In case you haven’t heard, a large shipping container was blocking part of the Suez Canal – it was freed early Monday morning. Now, experts are saying the incident, coupled with changes in the shipping industry, could cost you. Since 2019, the cost to move goods by air, ocean, truck, and train has been “structurally up,” and officials say that it will trickle down to the consumer when they buy certain goods. But that’s not the only issue potentially impacting the wallets of Americans, the IRS is also dealing with a backlog of unprocessed tax returns. That’s right, some U.S. taxpayers may see later than normal returns. According to MoneyWise, even if you plan to file your taxes well before the May 17 deadline, there’s no guarantee you’ll get your refund promptly.

 

MoneyWise via Yahoo/Sigrid Forberg
The IRS is under serious stress — what does that mean for your refund?

See when you can get your money: here.

 

CNN Business/Hanna Ziady
Global shipping was in chaos even before the Suez blockage. Shortages and higher prices loom

One of the world’s most vital trade arteries has been blocked by a quarter-mile-long container ship, creating a traffic jam that has ensnared over 200 vessels and could take weeks to clear.

But even before the Ever Given ran aground in the Suez Canal earlier this week, global supply chains were being stretched to the limits, making it much more expensive to move goods around the world and causing shortages of everything from exercise bikes to cheese at a time of unprecedented demand.

A prolonged closure of the key route between West and East could make matters much worse. Costly delays or diversions to longer routes will heap pressure on businesses that are already facing container shortages, port congestion and capacity constraints.

The grounding of the Ever Given is delaying shipments of consumer goods from Asia to Europe and North America, and agricultural products moving in the opposite direction. As of Friday, some 237 vessels, including oil tankers and dozens of container ships, were waiting to transit the canal, which handles about 12% of global trade.

“There’s been a great convergence of constraints in supply chains like I’ve never seen before,” said Bob Biesterfeld, the CEO of C.H. Robinson, one of the world’s largest logistics firms. The bottlenecks are widespread, affecting transport by air, ocean and road, Biesterfeld told CNN Business in an interview. “It really has been unprecedented.”

Read more about the impact this could have on the price of consumer goods, here.

 

Money Talks News/Chris Kissell
Social security increase comes up short in 2021, study finds

Your Social Security check may not feel quite as fat as you had hoped this year.

Each fall, the federal government announces how much Social Security payments will rise for the following year. But it turns out that the increase announced last October does not feel quite as large as many had hoped.

In fact, 63% of participants in a survey by the Senior Citizens League say their 2021 cost-of-living adjustment — which was 1.3% — raised their net monthly Social Security benefit by less than $15.

The Social Security Administration had projected in October that the 1.3% COLA would increase the average monthly Social Security retirement payment by $20.

What accounts for the lower boost than expected in Social Security benefits? There also was an increase this year in the Medicare Part B premium, which generally is deducted from a senior’s Social Security payment.

The Senior Citizens League notes that 65% of retirees in the survey say their 2020 monthly household expenses rose by more than $80 — with 40% saying such expenses were up by $120 or more.

See why experts say the situation may only get more difficult for seniors, here.

 

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