Number of the month: 227,000
That’s how many new jobs were added in January—far exceeding December’s 157,000, as well as economists’ expectation of 180,000. (The numbers were reported by the Labor Department earlier this month.)
Also good news: More people are (re)entering the workforce, pushing the labor participation rate up to 62.9 percent, the highest it’s been since September 2016. Jobless claims were down this month as well. And average hourly earnings are growing, up 2.5 percent in January from a year earlier—though they were up only 0.1 percent from December.
So, what? This was the last jobs report of Obama’s administration, and it was a good note to end on. Whether the numbers continue to move in the right direction remains to be seen, but analysts are optimistic.
Bottom line: Whether you want to switch companies or move up the ladder (or payscale), now might be a good time to start planning for it. Perfecting your resume or your case for a promotion or raise is a good place to start.
The rules are…there are no rules—or at least there are significantly fewer rules, if the new administration has its way. As promised, President Trump is aiming to nix dozens of federal regulations, including environmental and educational policies.
On the financial chopping block: Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act—designed to protect consumers from unfair financial practices and limit banks’ ability to do risky things with our money—and the fiduciary rule, which requires financial advisors to prioritize their clients’ best interests over their own or those of their employer.
So, what? While labor unions, environmentalists and rusty patched bumble bees are feeling threatened by the potential rollbacks, many business groups and banks are in favor of these changes. They argue fewer regulations could mean lower costs, increased profits and more jobs.
Bottom line: Stay tuned for how this will all unfold in the coming weeks (and years). In the meantime, keep an eye on your bank accounts and make sure you’re clear on any rates and fees you pay. If you’re thinking of working with an financial advisor, or are already, ask if he or she adheres to the fiduciary standard and how charges are assessed.
This can help you decide whether you’re comfortable entrusting them with your money—regardless of what happens with the financial regulations.
Love and Money…and Stress?
Valentine’s Day may be over, but love—and the financial issues that sometimes go hand in hand with it—lasts all year. In a recent survey by lendEDU, about half of respondents said finances are the most stressful part of their relationships.
So, what? Taking control of your finances is challenging enough—adding another person to that equation can make it exponentially more difficult. It’s no wonder money fights are a common problem for couples.
Bottom line: There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to managing money well: Some couples may opt to share everything in joint accounts, while others might keep separate accounts and divvy up the bills—and that’s okay. The important thing is to talk about it (honesty helps, too).
February 15, 2017