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Friday Financial Five – June 19th, 2015

Friday, June 19, 2015


Rand Paul calls for flat tax

Rand Paul provided his income tax vision in the Wall Street Journal, calling for what projects to a $2 trillion tax cut over 10 years through the implementation of a 14.5% flat tax. The flat tax is not an entirely new concept, but it’s an idea that never caught on in popularity for any of the other presidential candidates that have supported it. Rand Paul would completely abolish the current tax code, eliminating payroll taxes on workers, the gift tax and estate taxes. Mortgage interest and charitable giving deductions would remain.

Social Security may be worse than reported

American workers have reason to be concerned about Social Security benefits, as the program is reportedly on track to run out of money by 2033 given current conditions. But the situation may actually be worse than that, according to a Harvard study. While forecasts appear accurate up until the year 2000, more conservative assumptions may have then been abandoned in favor of less transparent, more aggressive methodologies. The analysis suggests this may have been a result of political pressure in order to make projections look more favorable.

Planning for teenage driver premiums

Families need to start preparing better for the “teenage driver” premium.  According to a recent InsuranceQuotes.com report, adding teens increases cost by an average of 80%. The report lists the most expensive states to insure teens, with New Hampshire premiums jumping 115% and Rhode Island premiums jumping 102% on average. It often comes as a surprise and parents scramble, sometimes to the detriment of proper insurance coverage. Planning can help parents absorb the increase, similar to preparing for increased healthcare costs in retirement.

HSA guidelines released for 2016

With retirement and health plans shifting more toward employee oversight, it’s important to stay on top of revised guidelines. Just as employees should be aware of increases in retirement plan contributions, they should also know when they can put away more tax advantaged money into their Health Savings Account. The 2016 HSA guidelines have been released and they include increases for “Maximum out-of-pocket limits” of $100 for individuals and $200 for families. Contribution limits have increased by $100 for families as well. IRA holders are still able to make one tax free transfer from the IRA to an HSA in a 13 month period.

Fiduciary standard in tug-of-war

It bears repetition for anyone working with a financial professional. The fiduciary standard requires the professional to do what’s in the best interest of the client. It seems simple enough, but there continues to be opposing forces at work. The Financial Planning Coalition (comprised by the CFP Board, FPA and NAPFA) released a statement in support of the Department of Labor’s effort to update the 40 year old rule. All of these organizations wholly support the fiduciary standard, so this is not much of a surprise. Conversely, the Republican-led House of Representatives introduced a bill this week that would prohibit spending by the DOL to implement the rule. 

Dan Forbes is a regular contributor on financial issues. He is a CFP Board Ambassador. He leads the firm Forbes Financial Planning, Inc in East Greenwich, RI and can be reached at [email protected]


Related Slideshow: Oregon Business Rankings in US

See how Oregon stacked up against the other states in the U.S.

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Oregon gets a C+ for small business friendliness from Thumbtack, in conjunction with the Kauffman Foundation.

According to the ranking:

Overall friendliness C+

Ease of starting a business B
Ease of hiring D+
Regulations D
Health & safety D
Employment, labor & hiring D
Tax code D+
Licensing C-
Environmental D
Zoning D+
Training & networking programs B+

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CEO Magazine

CEO magazine was not kind to Oregon.

The state ranked in the bottom ten states at #42.

Oregon get lumped by CEO's as being California like - too much regulation.

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The 2015 rankings puts Oregon in the top 20. Oregon ranks #18 in the United States. 

NY ranks one spot ahead at #17 and Florida ranks after Oregon.

#1 in the United States: Utah

#50 in the United States: Mississippi

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Oregon has been ranked as the 2nd most eco-friendly state in the country, according to a recent study by WalletHub

Oregon ranks eighth in environmental quality and first in Eco-Friendly Behaviors landing them in second overall. 

Oregon is behind Vermont and ahead of New York and Minnesota who land in the third and fourth spots respectively. 

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The Economist

Small Business Friendliness Grade: C+

The Economist grades states on an A+ to F grading scale for its small business climate. Oregon is one of 4 states that earned a "C+"

Overbearing bureaucracy and excessive licensing is stifling small business in America. 

Read More About The Economist Grade Here

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#22 CNBC

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

Read More About CNBC Ranking Here

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Wallet Hub

#28 Wallet Hub

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

Read More About Wallet Hub Ranking Here

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#38 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 Ranking Here

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#19 Forbes in 2014

Forbes ranks each state in business costs, economic climate, and growth prospects.

Read More About Forbes Rankings Here


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