Monday Night Finance- Volume 77

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Weekend reading: Never send a human to do a machine’s job

If you’ve been on social media, you’ve probably seen some AI generated photos of your friends this week. While is a fun diversion, the AI technology behind these apps could completely transform our world, just as the steam engine, computer, and internet did. If dominated social media this past week, a similar AI tool, ChatGPT made most of the business headlines. Like Lensa, ChatGPT uses machien learning and AI to create a unique output based off of your input. However, ChatGPT creates very smart text from some seed phrase instead of an artistic rendering of you from a bad selfie.

The use of AI-generated content could also make it easier for companies to disseminate convincing-sounding but ultimately flawed financial advice. The average person may not have the knowledge or expertise to spot the difference between reliable information and fake news generated by AI. This could put them at a disadvantage when making investment decisions.


Obviously, if ChatGPT can write as well as humans, it could completely transform entire industries. You could replace a customer service representative with a chatbot that never gets tired, never gets sick, and is even more intuitive and helpful than a human representative because it has been trained on billions of customer service interactions. Furthermore, ChatGPT could create an entire internet with answers to every question we might ever have. In this article Monevator discusses what a potential AI future might look like with an even better version of ChatGPT. Not only do they discuss the human implications of such a world, but they also discuss how these tools could change industries and what it might mean for the stock market.

FYI: The $300 Universal Donation Tax Deduction is Gone for 2022

Are you trying to get your finances in order during this last month of the year? You are not alone. Lots of people wait until the last minute to top off their IRAs or sell losing stocks to offset capital gains they got earlier in the year. By waiting until December, you have a very good idea about what your taxable income will be for 2022 and will know how these financial moves will affect your taxes for the year.

This universal tax deduction was very popular because it was an “above-the-line” tax deduction, meaning that every taxpayer could claim it, regardless of whether they claimed the standard deduction or itemized tax deductions. Charitable donations declined after 2017 tax reform increased standard deduction amounts by almost 2X. 

G.E. Miller, 20somethingfinance

Making charitable donations is also something people do at the end of the year. There are probably many reasons for this. Lots of people make special charitable gifts around the holidays.

And while there is nothing wrong with being altruistic, it feels just a little bit better when you can use those donations to shave a little bit extra off your tax liability. Back when the standard deduction was smaller and nearly everyone itemized their taxes, I remember the TV news doing a story about there being long lines at Goodwill on New Year’s Eve as people tried to get receipts for donating gently used goods before the end of the year.

With the 2017 changes to the tax code however, most people find it more lucrative to take the standard deduction instead of itemizing. As a result, they cannot claim deductions for charitable giving. However, for a couple of years during COVID, Congress authorized a $300 above the board deduction for charitable giving, which meant that even if you didn’t itemize, you could get a $300 deduction for charitable giving. This tax change is set to sunset this year and you will not be able to claim this deduction. If you want more details on this change, check out the article for even more information.

Your Neighbor is Giving More Gifts This Christmas

If you are like most Americans, you will probably be exchanging gifts sometime this month. And unfortunately, most Americans experience some downsides to all of the holiday gifting. Many people feel stressed during the holidays and financial stress can be especially acute around the holidays. While the tradition of giving gifts is rooted in love and compassion for your friends and relatives, it may often not have its intended effect. Nearly 60% of Americans report getting at least one gift they didn’t want and over 50% of Americans receive a gift they consider “worthless” each year.

 I can remember every year, back in school after the Christmas break, the conversation among us kids was always centered on what we got for Christmas. But not just among the kids, even the teachers would ask.

And it doesn’t happen just at school. Take note every time this holiday season you hear someone (or yourself) ask a child about what gifts they want, or what they think they’re going to get, or “what did you get for Christmas” type conversations.

The social pressure­—both loudly and quietly—to conform and make this holiday season primarily about giving gifts is a strong one.

Joshua Becker, Becoming Minamalist

If you are stressed or overwhelmed with gifting this holiday season, you may want to read this article by Joshua Becker at Becoming Minamlist. At the core of the article is the idea that so much of the holiday pressure we experience comes from within. If we acknowledge that we cannot compare our holidays to our neighbors or coworkers then we can create space to find comfort in our own holiday plans. If you find yourself stressing out over holiday purchases, this article is definitely worth a read.