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Friday Financial Five – September 9, 2016

Friday, September 09, 2016


Self-employed retirement options

October 15th is the deadline for self-employed individuals who filed a tax extension to establish and fund a SEP IRA. Ask an individual how much they can save in a retirement plan, and usually the answer will be $18,000, equal to the employee deferral maximum for those under the age of 50. Self-employed individuals may be unaware that they may be eligible to put away $53,000. Revenue uncertainty or expansion may prevent business owners from maximizing retirement savings but it should be the annual goal. 

Fed Bank of Boston analyzes the $15 minimum wage

$15 per hour seems to be the magic number for those hoping to implement a national minimum wage. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston studied New England’s workforce to see how they’d be affected by such a policy. In Connecticut, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, 30 percent make less than $15 per hour. Rhode Island and Vermont are at 40 percent and Maine is at almost 43 percent of the workforce making less than $15 per hour. According to the study, increasing the minimum wage would affect approximately one-third of New England workers.

Invesco discusses 529 strategy

As the newly appointed caretaker of the Rhode Island CollegeBound 529, Invesco investment managers have developed an approach for the state’s college savers. The plan has three tiers, including individual fund options, three target portfolios, and eleven age based portfolios. Invesco hopes to outpace the rise in college costs, meet risk-adjusted goals, and keep costs low. There are different expense profiles depending on how the investments are implemented so investors should review each account after the recent transfer from Alliance Bernstein.

U.S. CFP professionals reach 75,000

The push for a fiduciary standard coincides nicely with the news that Certified Financial Planners have swelled in ranks to 75,000 nationwide. 1969 is widely regarded as the birth year of financial planning. Nearly fifty years later, the industry continues to move toward a regulated industry with widely accepted requirements for providing financial advice and committing to doing what’s in the best interest for clients. As various factions push against the fiduciary standard, it’s the hope that within the next decade, a financial advisor will have to be properly credentialed and agree to adhere to a Code of Ethics to offer financial advice.

Amazon-Wells Fargo student loan deal crumbles

Wells Fargo has had a rough go of it recently. They were fined for dealings with student loan borrowers. The bank then attempted to team up with Amazon to offer discounted loan rates for students using Amazon Prime. That deal ran into a political roadblock, as various groups complained to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that Amazon’s popularity would lead to students taking out much higher interest loans than would be available to them through a Federal program. Finally, they were fined this week for opening roughly 1.5 million bank accounts and 500,000 credit cards that may not have been authorized by customers. 

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]


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