I knew doing my own taxes again would be a pain after years of outsourcing the annual headache to accountants. What I didn't realize was how much worse new financial technology like cryptocurrency and peer-to-peer lending would make the job.My half century of life has been a series of excursions into US tax code territory previously unknown to me -- home interest mortgage deduction, married filing jointly, child tax credit. For years, I calculated taxes for myself and then my family started using Intuit's TurboTax. Even if the territory was unknown to me, I was still walking well-trodden paths.This year, though, I entered the here-be-dragons part of the map.I made it back alive, thanks to dozens of internet searches, forum posts, supplementary information PDFs and $50 I paid to a service that understands cryptocurrency math. I even read the actual law behind the US tax code to try to comprehend one point.I'm hardly at the bleeding edge of finance. But the weekend I lost to America's … [Read more...] about Tax day frustration: Why can’t the pros keep up with financial tech?
Year In Review We look back at the best, worst, and most significant moments of the year, and look forward to next year. 2018 has been an excruciating exercise in achieving, and then discovering new definitions of, rock bottom. Public confidence in the tools of democracy eroded, replaced for most Americans with trust in tech monopolies—many of which spent the year showing us how wrong we were to offer them stewardship over any aspect of our data and our lives. It was also the year rank-and-file workers, rich and poor, made their voices heard in earnest from inside these companies. One of the major hurdles keeping tech workers from organizing is that many aren’t employees at all—they’re contractors, who perform their jobs without benefits and with the expectation they could be let go at any moment, for any reason. Approximately one out of five Americans fall into this category of work, according to an NPR/Marist poll earlier this year, and several tech … [Read more...] about The Year Workers Stood Up to Big Tech
Thursday was a weird day in tech land as investors tried to make sense of decidedly unexpected quarterly results. Twitter started off the morning by reporting that monthly active users -- the primary metric investors use to judge the company's health -- fell from the second quarter, which had already fallen from the previous period. That normally would put investors in a tailspin. But this time CEO Jack Dorsey convinced people that it was actually a good thing since Twitter has been purging fake and spammy accounts while making it harder for automated accounts to sign up. And, oh yes, ad sales rose 29 percent. If Twitter keeps it up, Wall Street may have to start looking at new ways to measure the company's health.Things got gruesome after the bell, when two of the world's biggest tech companies reported revenue below analysts' expectations. Amazon told investors that sales for the third quarter rose 29 percent, but fell shy of the Street's $57.1 billion estimate. Investors … [Read more...] about Google, Amazon lead a disappointing day in tech earnings
Bitcoins are mined via computer rigs like this one, which is set up using computer graphic cards. South_agency/Getty Images Most of us are used to paying for things with either cash, credit or debit cards. Just making the leap to mobile payment apps like PayPal and Venmo still is a stretch for many people. So when it comes to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, well, that's when things can get really perplexing. That's why Stuff They Don't Want You To Know hosts Ben Bowlin, Noel Brown and Matt Frederick decided to dedicate two episodes of the podcast to discuss cryptocurrencies. And they invited along fellow HowStuffWorks podcaster, Jonathan Strickland, to break down all the technical intricacies that make cryptocurrencies possible in part one of this special series Cryptocurrency Conspiracies. (You can listen to part two of the series here.) Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are basically "invisible" digital currencies that users send via the internet. Bitcoin in particular has been in the … [Read more...] about Bitcoin: High-tech Currency or Black-market Money?
Start the Countdown Banking Pictures A wide array of high-tech tools exists to help you manage your money. See more pictures of banking. BananaStock/Thinkstock With the unemployment rate in the United States hanging close to the 10 percent mark at the end of 2010, up from 2008's 7.4 percent, pinching pennies and sticking to a tight budget is as important as ever. Fifteen million people out of work is the sign of a struggling economy -- and even when the economy is healthy, knowing how to manage your money is a valuable skill [source: Trading Economics]. You may know you can afford to go out to eat and hit the movies every now and then, but do you know how much you should be saving for retirement? Do you even know how much money you spend on snack foods every month? Could you be using a credit card that gives you cash back for every purchase? An amazing array of high-tech tools exists to help us answer every one of those questions. They range from the complex software … [Read more...] about Top 10 Tech Tools for Managing Your Money