The 7 worst ways people are spending their tax refunds

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Since the pandemic pushed this year’s tax deadline back to July 15, many Americans will be receiving their refund in the coming weeks.

The IRS says people are getting back an average of $2,769 this year, a slight increase from the year before.

But with the economy still struggling and unemployment numbers hovering at record highs, managing your refund wisely is more important than ever.

Here are the seven worst ways to use a 2020 tax refund.

1. Letting it rot in checking accounts

Prapan manuchon / Shutterstock

Setting your tax refund aside in an emergency fund is one of the smartest things you can do. Many financial advisers recommend keeping enough cash on hand to cover at least six months of your regular expenses.

But keep in mind: Where you stash your emergency savings matters a lot.

Don’t just leave your funds in a traditional checking account, which

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‘I Have Nothing:’ The Story Of Wisconsin’s Unemployment Crisis

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MILWAUKEE, WI — It was Wednesday morning, and DeiDra Blakley was on the floor of her Milwaukee apartment counting the loose change she saves in a jar.

Blakely has been out of work for more than 13 weeks, and despite applying for unemployment insurance benefits in Wisconsin, she has yet to receive a check. She’s fallen more than two months behind on her rent, and is afraid she might be evicted after the state’s 60-day moratorium on evictions expired last week.

She has a quarter-tank of gas left in her car, and she’s been spending the morning hunting for boxes at nearby gas stations, so she has something to pack her belongings in case she is evicted.

The change amounts to $16.03 — almost enough to fill the tank.

Blakely used to work in the Fire Keepers Club at the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino until she was furloughed. Her last

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How much and where do I pay taxes on the extra $600? Your COVID-19 money questions, answered

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It’s hard out there. And, in this time of uncertainty, USA TODAY is working to find answers to your money questions – anything from stimulus checks or unemployment benefits to your 401(k) or retirement plans. You can submit your questions here and read earlier answers below.

We will be updating the Q&A, so check back often. But, also look to these places:

There are a few ways you can pay taxes on your unemployment.

You can choose to have them taken out when applying online for jobless benefits for some states. Or you can fill out Federal Form W-4V Voluntary Withholding Request and have federal taxes automatically have taxes taken out, according to Greene-Lewis. When you fill out the form you can request to have up to 10% taken out, she added. 

Once you are working again, if you have an employer you can adjust your federal tax withholding using … Read More

How to organise holiday money in an age of pandemics

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Change approach: the coronavirus crisis means cash is no longer king: Simon Calder
Change approach: the coronavirus crisis means cash is no longer king: Simon Calder

The shrapnel from my final trip before lockdown is still on my desk. Saudi and Yemeni riyals, Jordanian dinars, Israeli shekels and Egyptian pounds provide a pecuniary reminder of a joyful journey.

But next time I travel to and through the Middle East, I do not expect to return with such an exotic collection of notes and coins.

Until mid-March, I was a cash traveller: taking sterling, euros or dollars abroad and tracking down the best place to change for local currency – whether a carpet shop in India or a bakery in Uzbekistan.

Yet since I returned home from Cairo three months ago, the world’s attitude to money has changed.

Cash is no longer king; the coronavirus crisis has vastly accelerated progress towards digital payments, and the traveller needs to be equipped for a contactless future

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What to expect from Apple’s online-only WWDC 2020

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There’s at least one other sign that Apple is rethinking its old conventions. Mark Gurman at Bloomberg reported earlier this year that the company is considering letting people set third-party apps as the default for actions like writing emails and web-browsing, rather than Mail and Safari. The move would be great news for Apple’s power users, but make no mistake: If this happens, it would likely be because of the heightened antitrust scrutiny the company faces from US lawmakers and the European Union. (Just don’t expect Tim Cook to dwell on that too much that on-stage.) Curiously, the conversation around this move has died down since Bloomberg broke the news in February, so we’ll just have to see how things play out.

Beyond all that, Apple has been working on several updates to its slew of preloaded iOS apps. According to MacRumors, Apple is working on a “mention” system

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Gov. Newsom must make face masks mandatory in California to save lives from COVID-19

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The evidence is clear: Cloth masks can help significantly reduce the spread of the coronavirus. That’s why California must make masks mandatory in all public places. Sources say Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to address the question of mandatory masks today.

Multiple scientific studies show that, until there’s a vaccine, cloth masks will provide our best defense against the unchecked spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. That’s why all Californians should gladly do their part and wear masks in public places.

“This protective measure alone significantly reduced the number of infections, that is, by over 78,000 in Italy from April 6 to May 9 and over 66,000 in New York City from April 17 to May 9,” according to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. “Other mitigation measures, such as social distancing implemented in the United States, are insufficient by themselves in

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Online and independent: The future of journalism is already here

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A photo shows AFP photographer Anne-Christine Poujoulat (R) and photographer Jean-Baptiste Autissier during a rally as part of the 'Black Lives Matter' worldwide protests against racism and police brutality, on Place de la Republique in Paris on June 13, 2020. - A wave of global protests in the wake of US George Floyd's fatal arrest magnified attention on the 2016 death in French police custody of Adama Traore, a 24-year-old black man, and renewed controversy over claims of racism and brutality within the force. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP) (Photo by THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images)

THOMAS SAMSON via Getty Images

“I’m a one-man crew right now though I’m starting to work with a few serious journalists and people who can be trained as journalists to string for me in areas of the country that are under-reported on,” he continued.

Unicorn Riot, on the other hand, is a 501(c)3 educational media organization founded in 2015 with reporters spread across the country. “We chose not to be LLC specifically [because] we knew we weren’t in this for the money,” Niko Georgiades, a co-founder of and producer at the outlet, told Engadget.

“What we were aiming for was allowing people’s voices to be heard by creating media that was a platform for the community,” he explained. “And so what we knew from that was we could possibly enlighten people, educate people. We could bring something new to the table and [fill] a niche that we knew needed to

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Australian regulator says Google’s $2.1 billion Fitbit deal could harm competition

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By Byron Kaye and Shashwat Awasthi

SYDNEY/BENGALURU (Reuters) – Australia’s antitrust regulator warned Google’s planned $2.1 billion acquisition of fitness tracker maker Fitbit may give it too much of people’s data, potentially hurting competition in health and online advertising markets.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is the first regulator to voice concerns about the deal, which come at a time when the Alphabet Inc-owned tech giant is at loggerheads with the Australian government over planned new rules about how internet companies use personal information.

“Buying Fitbit will allow Google to build an even more comprehensive set of user data, further cementing its position and raising barriers to entry to potential rivals,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement on Thursday.

“User data available to Google has made it so valuable to advertisers that it faces only limited competition,” he added.

The regulator said its concerns were preliminary

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6 key financial questions you should ask your dad on Father’s Day

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This Father’s Day will be a bit different than usual, as people try to keep their distance from aging family members.

Many of us will celebrate over video chat, buy our dad brunch using a meal delivery app and try to make small talk without our go-to topic of sports.

Instead of rambling about the weather, you would be wise to take this opportunity to have a frank chat with your dad about money.

The pandemic has had a huge impact on the economy, and millions of Americans’ financial situations have changed as a result — particularly those who are nearing retirement.

Though you might feel awkward speaking with your dad about money, it’s never been more important to check in with him about his finances and make sure that he’s prepared for the future.

Here are six questions you should ask him this Father’s Day.

1. Is your retirement

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These products won’t protect you from coronavirus. But they will make you laugh

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The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis of the unknown. Our understanding of the disease and the best ways to fight it seem to change from week to week. This murky information environment creates opportunities for entrepreneurs offering the promise, if not always the reality, of safety.

You can find many of those entrepreneurs on crowdfunding sitessuch as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, where catchy-sounding ideas can go viral on the basis of nothing more than a demo video, raising millions of dollars from would-be customers eager to be first in line.

Right now, if you’re so inclined,, you can throw your cash at a mask that only covers your nose, or a wearable plastic bubble, or a keychain to touch elevator buttons for you.

But would you actually be backing something made of science, or just something science-flavored?

We rounded up some of the most questionable innovations and presented them to Paula

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