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Friday Financial Five – March 6th, 2015

Friday, March 06, 2015

 

State Universities Face Budget Cuts and Higher Tuitions

Bloomberg has a report on states opting to reduce funding for their universities due to budget shortfalls. For example, Arizona has cut almost half of what they spend per student since the recession of 2008, and forty eight of the fifty states have decreased spending. Only Alaska and North Dakota have increased spending, with North Dakota, the beneficiary of the booming energy economy, upping funding by almost forty percent.

Business Tax Filing Deadline Approaches

March 16th (as the 15th is a Sunday) is the deadline for filing corporate tax returns without extension, and there are several areas that can present problems. Expenses should be well documented and capital expenditures should be properly classified. Owners need to ensure that deductions are handled properly, including the deduction of health insurance premiums versus the medical out-of-pocket hurdle for standard employees. For those seeking an automatic six month extension, Form 7004 is necessary for those with matching fiscal and calendar years.

Household Income From Sentier Research

It’s generally accepted that an improvement  in the income inequality gap would propel economic recovery and growth. Sentier Research’s latest data details median household income as of January 2015. The report cites an increase in median income of $321 since December of last year, mainly from the decrease in energy costs. The group has created an index using income from January 2000 as the baseline of 100. The most recent index reading is 96.1, indicating that income is 3.9 percent lower than fifteen years ago but rising.

Quantitative Easing in Europe

While the United States ended their bond buying program last year, the European Central Bank recently provided details on a trillion dollar bond buying program starting next week. Several of the member country economies are hurting, leading to proactive measures. The ECB does project that GDP is growing ahead of estimates, while inflation for the year was revised downward to be flat due to decreased energy prices. The buying program will begin March 9th. 

The Forbes List of Billionaires

Forbes (no relation) has compiled the 2015 list of billionaires. With a net worth of over $79 billion, Bill Gates tops the list of over 1,800 billionaires worldwide. There are 290 new billionaires added to last year’s total, with the youngest being Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snapchat, who is only 24 years old. The wealthiest woman on the list is Christy Walton of Walmart, amassing nearly $42 billion.

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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