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Wendys Forecasts Commodity Inflation This Year — Market Talk

10:36 ET – Wendys (WEN) expects commodity cost inflation of 1.5%-2% this year, ending what had been a deflationary environment in food costs last year. In 4Q, the company had predicted flat commodity cost for this year. The cost of raw ingredients is expected to pressure margins this year, the burger chain said. That doesnt mean the gap between restaurant and supermarket prices is going to narrow significantly. Grocery stores are still expected to remain competitive with one another on price, and labor costs are continuing to put pressure on restaurant prices. WEN said it expects labor inflation of 4% this year. But higher menu prices have driven diners away from restaurants. WEN told investors that consumers who are managing debt and higher healthcare expenses are still seeking restaurant deals and that restaurants are competing hard to attract guests. WEN gains 5.7% to $15.97. (julie.jargon@wsj.com)

Wendys Systemwide Sales Growth Slows — Market Talk

8:24 ET – Wendys (WEN) reports slower sales growth from restaurants in North America open for at least 15 months and systemwide during 1Q. Global systemwide sales, which includes sales from both company-operated stores and franchises, rise 3% in 1Q compared to 5.2% last year. However, CEO Todd Penegor says 1Q results are solid despite a tough prior-year comparison. WENs same-restaurant sales growth in North America is positive for 17th consecutive quarter. WENs 1Q profit and revenue top views and shares rise 3.7% premarket. (imani.moise@wsj.com; @moisenoise)

Whole Foods Tweaks Annual Outlook — Market Talk

Personal finance advice for managing debt

  1. Listen
    Exerting control over a budget

Bringing calm to the chaos of your money life can be easier than you thought. For many people, the thought of dealing with a budget or bringing down debt can seem insurmountable.

Personal finance educator Ruth Hayden joins MPR News host Kerri Miller to talk about common sense strategies for getting a handle on your money life.

Economic Reality: Bottom 50% of Americans No Longer Matter

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The Fed likes to brag about the We saved the world recovery.

However, the unfortunate truth of the matter is a record Half of American Families Live Paycheck to Paycheck.

Does it Matter? Lets investigate.

Unprepared for Nearly Anything

  • 50% are woefully unprepared for a financial emergency.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) Americans have nothing set aside to cover an unexpected emergency.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 (31%) Americans dont have at least $500 set aside to cover an unexpected emergency expense, according to a survey released Tuesday by HomeServe USA, a home repair service.
  • A separate survey released Monday by insurance company MetLife found that 49% of employees are concerned, anxious or fearful about their current financial well-being.

Deleveraging? Where?

A Fed study shows US Households Will Soon Have as Much Debt as They had in 2008.

The Federal Reserve announced Friday that the US has $1 trillion in credit-card debt. Consumers hit that number in the fourth quarter of 2016, but eased on revolving credit during January 2017. The Fed announcement showed revolving consumer credit hit more than $1 trillion once again in February 2017.

Credit card debt is rising quickly, but delinquencies are still really low, said Matt Schulz, a senior industry analyst at the credit cards site CreditCards.com. Many Americans are doing a good job of controlling their debts, but eventually with big debts and rising interest rates, its likely that something will have to give.

Paycheck to Paycheck Good Job

Excuse me for asking but if half the nation lives paycheck to paycheck, is that really indicative of doing a good job at managing debt.

And as for low delinquencies, I remind you of my April 26 article Subprime Credit Card Losses Bite Capital One: Income Down 20%, Charge-Offs Up 30%.

Nonetheless, I remind you of an important perception.

We Saved the World

  • Wall Street Journal Oct 4, 2015: How the Fed Saved the Economy
  • Washington Post August 26, 2009: Ben Bernanke: The Man Who Saved the World
  • Forbes Oct 5, 2015: Ben Bernanke On How The Fed Saved The Economy
  • January 12, 2013: How Tim Geithner Saved the Banks-With Ben Bernankes Help

Two Reasons Not to Worry

  1. The stock market and housing are still going strong. We heard the same thing in 2007 but its different this time.
  2. The bottom 50% of the economy simply do not matter.

The real crux of the matter is point number two.

The Fed does not give a damn about the bottom half of the economy even though it spouts continual lies about income inequality.

The Bottom 50% Do Not Matter

As long as the Fed can keep stocks and home prices elevated, there is no concern about the food-stamp, rent-subsidized, Medicaid-supplement, disability-income, Obamacare-subsidized 50% of Americans struggling paycheck-to-paycheck.

That money rolls in guaranteed, month after month!

That 50% cannot afford a house is irrelevant as long as suckers keep paying $500,000 to two-bedroom shacks in LA.

The game is to keep asset prices up so that the top 50% keep spending. The bottom 50% are taken care of by government (taxpayer) subsidies noted above.

Heres the real deal: Fed Expects a Second Quarter Rebound, Higher Equity Prices.

Repeat Performance

The Fed needs to keep asset prices elevated even though its pretty clear concerns are mounting over bubbles.

Can the Fed save the world again?

Previously, the bottom third did not matter. Then the bottom 40% did not matter. Now the bottom 50% do not matter.

That statement is a bit over the top. By how much I dont know. But the trend is clear, as is the fly in the ointment.

Brexit was the first warning shot. Trump was the second.

As soon as the bottom 65% dont matter, those 65% may vote to take matters into their own hands.

Mike Mish Shedlock

This article was written by Mike Shedlock for MishTalk on Apr 30, 2017.

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City of Red Oak receives favorable audit report

Andrew Moore, of Judd, Thomas, Smith and Company, PC, delivered the results during the meeting held Monday, March 13.

“This year’s audit went really smooth and was completed in a record four and one-half days. This was a very fast audit due to Miykael [Reeve’s] well-organized preparation,” Moore said. “[…] We look at all the departments as one, similar to a corporation. Miykael has done a fine job communicating budget management through all the departments.”

Reeve serves as the finance director for the City of Red Oak.

“Rather than department heads managing debt and fixed assets, Miykael has taken this task on and placed it in the finance department where it should be,” Moore added.

Moore also told the council the city would not be in the same condition as the City of Dallas is with its retirement liability.

“This city is part of a pool where employees retirement benefits will not be a city liability,” Moore said. He also cited the condition of the city’s cash reserves, which has increased the fund balance by $1.9 million. “We are in much better condition than we were seven years ago. There have been many significant, credible improvements in the financial audit.”

The only improvement Moore suggested was an increase in staff in the financial department but noted the current staff has “done an excellent job. An increase could further smooth out the flow of the department.”

The city’s annual audit will be forwarded to the Government Financial Officers Association for review and evaluation for recognition. Both the City of Red Oak and Reeve have been recognized with the Certificate of Excellence for four consecutive years.

However, this was the first year the council has had to approve the audit, due to a change in state law. The audit was unanimously approved.

Economic Data: Installment Debt Continues to Boom While Revolving Debt Drops

FFN Quarterly Comment: While credit card debt falls, personal loans increase

San Mateo, Calif. (PRWEB) March 23, 2017

While revolving debt continues to decrease, non-revolving (installment) debt is growing faster than ever – an indicator that more people are turning to personal loans instead of credit cards to handle expenses, according to the Freedom Financial Network Quarterly Comment on consumer debt and credit issues.

The number of consumer personal loans in the United States rose to 15.82 million borrowers at the end of 2016, according to TransUnion.

In January, revolving debt – such as credit cards – fell at the fastest rate in four years, by $45 billion nationwide, said Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Phoenix operations for Freedom Financial Network (FFN). This drop could be good news, but we suspect the decrease is somewhat deceptive. For example, we know that some borrowers arent increasing their revolving debt because they have maxed out their credit cards.

Freedom Financial Networks personal loan product, FreedomPlus, offers unsecured installment loans of up to $35,000 for consumers. Personal loans are increasingly popular among consumers who need funds to consolidate credit card debt or pay for large expenses such as adoption or a wedding. FreedomPlus is unique among personal lenders in that the company offers discounted rates for people with co-signers, those who have retirement savings, and consumers who will use the funds as debt consolidation loans and opt for FFN to directly pay their creditors. In addition to loans, the company provides assistance and advice for managing debt.

The economy has been more successful in recent years – but for many people, costs are increasing while wages remain stagnant, added Andrew Housser, Freedom FFN co-founder and CEO. The trend toward tighter personal budgets is driving more people to take out personal loans to find financial relief.

Freedom Financial Network observes several economic indicators closely and provides consumer education in its work to help consumers get out and stay out of debt. Recent financial data as reported:

1. Non-revolving debt continues to grow faster than revolving debt. In January (the most recent data available), total outstanding consumer credit rose by 2.8 percent to a total projected $3.773 trillion, excluding mortgage debt. In January, revolving debt (primarily credit cards) decreased at an annual rate of 4.6 percent. In contrast, non-revolving debt (debt for items such as vehicles and education, as well as unsecured installment loans) increased by 5.5 percent.

2. Personal income climbs again. In January (the most recent data available), personal income increased by $63.0 billion, or 0.4 percent. Disposable personal income increased by 0.3 percent, or $40.1 billion. Personal spending rose by 0.2 percent, a decrease from December, but at the same rate as November and down slightly from October 2016.

3. Consumers continue to save. In January (the most recent data available), consumers saved 5.5 percent of their personal disposable income – a total of $795.7 billion. This rate is comparable to the personal savings rate for 2016.

4. Unemployment level and discouraged workers remain steady. In February, the US unemployment rate was 4.7 percent. Similar to months past, 1.8 million people are long-term unemployed (jobless for 27 weeks or more). Another 1.7 million people are marginally attached to the labor force, meaning they want to work and have searched for work during the past year, but not during the past four weeks. Of this population, half a million people – called discouraged workers – have given up looking for work completely because they believe no opportunities exist for them.

The FFN Quarterly Comment pulls together significant statistical releases and provides quarterly comment on timely debt and credit issues that matter to consumers. To schedule an interview with Andrew Housser, contact Aimee Bennett at 303-843-9840 or aimee(at)faganbusinesscommunications(dot)com.

Freedom Financial Network, LLC (http://www.freedomfinancialnetwork.com)

Freedom Financial Network, LLC (FFN), is a family of companies providing innovative solutions that empower people to live healthier financial lives. For people struggling with debt, Freedom Debt Relief offers a custom program to significantly reduce and resolve what they owe more quickly than they could on their own. FreedomPlus tailors personal loans to each borrower with a level of customer service unmatched in the industry. Bills.com helps homeowners better understand their loan options and make smarter mortgage decisions.

Headquartered in San Mateo, California, FFN also operates an office in Tempe, Arizona, and employs nearly 1,500 people. The company has been voted one of the best places to work in both the San Francisco Bay area and the Phoenix area for several years.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/03/prweb14177377.htm

Merging finances after marriage

Bringing another party into the equation can complicate matters, particularly when one spouse may not have the full picture of the others spending and saving habits. In fact, the financial resource Bankrate.com says some of the most common financial problems newly married couples encounter include overspending and managing debt.

When deciding how to merge their finances, couples can experiment to see what works best for them. It may take some trial and error before couples find a solution that fits their needs, but its important that they keep the lines of communication open and express a willingness to compromise with regard to managing money.

The following are some additional tips for couples who want to make the transition to sharing finances go as smoothly as possible.

Start the conversation early

According to a recent poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, more than two-thirds of engaged couples had negative attitudes about discussing money with their soon-to-be spouses, with 5 percent saying even having the conversation would cause them to call off the wedding.

If money is causing this type of issue before the wedding, delaying the conversation until after tying the knot can be a big mistake. Its better for couples to begin financial discussions and start brainstorming long-term goals and plans as soon as they get engaged. Dont hide negative financial information from a prospective spouse. Being open and honest -even though it can be challenging -is the best way to proceed.

Deal with debt

Can We Talk?

A new study finds that family members tend to discuss different financial topics with different relatives.

According to researchby Ameriprise Financial, adult children are most likely to initiate conversations with their parents about:

  • managing current finances (74%);
  • the cost of health care (73%); and
  • long-term financial goals (70%).

When parents take the lead in financial discussions with their adult children, they also bring up managing debt (73%).

Estate of Mind?

In general, survey respondents report they are less likely to talk to their family members about estate planning and inheritance, but it’s still a popular topic: 67% talked to their parents about it, and 69% talked to their adult children about it.

The No. 1 reason why adult children haven’t talked with their parents about the topic: They “don’t believe it’s their place to raise the issue.” Parents, meanwhile, don’t bring up the subject because “they haven’t thought about it” (25%) or “don’t feel it’s appropriate” (19%).

Additionally, 9 out of 10 adult children who have discussed estate planning say a “life altering incident” triggered the talk with their parents. The study suggests that advisors can help initiate these conversations ahead of those emergencies.

Leave Behinds

Most survey participants (83%) want to leave money or assets to a loved one; however, only 64% feel they are on track or prepared to leave an inheritance, and even fewer (50%) have a formal plan in place. Only 21% of parents who are planning to leave something to their children have told them how much inheritance they will receive.

Little surprise then that the majority of respondents (53%) expected to receive more than $100,000. In fact, the majority (52%) of those who have received an inheritance got less than $100,000, an amount that only matched the expectations of 28% of those surveyed. Nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents think an inheritance will cause tension or disagreements with family members — a sentiment that rings true for a quarter of individuals who have received money following the loss of a loved one.

The Family Wealth Checkup study was created by Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and conducted online by Artemis Strategy Group Nov. 23-Dec. 15, 2016 among 2,700 US adults between the ages of 25-70 with at least $25,000 in investable assets.

3 Things Not Counted in Your Credit Score

Douglass:And credit-counseling services also not included.

Hamilton:Yes, and thats the third one. If you look at it, the preceding things that may affect your credit score — if you go through a bankruptcy, thats going to affect your FICO score. But credit-counseling services that you may take advantage of after that fact arent going to affect your FICO score because, essentially, if you think about it, it is a good move by you to improve your finances, and that should be reflected in your FICO score. You definitely shouldnt be dinged, which is what the model accounts for.

Douglass:Absolutely. That makes sense. And the fact of the matter is, with the internet being what it is, there is a lot of misinformation out there, and so its important to have a good resource. And fortunately weve got one. Its fool.com/credit-cards. There weve got a lot of information about credit, about debt, about managing debt, budgeting, and credit cards.

Hamilton:And more credit score stuff.

Douglass:Right, absolutely. Weve got free copies of our credit card guide, and we also have our picks for the best credit cards of 2017, which should be useful to a lot of different people. So well hope to see you there. Nathan, thanks much.

Hamilton:Thank you.

[End]

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Family Conversations Increase Confidence in Financial Future

More
than half (52%) of Americans say they feel extremely or very confident about
their family’s financial future, due to regular family conversations about
money, according to research released by Ameriprise Financial.

The
study found family members tend to discuss different topics with different
relatives. Adult children are most likely to initiate conversations with their
parents about managing current finances (74%), the cost of health care (73%)
and long-term financial goals (70%). When parents take the lead in financial
discussions with their adult children, they also bring up managing debt (73%).
In general, survey respondents report they are less likely to talk to their
family members about estate planning and inheritance but it’s still a popular
topic (67% talked to their parents, and 69% talked to their adult children about
this topic).

Though
estate planning can be a tough topic to initiate, families who have talked
about it say the discussion went much smoother than anticipated. The
overwhelming majority said the conversations were straightforward, easy and
relaxed as opposed to awkward or difficult.

“The
hardest part is starting the conversation, which is where a financial adviser
can make a difference,” says Marcy Keckler, vice president of financial advice strategy at Ameriprise Financial. “Working with a financial professional can
help family members get on the same page and could mean the difference between
leaving behind a loving legacy and leaving behind a headache and hurt feelings.”

NEXT: Inheritance may cause conflict