Your Tuesday Blip 3/16/21

Your Tuesday Blip 3/16/21

Stocks traded in a mixed fashion again today, as they continue to ping pong back and forth between “value” companies and “growth” companies. The tech heavy NASDAQ was up while the Dow was down 127 points and closed at 32,825. Airline stocks have been flying high with travel picking back up, and Friday marked the busiest day in airport volume since the beginning of the pandemic. Most of the airline stocks are now at, or above, their pre-pandemic price levels.
Apple is trying to position themselves as a leader in data collection and privacy. Coming in the spring, they are set to launch a new update for their devices that will ask the user if they would like to allow or block their apps from collecting their personal data. Additional supposed features, are notifications when an app is accessing the microphone or camera on your device. Some experts estimate that 70%-80% of people will not allow data tracking, which could make things very interesting for companies such as Facebook and Google, which rely on this heavily. It will be particularly interesting to see if Apple does in fact enforce this, considering that they receive billions of dollars a year from Google to be their default search engine.
We wanted to pass along a little info to help you, and others, get a general understanding of the Washington Long Term Care (LTC) Trust Act, and let you know that there is a way to opt out of the tax if you want to. In 2019, the Washington State Legislature passed a new bill aimed at providing LTC benefits to people in Washington. Benefits will not start until 2025, but beginning in 2022, there will be an additional 0.58% tax assessed to all wages of every Washington employee’s paycheck through payroll taxes. The taxes go to pay for the LTC benefits, which are currently worth $100 a day for 365 days – a total max lifetime benefit of $36,500. In order to qualify for this benefit, you must contribute for 10 years, or have paid the tax for 3 of the last 6 years, and be a Washington resident. For example, if you are 60 years old, then retire at 65, but wouldn’t require benefits until you are 70, you will have paid the taxes, but won’t qualify for benefits because you didn’t contribute for 10 years or for 3 of the last 6 years. If you’re someone that is younger, and you pay the taxes for the next 20 years, then you decide to retire in Idaho, or Arizona, or wherever, you will have paid the taxes but won’t qualify for benefits because you don’t live in Washington anymore. You can opt out of the tax, if you currently have a personal LTC policy, by contacting the Washington Employment Security Department, after October 1, 2021 and before December 31, 2022, and applying for an exemption. If your policy qualifies you for an exemption, you will need to provide this proof to your employer to be opted out of the tax. If you don’t have a personal LTC policy, and want to opt out of the tax, you still have time to get a policy. Currently you have until the end of 2022, but the legislature is working on an amended bill that will most likely require a policy to be active by mid July 2021. There are many factors that go into deciding what could be best for your situation, and if you would like more information about the LTC Trust Act, or would like a better understanding of how it might apply to your personal situation, please feel free to give us a call at 206-352-9205.