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Friday Financial Five – March 18, 2016

Friday, March 18, 2016


No rate increase from the Fed

The Federal Reserve has taken note of the slow growth environment for global economies. With that in mind, the group delayed another rate hike and tempered expectations for the number of rate increases for 2016 from four to two. The U.S. is growing, though not as much as would be expected post-recession, and the labor market remains healthy. The Fed also noted signs that inflation is strengthening.

Affordable Care Act misses 2015 target

2016 is a huge year for the Affordable Care Act, with exchanges losing money and the program’s success predicated on keeping people enrolled. According to the Obama administration, numbers for 2015 did not reach the projected goal of 9.1 million enrollees, falling just short at 8.8 million. This number represents a drop from the number of people covered at the start of the year, 11.7 million. For 2016, the goal is to have over 10 million enrolled by the end of the year. 

Supreme Court nominee figured in “Merrill Rule” decision

The continued discussion of the fiduciary standard brings to mind another landmark decision for financial services. In 2005, the Financial Planning Association sued the SEC, trying to level the playing field regarding the standard of care adhered to by investment advisers and brokers. In 2007, the “Merrill Lynch rule” was overturned on appeal. That 2-1 decision involved recent Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, who issued the sole dissenting vote, arguing that the SEC did not have the power to impose a fiduciary standard on brokers.

Apps to help with finances

Spending, budgeting, and saving can be made easier with any number of phone apps. Popular Mint links accounts and cards, while Mint Bills, an extension of Mint, notifies users of upcoming bills and offers the ability to pay them directly. Shoeboxed captures receipt data, while Digit helps with automatic saving. Level Money helps predict spending month over month. Prosper Daily tracks credit scores and catches potential fraud. Those with a budgeting weakness in any of these areas would do well to incorporate the proper technology to help.

NCAA basketball players’ yearly market value

March Madness means exciting basketball games played by athletes who might not be receiving their full market value, according to Business Insider. BI attempts to calculate each player’s annual value, using data from the twenty schools that use basketball to generate the most revenue. They then divide the revenue by the average number of scholarship players on the team. Leading the way is Louisville, with an estimated value of $1.7 million per player, followed by Duke University at $1.3 million. All of the players on this top 20 list average over half a million dollars, with the average Division One player valued at almost $300,000.


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.

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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. 

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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. 

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The Economist

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. 

Read More About The Economist Grade Here

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#25 CNBC

CNBC ranks each state in cost of doing business, economy, technology and innovation.

Massachusetts' unemployment rate as of May 2014 was 5.6 percent. The state added 9,100 jobs in the month of May.

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#13 Forbes

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.

Read More About Forbes Ranking Here

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#47 ChiefExecutive.net

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.

Read More About ChiefExecutive.net Ranking Here

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Tax Foundation

#25 Tax Foundation

Tax Foundation ranks each state in corporate tax rank, sales tax rank, and unemployment insurance tax rank.

Massachusetts ranked #49 in unemployment insurance tax.

Read More About Tax Foundation Ranking Here

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Wallet Hub

#10 Wallet Hub

Wallet Hub ranks each state in ROI rank, state tax rank, and overall government services.

Massachusetts ranked #49 in worst roads and bridges, but ranked #7 in overall government services.

Read More About Wallet Hub Ranking Here

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#41 ALEC

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.

Read More About ALEC Ranking Here

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Kauffman Foundation

#29 Kauffman Foundation

Kauffman Foundation ranks each state in entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurial activity generally is highest in Western and Southern states
and lowest in Midwestern and Northeastern states.

Read More About Kauffman Foundation Ranking Here

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Free Enterprise

#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.

Read More About Free Enterprise Ranking Here

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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.

Read More About The Pew Charitable Trusts Ranking Here


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