need to spend a penny to have a good time.

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Who is Jack Ma?

Peter Navarro calls White House’s China strategy report ‘hard as nails’

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro discusses the recent White House report on China strategy which was released this week, but FOX Business’ Lou Dobbs pushes back on Navarro’s assessment of the report.

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Billionaire Jack Ma is one of China's richest men and is using his fortune to fight the novel coronavirus that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Ma, the founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, stepped down from his post as the corporation's executive chairman in 2019.

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Ma, whose fortune is estimated at $41.3 billion, committed $14.4 million from his foundation toward funding the vaccine development for coronavirus in Wuhan. He has also committed an additional $2.15 million toward developing a vaccine at Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Australia. Alibaba will also give $144 million toward the purchase of medical supplies for use in Wuhan.

Founder of Alibaba Group Jack Ma gives a speech at the ‘Ma Yun Rural Teachers and Headmasters Prize’ on January 7th, 2020 in Sanya , Hainan province, China. (Photo by Wang HE/Getty Images)

The 55-year-old attended Hangzhou Teachers College in China and studied English and his first internet business was the Hangzhou Hope Translation Agency.

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BABA ALIBABA GROUP HOLDING LTD 199.70 -12.46 -5.87%

Ma founded Alibaba in 1999, and the company broke world records with its $25 billion IPO in 2014. Alibaba is considered Amazon's rival in Asia and has customers around the globe. The businessman has amassed a huge fortune through free enterprise in a country where government intervention in industry is the norm, not the exception.

Ma has expressed interest in artificial intelligence and made an interesting prediction at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai in August 2019:

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"For the next 10, 20 years, every human being, country, government should focus on reforming the education system, making sure our kids can find a job, a job that only requires three days a week, four hours a day,” Ma said. “If we don’t change the education system we are in, we will all be in trouble.

"I think because of artificial intelligence, people will have more time enjoying being human beings," Ma said.

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