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Friday Financial Five – May 13, 2016

Friday, May 13, 2016


Treasury rejects pension cuts

The Treasury Department rejected a proposal to severely cut retiree payments from the Central States Pension Fund, one of the largest in the country. This provides temporary relief for hundreds of thousands of retirees who faced payment reductions. The fund overseers project that the pension will run out of money in roughly ten years if drastic measures aren’t taken, citing a need of $11 billion. The proposal was an attempt to take advantage of the Kline-Miller Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 for pensions expected to run out of money. The board of the fund will consider submitting another rescue plan.

Social Security and the presidential candidates

While none of the three remaining presidential candidates would dare suggest a reduction in Social Security benefits, there are some differences between them when it comes to the program. As compiled by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both favor raising the payroll tax cap, which currently sits at $118,500. Senator Sanders would go a step further by increasing payments, including the minimum. Donald Trump hasn’t referenced any significant changes. Social Security will require meaningful change over the next decade, so candidates will have to explain how the current shortfall and any benefit increases will be paid for.

Comparing college costs and graduation rates

A helpful tool for measuring the return on college investment is “College Completion." Prospective parents and students can use to site to compare the percentage of enrollees that graduate from different colleges in the United States. The search can be separated between public and private, where private institutions traditionally have a higher four-year graduation rate. The search will also differentiate based on ethnicity and gender and allow a comparison of different states.

Health Savings Account updates for 2017

Like retirement planning, health planning is shifting to more user responsibility. As companies shift to high deductible plans, users that are contributing to health savings account should be aware of maximum yearly contributions and try to meet that maximum. The IRS has released the updated figures for Health Saving Account funding for next year. For individuals, the annual contribution to an HSA can’t exceed $3,400, while the annual deductible will still need to be a minimum of $1,300. For families, the total annual contribution to a health savings account can’t be more than $6,750. 

Trustee seeks millions from Madoff sons’ estates 

There is an ongoing battle to recover money from the estates of Bernie Madoff’s sons. Andrew and Mark Madoff have both died, with Mark committing suicide and Andrew falling to cancer in 2014. The person entrusted with recovering funds for investors, trustee Irving Picard, insists the sons had to be aware of the fraud while running units funded by the scam. Both sons claimed to be ignorant of their father’s scheme until his confession.

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: 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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