96K small biz loans could be forgiven this week

Plus, new biz applications soar and 500 schools get finance classes

Oct 02, 2020 | Current events
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Squeaky wheel gets the green?

After a flood of complaints from businesses and lenders alike, the Treasury Department announced it will start forgiving Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans as soon as this week. These loans to keep small businesses afloat were slated to become debt-free grants for qualifying employers, but the process has been far from smooth or speedy. Over 96,000 employers inundated the department’s online portal with forgiveness applications, and both the private and public sectors were quick to criticize the complex nature of the $670 billion program, which has been slow to process the applications. While the department says applications should be approved quickly, questions remain regarding the roughly $130 billion in PPP funding that has yet to be distributed to needy businesses since the program expired in August.

But the best time to start a business? How about now?

The pandemic may have shuttered hundreds of thousands of businesses since March, but that fact hasn’t stopped some Americans from starting new ones at rates not seen since the year the iPhone debuted. Over 1.1 million applications for new businesses that tend to employ other workers have been filed this year, the most since 2007. This rise has been fueled by COVID closures forcing suddenly unemployed workers to pivot toward sustainable hustles of their own. More business was lost during the first three months of 2020 than the US typically loses during an entire year. This created plenty of pent-up demand for entrepreneurs willing to bet on customers picking up their spending as restrictions ease across the country. While small businesses are often a powerful engine of job creation, they’re also risky; more than half of new employer businesses fail within five years.

500 high schools score personal finance crash course

Here’s some good news for the 83% of parents who think personal finance should be taught in high school: Finance author and radio show host Dave Ramsey has partnered with the charitable arm of Jackson Life Insurance to fund personal finance courses at high schools around the US. This third consecutive year of Ramsey and Jackson Life’s partnership will educate as many as 40,000 high schoolers at 500 schools. Ramsey’s Foundations of Personal Finance course can be taught virtually and focuses on real-world scenarios that teach students to save, budget, avoid debt, and invest wisely. Last year’s participants increased their financial literacy by an average of 31%, according to pre- and post-assessments. The course even has a middle school edition for 11-year-olds who realize retirement is like a very long recess.

A rise in home cooking has McCormick & Co. sales looking RedHot

The maker of French’s mustard, Frank’s RedHot, and at least a dozen decade-old jars in your mom’s spice drawer has been a surprise benefactor of the pandemic. Revenue for McCormick & Co. climbed nearly 8% this summer as a shift toward home-cooked food among Americans has more people reaching for ways to spice things up. The spice-meisters’ 14.7% growth among consumer spenders helped compensate for reduced demand from venues like cafeterias and stadiums. And while Apple gets most of the split-talk, McCormick is preparing for a 2-1 stock split of its own this November.