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Friday Financial Five – May 6, 2016

Friday, May 06, 2016


GAO finds retirement savings lacking

According to the Government Accountability Office, 60 percent of households had no savings in a defined contribution plan as of 2013. A huge percentage of workers had no access to plans at the time of the survey, especially those in lower income households. For the higher income earners, only eight percent had no savings in their retirement plan. The future of retirement will entail providing access to plans and educating workers on the importance of putting money away.

Puerto Rico defaults on bond payment

Puerto Rico recently paid only the interest portion of a $422 million bond payment, prioritizing “essential services” over paying the principal on the debt obligation. It presents a microcosm of other troubled cities facing financial hardship that may be forced to make a similar decision. The island is counting on Congress to put together an aid package to help address the $70 billion in debt, but there’s reluctance due to years of perceived financial mismanagement.

One of country’s largest pensions facing cuts

Hundreds of thousands of workers await a Treasury Department decision regarding the Central States Pension Fund, which filed an application to drastically reduce core benefits. The pension has $16 billion in assets but requires a dramatic overhaul to sustain financial viability. The decision by Kenneth Feinberg, “special master” for the Treasury Department, will have ramifications for other large organizations looking to restructure payouts. The possibility of restructure was made possible by the Kline-Miller Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014, which allows changes if the pension is projected to run out of money. 

Title I Home Improvement loans keep on going

The housing rebound has provided an overall increase in equity for owners, but there is still a viable option for those with mortgage amounts at or above the home’s market value. The Title I loan is offered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and isn’t equity based. The borrower can take up to $25,000 for home improvements and without a prepayment penalty. This type of loan can also be used for the very popular switch to a solar based system in order to save on electricity bills.

Apps to teach kids about finance

The country still lags in financial literacy, and it’s never too early to start educating children early about the importance of valuing money, credit, and budgets. There is a huge selection of apps available to help in the process, but it may take some research to find the right combination. Kids Money bills itself as a way to teach kids about savings and pocket money management. Bankaroo allows kids to keep track of virtual bank balances. There’s even an app for “The Game of Life”, which involves major financial decisions.


Dan Forbes, a CFP Board Ambassador, is a regular contributor on financial issues.


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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