Friday Financial Five – April 1, 2016
Friday, April 01, 2016
The 2016 college value rankings from Forbes (no relation) are out just in time to help clarify (or possibly muddy) the decision for those making a school choice in the next few weeks. There are four University of California schools in the top ten, with Berkeley taking the number one spot. M.I.T. and Harvard are both in the top ten. Brown clocks in at number thirty-four. As Forbes notes, the list skews toward the West Coast and schools primarily known for sciences, technology, engineering and math.
Confronting the retirement crisis
A large number of retirees live on only Social Security, and more needs to be done to protect workers for their retirement years. A report, “A Comprehensive Plan to Confront the Retirement Savings Crisis,” suggests a forced savings into a retirement account that would then be converted to an annuity when the worker retires. According to the report, the current system unfairly favors the wealthy and is leaving a huge gap between what people need to save and the current average retirement savings of $14,500. Three percent of income would be contributed yearly, split between the worker and the employer.
Short-term care insurance
The ever changing world of providing care for aging loved ones has a new specialty. Short-term care insurance, as opposed to long-term care, is meant to provide care for up to one year. This may present a compromise between self-insuring and the sometimes costly proposition of paying a yearly premium for traditional long-term care coverage. The American Association of Long-Term Care Insurance notes that almost half of care claims last for one year or less.
IRS predicts fewer audits
There’s possible good news for anyone that pays taxes. The IRS Commissioner predicts that this year will see the fewest audits in over a decade. Budget cuts and staff reduction means the IRS doesn’t have the person power necessary to conduct the reviews. By 2019, forty percent of IRS workforce will be eligible for retirement. Given the budget cuts, highest income earners can expect a higher percentage of the audits to maximize the return on the group’s efforts.
Cutting the cord to retire successfully
T Rowe Price compiled results from over a thousand parents in their 8th annual “Parents, Kids, and Money Survey". As long as parents have children, there will always be temptation to spend on those children to the detriment of personal goals. Almost half of the parents had gone into debt to buy something their kid wanted and more than half have dipped into their emergency funds to cover non-emergencies. The trend that really needs to reverse is two thirds of parents stating that saving for college was more important than saving for retirement.
Dan Forbes, a CFP Board Ambassador, is a regular contributor on financial issues. He leads the firm Forbes Financial Planning, Inc in East Greenwich, RI and can be reached at [email protected].
Related Slideshow: Massachusetts Business Rankings
See how Massachusetts stacked up.
Massachusetts has 2015's 28th highest insurance premium penalties for high risk drivers, according to a WalletHub report.
Mass is behind Colorado and New Mexico who come in at 26 and 27 spots respectively while Mass is ahead of Tennessee and the District of Columbia who rank 29 and 30 respectively.
Massachusetts ranks 14th overall in the category of DUI conviction annual premium increase with an amount of $756.
Massachusetts ranks 20th overall in the category of speeding over 20 mph annual premium increase with a total of $261 while ranking 21 overall in the category of two accidents annual premium increase with a total of $1,364.
Massachusetts has been ranked as the 5th most eco-friendly state in the country, according to a recent study by WalletHub.
Mass ranks tenth in environmental quality and fourth in Eco-Friendly Behaviors landing them in 8th overall.
Mass is behind Minnesota and New York who are in the fourth and third spots respectively, and in front of Washington and New Hampshire who come in at the six and seven spots.
Small Business Friendliness Grade: D+
The Economist grades states on an A+ to F grading scale for its small business climate. Massachusetts ranks near the bottom of the nation, joining New Mexico and New York in receiving D+ grades. 9 states scored worse than a D+ in the Economist rankings.
Overbearing bureaucracy and excessive licensing is stifling small business in America.
Forbes ranks each state in business costs, economic climate, and growth prospects.
The most damning in the commentary:
Massachusetts’ business costs, including labor, energy and taxes, are the highest of the 48 contiguous states—only Hawaii is higher—at 20% above the national average.
ChiefExecutive.net ranks each state in taxations and regulations, workforce quality, and living environment.
The most damning in the commentary:
Taxation and regulation are always the key barometers. Massachusetts and Oregon are the worst.
ALEC ranks each state in economic performance and outlook.
Although Massachusetts ranked low in economic performance, a forward-looking forecast is based on the state’s standing in 15 important state policy variables. Some of these variables include top marginal personal income tax rate and sales tax burden.
#18 Free Enterprise
Free Enterprise ranks each state in performance, exports, innovation + entrepreneurship, business climate, talent pipeline, infrastructure.
Massachusetts's reputation as a hotspot for science and technology endures in this year's rankings. The commonwealth is a center for STEM jobs and university research and development, ranking 4th and 2nd, respectively, in those two categories. It also ranks 6th as a center for high-tech establishments. Massachusetts is taking aggressive steps to bolster economic activity with high-impact university-industry R&D projects and new tools for tech-based startup companies.
The Pew Charitable Trusts
#45 The Pew Charitable Trusts
The Pew Charitable Trusts ranks each state in job growth and job creation.
Massachusetts added 38,368 jobs in 2014.
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