Most Americans can't afford an emergency

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A $500 emergency is unaffordable for most Americans (Bankrate)’s Money Pulse survey found that 63% of American’s can’t afford a $500 emergency such as a broken washing machine or a chipped tooth. Just 37% of respondents said they would dip into their savings for such an expense. Meanwhile, 23% said they would cut back on spending elsewhere and 15% suggested they would borrow from friends or family. Another 15% said taking on credit card debt was an option. As for where people are looking to cut spending in 2016, dining out, cable TV and buying coffee from a coffee shop were popular answers.

China’s services sector nears its lowest level in a decade (Business Insider)

China’s Caixin-Markit Services PMI fell to 50.2 in November, hitting its lowest level since July 2014. Any reading below 50.0 would represent a services sector that is contracting and would be the lowest since record-keeping began in November 2005. China’s yuan fell to a five-year low in response to the news, sliding 0.6% to 6.5567 per dollar.

Washington Redskins players don’t like to spend money (Wall Street Journal)

The Wall Street Journal reports, there is no more frugal team in the National Football League than the Washington Redskins. Running back Alfred Morris makes a base salary of $1.5 million per year, but splits his commute to work between a bicycle and a 1991 Mazda 626. Then there’s pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan, who signed a 5-year $57.5 million deal. He still lives with a roommate. Breakout QB Kirk Cousins drives a conversion van, but has admitted he might look at new cars in the offseason. “You never know what’s going to happen so I try to put as much money away as I can,” Cousins told the WSJ.

The IRS is moving its help online (IRS)

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson released her 2015 annual report to Congress. Among her biggest concerns is the IRS moving more of its taxpayer help online. According to Olson, “…millions of taxpayers do not have Internet access, millions of taxpayers with Internet access do not feel comfortable trying to resolve important financial matters over the Internet, and many taxpayer problems are not ‘cookie cutter,’ thus requiring a degree of back-and-forth discussion that is better suited for conversation.” In the report, Olson notes an increased use of technology by the IRS has actually made things for difficult for filers. Calls to the IRS customer service hotline have increased by 59% as the e-filing rate has increased from 54% to 85%.

FINRA is focusing on these 3 things in 2016 (FINRA)

On Tuesday, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced its agenda for 2016. The financial watchdog will focus on supervision, risk management and controls, emphasising anti-money laundering, cybersecurity, the management of conflicts of interest and technology management. In addition, FINRA will monitor liquidity and testing for marketwide and idiosyncratic stresses. Finally, the agency will examine Wall Street “firm culture” and its impact on compliance and risk management.

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