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The psychological reason it’s hard to cancel that subscription

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Netflix, Apple TV and Prime Video.

egadolfo

I signed up recently for a clothing subscription service called NUULY. The company lets you wear six items a month for $88. But what the service provides me feels deeper.

For that fee, I can arrive to a date in a $860 designer coat, which wouldn’t normally be easy to pull off on a journalist’s salary and with a heap of student loan debt. The subscription allows me to give off the vibe that my closet is brimming with shirts and dresses cut from the latest trends rather than containing fraying cardigans and the other items I’ve held onto since high school. Honestly, I’ve felt more confident lately.

Our subscriptions can have a powerful hold on us, according to a study published this month in the Journal of Consumer Research. We chose brands, in part, as a way to “affirm, construct, and communicate,” our identities, the authors write.

You shouldn’t let your worries about how you’re going to see yourself get in the way.

Jennifer Savary

assistant professor of marketing at the University of Arizona

“You see yourself as someone who would drive a Lexus or wear a Gucci bag,” said Jennifer Savary, one of the authors of the study and an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Arizona. “Sometimes that’s aspirational, but a lot of brands are really effective at creating meaningful associations that aren’t just about money.”

Yet this form of self-expression can cost you, nonetheless.

The subscription market has grown by more than 100% each year over the last five years, and rakes in $2.6 billion annually, according to research by McKinsey & Company. The average American shells out nearly $240 a month for their subscriptions. And a mountain of research shows some people continue to pay for services and products they don’t want or use.

Fantasy, fairy tale, vintage background in room with curtain and mirror. Computer graphics.

Ann_Mei

Over years of research, including six studies and hundreds of participants, Savary sought to understand why people are so reluctant to unsubscribe. She and her co-researchers homed in on people with low “self-certainty.”

“Some people are very sure of who they are,” Savary said. “And there are others who are more unclear.

“They ask: ‘Am I doing the right things with my life?'”

Those people (which sounds like all of us on at least some days) can find it harder to ditch subscriptions if they believe those services or products help solidify their identity. And companies prey on our shaky senses of self. They know most of us want to signal things about ourselves: Status, power, glamour, practicality. “The list goes on and on,” Savary said.

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Maybe you subscribe to The Economist or The New Yorker, but haven’t read a page in months. “People subscribe because they want to believe they’re an intellectual, but in the day-to-day you never get around to it,” she said.

To feel less reliant on external validation, Savary said, people should focus on the parts of themselves they’re sure about – maybe your degree(s), your relationships, your favorite characteristics.

“You shouldn’t let your worries about how you’re going to see yourself get in the way,” she said.

Maybe one day I’ll be there. For now, I’ll still be spending my lunch break scrolling through NUULY, plotting who I’ll be this spring.



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These high-income taxpayers are getting a visit from the IRS

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The IRS will soon start make house calls to high-income individuals who didn’t submit a tax return.

Starting this month, the agency will send its revenue officers to visit people with income in excess of $100,000 and who failed to file Form 1040 in 2018 or in previous years.

“These visits shouldn’t come as a surprise to the taxpayer because the IRS has contacted these individuals multiple times regarding their tax issues prior to their cases being assigned to an IRS revenue officer,” said Hank Kea, director of field collection operations, small business/self-employed division, at the federal agency.

Kea discussed the new measures on a phone call with reporters on Wednesday.

So far, the IRS anticipates making about 800 in-person visits to these high-income non-filers in the first two months, he said. Thousands more will follow through the year. The agency anticipates sending additional revenue officers out as it identifies more cases of noncompliance.

“When you look at the tax gap, there’s a significant amount of revenue lost to individual high-income non-filers, and it literally does measure into the billions,” Kea said.

The visits are taking place at a time when taxpayers enjoy reduced odds of an audit by the IRS. During the fiscal year 2019, only 0.45% of taxpayers were audited.

Third-party data

The IRS can sniff out unreported income and earnings through third-party reporting sources, including your employer, your bank or brokerage, and small businesses that pay you.

When those entities detail your wages on your Form W-2 or report payment on a Form 1099, a corresponding report goes out to the taxman.

The IRS flags returns in which taxpayers’ returns fail to match those third-party reports.

By the time a revenue officer has been dispatched to your home or office, the IRS has already been in touch with you via snail mail several times to address your obligations.

“When clients of mine get a visit from the IRS, they get a little note posted to the door, saying to call this person at the IRS,” said Laurie Kazenoff, partner at law firm Moritt Hock & Hamroff LLP.

“In my mind, the visit serves two purposes,” she said. “It jolts the taxpayer into compliance and the second reason is to gain information about the taxpayer — see where the taxpayer lives and the vehicles they drive.

Bear in mind that the IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers through unsolicited calls or e-mails. Be wary if someone claiming to be from the IRS calls you out of the blue and demands payment; it’s probably a scammer.

File and pay on time

The Internal Revenue Services offices in Washington, D.C.

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

If you’re dreading filing your tax return because you have a large sum due, always take the first step of at least submitting your Form 1040.

The IRS tacks on steep penalties for those who fail to file.

In that case, you’re responsible for 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that the return is late.

While you can file for a six-month extension to submit your 2019 tax return, you have until April 15 to pay whatever sums you owe.

More from Smart Tax Planning:
What Trump’s tax overhaul extension plans mean for you
One in 5 fear they’ll owe the IRS money this spring
How to protect yourself from tax scams this season

The failure-to-pay penalty is equal to 0.5% of the taxes owed after the due date for each month or part of a month the liability goes unpaid.

In a dire situation, you could file your return on time and work out a payment plan with the IRS.

Options include a 120-day installment plan with no set-up fees; however, penalties and interest will accrue until you’re fully paid.



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China Expels Three Wall Street Journal Reporters

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China revoked the press credentials of three Wall Street Journal reporters based in Beijing, the first time in the post-Mao era that the Chinese government has expelled multiple journalists from one international news organization at the same time.

China’s Foreign Ministry said the move Wednesday was punishment for a recent opinion piece published by the Journal.

Deputy Bureau Chief Josh Chin and reporter Chao Deng, both U.S. nationals, as well as reporter Philip Wen, an Australian national, have been ordered to leave the country within five days, said Jonathan Cheng, the Journal’s China bureau chief.

The expulsions by China’s Foreign Ministry followed widespread public anger at the headline on the Feb. 3 opinion piece, which referred to China as “the real sick man of Asia.” The ministry and state-media outlets had repeatedly called attention to the headline in statements and posts on social media and had threatened unspecified consequences.

“Regrettably, what the WSJ has done so far is nothing but parrying and dodging its responsibility,” Foreign Ministry spokesman

Geng Shuang

said in a daily news briefing Wednesday. “The Chinese people do not welcome those media that speak racially discriminatory language and maliciously slander and attack China.”

The three journalists work for the Journal’s news operation. The Journal operates with a strict separation between news and opinion.

Wall Street Journal Publisher and Dow Jones CEO William Lewis said he was disappointed by the decision to expel the journalists and asked the Foreign Ministry to reconsider.

“This opinion piece was published independently from the WSJ newsroom and none of the journalists being expelled had any involvement with it,” Mr. Lewis said.

“Our opinion pages regularly publish articles with opinions that people disagree—or agree—with and it was not our intention to cause offense with the headline on the piece,” Mr. Lewis said. “However, this has clearly caused upset and concern amongst the Chinese people, which we regret.”

Dow Jones is owned by

News Corp.

Secretary of State

Mike Pompeo

criticized China’s action, saying: “The United States condemns China’s expulsion of three Wall Street Journal foreign correspondents. Mature, responsible countries understand that a free press reports facts and expresses opinions. The correct response is to present counter arguments, not restrict speech. The United States hopes that the Chinese people will enjoy the same access to accurate information and freedom of speech that Americans enjoy.”

China is battling a fast-spreading coronavirus, as well as questions from Chinese citizens and some global health experts about Beijing’s handling of the epidemic, which has included the lockdown of much of Hubei province, with a population of nearly 60 million. Public anger at a perceived lack of transparency surrounding the coronavirus has exploded online, overwhelming the country’s censorship apparatus.

In August, the Chinese government didn’t renew press credentials for Chun Han Wong, a Beijing-based correspondent who co-wrote a news article on a cousin of Chinese President

Xi Jinping

whose activities were being scrutinized by Australian law-enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Mr. Xi’s private life and those of his relatives are considered sensitive by Chinese authorities. The Foreign Ministry had cautioned the Journal at the time against publishing the article, warning of unspecified consequences.

Mr. Wong was the first China-based Journal reporter to have his credentials denied since the newspaper opened a bureau in Beijing in 1980.

Beijing has taken a more combative stance with the foreign media in recent years, as Mr. Xi’s government has exerted greater control over information and reasserted the Communist Party’s influence over citizens’ lives.

It has declined to renew the credentials of several reporters, but it is rare for it to expel a credentialed foreign correspondent.

China hasn’t expelled a credentialed foreign correspondent since 1998.

Chinese authorities expelled two American reporters simultaneously in the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, though they worked for different news organizations.

John Pomfret

was a correspondent for the Associated Press while

Alan Pessin

was Beijing bureau chief for Voice of America.

The simultaneous expulsions of Wall Street Journal reporters Wednesday marks “an unprecedented form of retaliation against foreign journalists in China,” the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China said. “The action taken against The Journal correspondents is an extreme and obvious attempt by the Chinese authorities to intimidate foreign news organizations by taking retribution against their China-based correspondents.”

Censorship has been more strictly imposed on domestic news outlets and social media, and authorities have strengthened internet firewalls designed to keep Chinese people from accessing foreign reporting that Beijing deems objectionable.

On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department said it had decided to identify the U.S. operations of state-run Chinese news outlets as foreign missions akin to embassies or consulates, the latest in a series of moves designed to pressure China’s Communist Party into loosening controls on diplomats and foreign media. Employees of those news organizations will now be required to register with the State Department as consular staff, though their reporting activities won’t be curtailed, U.S. officials said.

Mr. Geng, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, called that change “totally unjustified and unacceptable” and warned of unspecified repercussions.

The phrase “sick man of Asia” was used by both outsiders and Chinese intellectuals to refer to a weakened China’s exploitation by European powers and Japan in the late 1800s and early 1900s, a period now described in Chinese history textbooks as the “century of humiliation.”

The Journal’s use of the phrase in a headline, on an opinion column by Hudson Institute scholar

Walter Russell Mead

that referred to the coronavirus epidemic in China, sparked waves of angry commentary on Chinese social media.

The three Journal reporters are based in Beijing.

Mr. Chin, 43 years old, has worked for the Journal in various roles since 2008 and in recent years covered cybersecurity, law and human rights. A team he led won a 2018 Gerald Loeb Award for its coverage of the Communist Party’s pioneering embrace of digital surveillance.

Ms. Deng, 32 years old, joined the Journal in 2012 and has reported out of Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing. Her recent areas of focus included China’s economy and finance, and the trade war between the U.S. and China. Ms. Deng is currently reporting in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the coronavirus epidemic originated late last year.

Mr. Wen, 35 years old, started at the Journal in 2019 and has been reporting on Chinese politics. He co-wrote the article with Mr. Wong on the cousin of Mr. Xi whose activities were being scrutinized by Australian law-enforcement and intelligence agencies.

All three have reported on the Chinese Communist Party’s mass surveillance and detention of Uighur Muslims in the country’s far western Xinjiang region.

Copyright ©2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8



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Main opposition UFP floor leader hits on gov'ts past 3 years in policy speech

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심재철 교섭단체연설, 文정권, 헌정•민생•안보 실적 지적

In the South Korean parliament today, the floor leader of the newly formed main opposition party took to podium for a policy speech..
Shim Jae-cheol, the floor leader of the United Future Party, used his speech to criticize the Moon administration’s record over the last three years in terms of the economy, diplomacy and the constitution.
He brought up a few items in particular the big increases in the minimum wage, the relationship between Seoul and Washington and its policies on North Korea.
Shim claimed none of these initiatives have brought the changes they sought to achieve.
The floor leader also called for improving the country’s disaster management system.
He vowed to raise the budget for dealing with infectious diseases and called for the ruling party to adopt a resolution on banning the entry of foreigners from China.

#policy #election #speech

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