By Amy He  Updated on Mon Jul 21, 2014

Weekly Wrap: Sequester Madness

 

The U.S. government is once again trying to find a last-minute way to wrangle our debt by cutting spending and it’s been a week of nothing but “sequesters,” “sequestration” and all nightmarish forms of that word.

As the New York Times puts it, “If the standoff in Washington continues, at the end of March the government will run out of money, and families will have to cancel their vacations because all the federal parks will be shuttered.”

Unemployment went up for the month of January, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The current rate is at 7.9%, up from 7.8% in December. If these government talks don’t work out, there could be many more layoffs, and that won’t be good for Federal Reserve rates, which impact CD and savings rates as well.

CD rates for February, unsurprisingly, are down. We predict that long-term CD rates will continue to be abysmal because the market is still in a slump and doesn’t look like it’s going to improve in a while.

This week, Discover Bank launched its new online checking account for Discover credit card customers, which is a first for the online bank. At the moment it’s only available to certain Discover cardmembers (with a gradual roll-out to all cardmembers this year), but by 2014 anyone can sign up.

Tax season continues, and we’re inching a little bit closer to the filing deadline. This week, we taught you the number of options you have so you can file your tax returns for free. Also, we reviewed what exactly can you expect from an installment agreement with the IRS when you can’t pay back taxes you owe in one lump sum.

The MBT team discussed the awkwardness of splitting restaurant bills between large parties for this week’s edition of MBT Talks. Laura had a little bit of a problem with a food bill over the weekend, and chimed in to help. Our stance? Large group dinners are rarely worth the bill-splitting headaches.

Simon discussed a couple of his (woeful) experiences with Lending Club, and how people who look good on paper aren’t necessarily the best borrowers. Lesson learned: time to invest in extremely risky loans with much higher returns.

If you’re on the quest to find games for your kids that are both fun and educational, look no further. MBT is fully dedicated to bringing you and yours maximum fun, so we compiled a list of the best games that teach kids about money.

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