Congress just passed the SECURE Act which modifies how retirement plans work. The RMD – required minimum distribution has changed the age requirement from 70.5 to 72. Also, small employers can now ban together to offer low cost 401k plans to employees. This capacity will gradually emerge over the next year, putting small employers on a more equal footing with large companies in their ability to offer retirement plans. Also, excluding part-timers from participating in 401k plans will be outlawed. Starting next year, employers will have to make 401ks available to part-timers. And employers will have more power to automatically enroll workers. Generally, Americans allow spending to rise to income levels and beyond. Mandatory enrollment will be more prevalent, with options for workers to modify contributions. Since Social Security alone is not adequate income and many will be physically unable to work their entire old age, these new rules facilitating increased retirement planning are a benefit to society.
Technically the new decade starts Jan. 1, 2021, but we’re in the 20s – a new beginning. We commonly write 2 digits each for month, day and year. But now that it’s 2020, there are warnings to write the year in all 4 digits. On any document – contracts, leases, checks etc., if you only put down /20 – anyone can easily backdate it by adding 2 numbers. Write out all 4 digits for the year. Get in the habit to prevent hazard.
This January and February will be the biggest post-holiday clearance months we’ve seen – and 2020 the biggest clearance year yet overall. That’s unusual in a strong economy, but this year broke pattern. Retailers are in shock over the unprecedented number of returns. Many of the items coming back have no value for theretailer. As a result, clearance sales are the real deal, especially on apparel. It’s a double whammy for clothing retailers as spring items are already on the shelves and online. Now comes overwhelming winter returns. Mark downs are off the charts. This was the first Christmas season that a big percentage of clothing was bought online, creating return rates stunning to everyone in retail. The FT reports that online purchases are being returned at 3 times the rate of in-store purchases. Retailers are forced to rent trailers and warehouse space to house the returns, overwhelming staff. Hence it will take longer to get the goods back out for sale, driving down values even more. So THIS year, we’ll continue to see clearance sales into February with significant markdowns. Next holiday season will have to be different because retailers can’t deal. Wide return rights have boomeranged on retailers into a tsunami of returns. All to the point that phenomenal bargains can be had for the next several weeks.
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