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Posts from the ‘General, Economic and Political’ Category

19
May

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Report on Young Adulthood

In an April 2017 report, the U.S. Census Bureau examines changes in young adulthood over the last 40 years. The study looks at how the economic and demographic characteristics of young adults (ages 18 to 34) have changed from 1975 to 2016.

The report defines adulthood as a period in life associated with common experiences and the achievement of particular milestones, such as living independently of parents, working full-time, getting married, and having children.

This puts some recent changes in perspective: In 1975, 45% of young adults (ages 25 to 34) had completed four specific milestones — lived independently of their parents, had ever married, lived with a child, and were in the labor force — compared with only 24% of 25- to 34-year-olds in 2016.

The report also reveals that while educational and economic accomplishments are considered important milestones of adulthood by most of today’s Americans, marriage and parenthood rank much lower.

Education and economic stability rated most important

The highest-ranked milestone of adulthood by Americans today is completing a formal education: More than 60% of Americans believe that doing so is extremely important. Ranked second is working full-time (52%), followed by the ability to support a family financially (50%).

More young adults today have achieved this educational milestone compared with their counterparts 40 years ago. For example, less than one-fourth of 25- to 34-year-olds had a college degree in 1975, compared with more than one-third in 2016.

Marriage and parenthood are delayed milestones

Over half of Americans believe that getting married and having children are not important to becoming an adult, but this does not mean they plan to forgo these milestones altogether. Instead, getting married and having children are occurring later in life.

Whereas eight in 10 young adults in the mid-1970s had married before age 30, this milestone isn’t reached today by the same proportion of Americans until their early 40s. Similarly, more than two-thirds of women in the mid-1970s were mothers by the time they were ages 25 to 29, but today that proportion is not reached until ages 30 to 34.

Living independently is less important

Only about one-fourth of Americans rank moving out of a parent’s home as an extremely important adult milestone. So it’s not surprising that the number of young adults living independently has declined. In 1975, 26% of young adults (ages 18 to 34) were living in their parents’ home, compared with 31% in 2016.

Also noteworthy is that in just a decade, living arrangements changed dramatically. In 2005, a majority of young adults lived independently in their own households (either alone, with a spouse, or with an unmarried partner) in 35 states. By 2015, though, only six states had a majority of young adults living independently.

Not completing a formal education and lack of a steady job are contributing factors to the decline in young adults living independently. Young people who still live with their parents today are far less likely than their peers to have a college degree or a full-time job. Of young adults (ages 25 to 34) today who are living independently, 41% have a bachelor’s degree and 64% have a full-time job. Not surprisingly, young people living independently also tend to have higher incomes: More than half of older millennials living in their own households earn $30,000 or more in income, compared with only about one-third of their peers who live with roommates and one-fourth who live with their parents.

Of young adults (ages 25 to 34) living in their parents’ home today, one in four are not attending school or working. Often they are older millennials who have only a high school education. This group typically faces challenges such as the loss or unavailability of a job, unaffordable housing rates, and child-rearing responsibilities.

The shifting paths of young adulthood

Over the last 40 years, the milestones of adulthood have remained largely the same, but the importance and timing of these milestones have changed. Young adults today are less focused on marriage and parenthood in their 20s and early 30s and are more concerned about establishing financial security by finishing school and gaining work experience. More of them have college degrees and full-time jobs than their counterparts did in 1975, but fewer own their own homes. As a result, young people today often delay establishing a household and settling down with a family until they are able to support themselves financially.

Source: Jonathan Vespa, “The Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood: 1975-2016,” Current Population Reports, P20-579, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, April 2017

view the full report, visit census.gov.
20
Sep

New Real Estate Sector Puts Equity REITs in the Spotlight

Publicly traded REITs and other listed real estate companies are being moved to a distinct Real Estate sector by S&P Dow Jones Indices and MSCI.

S&P Dow Jones Indices and MSCI recently moved publicly traded equity real estate investment trusts (REITs) and other listed real estate companies from the Financials sector into a new, separate Real Estate sector effective September 1, 2016. (Mortgage REITs remain in the Financials sector, along with banks and insurance companies.)  There are now 11 headline sectors instead of 10. It’s the first time a new sector has been added to the Global Industry Classification  Standard (GICS®) since it was created in 1999. (1)

The move has implications for investors, because S&P and MSCI   indexes are common benchmarks for investment performance, and the GICS is often used as a framework for portfolio construction. By some estimates, fund managers could shift as much as $100 billion to the Real Estate sector in a collective effort to follow the market weightings of various indexes. (2)

The change could also affect the asset allocation decisions of some individual investors by drawing more attention to equity REITs as income-generating assets with the potential for capital appreciation.

Fixed-income appeal

An equity REIT is a company that combines capital from investors to buy and manage income properties such as apartments, shopping centers, hotels, medical facilities, offices, self-storage units, and industrial buildings. Publicly traded REIT shares can generally be bought or sold on an exchange at a moment’s notice, making them more liquid than physical real estate investments, which involve transactions that can take months to complete.

Many REITs generate a reliable income stream regardless of share price performance, primarily because they are required by law to pay out 90% of their taxable incomes as dividends to stakeholders. In the second quarter of 2016, the S&P REIT index had a dividend yield of 3.73%. (3) The performance of an unmanaged index is not indicative of the performance of any specific security. Individuals cannot invest directly in an index.

REIT share prices can be sensitive to interest rates. As rates rise, steady dividends may appear less attractive to investors relative to the safety of bonds offering similar yields. On the other hand, current fundamentals, including modest economic growth, lower unemployment, and rising rents, are generally seen as positive conditions for REITs and other real estate businesses.

Diversification tool

Breaking real estate out of the Financials sector acknowledges that the industry’s business models and ties to underlying property markets produce a distinctive risk-return profile, including a relatively low correlation to the rest of the stock market. (4) Because the share prices of equity REITs don’t rise and fall in lockstep with the broader stock market, including them in your portfolio could help reduce the overall level of risk.

The return and principal value of all stocks, including REITs, fluctuate with changes in market conditions. Shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Diversification and asset allocation do not guarantee a profit or protect against investment loss; they are methods used to help manage investment risk.

REIT distributions are taxable to the extent they include any ordinary income and capital gains. Some REITs may not qualify as a REIT as defined in the tax code, which could affect operations and negatively impact the ability to make distributions.

There are inherent risks associated with real estate investments that could have an adverse effect on financial performance. Such risks may include a deterioration in the economy or local real estate conditions; tenant defaults; property mismanagement; and changes in operating expenses (including insurance costs, energy prices, real estate taxes, and the cost of compliance with laws, regulations, and government policies).

Breaking real estate out of the Financials sector acknowledges that the industry’s business models and ties to underlying property markets produce a distinctive risk-return profile, including a relatively low correlation to the rest of the stock market.

(1) , (3) S&P Dow Jones Indices, 2015-2016
(2) Investor’s Business Daily, March 18, 2016
(4) FinancialAdvisor.com, March 1, 2016

The foregoing is provided for information purposes only.  It is not intended or designed to provide legal, accounting, tax, investment or other professional advice.  Such advice requires consideration of individual circumstances.  Before any action is taken based upon this information, it is essential that competent, individual, professional advice be obtained.  JAS Financial Services, LLC is not responsible for any modifications made to this material, or for the accuracy of information provided by other sources.

 

 

 

 

27
Jun

The British Are Leaving! Why the Brexit Matters to Investors

Here’s an overview of the economic issues surrounding the Brexit, and what this historic

decision could mean for the United Kingdom, world trade, and international investors.

On June 23, citizens of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern

Ireland) voted to leave the European Union by a margin of 52% to 48%.1 Though pre-election

polls suggested that public opinion was evenly divided, when the election results became

clear, financial markets around the world reacted swiftly to concerns about potential economic

ramifications of a British exit—or Brexit—from the EU.

On June 24, the British pound plunged more than 10% against the dollar to its lowest point

since 1985, before recovering slightly to settle nearly 8% lower at the end of the day.2 European

stocks suffered the worst sell-off since 2008, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index tumbling 7%, and

the Japanese Nikkei Index posted a one-day drop of 7.9%.3–4 In the United States, the S&P 500 Index fell 3.6%, reversing year-to-date gains.5
Here’s an overview of the economic issues surrounding the Brexit, and what this historic

decision could mean for the United Kingdom, world trade, and international investors.

The EU and the Referendum

The European Union was formed after World War II to help promote peace through

economic cooperation. Over time, it became a common market, allowing goods and people to

move freely around 28 member states as if they were one country. The U.K. joined the trading

bloc in 1973, when there were only 9 member states.

In 2012, Prime Minister David Cameron rejected calls for a referendum on EU membership

but later agreed to hold one if the Conservative party won the 2015 election.6 The leaders of

all five major political parties campaigned to remain in the EU, including Cameron, warning

voters that leaving the EU was a leap into the unknown that could damage the U.K.’s economy

and weaken national security.7

Brexit supporters said leaving the EU allows the nation to take back control over business,

labor, and immigration regulations and policies. They also claimed the money being

contributed to the EU budget (a net contribution of 9.8 billion pounds in 2014) would be better

spent on infrastructure and public services in the U.K.8

Economic Expectations

The negative outlook for the U.K. economy depends on the terms of trade deals yet to

be negotiated with the EU and other nations. For example, the International Monetary Fund

(IMF) projects that U.K. gross domestic product could decline about 1.5% by 2021, assuming

the United Kingdom is granted access to the EU market quickly. Under a more adverse

scenario (which assumes trade defaults to World Trade Organization rules), the IMF projects a

precarious decline in GDP of about 4.5%.9

 

The U.K.’s departure strikes a serious blow to the EU, which has been beleaguered by debt

crises, a Greek bailout, the influx of millions of refugees, high unemployment, and weak GDP

growth. If trade activity and business conditions in the region deteriorate, it’s possible that the

U.K. and the EU could fall back into recession.


Next Steps

 Once Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is invoked, the formal process of leaving the EU will

begin, opening up a two-year window of negotiations on the terms of the exit. The U.K. will

remain a member of the EU until it officially departs.10
The U.K. is the first nation to break away from the EU, but a larger concern is that anti-EU

factions in other nations could be empowered to follow suit. Moreover, Scotland could seek

independence from the U.K. in order to remain in the EU, and Northern Ireland might consider

reunification with the Republic of Ireland.11


What About Us?

The EU is the largest trading partner of the United States, so the Brexit complicates

pending trade negotiations and will require adjustments to existing agreements. It may also

take time to forge new deals with the U.K.12
U.S. companies with a significant presence in the U.K. could take a hit. With the British

pound weakening against an already strong dollar, U.S. exports become more expensive,

reducing foreign sales. The U.S. economy is not as vulnerable as the EU, but the U.S. Federal

Reserve may be more likely to delay its decision to raise interest rates until the consequences

of the Brexit on U.S. and global markets can be assessed.13
Brexit-related anxiety could continue to spark market volatility until the details are finalized

and the economic fallout is better understood, possibly for several years. Having a sound

investing strategy that matches your risk tolerance could prevent you from making emotional

decisions and losing sight of your long-term financial goals.

 

Investments are subject to market fluctuation, risk, and loss of principal. Investing internationally

carries additional risks such as differences in financial reporting, currency exchange risk, as well as economic

and political risk unique to a specific country. This may result in greater share price volatility.

Shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. The performance of an unmanaged

index is not indicative of the performance of any specific security. Individuals cannot invest in any

index.

1-2, 7, 10-11) BBC News, June 24, 2016

3, 5) Bloomberg.com, June 24, 2016

4) Reuters, June 24, 2016

6) The New York Times, June 25, 2016

8) CNNMoney, June 2, 2016

9) International Monetary Fund, 2016

12-13) The Wall Street Journal, June 24, 2016

 

The foregoing is provided for information purposes only.  It is not intended or designed to provide legal, accounting, tax, investment or other professional advice.  Such advice requires consideration of individual circumstances.  Before any action is taken based upon this information, it is essential that competent, individual, professional advice be obtained.  JAS Financial Services, LLC is not responsible for any modifications made to this material, or for the accuracy of information provided by other sources.

 

 

26
Jun

Supreme Court Upholds Health Insurance Subsidies

The case of “King v. Burwell” challenged the interpretation of a portion of  the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The ACA provided health insurance subsidies for quailed persons.  One requirement was that the insurance be purchased through state-based exchanges (marketplaces).  Only 16 states and the District of Columbia operated their own state-based exchanges.  Most consumers purchased insurance through federal exchanges through the federal government websites.  June 25, 2015 the U.S. Supreme held that insurance subsidies were available to those that qualified for subsidies purchased insurance through the federal exchange.

6
Mar

The lessons learned from “the old Enron story” still apply.

The following is from Edward Mendlowitz’s Feb. 24, 2015 Blog.
“in his book Money: Master the Game, Tony Robbins dredges up the old Enron story, which I agree with, and want to call to your attention now.  Here is a brief listing copied from Tony’s book of the lauds, Enron received right up until their bankruptcy filing.

Mar 21, 2001 Merrill Lynch recommends
Mar 29, 2001 Goldman Sacks recommends
June 8, 2001 J.P. Morgan recommends
Aug 15, 2001 Bank of America recommends
Oct 4, 2001 A G Edwards recommends
Oct 24, 2001 Lehman Brothers recommends
Nov 12, 2001 Prudential recommends
Nov 21, 2001 Goldman Sacks recommends (again)
Nov 29, 2011 Credit Suisse First Boston recommends
Dec 2, 2001 Enron files Bankruptcy

Millions of Investors trusted these venerable firms and followed their recommendations.  A question I had at the time was, “How much work did they do before they made their recommendations?”  I could not have been too much since every recommendation was wrong.  Another observation is that many of the largest mutual funds has significant positions in Enron.

Now, lets fast forward to today.  Has anything changed?  Were lessons learned?  Are more intensive analysis being done now?  I suggest that nothing has changed.  Examples are in the many recommendations to buy oil stocks a few months ago before a subsequent additional 35% drop.  …Next, as Robbins points out, most actively managed mutual funds do not outperform the index they are trying to beat….

The principles in the book are easy to understand, digest and act on…. I have condensed them [his seven steps] and … restate as follows:

1. Commit to regular savings program
2. Know and understand why you are investing in
3. Develop a plan and, while at it, reduce spending, keep investment costs low and shed debt
4. Allocate your assets carefully and rebalance periodically
5. Create a lifetime income plan
6. Invest like the .001%, i.e. don’t be stupid and re-look at step 2
7. Be happy by growing and giving

All good advice you can start following today.

 

 

 

20
Oct

Market movements are often not based on fact.

Robert J. Shiller’s October 18th New York Times article, “When a Stock Market Theory Is Contagious” discusses the recent stock market fluctuation.  In addition to being a professor of economics at Yale University, he has authored many books, writes columns, co-created the “S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices” and was 1 of 3 recipients of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.

The topic of the  article ties into my comments about risk and volatility in my October newsletter.

“The problem is that short-term market movements are extremely hard to forecast.  But we live in the present and must try to understand what’s driving the market now, even if it’s much easier to predict their behavior in the long run.”  That is to say we do not know the future, but we can explain what happened in the past.

“…stock markets are driven by popular narratives, which don’t need basis in solid fact.”  The article compares the narratives with the “Ebola virus: they spread by contagion.”  The narratives causes investors “…to take action that propels prices…in the same direction.”  That is, we do not know why the market fell but people and companies may respond by cutting spending resulting in the market falling further.

Recent stories attribute the current drop in the stock market to a “global slowdown”.  The narrative can cause people and companies to spend less continuing the fall in the stock market.   He concludes with the following. “The question may be whether the virus mutates into a more psychologically powerful version, one with enough narrative force to create a major bear market.”

 

 

 

5
Sep

Financial markets fluctuate

Discussions in articles, books, studies and commentaries from different sources have some common elements about investing.  Investing is discussed in different contexts.  Examples of the different discussions include: performance, risk, retirement, budgeting, goals and government policies.

An example is an August 15th New York Times article:”Fears of Renewed Instability as Fed Ends Stimulus”.  The article reflects a conversation with Jeremy Stein, who left the Fed’s Board of Governors at the end of May to return to Harvard’s economics department.

Many investors are getting nervous because of the length of good stock and bond performance.  Recent fluctuations are a reminder that markets go down as well as up.  Maybe the recent gyrations are signs of impending instability.

Referring to the Federal Reserve (Fed) actions the article discusses the possible unintended consequences of the Fed policies that have guided us through the recent financial crisis.  The low rates have resulted in investors reaching for yield.  The consequence of reaching for higher yield is increased risk.  Some investors may not realize the increased chance of losses.  The result could be further strain on our economy.

The author of the article, James B. Stewart, included the following:

The Princeton economist Markus K. Brunnermeier, an expert on asset bubbles and crashes, has identified what he calls “synchronization risk,” a phenomenon in which investors ride a wave of price increases even if they realize the assets are overpriced.  “It’s what economists call a lack of common knowledge,” he said.  “We may all know an asset price is too high, but we don’t know the others know it, too.  Timing is everything.  The danger is if you move too early and the market doesn’t follow up.  So everyone waits on the sidelines watching and listening,”  as long as asset prices keep rising.  The danger comes when they all try to get out at the same time.”

“No one wants another crash, but a garden-variety correction may be just what’s needed to avoid one in the future.”

The discussion recognizes that the market fluctuates.  Frequent and/or large fluctuations indicate concern about the future direction of the markets.  No one thinks they know what direction the market will go when it fluctuates.  Investors are cautious when the market gyrate.  They become optimistic when the market continues to rally.  This is when investors become confident and make mistakes.

Economists, journalists, regulators and politicians are all poor forecasters of the future movement of the markets.

 

16
Jul

Reaching Your Goals

Gregory Karp, in his “Spending Smart” column “Money maxims: What dads can tell grads”, June 1, 2014 Chicago Tribune is the incentive for this blog.
Money can be saved or spent. How you handle money will have a significant impact on happiness and future financial well being. Studies relating to finances have increased in the last 15 years. Each year there seem to be more studies. Studies on happiness conclude that people are happier when they spend money on experiences rather than things. Other studies find that most people’s happiness increase as their income increases, up to about $70,000. Studies about retirement have found that the most important thing that anyone can do to reach their retirement living expenses is to save.
Saving is hard to do. Spending must be limited to available income. For most people, living within their income does not mean complete denial. It does require selectivity in the timing and amount of splurges.

Good daily spending habits are important. We have more control over daily spending habits than large items. Minimizing unnecessary and/or unwise expenditures will reduce many items that reduce the amount that can be saved on a regular basis. Most people give larger expenditures, such as homes and cars, significant thought and deliberation. They should also do the same for daily expenditures.

There are also studies that show that we should imagine ourselves in retirement. Aging Booth is an app that will show what you might look like when you age. You may have more incentive to save for that person. Contributing to a 401(k) plans and capturing any employer match may seem more important. Having part of your pay direct deposited to an investment account may also seem like a good way to be kind to the older you.
Necessities and a reserve fund come first. The reserve fund provides a cushion for the frequent unexpected expenditures. Preretirement six months of living expenses is generally recommended. After retirement, a minimum of living expenses after reoccurring income (like social security) for a year is recommended.

The sooner a saving program is started the less required on a periodic basis. To determine how much to save, you need to set financial goals. Your progress should be monitored, at least monthly; more frequently is better. Without knowing the future, your circumstance will change from what you originally projected.

17
Oct

Last-Minute Agreement Ends Government Shutdown, Suspends Debt Ceiling

After a 16-day federal government shutdown and gridlock over whether to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, a last-minute agreement brought a temporary end to the impasse. The measure, formally known as the “Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014,” was passed by both houses of Congress and signed by President Obama shortly after midnight on October 17–the day on which the Treasury had said it would begin running out of cash to pay the nation’s bills.

What does the agreement do?
The legislation suspends the debt ceiling until February 7 and provides sufficient funding to reopen the government for the next three months (through January 15). It applies retroactively through October 1, the day on which the federal government was forced to begin furloughing roughly 800,000 employees.

To try to address longer-term issues, the agreement also establishes a congressional budget conference that would issue a report no later than December 13. That will be run by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), who head their respective chambers’ budget committees. The across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester, which were adopted as part of the agreement that ended the 2011 debt ceiling and were implemented earlier this year, remain in effect. The new agreement also requires income verification for people receiving subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, and if the debt ceiling is reached again in February, the Treasury will not be prohibited from using measures like those it has been using since May to cope with the current debt ceiling.

What exactly is the debt ceiling?
The debt ceiling represents a limit on the amount the Treasury is allowed to borrow to manage the national debt (the total amount currently owed by the U.S. government). An increase in the debt limit does not authorize additional government spending, which only Congress can approve; it enables the Treasury to help manage its cash flow and pay bills that have already been incurred.

 Technically, hitting the debt ceiling is not the same as defaulting on payments. In fact, the Treasury actually hit the debt ceiling in May, and has been using various accounting measures since then to temporarily extend its ability to borrow. That created greater uncertainty about whether hitting the debt ceiling on October 17 would have prevented the country from meeting its financial obligations. That was a special concern not only for recipients of Social Security and Medicare benefits but also for investors. Because Treasuries have traditionally been seen as the safest sovereign debt in the world, overseas investors hold a substantial amount of it. The uncertainty helped underscore fears not only of a default, but that some countries might increase calls for alternatives to the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency.

How will the agreement affect financial markets?
Investors’ immediate reaction to the news was extremely positive. Word on Thursday that a deal had been reached sent the S&P 500 up 1.4% and added 206 points to the Dow Jones Industrial Average in a single day. Even if that enthusiasm fades as equities once again start to respond to other influences, it was a far cry from the reaction to the 2011 extension of the debt ceiling, which was followed by a 10.6% decline in the S&P over the week following the August 2 signing. But investors now must turn their attention once again to corporate earnings season and the question of whether the shutdown’s economic impact will affect when the Federal Reserve starts to taper its economic support.

The new agreement also helps protect the nation’s credit rating from a threatened downgrade that would have affected borrowing costs. Yields on 1-month Treasury bills, which had soared in October when several institutional investors began unloading them as the debt ceiling deadline neared, were cut in half overnight after the announcement.*

When will government agencies return to fully functional status?
The roughly 800,000 federal employees furloughed during the shutdown were instructed by the Office of Management and Budget to be ready to return to work the day after the agreement was signed. However, individual agencies may vary depending on the method each uses to notify employees, who will be entitled to receive back pay for the shutdown period.

 What was the economic impact of the shutdown?
Standard & Poor’s estimated that as of the day before the agreement, the shutdown had cost the U.S. economy $24 billion, cutting roughly 0.6% from inflation-adjusted Q4 gross domestic product.** (S&P also estimated that had there been a default, the result would have put the economy into recession.)

*Source: U.S. Treasury Resource Center (www.treasury.gov) Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates as of 10/17/2013.
**Source: Standard & Poor’s press release, October 16, 2013.
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1
Oct

U.S. Government Shutdown Explained

Congress failed to agree on a spending bill for the fiscal year starting October 1, 2013, resulting in the first government shutdown since 1995. According to the Congressional Research Service, this is the 18th time the federal government has shut down as a result of a failure to agree on an annual appropriations bill. Most shutdowns have lasted only a few hours or a few days. The most recent shutdown, in 1995, lasted three weeks.

What happens when the federal government shuts down?

When the government shuts down, federal agencies must generally suspend operations and furlough their employees. However, there are significant exceptions for government functions that promote national security, or protect human life and property. As a result, a shutdown doesn’t impact certain essential functions like the military, law enforcement, TSA, air traffic control, border patrol, emergency and disaster assistance, food safety, foreign embassies, prisons, and federal medical care (among others).

 A shutdown also doesn’t impact federal entitlement programs (like Social Security and Medicare) that aren’t funded by discretionary annual appropriations. Funding for these programs is considered mandatory, because the legislation creating the benefit obligates the government to make payment. So benefits under these programs continue uninterrupted, and the employees who administer those benefits are generally exempt from furlough.

Finally, some agencies are funded by multiple year appropriations. Even though these agencies don’t yet have any funds appropriated for the new fiscal year, they may still have funds remaining from prior appropriations, which they can use to continue operations until those funds run out.

So what does a government shutdown mean to you?

What you can do during the shutdown:
Receive and send mail–the post office is an independent agency unaffected by the budget process
Buy insurance through one of the new health insurance Exchanges
Receive your Social Security and Medicare benefits, or apply for new benefits
Get a passport or visa–but only until the State Department’s available funding runs out (during the 1995 shutdown, 200,000 U.S. applications for passports went unprocessed)
Conduct business with the United States Patent and Trademark Office–but only until the USPTO’s available funding runs out
Receive unemployment benefits and food stamps
Get an FHA or VA mortgage
Receive medical care at a veterans hospital
Use the federal court system–but only for about 10 days

What you can’t do during the shutdown:
Stop paying taxes–the IRS will continue to process electronically submitted tax returns, but if you’re being audited, you’ll get a temporary reprieve
Get taxpayer assistance from the IRS
Get a small business loan
Go to a national park, zoo, or museum–if you’re already overnighting in a national park, you generally have two days to leave
Get a paycheck, if you’re a federal employee–unless you’re the president, a member of Congress, or in the military; however, in the past workers were paid retroactively after a new appropriations bill was passed
If you need more information, most government agencies have posted their shutdown contingency plans on their websites.

And there’s more to come…

The shutdown is separate and distinct from another looming crisis–the debt ceiling. According to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, it’s anticipated that the United States will run out of funds as soon as October 17, and will default on its debts, unless Congress acts to raise the debt ceiling before then. More on that crisis to follow…

The shutdown is separate and distinct from another looming crisis–the debt ceiling. According to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, it’s anticipated the United States will run out of funds as soon as October 17, and will default on its debts, unless Congress acts to raise the debt ceiling before then.

 

 
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