Next Avenue: How grim is the outlook for aging in America?

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org.

What does the future of aging in America look like? For answers, every year we ask some of our newest Influencers in Aging to offer their views at the American Society on Aging’s Aging in America conference. The pandemic turned this year’s in-person panel into a June 11 webinar, and the Influencers’ forecasts — as well as their laments — couldn’t have been timelier.

“I want to acknowledge that we as a country have had a few rough months and weeks. We are living and dying in at least two pandemics: COVID-19 and racism,” said panelist Imani Woody, named an Influencer in Aging for her work to create Mary’s House, an independent living community for LGBTQ older adults in Washington, D.C.

The influencers in aging webinar panelists

The two pandemics shaped Woody’s webinar comments as well as those of the two other panelists: Ron Long, head of Wells Fargo’s Aging Client Services Center of Excellence and an authority on elder financial abuse, and Larry Curley, executive director of the National Indian Council on Aging, a nonprofit advocating for the health, social services and economic well-being of American Indian and Alaska Native Elders.

“I really believe that what’s been happening in this country, especially in the era of COVID-19, is that we’ve gotten to a point where I feel as if elders have been a dispensable product; that it’s OK that they’re collateral damage. And that concerns me,” said Curley. “When we start devaluing elder people, we have a very serious problem in our country, and we need to address it.”

Also read: The coronavirus recession is destroying millennials’ retirement dreams and they need to act now

And, Long noted, “We are all in this boat together and all of us have to make sure we’re not leaving anyone behind.”

“Here, here!” Woody responded.

I hosted the one-hour webinar and asked each panelist to talk about: what concerns them about aging in America, what they’re most optimistic about and where they think the future of aging in America is heading. You can read highlights below and watch the free webinar on the American Society of Aging’s webcast site.

One more thing before getting to what the panelists said: Next Avenue just opened nominations for our 2020 Influencers in Aging. Please send us yours soon at our site’s Influencers in Aging nomination submission page.

Highlights from the webinar:

What concerns us about aging in America

Ron Long: “There is a lack of coordination among [government] agencies, financial firms, regulators, nonprofits and other third parties as we try to take on this important mission of elder financial abuse prevention and protection…We could have a centralized portal where no matter where you are, if you see a victim of elder abuse, you send it in and within seconds that portal should be able to send a full report to the adult protection agency that can help that elder get through that situation and to law enforcement if that’s critical.

Also see: COVID-19 will force older workers into early retirement

“I’m also concerned about isolation and social disconnection in coordination with many cases of elder abuse…When folks are isolated, it makes it easier for scammers to work on them….I fully anticipate that as we start going back and visiting our parents more [as the pandemic lessens], we will learn about more elder abuse cases that have occurred during COVID lockdowns.”

Larry Curley: “COVID-19 has had a major, major impact on Indian Country, with what it has done and services that have been disrupted for elderly people, who are having a difficult time dealing with it. The coronavirus infection rate on reservations has equaled those of New York and New Jersey. In Arizona, Indians comprise 6% of the population, yet they represent 16% of the fatalities from COVID-19.

“Funding has always been low for the Indian Health Service, the primary health provider for Indian people…The funding level has been a challenging endeavor in light of COVID-19. Moreover, there are only eight nursing homes on Indian reservations with a total bed capacity of just over eight hundred….And one in three Indian Country elders are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia.”

Imani Woody: “It’s hard to be old and gay at the same time. Many old LGBTQ SGL [Same Gender Loving] people are finding it insurmountable and are going back into the closet. These times of COVID-19 make it definitely worrisome…LGBTQ people of color and elders can be particularly marginalized.

“I don’t want to be in the position where a 30-year-old and I need to use a ventilator. The decision makers may think I’ve already led a full life. Yes, the ageism and disregard for old people generally is fierce.”

What we’re most optimistic about and want to see

Ron Long: “We are aging well and living longer. Some say that with better science and medical innovations, we will live longer and healthier so that you can be playing tennis at 95 — singles, not doubles….It will be absolutely critical to be able to financially support those longer lives.”

Read: For older workers, there are risks if they return to the office—and if they don’t

Larry Curley: “There is room for optimism and hope in Indian Country. One of the things I see is an increase in the growth of intergenerational programs that preserve the language, customs and traditions of Native Americans…The younger population is looking to the elders — our living encyclopedias who hold the history of Indians in their minds and hearts.”

Imani Woody: “We can create aging communities and social service environments that are visibly welcome and inclusive. We can continue to develop programs that specifically address the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same-gender loving people, particularly LGBTQ people of color.”

“We can produce materials that celebrate the lives of older, LGBTQ SGL elders. We can dismantle institutional levels of racism, ageism, heterosexism and classism.”

Where the future of aging in America is heading

Ron Long: “I would like us to do [in the U.S.] what they’ve done in England: have a Minister of Loneliness….That can start us on the path to look at the right solutions.”

Larry Curley: “Increasing numbers of tribal governments see the value of elders and have begun to move forward and fund elderly programs far more than ones the federal government is providing.”

“With the prevalence of the incidence of Alzheimer’s in Indian Country, where are the caregivers — the people trained to deal with people with Alzheimer’s and dementia?” What I’d like to see nationwide is a much greater emphasis on training more caregivers. That’s something this country needs to respond to, I think.”

Imani Woody: “I would like to see a change in our culture in how we treat our elders and how we house our elders.

“I’m in my 60s and I’ve been marching awhile…women’s rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQ SGL rights, civil rights for black people, for people of color….[Being older] doesn’t stop you from being politically reactive. Political is the personal. We can all do something.”

Richard Eisenberg is the Senior Web Editor of the Money & Security and Work & Purpose channels of Next Avenue and Managing Editor for the site. He is the author of “How to Avoid a Mid-Life Financial Crisis” and has been a personal finance editor at Money, Yahoo, Good Housekeeping, and CBS Moneywatch. Follow him on Twitter.

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org, © 2020 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.

Outside the Box: A traditional 401(k) is better than a Roth 401(k) — except in this surprising situation

One of the most-asked questions in personal finance is whether to sign up for a 401(k) or a Roth 401(k) retirement plan through your employer. For those with less familiarity, a “traditional“ 401(k) is funded with pretax money while a Roth 401(k) is funded with post-tax money. The only difference between these account types is when you decide to pay your taxes.

Before I explain why I think the traditional 401(k) is usually the better option for most people, let’s do a simple walkthrough of how each of these accounts work.

Traditional 401(k) vs. Roth 401(k) walkthrough

Traditional 401(k): Kate earns $100 which she contributes directly into her traditional 401(k) without paying any income taxes. Over the next 30 years let’s assume that the $100 triples to $300. In retirement, Kate withdraws the $300 but has to pay 30% of it in income taxes. The final (post-tax) money that she can spend in retirement is $210 (or 70% of $300).

$210 = ($100×3)x70%

Roth 401(k): Kevin earns $100 and pays a 30% tax rate on it to have $70 after-tax. He contributes the $70 directly into his Roth 401(k) where, over the next 30 years, it triples to become $210. In retirement, Kevin is able to spend all $210 without having to pay any additional income taxes.

$210 = ($100×70%)x3

Both Kate and Kevin end up with $210 in retirement spending because they had the same contributions, the same investment growth, and paid the same tax rates over time. Mathematically this makes sense because when multiplying a bunch of numbers together, the ordering of the numbers doesn’t matter.

3x2x1 = 1x2x3

Or in Kate and Kevin’s case:

(100×3)x70% = (100×70%)x3

The only difference between the two of them was when they paid their taxes, with Kate paying her taxes at the end while Kevin paid his at the beginning. This is why the traditional 401(k) vs. Roth 401(k) decision is irrelevant if your income-tax rate is the the same in your working years and in retirement.

Let me repeat that. If you don’t expect any material change in your income tax rate between your working years and retirement, it (generally) won’t make a difference whether you choose a traditional 401(k) or Roth 401(k). However, if you do expect some variation in your income tax rate, then we can simplify the decision.

Read more on the difference begween a 401(k) and a Roth 401(k)

Simplifying the traditional vs. Roth decision

Given that the timing of taxes is the most important thing when deciding between a traditional 401(k) and a Roth 401(k), we can reduce this problem down to answering a single question:

Will your income tax rate be higher now (while working) or later (in retirement)?

All else equal, if you think your income taxes will be higher now, then contribute to a traditional 401(k); otherwise contribute to a Roth 401(k).

Yes, this answer is simple, but it ain’t easy. It’s simple because the goal when making retirement contributions is to avoid paying taxes when your tax rate is at its highest. However, this isn’t an easy question to answer because you have to consider how your federal, state and local income taxes might change over time.

How to think about future tax rates

Given that future tax rates are what’s important when choosing between a traditional 401(k) and a Roth 401(k), your next question might be, “So Nick, what will future tax rates be?” Unfortunately, I have no idea! But neither does anyone else. You can try to use historical trends to think about whether federal or state tax rates will be higher or lower over the next few decades, but this is harder than it seems.

For example, in 2012, I was under the impression that U.S. federal income tax rates were likely to increase in the future to be somewhat closer to that of their European counterparts. But then, to my surprise, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 passed and lowered U.S. federal income tax rates. Predicting the future is hard.

Though I am not expecting you to forecast the future path of income tax rates in the U.S., I do think that spending time to think about your retirement situation can help clarify the traditional vs. Roth decision.

For example, let’s assume that you expect your federal effective tax rate to increase from 20% while working to 23% during retirement. All else equal, this implies that the Roth 401(k) would be the better option, as you would pay a lower tax rate now (20%) than you would expect to pay in retirement (23%).

But, what if all else isn’t equal? What if you are working in a state with high income taxes now (i.e. California) and you plan on retiring in a state with low income taxes later (i.e. Florida)? In that case, using a traditional 401(k) would be preferred as the expected savings in state income tax today are likely to exceed the expected increase in federal income taxes in the future.

However, this will vary from state to state. For example, New York State residents who are at least 59½ are entitled to a state income-tax deduction of up to $20,000 if that money comes from a qualified retirement plan and meets some other criteria. I understand this complicates the calculus surrounding your retirement contributions, but it is worth noting.

Though we cannot predict future tax rates, what we can do is estimate how much income we will need in retirement and where we plan on taking that retirement. Having these two pieces of information can do a lot to clarify whether you should be contributing to a traditional 401(k) or a Roth 401(k).

When the traditional 401(k) is better

Though there are a few scenarios where a Roth 401(k) would be preferred to a traditional 401(k) [see below], I generally recommend contributing to a traditional 401(k) because it has one thing that a Roth doesn’t have—optionality.

With a traditional 401(k) you have far more control over when and where you pay your taxes. If you couple this with the ability to convert a traditional 401(k) into a Roth IRA, you can play some really interesting tax games.

For example, if you experience a year of lower income, you can use this time to convert your traditional 401(k) into a Roth IRA at a lower tax rate.

I have friends who used this tactic while they were in business school because they knew they would be temporarily earning next to nothing. The taxes they paid on their conversions were far lower than what they would have paid had they made Roth 401(k) contributions from the outset.

But you don’t have to go to business school to use this strategy either. Any prolonged period of low income (such as spending time to raise your children, going on sabbatical, etc.) can be utilized for greater tax efficiency.

Note that this assumes that your 401(k) balance is not greater than a year of your income. If it is, then you will be paying the same (or higher tax rates) when converting. Keep this in mind before converting your traditional 401(k) to Roth IRA.

Besides timing decisions, you can also change where you retire in order to avoid those cities/states that impose larger income taxes. This is why it probably doesn’t make sense to contribute to a Roth 401(k) while living in New York City unless you know that you are going to retire in an area with a similarly high taxes.

Though I don’t know which of these tax tactics will be most useful to you in the future, I do know that none of these options are available with a Roth 401(k). The added flexibility associated with a traditional 401(k) is what makes it my go-to choice when it comes to employer-sponsored retirement vehicles.

When the Roth 401(k) is better

Despite the lack of optionality in a Roth 401(k), there are a few special cases where a Roth might be the way to go. One of these cases is for people who are high savers.

Why is this true? Because maxing out a Roth 401(k) places more total dollars into a tax-deferred account than maxing out a traditional 401(k). A little math will demonstrate this.

Imagine Sally and Sam max out their 401(k)s one year by each contributing $19,500. While Sally places her $19,500 contribution into a Roth 401(k), Sam places his $19,500 into a traditional 401(k). After 30 years, let’s assume both of their accounts have tripled in value to $58,500. Unfortunately, Sam still has to pay income taxes. Assuming that pays 30% in taxes, he will be left with only $40,950 to spend in retirement.

How did Sally end up with more in retirement than Sam? Sally placed more total dollars into the tax-deferred account to begin with. For Sam to have $58,500 after taxes in retirement using his traditional 401(k), he would have had to contribute $27,857 into his account initially. However, since the maximum yearly contribution amount into a traditional 401(k) is $19,500, Sam is out of luck.

This simple example demonstrates that the Roth 401(k) is probably the better choice for high savers, as you get more total tax-deferred benefits.

In addition, high savers may find that some of the optionality in a traditional 401(k) is closed off to them. For example, if you try to convert a traditional 401(k) with a high account balance to a Roth IRA, you may end up in a higher tax bracket than you initially planned for. With these kinds of benefits off the table for high savers, the Roth 401(k) becomes a more appealing choice.

What About both?

Though so far I have pitted the traditional 401(k) and Roth 401(k) against each other, there is nothing stopping you from relying on both of these account types in retirement. In fact, this may be a more prudent decision and could allow for even more optionality than using either account by themselves.

For example, I spoke with an advisor at my firm who typically recommends utilizing a Roth 401(k) early in your career (assuming you earn less) and then switching to a traditional 401(k) later as your earnings increase.

This strategy is great because it avoids the highest tax brackets in your highest-earning years and also provides additional flexibility when making retirement withdrawals. And, as I mentioned previously, because the tax treatment of retirement withdrawals varies by state, a dual strategy might be the best solution to effectively navigate such a complex landscape.

But, you know what’s even better than a dual strategy?

The only right answer

Despite all the back and forth on which 401(k) account is right for you, the only right answer is to talk to a tax advisor. Though I can generalize my advice as much as possible, every person’s financial situation is different. There are differences in state tax treatment, differences in income and differences in retirement expectations that all affect what the “right” choice is.

This is why some of the tactics I’ve discussed here could be helpful for you and some could be disastrous. But the only way to find out is to get expert help. Spend the time and money to get this right and it can pay you back for decades to come. Trust me on this.

Nick Maggiulli is the author of the blog “Of Dollars and Data,” where this was first published as “Roth 401(k) vs. 401(k): Which is the Better Option?”. Follow him on Twitter @DollarsAndData.

Buyer beware: SEC warns investors to avoid coronavirus-related frauds and scams

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is urging investors to beware of scams linked to the coronavirus pandemic, and to carefully consider claims relating to treatments, therapies and equipment that promise big investor returns.

The virus that has sickened more than 2.3 million Americans has also attracted bad actors seeking to profit from the worst public health crisis since 1918’s deadly flu outbreak.

“We’ve seen in other periods of crisis that people try to take advantage,” Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, told MarketWatch in an interview. “We saw it with SARS, with Ebola, with Hurricane Katrina and after 9/11. A lot of individuals want to take advantage of investor concern and interest, and we’ve seen that in spades in connection with this crisis.”

The proliferation of news releases and social-media postings from individuals and companies claiming to have cures, home testing kits or products that guarantee immunity, has already led the agency to temporarily halt trading in the shares of more than 30 companies in an effort to protect investors.

‘We’ve seen in other periods of crisis that people try to take advantage. We saw it with SARS, with Ebola, with Hurricane Katrina and after 9/11.’

— Stephen Peikin, SEC Division of Enforcement

In May, the SEC filed charges against Florida-based Praxsyn Corp. PXYN, and its chief executive for falsely claiming they were negotiating the sale of millions of N95 masks. Those masks are much in demand among health-care workers and people at high risk, as they can prevent the virus’s spread via the droplets that are released when people cough or speak.

That same month, the agency filed a complaint against Applied Biosciences Corp. APPB, -40.00% in federal court for the Southern District of New York over a press release published on March 31 that said it had started offering and shipping supposed finger-prick COVID-19 tests to the general public. The tests could be used for “homes, schools, hospitals, law enforcement, military, public servants or anyone wanting immediate and private results,” said the release, and could produce results in under 15 minutes.

The complaint alleged that the tests were not intended for home use and could be used only with the help of medical professionals. It further alleged that the company had not shipped any such tests as of March 31.

For more, see: SEC files charges against 2 more companies for false claims about COVID-19

The problem is so widespread that the SEC created a coronavirus steering committee in March led by Peikin and his fellow co-director of enforcement, Stephanie Avakian. The committee is tasked with proactively identifying fraud and coordinating the SEC’s response to ensure it’s consistent across the agency’s operations of more than 1,400 people in 12 offices.

“Steering committees are rare,” said Avakian. “But it’s not just about the pandemic. It was clear by mid-March that we were not just in the midst of a health crisis but also dealing with markets that were highly disrupted and volatile, and for both pieces we have historical precedent to look to.”

When the stock market was experiencing wild swings, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -2.71% moving by thousands of points in a single day at the peak of the turbulence in March and repeatedly triggering circuit breakers, the agency could look back at things that happened during the 2008 financial crisis.

Redemption requests, for example, can be a red flag, if investors are unable to get money out of investments. That was how one famous swindler, Bernie Madoff, was uncovered during the 2008–09 financial crisis. Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme came to light when he was unable to keep up with investors seeking to withdraw their money.

Don’t miss:Hertz pulls potentially worthless share offering

“Those market-correction dynamic scenarios can reveal past misconduct,” said Peikin. “It also creates opportunities for people to engage in mischief.”

Some of that mischief likely comes from players drawn out by the recent surge in interest in stocks from less experienced investors. Brian Reynolds, chief market strategist at Reynolds Strategy LLC, said market data over the past couple months have revealed that investor flows are “disproportionately” coming from retail investors.

“[R]etail investors … are pushing up the price of stocks that are under-owned by institutions and also getting involved in insane schemes,” Reynolds wrote in a recent note to clients. “This behavior cannot go on forever, but it can go on for a while.”

See: Investing legend Burton Malkiel on day-trading millennials, the end of the 60/40 portfolio and more

So how does the SEC manage to track all of the false information that could lead investors to lose money? “We take a holistic approach and look at all kinds of sources, starting with news,” said Peikin.

The agency monitors trading activity, particularly in securities that are volatile, and tracks whether stock moves appear to be driven by news or are unexplained and look suspicious. The agency relies heavily on referrals from FINRA, the self-regulator for the brokerage industry. It also hears from the Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and from the investing public.

See:FTC warns company to stop claiming that listening to certain musical frequencies will ‘weaken’ the coronavirus

In a typical year, the SEC receives between 17,000 and 20,000 such letters of complaint from investors, but the numbers soared by 45% in the period from March 15 to June 15, said Avakian.

The regulator also gets information from short sellers, which it evaluates on a case-by-case basis.

“We get a lot of information from market participants,” said Avakian. “We always have to evaluate whether the information provider has an economic interest, on the long or short side, but that doesn’t necessarily invalidate their claim.”

So how should small investors approach investing during the pandemic?

As with any investment, investors should do their homework, said Avakian.

Start by going to Investor.gov on the SEC’s website and read the guidance on avoiding fraud. In addition to tools and calculators to help understand investing, the site offers plenty of advice on avoiding being swindled by fraudsters targeting retirement savings or even charitable-investment scams. Investors should always do their own research on any potential investment and use common sense.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” she said.

Why ‘Frankenstein’ fraud costs U.S. companies over $6 billion a year

Investors should always ask questions. They should beware of unsolicited offers that come out of the blue, as that is often a red flag. Any promise that is presented as a “sure thing” should be taken with a grain of salt.

“No doubt some companies will come up with a vaccine or treatment, but we don’t know which ones yet, so it’s important to do your research,” she said.

Read: Supreme Court rules SEC can recover ill-gotten gains in fraud cases

In a sign the steering committee’s work is helping, the number of suspensions of stock trading has started to tail off. Still, Avakian and Peikin signaled they expect further charges will be filed, and concede that there are numerous pending investigations.

A typical SEC investigation of fraud takes about two years to complete. The Praxsyn case took just 61 days.

“It suggests the message has been heard by those who would engage in this conduct,” said Peikin. “But we don’t pretend to have them all. There’s more work to be done.”

Read on: SEC’s regulatory work could be hamstrung by leadership change with Clayton set to exit, analyst says

CityWatch: House stimulus bill could send $34 billion to New York state

House Democrats have introduced a stimulus bill that would include $1 trillion for cash-strapped states and local governments, including $17 billion for hard-hit New York City and $34 billion to New York state, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday.

“Finally, we see the beginning of an answer in Washington, D.C.,” de Blasio said at his daily briefing. “This is the biggest health-care crisis, the greatest challenge that we’ve faced in terms of health care in a century in this city, in this nation. The biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression, and they’re both happening at once.”

In total, the $3 trillion legislation would roughly double federal stimulus in the wake of the pandemic and would lay the framework for negotiations with the Republican-led Senate. 

The bill, on which the House is expected to vote on Friday, proposes sending $375 million in federal funds to local and county governments and $500 billion to states — stimulus to which some powerful Republicans in Washington, including the president himself, have said they’re opposed. 

Cities and states across the country are facing steep budget shortfalls as shutdowns have cut off vital tax revenue streams. That’s been felt acutely in New York City, the nation’s epicenter for the virus, where the number of confirmed cases approaches 200,000 and more than 15,000 people have died (more than 20,000 if probable COVID deaths are included). 

Hotels, a significant source of tax revenue for the city, are now either closed or voluntarily housing frontline workers and convalescing patients. 

Meanwhile, nonessential business closures and mass layoffs — grounding to a halt entire segments of the city’s economy, from Broadway theaters to fine dining — have dried up revenue from sales, business and personal income taxes. Even parking tickets, which provide more than $500 million a year to government coffers, have declined steeply. Last month, the city issued only 54,000 parking tickets, down 92% from April of last year, according to a spokeswoman for the NYPD. 

See: With New York City offices still closed, companies consider downsizing—or heading for the suburbs

As a result, the city expects $7.4 billion in lost revenue in fiscal years 2020 and 2021, the mayor has said. 

“We’ve taken a huge financial hit, and it only gets worse all the time,” de Blasio said on Wednesday. The federal infusion would be used to “to stabilize this city government, to make sure that we can pay the bills and keep our public servants at the front line doing the great work they do and build for a future when our economy actually comes back strong.” 

Federal stimulus has also fallen short on aiding New York City’s small businesses, a minority of which have received funding through two emergency loan programs through the Small Business Administration, community surveys have shown. 

The New York City Council took matters into its own hands by passing a slate of small business relief measures on Wednesday. They include a cap on how much apps like Seamless and Grubhub can charge in delivery fees, waiving sidewalk cafe fees and fining landlords who threaten commercial tenants with eviction.

Besides direct aid to state and local governments, the latest stimulus bill also proposes funding a number of agencies and services that would benefit New Yorkers, and proposes another round of $1,200 checks direct to individuals.

The legislation calls for an additional $10 billion in funding for food stamps and a $4 billion infusion for Section Eight public housing. The bill would also extend through the rest of the year beefed up unemployment checks, which an earlier stimulus package increased by $600 per week.

Don’t miss: Mortgage delinquencies caused by the coronavirus will exceed Great Recession levels, according to this forecast

Though the House could pass the $3 trillion package on Friday, it could be weeks before negotiations begin with Senate Republicans. De Blasio acknowledged it would be an uphill battle, particularly for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who represents New York. 

“We know it’ll be a fight, but we also know that cities and states all over the country, it doesn’t matter if you’re a red state or blue state,” de Blasio said, “you’re in the Heartland and you’re on the coast, everyone’s going through this.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly implored federal lawmakers to send aid to state governments, and at one point addressed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell directly over comments the Kentucky senator made equating such stimulus to bailing out “blue states.”

President Donald Trump has left reopening plans as well as large-scale containment efforts, including testing and tracing, up to the states. Cuomo said it makes sense for state governments to coordinate their own reopening but they need financial assistance to do it. 

“We need help to make this happen and we need help from Washington,” the governor said on Wednesday. Without help to make budgets whole, he asked, “who gets cut?” 

“Police, firefighters, schools and local government,” he said. “The very people we call essential workers and heroes.” 

Other developments: 

• New York state’s health department will host a public webinar Thursday with health-care providers to discuss a rare inflammatory disease affecting children exposed to COVID-19. The state is investigating more than 100 cases of mostly school-aged children presenting symptoms similar to toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease. 


See: New York turns attention to testing children

North Country, a rural part of upstate New York, will join three other regions of the state that will phase in reopening, including construction, manufacturing and retail with curbside pickup on Friday. 


More than 400 people with suspected cases of the coronavirus walked into hospitals across the state on Tuesday, a slight uptick from the previous day but a sliver of the daily hospitalizations recorded at the peak last month. The state also recorded 166 deaths on Tuesday.  

Personal Finance Daily: ‘Not everyone that owes back child support is a deadbeat’ and what happens to vouchers, credit cards and travel miles if airlines go bankrupt?

Happy Wednesday MarketWatchers. Don’t miss these top stories:

‘It’s really the Wild West out there.’ Your trip to the dentist is about to get more painful — but not for the reason you might think

One dentist has spent nearly $35,000 on disinfectant equipment, including oral high-speed aerosol evacuation units, ozone generators and ultraviolet lights.

Airlines are on the brink of bankruptcy — what happens to your voucher, travel miles and airline credit card if they go belly up?

As some warn about the possibility of airline bankruptcies, consumers could face the loss of those canceled tickets.

‘Not everyone that owes back child support is a deadbeat.’ Is it fair for President Trump to garnish stimulus checks of fathers who are behind on payments?

‘I was nearly $15,000 in debt to my ex-wife. I have been diligently paying the back support down and, now, 10 years later, I finally paid it off.’

My son is staying with me, yet my financially irresponsible ex-husband received his $500 stimulus check. Is my ex right to keep it?

The combination of ethics, divorce agreements, the law and the IRS leads to a long and winding road filled with pot holes, sharp turns and speed bumps.

‘I owe child support from my first marriage and did not receive a stimulus check. Does Trump not realize I have another family to take care of?’

‘Withholding checks now does not take into account the unprecedented circumstances in which we’re living.’

Mortgage delinquencies caused by the coronavirus will exceed Great Recession levels, according to this forecast

The troubles homeowners face now could make it harder for other people to get home loans in the future.

Lost your job and health insurance due to coronavirus? Here’s how to get coverage before time runs out

Some 26.8 million workers and their dependents could become uninsured after losing employer-based insurance, a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found.

‘All the days are blurring together’: How to battle burnout and find a healthy work-life balance during the pandemic

‘I, for one, feel burned out by constant Zoom meetings all day.’

Automakers ramp up incentives to ease buyers’ concerns of health and the economy

Deferred or forgiven payments, 0% financing, home delivery are some strategies to help keep the fragile auto industry afloat

If there’s even a chance of bankruptcy in your future, here’s what you should do now

A few do’s and don’ts to start thinking defensively and prepare, in case bankruptcy is in the pipeline.

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Rick Bright, the ousted director of a key government health office, will testify Thursday that the U.S. faces its “darkest winter in modern history” without a stronger response to the coronavirus.

A day before deadline, these public companies have returned emergency loans meant for small businesses

The Treasury Department says Paycheck Protection Program loans are not meant for “a public company with substantial market value and access to capital markets” and given big borrowers a May 14 deadline. Here’s how the returns are going.

With unemployment at depression levels, even all the Fed’s money printing can’t muster much inflation

Until the economy reaches something approximating full employment, there is little chance of an inflationary outbreak.

Treasury says Paycheck Protection Program loans below $2 million typically won’t face audits

Updated guidance from the U.S. government suggests that about half of the PPP loans given to public companies don’t need to be returned.

There is a growing sense recovery will be slow, Fed’s Powell says

The economic recovery may take some time to gather momentum and more fiscal spending may help avoid damage that could build as a result, said Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday.

Trump calls out ‘so-called rich guys’ speaking negatively about the stock market, alleges they are ‘betting big against it,’ as Dow falls 500 points

President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to express his displeasure with prominent investors delivering grim forecasts about the outlook for the economy and the stock market.

Investors should prepare for a U.S. ‘economic depression,’ warns Kyle Bass, but China’s fate could be even worse

Kyle Bass made his name betting against the U.S. housing market more than a decade ago, and now he is predicting an economic contraction that could be more than three times as severe as that suffered during the Great Financial Crisis.