Fintech’s Most Innovative Companies | Uncle Sam Sends Out More Checks

June 12, 2021

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From airfares to used cars, prices continue to climb. While the Labor Department’s report today that consumer prices rose 5% over the past year may make you panic, the Biden administration, the Federal Reserve and some economists still insist the inflation spike is likely to be short-lived—an anomaly tied to shortages in the recovery and a comparison with pandemic depressed prices.

Here’s what else has been rising fast: The value of some of the startups on the just released Forbes Fintech 50 for 2021. Valuations of some have doubled or tripled over the past year, with payment companies leading the way as online transactions spiked.

Biden’s Tax Winners & Losers

Beginning in July, the IRS will start sending monthly checks to 36 million families with children as part of the one year boost to the Child Tax Credit contained in President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passed in March. But while the Democrats giveth, they’d also like to take away—from the well to do. Senior contributor Howard Gleckman reports that a new analysis of the tax increases contained in Biden’s proposed 2022 budget finds nearly all would be borne by the highest income 1% of households—those making about $800,000 or more. Speaking of the rich, someone has leaked tax data covering the richest U.S. billionaires who—no surprise—pay minimal taxes compared to their vast wealth, since the U.S. doesn’t (currently, at least) tax unrealized gains.

And Those Gains Keep Mounting

So far, at least, the market seems to be shrugging off that scary inflation data—with the S&P hitting a new high this morning for the first time in a month. If that makes you eager to jump into the market, we’ve got a rundown on the fintech companies that represent the future of investing. One hot investing trend right now is fintech itself. Payment company Marqeta started trading publicly yesterday, minting a new billionaire, and continuing a big going public wave among fintechs.

Novel graphic: Fintech Funding Trending Higher—First quarter 2021 was the largest funding on record, raising $22.8 billion from VCs across the globe.

Source: CB Insights. (Figures in millions.)

How Big A Threat Is Inflation?

Unless you’ve tried to buy a used car recently, the jury is still out on how big a threat inflation poses. But contributor George Calhoun argues that there are problems with the CPI and with what he calls inflation panic porn. Let’s hope he’s right. Way back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when inflation was indeed running rampant, there was a lot of talk about how it was a particular threat to those on a fixed income—that is retirees. But Taylor Tepper, of Forbes Advisor, has three reasons why you shouldn’t stress over inflation in retirement. A big one, of course, is that Social Security benefits (unlike most salaries) are automatically adjusted annually for inflation. Still, if you need something to worry about in retirement, we’ve got it. Senior contributor Joseph Coughlin, the head of MIT’s AgeLab, explains why climate change should figure into your retirement planning.

Personal Finance For Those Nowhere Near Retirement

While older folks may have most of the money, a new breed of personal finance fintechs are aiming to serve Millennials and Gen Z. For example, Greenlight offers educational money management tools—and even the ability to buy fractional shares—to kids and teens, for a monthly fee paid by their parents. Truebill’s free app helps Millennials keep track of their spending and it can even automatically cancel underutilized subscriptions (looking at you, Disney+).

Meanwhile, here’s some special advice about money for new college grads. And here’s a good idea for all ages: check the reports the big three credit reporting bureaus are keeping on you. According to a new survey, 34% of consumers find a mistake in their report —and such mistakes can cost you big time when you need a mortgage or other credit. The good news is that through April 20, 2022, you can check your credit report for free every week if you want.