Inflation relief checks by state, live online: Student loan forgiveness, 401k limit increases & SSA payment | – AS USA

US economy registers 2.6% growth in Q3, despite high inflation
– Annual inflation rate in the US currently at 8.2%
The lowdown on New Jersey's ANCHOR program
– There's still time to claim the enhanced Child Tax Credit 
– What's the deadline to claim the third stimulus check?
– Which states in the US are distributing inflation relief checks
California inflation relief check: key dates
Mortgage rates today, October 27 | Fixed and adjustable-rate (ARM) | Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
How long will it take to process the student loan forgiveness application?
Financial assistance
New Jersey ANCHOR Program: what it is and who can be beneficiaries
Who is eligible to request unclaimed stimulus check payments and when is the deadline?
Latest News
How much money do I need to retire and when should I start saving?
How can I legally protect my retirement savings from the IRS?
US real estate commission by state: what is the average rate for selling a house?
What is a defined contribution retirement plan and how do I know if mine is?
IRS 2023 Roth IRA contribution limits: how much will they increase for single filers and heads of households?
What are the new 401k and IRA limit increases for 2023 and how do they affect your pension?
How much does a registered nurse earn in US by hour: what is the average RN salary?
The United States is currently in the midst of a critical nursing shortage, caused in part by the huge strain placed on nurses and the healthcare system more broadly during the pandemic. The average wage of registered nurses has risen since the start of the pandemic but those increases are far below the rate of inflation in the United States.
Dr. Jason Shafrin, a senior managing director at the Center for Healthcare Economics and Policy points out: “Wages of registered nurses have increased a little over 2%,” referencing a recent study published in the journal Health Affairs. For context, inflation in the US is currently running above 8% year-on-year.
We take a look a the average wage for registered nurses…
What happens if the courts block student loan forgiveness?
The White House has been forced to respond to questions on the prospect of the court of appeals striking down President Biden's long-awaited student loan forgiveness program. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre pointed out that eligible borrowers are still able to apply for the debt relief and that it had not actually issued any guidance on the validity of the plan. 
However she refused to say whether the Biden administration was actively looking for alternative methods of disbursing widespread loan forgiveness. Jean-Pierre insisted that it was simply a "temporary block". 
Mortgage rates hit two-decade high
Average interest rates on mortgages in the United States climbed to 7.16% in 2022, the highest figures reached since 2001. In recent months the Federal Reserve's efforts to curb inflation (namely, raising interest rates) have pushed up the cost of borrowing and made mortgages more expensive. 
The increasingly cost of mortgage repayments is having a significant impact on household finances for millions of Americans. The recent rise in mortgage rates has put off many prospective buyers and caused a slow-down in the market more broadly.
A buyer looking for a mortgage on a $500,000 home could expect to pay roughly $900 more per month than would have been required at the same point in 2021.
Used-car sector offers hope to Fed over inflation
Bloomberg notes that dropping used-car prices are a welcome sign for the Federal Reserve, as the US’ central bank battles to curb high inflation in the country. 
Used-car retailers say they expect to make less next year, while rental companies, which boost their income by selling their cars when they retire them from their fleet, are announcing lower profits.
Bloomberg quotes a prediction by Cox Automotive, which says wholesale prices for used cars can be expected to end 2022 down by 14%.
Financial assistance
New Jersey ANCHOR Program: what it is and who can be beneficiaries
The New Jersey government has unveiled the Affordable Communities for Homeowners and Renters (ANCHOR) scheme, which is to provide property tax relief to homeowners and renters in the US state.
AS USA's Corina González has the lowdown on the program
“Everything is going up, except our income"
CNN has spoken to seniors on a fixed income who are struggling to make ends meet amid high inflation in the US.
One retiree revealed that she has had to seek financial help from her son. “It makes things a little easier,” she said.
Everything is going up, except our income,” another senior said. “I’ve never worried about how we were going to eat. We’re middle income, with less to work with than when we worked full time. We have worked hard and we’ve been honest – why is it going in reverse?”
California inflation relief checks: is it a direct deposit or a debit card payment & when it will arrive?
And my colleague Greg Heilman also has some useful info on the inflation relief checks being distributed in California – he outlines how residents of the Golden State will be paid their money, and also offers a full rundown on the eligibility requirements.
Take a look
The key dates to receive the California inflation relief checks: who will collect it in October?
Inflation relief payments are being sent out in California, as the state attempts to alleviate residents’ financial woes amid high inflation.
AS USA's Oliver Povey has the full lowdown on when eligible Californians can expect to get their money.
Biden to warn in Syracuse address that GOP will exacerbate inflation
President Biden will contrast his economic plan with the Republicans' on Thursday, in a last-ditch effort to convince midterm voters that Democrats are best equipped to battle inflation and create jobs.
Biden will visit Syracuse, New York, where Micron Technology plans to invest up to $100 billion in computer chip manufacturing, part of tens of billions in new factory spending announced after Biden signed the CHIPS Act subsidizing the industry in August.
In Syracuse, Biden will tout efforts to bring manufacturing jobs back to upstate New York, and contrast those policies with what he has called Republicans' "mega-'MAGA' trickle-down agenda."
The slogan is a reference to Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" movement and the Republican former president's emphasis on tax cuts that Democrats argued failed to "trickle down" to lower-income citizens.
Senior administration officials said that Biden will argue that the Republican economic plans benefit the wealthy and increase inflation. Earlier this week, he warned that Republicans would cause "chaos" in the world's largest economy.
Some Republicans have pledged to use the US statutory borrowing limit or debt ceiling to force cuts to federal spending, extend Trump's tax cuts, repeal Democrat-enacted laws lowering prescription drug prices and block Biden's student debt relief plan.
Why do central banks raise interest rates to control inflation?
If you're asking yourself why central banks tend to put up interest rates to keep inflation down, you'll find this video explainer by the Economist should clear things up for you.
Basically, it's all about slowing down spending – but not by too much…
Biden: US Q3 growth shows economic recovery "continuing to power forward"
President Joe Biden said on Thursday that a US economic growth rebound in the third quarter was evidence an economic recovery is "continuing to power forward" adding that his administration needed to do more to bring prices down for consumers.
"My administration has passed laws that will bring down prescription drug prices and health insurance premiums starting next year. We must do more," Biden said in a statement.
ECB doubles interest rates to 1.5%
The European Central Bank decided to raise three key interest rates by 75 basis points on Thursday in a bid to curtail rampant inflation in the EU zone. The rate hike, the third consecutive rise since July, leaves interest rates in the euro area at 1.5 per cent – its highest level since 2009. The Governing Council said that it expects to raise interest rates further, to ensure a return of inflation to its 2% medium-term inflation target.
In September, euro area inflation reached 9.9%. In recent months, soaring energy and food prices, supply bottlenecks and the post-pandemic recovery in demand have led to a broadening of price pressures and an increase in inflation.
World "faces first truly global energy crisis"
Russia's invasion of Ukraine will have long-lasting effects on energy supply and markets, according to the World Energy Outlook 2022 (WEO) report published today by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
It cited the REPowerEU scheme, which aims to make European Union (EU) countries independent of Russian energy by 2030, with investment in clean energy almost doubling from 1.3 to 2 billion dollars over the next seven years althoough it warned that it would need to be closer to $4 billion in order to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
The report added that for the first time ever, its forecasts, based on current prices and government policies, showed that global demand for every fossil fuel will either be peaking or reaching a plateau.
Spotify considering US price increase
Earlier this week, Apple Music increased its subscription price to $10.99 per month for individuals, while the family plan jumped $2 to $16.99 per month, among other plan increases. YouTube is also increasing the price of its premium family plan from $17.99 to $22.99 per month in the United States.
Variety revealed that, during Spotify’s third-quarter earnings call, co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek said the company is also considering a raise.
On raising the subscription price in the US, the world’s largest music market, Ek noted: “[I]t’s something we will [discuss] with our label partners. I feel good about this upcoming year, and what it means about pricing for our service.”
​​​​​​Spotify Premium Membership is priced at $9.99 per month currently, while the family plan, which supports up to 6 accounts, is $15.99.
Big Tech tumbles as results set off alarm bells
Gloomy results from Alphabet and Microsoft stoked fears of a global economic downturn and derailed an earnings-led surge in stock markets while setting the tone for results from other megacap technology giants.
The Nasdaq tumbled nearly 2% as the results underscored the fallout of strong dollar and weak demand on the tech sector against the backdrop of high inflation and rising borrowing costs.
Shares of the Google-parent and Microsoft fell about 8% in early trading. Meta Platforms Inc, which will report after markets close, was down 4%, while Inc lost 4% and Apple Inc 1%.
Heavyweights Netflix, Meta, Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet and Apple have already lost a combined market value of more than $2.5 trillion so far this year and were set to shed another $330 billion on Wednesday.
"The results of the big technology firms were seen as a key determining factor in market sentiment going into the U.S. third quarter reporting season and both Microsoft and Alphabet have given investors reason to worry," said Laith Khalaf, head of investment analysis at AJ Bell.
Dollar rebounds after recent sell-off
The dollar rallied on Thursday, after earlier falling to a one-month low in choppy trading ahead of an expected rate hike from the European Central Bank (ECB).
The greenback has slid in recent days as investors have cheered signs that the U.S. Federal Reserve is considering slowing down its aggressive rate hikes in December. Yet the dollar reversed course on Thursday in what analysts said was a natural bounce after a steep decline.
The euro on Thursday peaked at a more than one-month high of $1.0094 before falling as the dollar strengthened.
Mastercard profit rises in third quarter
Mastercard Inc reported a higher third-quarter profit on Thursday, wrapping up a strong three-month period for major U.S. card issuers as consumer spending remained resilient even amid rising concerns of an economic downturn.
Profit came in at $2.5 billion, or $2.58 per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with $2.4 billion, or $2.44 per share, a year earlier.
Card issuers tend to make more money when prices rise as they typically charge a percentage of the dollar value of transactions. But inflation accompanied by interest rate hikes can scare consumers into spending less and saving more.
However, those fears have not been reflected materially in card companies' earnings yet. Consumers continue to splurge as borders reopen and a stronger dollar encourages travel overseas.
Excluding one-time costs, the Purchase, New York-based company earned $2.68 per share. Analysts on average had expected $2.56 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES data.
It was not immediately clear if the reported figure was comparable to the estimate. Reported revenue jumped 15% to $5.8 billion.
Meta stocks slide after quarterly results
Carnage in US technology stocks widened on Thursday as shares of Meta Platforms Inc sank 20% after the Facebook parent's costly metaverse bets and the impact of soaring inflation on ad spending spooked investors. Meta was set to lose about $67 billion in market value, if losses hold through the session, adding to the trillions of dollars that some of the biggest tech names have shed this year amid rising interest rates and a stronger dollar.
Meta itself has lost over half a trillion dollars in market value this year. Its shares were trading at $104.60 before the bell and set to open at their lowest in over six years. Its results come a day after Google, Microsoft and Snap posted dismal numbers, sparking a wide-spread selloff in tech stocks. Analysts say the firm's spending towards capital-intensive projects at a time when the ad market – its major source of revenue – is drying up worried investors.
Meta expects to spend about $10 billion a year towards metaverse hardware and software, with Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg saying on Wednesday he expects those investments to take about a decade to bear fruit.
Oil prices decreasing could help drivers
The St. Louis Fed is reporting that last week oil prices for Brent (-$3.58 to $91.04) and West Texas Intermediate (-$3.61 to $85.36) fell, which could help to lower gas prices. While still up significantly, only time will tell if these decreases will be enough to offset the November production cuts by OPEC. 
The White House moves to remove junk fees for consumers
The White House has announced a new initiative to reduce the "junk fees" for consumers which range from "surprise banking overdraft fees [and] excessive credit card late fees," to "hidden hotel booking fees, or those huge termination charges to stop you from switching cable and Internet plans to a better deal." 
These fees are everywhere and many companies have started to charge them more in recent years, flexing their power with consumers highly dependent on their services. 
To combat the issue, the White House is warning companies before taking action. Many of these fees, including surprise overdraft fees, are actually illegal. New rules are being written for banks to abide by to limit their power to take funds directly out of people's accounts. 
Read more from the White House. 
US import prices increase 9.5 percent
The BLS has reported that over the last year, prices for US imports have increased by six percent. The US is in better shape compared to export markets, which saw the price of exports increase 9.5 percent. 
The increases in the prices of imports are being driven by fuel costs which increased sharply in the spring. However, the prices for US exports are becoming more expensive as the Federal Reserve moves to strengthen the dollar against other currencies. 

"My commitment when I ran for President of the United States: that if I was elected, I’d make the government work and deliver for the people.  A simple application process keeps that commitment, just as I’m keeping my commitment to relieve student debt as borrowers recover from the economic crisis caused by the once-in-a-lifetime pandemic."
Stimulus checks in the USA: which states will give them, beneficiaries and key dates
As the US economy came roaring back after one of the deepest but shortest recessions in US history, the disruptions caused by the pandemic and other world events has driven inflation to its highest level in over 40 years. While the clip of rising prices slowed in the latest Consumer Price Index report, at an interannual rate of 8.2% in September, households are still reeling.
The high cost of living has prompted states across the nation to approve sending tax refunds or stimulus checks as relief from high prices. These checks, some of which are going out in Republican-led states, come as many GOP leaders have tried to blame high inflation on stimulus checks Democrats passed in Congress in March 2021 through the American Rescue Plan.
Read more in our full coverage on when some can expect to receive their payments. 
Good morning and welcome to AS USA!
We'll be bringing you all the latest news and information on the inflation relief checks currently being distributed in states across the country.
To deal with the economic consequences of the pandemic both state and federal officials have passed financial relief programs to assist with rampant high inflation. 
Lastly, we will go through other important savings tools that can help people weather future economic storms. 
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