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Friday Financial Five – January 27, 2017

Friday, January 27, 2017


Future of Obamacare remains in doubt

While Republican leaders want health care reform, those changes can go in many directions. The movement to repeal it without a detailed replacement option may have lost steam. The popular pieces of the plan include the push to increase the number of people insured and coverage for pre-existing conditions. The exchanges may be removed and there will be a fight to open up insurance competition across state lines. In order to cover everyone, there needs to be a tax to subsidize the premiums but there’s disagreement about where those taxes will come from. Republicans know they don’t like the current plan, but there’s no consensus how to change it without leaving people uninsured or subject to skyrocketing premiums.

Social Security heading back to paperless

The method of disseminating Social Security benefits continues the merry-go-round. For years, recipients were accustomed to receiving paper statements. The SSA shifted to paperless in an effort to get people to sign up online. That was unsuccessful as those that are not computer savvy had issues, so there was another foray into sending paper statements. Now, Social Security is moving back to paperless in an effort to reduce costs by an estimated $11 million. Paper statements will only be sent to those 60 or older that haven’t signed up online and aren’t receiving benefits.

Navient sued for cheating borrowers

Navient, the largest company servicing student loans, is now being sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB alleges fraud and contends that the company didn’t service the loans and provided incorrect information to those trying to pay them back. Navient, which services over $300 billion in student loans, noted that the suit may be politically motivated as it was filed before the Trump inauguration took place. 

DOL releases 2nd Fiduciary Rule FAQs 

The Labor Department’s fiduciary rule, scheduled to take effect on April 10th, faces a delay due to review by the Trump administration. Where it goes from there is anyone’s guess, but the Department of Labor did release another round of Frequently Asked Questions aimed at the general public. The article references resources for the public to get more information, including the CFP Board’s planner search and a financial questionnaire developed by AARP.

IRS warns of cyber scam

The IRS has issued a warning for tax preparers receiving e-mail requests to assist in the filing of tax returns. The cyber strategy is to pose as an individual looking for tax help. The professional responds and then receives a reply with a virus attached, either through an attached PDF file or faulty web link.. By clicking these corrupted links or files, the criminals collect information from the tax preparer’s computer. For this and several other financial scams, regulators continue to make cybersecurity a top priority.


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: The 25 Wealthiest Cities & Towns in Central Massachusetts

GoLocalWorcester looked at the 2010 Census figures for every city and town to rank Central Massachusetts’ 25 wealthiest cities and towns based on median family income. Check out where the top 25 cities are in the slideshow below.

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25. Uxbridge

Population: 13,457

Median Household Income: $81,127

During the Revolutionary War, Deborah Sampson, a woman posing as a male soldier, enlisted in the Continental Army as "Robert Shurtlieff of Uxbridge". A minister kept her secret, and she was later honored as a heroine by the Massachusetts legislature.

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24. Rutland

Population: 2,111

Median Household Income: $81,295

Rutland is the geographic center of Massachusetts. A tree, the Central Tree, located on Central Tree Road, marks the spot.

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23. Hubbardston

Population: 3,909

Median Household Income: $82,443

In 1786, Hubbardston residents marched to Worcester and, joining hundreds of other farmers, took control of the courthouse to protest the foreclosures and seizures of property by creditors that occurred during the late 1700's.

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22. New Braintree

Population: 927

Median Household Income: $85,417

The town's only restaurant, Reed's Country Store, has been owned and operated by the same couple since 1977. It has been a central town gathering point for years.

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21. Shrewsbury

Population: 35,608

Median Household Income: $85,697

Shrewsbury is the birthplace to "The Pill". The Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology in Shrewsbury was the research facility where the oral contraceptive pill was first developed. It is now part of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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20. Douglas

Population: 8,471

Median Household Income: $86,214

General Lafayette, of France, stopped here during the Revolutionary War, on his way to Boston to join General Washington's Army.

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19. Lunenberg

Population: 10,086

Median Household Income: $86,568

Lunenburg was first settled in 1718 and was officially incorporated in 1728. The name comes from one of tKing George II's titles, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg.

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18. Charlton

Population: 11,263

Median Household Income: $87,758

John "Grizzly" Adams is buried here, in Bay Path Cemetery.

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17. Boylston

Population: 4,355

Median Household Income: $88,214

Boylston was first settled around 1706. The residents petitioned to form a local town and government, but the William Shirley, British colonial Governor of Massachusetts,denied their request since he wanted to keep the number of towns to a minimum in order to restrict popular representation.

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16. Holden

Population: 15,621

Median Household Income: $88,405

Holden was founded in 1741, and the Town Square was donated by John Hancock, former Governor of Massachusetts, and signer of the Declaration of Independence.

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15. Grafton

Population: 14,894

Median Household Income: $91,743

Incorporated in 1735, Grafton is the home of the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

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14. Berlin

Population: 2866

Median Household Income: $92,917

Berlin was first settled in 1665 and was officially incorporated in 1812.

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13. Westborough

Population: 4,045

Median Household Income: $96,069

Westborough is home to numerous hiking trails, and Lake Chauncy, a popular swimming, boating, and fishing location.

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12. Hopedale

Population: 5,907

Median Household Income: $97,227

Joe Perry, guitarist from the band Aerosmith, was raised in Hopedale.

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11. Paxton

Population: 4,806

Median Household Income: $100,333

Paxton was first settled in 1749 and was officially incorporated in 1765. Charles Paxton, marshal of the Admiralty Court, offered a church bell to the town if it was named after him. No such gift was ever made, however.

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10. Sterling

Population: 7,257

Median Household Income: $102,115

Sterling is the setting of the famous poem, "Mary Had a Little Lamb". Mary Sawyer, the subject of the poem, lived in Sterling. 

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9. Mendon

Population: 5,286

Median Household Income: $102,625

Mendon is the home to Southwick's Zoo, the largest zoo in Massachusetts, as well as the Mendon Twin Drive-In, one of only three drive-in theaters left in Massachusetts.

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8. Princeton

Population: 3,353

Median Household Income: $102,853

Princeton is the home of Wachusett Mountain Ski Area.

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7. Northborough

Population: 14,013

Median Household Income: $102,969

Northborough is the hometown of Daniel B. Wesson, co-founder of the Smith & Wesson gun manufacturing company.

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6. Sutton

Population: 8,963

Median Household Income: $105,164

Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, Sutton was a town that had farms and orchards in the area as well as three large mills. The town is part of the historic Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor

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5. Upton

Population: 7,542

Median Household Income: $107,950

Upton is the hometown of Eli Whitney, inventor of the Cotton Gin.

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4. Hopkinton

Population: 13,346

Median Household Income: $120,240

Hopkinton garners attention every April as it hosts the starting line of the Boston Marathon. In 2009, Money magazine ranked Hopkinton as the 19th best place to live in the US.

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3. Bolton

Population: 4,148

Median Household Income: $125,741

Bolton was mentioned often in "Father of Modern Horror" H.P. Lovecraft's works: as a setting in his “Herbert West — Reanimator”, and also mentioned in “The Colour out of Space” and “The Rats in the Walls”.

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2. Southborough

Population: 9,767

Median Household Income: $140,184

Southborough placed #31 in the nation on CNN Money's "100 Best Places to Live" in 2009. 

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1. Harvard

Population: 5,981

Median Household Income: $141,274

Harvard is known for its well-performing public schools, with its students consistently ranking in the state's top ten in both English and math. More than 97% of its graduates go on to college.


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