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Friday Financial Five – May 20, 2016

Friday, May 20, 2016

 

June rate hike looks possible

As other countries trend toward negative interest rates, the Federal Reserve may still push toward another rate hike this year, according to recent minutes. It’s dependent on the labor market staying strong, inflation progressing, and Gross Domestic Product picking up in the second quarter. Another influencing factor might be the “Brexit”, or the possibility of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. There’s a British referendum taking place on June 23rd and it’s not entirely clear which way they’re headed.

People still in the dark on 529’s

A report by Edward Jones presents a startling disconnect between Americans and their knowledge of college savings vehicles. While the 529 plan remains the preferred method of saving, three out of four Americans still don’t know what a 529 plan is, including two thirds of the respondents with kids. This represents a downward trend in college savings awareness, as last year sixty-six percent of people could not correctly identify the plan in the same survey. This isn’t reflective of people’s attitude toward higher education, as ninety percent feel a college degree is important for future employment. 

White House establishes new overtime rules

Overtime pay has been expanded for workers who are paid hourly. Under the old rules, an employee who made over $23,660 could be denied extra pay when working additional hours. That threshold has been lifted to just under $47,476. The Department of Labor estimates that this will make approximately 4.2 million American workers eligible for overtime pay and raise income by over $1 billion over the next decade. The announcement drew harsh criticism from pro-business groups and Republican lawmakers.

Millennials also suffer financial abuse

While seniors suffer frequent and highly publicized financial abuse by family or advisors, a large number of millennials are reporting victimization by a spouse or partner according to Centsai. One third of the over 2000 respondents age 18 to 35 reported suffering abuse or “financial infidelity”. Infidelity, as it pertains to finances, involves lying about money, while abuse involves one person controlling accounts and blocking access by the spouse or partner. Men were much more likely to be perpetrators and also slightly more likely to be the victim.

Gates Foundation turns $5 Million into $87 Million

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation does its philanthropic best, handing out $4 billion in grants each year to various efforts. On top of that, the foundation puts over $1 billion into various private enterprises and one of those has paid off handsomely. In 2013, the Gates Foundation bought a two percent stake in Anacor for $5 million, a company that fights neglected diseases. That stake was sold last year for almost $87 million and represents a hugely successful connection between charity and private enterprise.

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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WalletHub

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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WalletHub

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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CNBC

#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.

Read More About CNBC Ranking Here

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Forbes

#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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ChiefExecutive.net

#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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ALEC

#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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