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Friday Financial Five – March 20th, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015


President Obama Trying to Help Student Borrowers

The president is attempting to get out ahead of any possible student loan problems with the recent unveiling of the “Student Aid Bill of Rights." With over $1 trillion in loans outstanding, this is an attempt to make payments, complaints, and transparency easier, while doing everything possible to avoid defaults. Another area of interest would be the treatment of student loans in bankruptcy. Student loans are difficult to get discharged, and the administration would like to see this changed.

Social Security is Your Friend

There are plenty of articles dedicated to Social Security planning, but people are still leaving money on the table. For couples, there are an estimated 8,000 strategies and over 2,000 rules governing benefits. Still, many take a payout as early as possible and lose out on an estimated $100,000 in benefits. The negative talk surrounding the program led to the perception that a retiree better take the money now while it’s around. While Social Security does have an eventual funding issue, the program will continue in some capacity. Couples need to consider longevity, taxes, and spousal options before committing to taking the money at the earliest possible date.

Breaking Up May Not be Hard for BOA To Do

The SEC will allow shareholders of Bank of America to vote whether or not the company needs “to develop a plan for divesting all noncore business segments.” The proposal for the break up was presented by a consumer-advocacy group called Public Citizen. Not surprisingly, BOA management is against the idea, but the proposal will be part of BOA’s proxy statement and voted on at the company’s annual meeting.

IRS Looking at Political Non-Profit Organizations

The IRS is reviewing changes to the nonprofit rules of the Internal Revenue Code to see if they should be more expansive. There are some groups calling for good governance and transparency, while others call for less restrictive regulation. When it comes to taxation and the political process, it would seem that the more transparency the better. The IRS contends it’s important to have a common definition and treatment for politically active non-profit organizations and PAC’s, as well as charities, trades, and unions. 

A Real Reason to Hate Christian Laettner

It’s NCAA tourney time and in preparation for that, ESPN presented the documentary, “I Hate Christian Laettner”, which details one of college sports’ greatest heroes/villains. Sports fanaticism aside, the real reason Laettner might be hated is the millions of dollars investors claim he cost them through various real estate dealings. This WSJ piece outlines the charges brought against him a few years ago. Apparently, hitting a high pressure shot in the NCAA tournament may not necessarily equate to business expertise. Kentucky fans may still loathe Laettner, but at least the shot he hit didn’t cause them to lose millions of dollars.

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]


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