Economic and Investment News Bits
- Americans will spend more than six billion hours preparing their taxes this year along with $10 billion to tax preparation firms and $2 billion on tax preparation software. In many developed democracies, the government provides “pre-filled returns” (while also having an appeals process), avoiding much of the time, money, and headaches we as Americans endure. (source: The New York Times)
- The top 0.1% of U.S. taxpayers (based upon adjusted gross income) paid more federal income tax during tax year 2014 than the tax paid by the bottom 75% of taxpayers. (source: Internal Revenue Service)
- 55% of individuals saving for retirement do so in a regular savings account rather than taking advantage of the benefits of retirement accounts such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and/or IRAs. (source: NerdWallet)
- Gallup released their annual “Community Well-Being Index” that ranks U.S. communities by physical, emotional, financial, community, and social health. Naples, FL came in first for the second straight year, followed closely by other coastal areas. Of the six Ohio communities ranked, our hometown, Columbus, rated the “best”…ranked # 110 of 189.
- A sampling of credit scores ranges from 300 to 850 with a national average of 673. Minnesota has the highest average at 706 while Georgia has the lowest at 642. As a reminder, you can obtain a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) at annualcreditreport.com or by calling (877) 322-8228. (source: Statisticalfuture.org)
Thoughts for the Month
“Spring is the time of year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade.”
Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations”, English novelist (1812-1870)
“Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”
Robin Williams, American Comedian (1951-2014)
Chart for April (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
From the Wall St. Journal, this chart illustrates a “Taxpayer Receipt” showing where the U.S. government spends federal taxes (per $100). Half of all spending goes toward Social Security benefits and health programs including Medicare and Medicaid, while another 20% is for defense and military benefits. Increases in Social Security and health program expenditures are expected to continue due to aging and growth in health care costs. Retiring baby boomers expect these benefits to continue, so any cuts to these programs would be extremely unpopular. However, at current projections, the Social Security trust fund will be exhausted in 17 years.
These programs as they currently exist continue to be cause for concern, but this (and future administrations) must address them for their long-term feasibility.
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