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Friday Financial Five – June 17, 2016

Friday, June 17, 2016


Obamacare premiums expected to rise

The Affordable Care Act was meant to stem premium increases that were wreaking havoc with participants’ budgets. According to a study by Kaiser Family Health, 2017 will see the opposite result for many insurers’ plans. “Silver plans” are lower cost and are the most common plans selected. According to the study, the two lowest cost Silver plans are increasing by an average of ten percent. (Providence happens to be one city expecting a sizeable decrease). This double digit percentage rise doubles the five percent increases in 2016.  Fewer insurers are expected to participate next year, with United Health the most publicized company exiting many exchanges.

Gift tax break for 529 plans

For those wondering about maximum contributions to 529 plans, each state has its own ceiling. When contributing on behalf of a child or grandchild, the transfer is subject to gift tax rules. The current annual gift tax exclusion is $14,000 per recipient, or $28,000 for a joint gift by a married couple. Gifting more than that amount will reduce your lifetime exemption from gift and estate taxes. Fortunately, tax rules allow a one-time contribution to a 529 plan that is treated as if the money was given over five years. A person can contribute the equivalent of five years' worth of contributions in one year (up to $70,000 or $140,000 from a couple) without gift tax issues. There can be no additional funds given for five years without affecting gift and estate tax exemptions, but those amounts might cover a large percentage of a beneficiary's education costs.

Congress mulling 529 flexibility

The BOOST Saving for College Act  was proposed by two senators and appears to have bipartisan support. The bill incentivizes lower income families to save for college. Within income limits, lower earners would be able to take an income tax credit and employers could match up to $1,000 without that match counting as gross income. Most importantly, excess 529 savings could be rolled into a Roth IRA for the participant or the beneficiary, as long as the account is ten years old. 

Brexit decision looms

In less than a week, Britain will hold a referendum on whether to “leave” the European Union or “remain”. Those favoring “leave” are against immigration and the EU’s expanding bureaucracy. The “remain” crowd believes leaving would weaken the value of the pound and stunt economic growth, taking over a decade to recover. It could be a situation where undecideds come out strong in the end to keep the status quo and remain in the EU.

CFP Board promotes Father’s Day financial literacy

While being adored by children and spouses this weekend, dads are encouraged by the CFP Board to do their part to promote financial literacy to children. The concepts discussed seem pretty rudimentary, but the country continues to lag in mastering even the most basic financial principles. This includes the concepts of saving and spending, as well as differentiating the use of credit from having the funds available in the bank to purchase. The CFP Board also suggests making money fun by allowing kids to plan a part of a family vacation within a budget, forcing decisions to come from financial awareness. 


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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