Showing posts with label United States. Show all posts
Showing posts with label United States. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Cost of Living: United States vs United Kingdom

English: Blending of the flags of the United S...
English: Blending of the flags of the United States and the United Kingdom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Are you considering migrating to Britain and leaving your American homeland behind? It's perhaps not too difficult to understand why in these current times. It's not likely for instance that you'll see an American citizen receiving completely free healthcare or indeed tallying up how much money they'll receive from the government this month on a DSS Move Benefit Calculator

But before jumping to conclusions, you should be aware that many of the overall living costs in the United Kingdom are in fact far greater than in the United States. 


In the United States, we are privileged to have a whole host of international delights fully absorbed into our mainstream culinary culture. From beef tacos to key lime pie, to pastrami sandwiches to the traditional US barbecue, there's not much that we haven't got covered. So surely all of this diversity must be expensive? 

Surely we can't expect to have all of these multicultural foods (in comparison to a fairly bland British offering) and actually pay less than the Brits do? Actually, you can. In a recent study analysing the cost of living in the United States vs the United Kingdom, guess who came up trumps? That's right, America. In fact, on average across the United States, our groceries cost 13.57% less than in the UK. Add that up over a few years and you'll see some big savings, or some big financial losses if you choose to head to Blighty. 


Well, food is only one of the chief costs of living you might say. The biggest cost is rent, so how does that compare? Even worse if you live in the UK. Yes, on average the cost of rent in the United States is 21.20% cheaper than in Britain, with 1 and 3 bedroom apartments in the city centre and outside of the city centre all costing substantially less than their British counterparts. 

Look at prices in the country and the situation is even worse. Someone living in Truro, Cornwall can expect to pay a whopping 70% extra on their rental cost than someone living in Little Rock, Arkansas. Whether you're receiving housing benefit in the UK or not, it's hard to argue with those figures.

Is the Grass Actually Greener?

Though the UK may seem like a good way of escaping some of the more difficult aspect of America, be aware that Britain is by no means without its own financial pitfalls.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Why Do Some People End up Empty-handed After Their Retirement?

retirement (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)
Retirement can be considered one as big decision in life. It is something that people plan keenly. Most people would describe retirement as finally embracing the final stage of their careers where all they have to do is just look back if they were able to fulfil their dreams or if their whole employment span was a fruitful and productive one. But some people reach the end of their careers without really thinking what’s going to happen next. Some people think that since they’re done sending their kids to school, have enough money in the bank and applied for necessary insurance assure them a life after retirement. What could really be the main reasons why people end up empty-handed after retirement and don’t see anything out of their long years of hard work?

1.) Lifestyle

It is given. People tend to disregard the idea of retirement. Young professionals like those in 20’s and 30’s, the idea of ending their professional lives and relying on savings would always seem covered. Young ones are always focused more on their careers, enjoying a simple life or just living by the day. These people are active spenders. Even with other age ranges, people would simply just rely on the retirement packages since it is still far from happening.

Getting a big retirement package doesn’t really secure a promising tomorrow especially the lifestyle that they’re living and if they will be able to sustain it. It would still depend on how people would go about what they have and how they intend to grow it. Even in other aspects in life, wise decisions really matter and if you know how to run things well which same goes with retirement. Life after retirement has to be embraced well. 

2.) Retirement Planning Advice

Some people who retire consider big figures projected by retirement packages and spend it as if it will never run out. This is the major problem especially those who retire, this time, in their middle age. Sadly, some people who retire are the ones with no long-term plans after years of working. The idea of retirement should not just stop there. Some may ignore the idea but yes, there is such thing as Retirement Planning Advice. Even retirement needs a thorough planning and should be taken seriously. Since retirement is the last phase that everyone is gearing to, it would still be proper to take steps carefully and enjoy the real perks of it towards the end.

Yes, financial freedom and pre-enrolled necessary insurances are indeed important matters. That's exactly where such various retirement planning come in. It is that very same with planning your life in general where the difference is just, retirement is preparing and looking ahead for what is in store for tomorrow without being drastically empty-handed.

Mismanagement of big amounts even if it is not for retirement could be really challenging for most people. Sometimes, people tend to forget how to balance spending, saving and planning. Once that last and most coveted pay check is released, a lot of things come in to one’s mind and forget those important things that were planned ahead. People end up dropping the art of managing retirement packages. 

Managing retirement packages and even insurances are things that have to be taken into consideration seriously apportioning it to different facets of life. People do have issues on manoeuvring their financial freedom and capabilities. 

Bottom line is, spending shouldn’t be the end goal of retirement, and it should be still about building life after it. 

Ending a professional phase should be a start of something productive as well.

Author's Bio
Ian G. Elbanbuena is a blogger and infopreneur who writes on various topics mainly finance, self-improvement, business and marketing. At present he works as marketing staff at, Malaysia's leading comparison website. This portal helps individuals in making the best decision by comparing rates from different finance providers.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Best Tips For Becoming Financially Ready For Retirement

Entering retirement phase of life used to be a matter of age, and most people have a defined retirement benefit plan offered through their employer, once you reach a specific age, you can retire and start receiving those benefits. Even if you plan to rely on social security as your main source of income for your retirement expenses, most people retiring need to have a plan in place for their finances in case anything happens.

Today, the issue of retiring is much less dependent on the person’s age, than it is based on how much money they have saved up for their retirement. Because of the major decline in employer-sponsored retirement plans and the rise in 401(k)s and IRAs, planning to successfully retire becomes a priority. Below are some great tips to make sure you are financially ready to retire.

Planning Where You Will Live

Several retirees in past generations would move from their family homes in the Northwest or Midwest to live in the sunnier states of California, Arizona, and Florida to escape the cold. Today, many find they can make their retirement savings last a lot longer by moving to other states when they retire. Find a place that lets you do what you love, while still offering good retirement plans and standard of living.

Retirement Plan

It’s important you have an organized plan for how you will put money away for your retirement, and to implement that plan as soon as possible. Estimates are that more than one-quarter of the people working in the United States have under $1,000 in their savings account – including funds for retirement. It will probably be a long time before these people can financially afford to retire. Build a retirement plan early in life, and implement it as soon as possible.

Financial Obligations

Unfortunately, not everyone goes into their retirement years with no debt. Instead, many still have mortgages on their residence, co-signed obligations for the college education of their children, and some are still paying off their own student loans. This can add up to a lot of consumer debt in addition to credit cards. Before you decide if you are financially ready to retire, have a solid understanding of your financial obligations and debts so you don’t eat into your retirement funds.

Your Health

The biggest expense for most people retiring is ongoing health care. Even with the most recent health care reforms, the costs for health and medical services continues to increase, and it will probably increase even more. Be completely honest with yourself and identify the potential health care expenses you will face during retirement so you can plan accordingly. Remember, the time might come when you have to consider assisted living homes, or retirement communities to live in with limited medical help available.

By planning ahead, you can feel sure that when you are ready to retire, you will have the finances to make it happen. Use these tips and some smart financial advice to make your retirement dreams a reality.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Managing Your Family's Finances

Money management is a skill that is best learned when a person is young. This does not mean it is too late to begin applying these skills. Even if you are over 50, the finance system you begin today can make a difference.

Finance Your Family's Security With Life Insurance 

While every adult should have life insurance, it is essential when you are older. If you do not have a suitable life insurance policy, now is the time to make a purchase. 

There are a number of policies from which to choose. While term insurance will benefit your family in the event of your death, a whole life policy offers additional benefits. If you find yourself short of cash in an emergency, or wish to contribute to a family member's college fund, whole life policies build up a cash reserve. You can borrow against the policy if it becomes necessary; yet not lose your coverage. 

Finance Your Security With A Savings Account 

When you are still working and have a steady income, open a savings account. Choose an account that offers a high rate of interest. Higher interest means more money accumulating in your account. 

If a savings account is to be useful, deposits must be made regularly. One method is to decide how much of each paycheck you plan to devote to savings. Each time you are paid, deposit that amount in your savings account before spending any other part of your check. 

A second method is to have savings automatically transferred into your account. You can finance your account without any effort if you choose this method. 

Choose the method you are comfortable with, and your savings will grow. 

Your Income Should Finance Your Retirement 

There are numerous options for funding your retirement. A sensible approach is to discuss your preferences with your spouse and your banker, and choose the option that works best for you. 

One popular option is a CD. There are various forms of CDs. A certificate of deposit requires a minimum principal. If you do not cash your CD before it matures, you will have the accrued interest in addition to the principal.

The interest rate for certificates of deposit are based on nine month, twelve month, or eighteen month terms. When you choose a longer term CD, the interest rate will be higher. It is an excellent way to finance your retirement. 

Finance Your Future With Sensible Money Management 

You do not want to enter your golden years with debt. One way to avoid debt is to use credit wisely and sparingly. You should not use credit to finance goods and services that you cannot otherwise afford. 

If you must make purchases on credit, always pay the bills in full, and on time. You should also take this approach to bills that do not involve credit. From utility bills to car payments, pay everything on time. This will eliminate late fees and other unnecessary problems. 

Help Your Family Members Manage Their Finances, Too 

Many older people often find themselves in the position of being asked for financial help from family members. While it is fine to assist your children or grandchildren when they have a special need, everyone can benefit if you help them learn how to be responsible with money. 

Whether you make cash a gift or a loan to younger family members, let them know you are not a bank. You cannot take away your own financial security for individuals who are irresponsible. Instead, you can encourage them to learn effective money management skills. Both your future and theirs can be financially secure.

Author Bio
Joshua Turner is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to business. In this article, he offer family finances tips and aims to encourage further study with a GARD Master’s Project Management Online.

Friday, November 1, 2013

How A Senior Bachelor(ette) Can Stay Financially Stable

So I have an uncle Charles (not pictured above), the eldest brother of my dad. Unlike his other siblings, he never thought of marrying and settling down. He did have a handful of relationships, each lasted a good number of years, but never did it end up in tying the knot.

Uncle Charles is now retired, and is actively country-hopping around Southeast Asia. He is a man of modest means, and despite his relatively happy-go-lucky, eternally young lifestyle, he hasn’t ended up broke or in deep financial straits.

One time, when the family got together a few months ago, I quizzed him on how he manages to live a financially stable lifestyle without overspending or becoming a miser (he’d be the last person I’d call that). As of the moment, I didn’t have any plans of settling down, and I thought it prudent to receive some advice from a perpetually swinging single with experience.

Of course, he happily shared his wisdom with me, his favorite niece. Now, I’m sharing them with the Internet, because paying it forward and sharing knowledge is the right thing to do.

Always Set Something Aside

Just because you’re collecting your monthly social security checks doesn’t mean you should stop setting something aside for a rainy day. Life has a way of catching people unawares, and it is always a good policy to have some easily accessible liquid assets, just in case.
Bachelor and bachelorette seniors, assuming they have no dependents to take care of, definitely have no excuse in this regard.

Make Money Work For You

There are a lot of ways you can have your money grow. Aside from the emergency savings, do allocate some of your hard-earned savings on investments that are stable and relatively low-risk. If you plan to do some high-risk gambling, make sure it’s with money you can lose.
This piece of advice is pretty universal, regardless of your marital status.

Take Advantage of Senior Citizen Discounts

There is definitely no shame in partaking of any discounts and promos aimed at the more senior members of our society. Don’t let your guard down, however: there are a lot of unscrupulous people and companies that are bent on parting the senior from their savings, so always scrutinize any offer or promotion before jumping in.
Uncle Charles, for instance, takes full advantage of senior citizen cruise discounts.

Protect Your Assets

If by some instance that you do find a romantic connection, and you wish to formalize it with marriage, it’s not unthinkable to protect the money and properties you have earned via a prenuptial agreement.
A lot of people might think this move to be a little anti-romantic or even downright paranoid, but do realize that divorce rates would tell you a very convincing story on why you should do this. This is particularly important for single seniors, as they have a considerable amount of resources earned from their years of work, and to lose a good chunk of their hard-earned money and properties to a divorce settlement would simply be crippling.

Seek further legal advice from family law practitioners and lawyers with similar specializations. Online-enabled firms like Gower & Bluck offer free consultations, so it would be best to seek their initial opinions on such matters.

Keep on swinging, seniors!

About the Author
Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and maintains a blog with her gal pals, Word Baristas.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Getting Hired: 5 Positions New Businesses Are Always Looking to Hire

Although the sluggish economy has definitely taken a toll on many individuals, people would be surprised that some employers are always looking to hire certain positions. Moreover, many employers have a hard time filling these positions. For some positions, certain skills are needed, and employers can often only find a few people who have these unique set of skills. If you are having a hard time finding a job, then you should consider gaining the skills to acquire one of these five positions listed below. 


Many employers are often in need of qualified accountants. Since the economic recession, the government has placed tight regulations on the ways that people have previously done business. As a result, employers are finding themselves having to keep all of their financial records current. If you are interested in this career, it is important to obtain a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and for the best chances of getting hired, you should also obtain a master’s degree in an accounting related field.

Dental Hygienist

Recently, more people have begun to take steps to stay healthy, and one of the ways that they are doing this is by practicing good oral hygiene. Dental hygienists are needed to clean teeth, take x-rays, and look for signs of decay in a person’s teeth. The field is growing rapidly because many dentists do not desire to have private practices anymore, but instead, they are looking to work in larger offices with lots of dentists. As a result, many hygienists are needed in these offices as well.

Management Information Systems

One of the fastest growing fields is management information systems. Many employers are looking for individuals to help collect and organize their business operations. People who work in the field of management information systems should have a clear understanding of businesses and computers. Since this field is growing so quickly, many colleges are offering online MIS degrees. The UAB Masters MIS program is designed to prepare individuals to pursue careers in the area of management information systems.

Personal Financial Advisor

Since the economic downturn, many people are weary about investing in certain stocks; therefore, they rely on personal financial advisors to educate them about the risks associated with investing. However, their advice is not limited to stocks, but they also educate people on the best ways to save for college and retirement. In order to pursue this field, an individual can get a degree in finance, economics, law, or business.

Medical Manager

A final position that employers are looking to hire is medical manager. A medical manager directs the daily activities of a hospital or other healthcare clinic. With the retirement of many baby boomers, the healthcare field is growing quickly. In order to pursue this career, it is important for individuals to get a degree in healthcare administration.

Even though the economy has caused many degrees to be useless, there are certain fields that can land you a job quickly. By pursuing one of the jobs listed above, you will have a great chance of beginning a career.

April Labarron is a native to Southern California. She has her BA in English/Literature from MSJC in Menifee, Ca. She views her freelance writing, not only as a career, but as her passion. Other areas of interest include; movies, food, singing, soccer, traveling, shopping and a continuous desire for learning. She lives on her own and is accompanied by her Pomeranian named, Elvis. She currently resides in Temecula, CA.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Most Profitable Location to Invest in Land (BC, Northern Ontario and Nova Scotia)

Harbour of Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia Français :...
Harbour of Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia Français : Port de Peggys Cove, Nouvelle-Écosse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In recent times, Canada has seen a rise in her real estate development, with a special focus on land investment. Visitors and residents alike have continued to show a lot more interest in this particular venture, taking their time to acquire lands for possible future property developments, be it for a personal home, commercial purpose or any other property venture. 

Though prospective investors still continue to be at a dilemma as to which areas to invest in land and be profitable, be it on a short term or a long term basis. On this note, 3 particular areas have been identified are being concentrated on due to their special attributes and this includes British Columbia (BC), Northern Ontario and Nova Scotia

Why you should have a land investment in British Columbia

British Columbia currently is one of North America’s most competitive and vibrant places to engage in business. The province is well known for high sustainable environmental standards which is a huge attraction for international markets. 

Deutsch: Boot in Nova Scotia
Deutsch: Boot in Nova Scotia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Located on Canada’s pacific coast, British Columbia is strategically located such that the rest of the world is easily accessible; also having a land investment in BC puts you strategically to also locate other world markets in Europe, Asia as well as North America. You are also exposed to the opportunity in cross-border trade, thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement which helps you to manage duty free access to other profitable markets in the United States and Mexico. 

BC is also known for a low tax system, modernized regulation which will definitely see you maximizing your profits with time. When it comes to ongoing research on technology advancement and innovations for the obvious betterment of people and the world as a whole, British Columbia has definitely taken the forefront; so why else would you not want to have a land investment in such a profitable area.

Why you should have a land investment in Northern Ontario

The first point you should take into consideration as a good reason for having a land investment in Northern Ontario is the fact that the cost of land for sale in Northern Ontario is relatively low, an attraction for any investor. 

Apart from acquisition, building costs as well as labor are equally quite low, competitive and just right for the land investor. With regards to doing business and access to a huge number of amenities, Northern Ontario has always been a preferred choice, because of its equally tactical location. 

The region has also grown its diverse economy such that there are now branches into advanced manufacturing and production, the information communication technology sector has also recorded tremendous growth with new innovations and implementations, which has given rise to the likes of alternative energy etc. 

This is a concept that is growing with progress on a daily basis and not to forget, the equal advancement of the health sciences. All of these advancement signals nothing more than profitability, so once again, why should you not take advantage and have your land investment in Northern Ontario.

Why you should have land investments in Nova Scotia:

Lighthouse of Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia
Lighthouse of Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First of all, Nova Scotia has shown quite immense popularity with the rest of the world in that its country-like presentation makes the place quite appealing. The area is also quite laid back and relaxed and is also gathering a lot of momentum with regards to business development. 

Acquiring land here is also affordable and easily done. As long you are planning to have a land investment, Nova Scotia presents a great choice of location as analysts and experts have predicted that the area, in a few years to come would definitely be a tropical paradise, a haven of real estate goodness.
In essence, you ought to take advantage of the opportunities presented in these three areas and invest now as you would undoubtedly profit immensely in a short time. 

The three locations discussed above continue to gain unrestricted popularity in the real estate world and if you really want to amass good business in land investment, then you should take action now. Economy now includes critical mass in advanced manufacturing, aerospace, information communication technology, alternative energy, and health sciences.

Author Bio
This article was written by David Darga, with his insight into where the best locations to invest in land currently are within Canada. is a great place to find and purchase vacant land within BC, Northern Ontatio and Nova Scotia

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fundraising 101: Turn a "No" Into a "Yes"

Fundraising in the dictionary According to GrantSpace, there are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the United States. If you're keeping count, that is more than one million charitable organizations vying for the same donations. It's not unusual for fundraising professionals and volunteers to get a "no" from potential donors far more often than they get a "yes." Here's how to turn someone who doesn't want to donate into someone who does.

1.I Don't Have the Money

There's no doubt that times are tight right now. People across the country are not only living paycheck-to-paycheck, but are worrying about how to keep the lights on. When someone tells you that they don't have the money, empathize with them. Tell these people that you understand, but that even a dollar would help. Consider that if you got $1 from 100 people, you've raised $100 for your charity. If you try to force 100 people to give you a specific amount of money and all decline, you've raised nothing. 

2.I Already Donate to...

Many people will tell you that they already donate to a charitable organization, using the excuse to not donate to yours. Thank them for their generosity to the other charity, and kindly explain that your organization is not affiliated with that group. Explain how even $5 can help your group continue its mission. 

3.I Have to Talk to My Partner

Don't push someone who tells you that they have to speak with their partner before they can commit to donating to your charity. It's not unusual for people in a relationship to consult each other when it comes to joint finances. Instead, ask this person if you can call them a few days from now or stop back by. Do not rely on the fact that you will be contacted, take control of the situation. Remind the person that you are not asking for much, and reiterate that any little bit will help your charity or project.

Fundraising Event at Reading – 2011

4.I Don't Donate to Charity

Many people don't donate to charities simply because they don't understand the group's mission, history or current projects. Have a flash drive loaded with your information ready to hand this person. Empathize with your prospect, and let him know that you understand that there are millions of charities seeking his donation. Assure him that he will not be contacted again should he choose to donate one time only, and ask him to view your flash drive and pass it onto a friend or family member who may be interested. 

5.Send a Thank You

Send a thank you note or email to every person that you come into contact with, provided that you have at least gathered contact information. Even if the person doesn't donate, thank them for taking the time to speak to you. This simple act of courtesy may encourage someone to donate even after they have told you no.

You never want to pressure anyone to donate to your organization, but you do want to have responses at the ready if you receive an initial no. If someone takes the time to explain to you why they will not, or cannot, donate, take the time to respond. You'll never turn a "no" into a "yes" if you don't try.

Writer Ken Osteen is an avid blogger for where you'll find more ways to use technology to help with fundraising.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

So…Where Does All of Your Tax Money Go To?

Filing your tax returns is never fun business, especially when you don’t really understand where your money goes. For the most part, Americans know that their tax dollars help the government pay for infrastructure such as roads and defense for the country. But exactly how much of their money goes towards these purchases? Nowadays, the answer can be found with the click of a button. As promised in the State of the Union, you can now visit the White House website and input your income tax details to see how the Federal government is spending your money.

So exactly how does the government spend the income tax of an average American family which makes $50,000 per year and consists of two parents and a child? Here is a listing of the departments that the government pays for with income tax payments:

National Defense - 24.64%

The primary job of a government is to protect its citizens, so it is not surprising that defense swallows nearly a quarter of the average family’s income tax. This includes the massive 10.26% that is currently being spent on ongoing operations in places like Afghanistan. While many see defense as a necessary big-budget item, others complain that America overspends: the US spends more on defense than the next 19 countries combined!

National budget estimates for 2013:

Health Care - 22.45%

Medicaid and Medicare make up most of the healthcare category which provides cheap health insurance for the elderly, the disabled and those receiving a low income. A small fraction of the health care budget is also spent on health research and disease control which helps to maintain a good quality of public health for all those in the United States.

More info about healthcare spending in the US:

Job and Family Security - 17.26%

The Job and Family Security section of your federal income tax receipt makes up most of the welfare which covers a wide array of safety-net programs. The largest item within this bracket however is actually retirement and disability benefits for federal military and civilian employees. These benefits ensure that everybody from soldiers to teachers has enough money to retire and live contently. This is followed by food and nutrition assistance (including SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) at 3.89% and unemployment insurance at 0.99%.

Breakdown of Job and Family Security section and other sections:

Net Interest - 8.01%

The government currently spends more on running the country than it receives back in taxes, meaning that the federal government currently runs a deficit in the borrowed. As you are probably aware from credit card bills or your mortgage, interest can be killer and there is no exception when it comes to sovereign debt. In the case of the US, 8.02% of the average family’s tax money is spent just on servicing the interest on loans the US government has taken out. 

More info about the Net Interest paid by the government:

Education and Job Training - 3.30%

Considering that education is supposed to be the silver bullet, a surprisingly small amount of tax money is spent on maintaining K-12 education, college financial aid and job training from federal income tax. This department also provides training and positions for those who have disabilities. This number can be seen as misrepresentation however, as some state taxes also go towards funding education.

Breakdown of Education and Job Training section and other sections:

Veterans Benefits - 4.53%

Veterans benefits is probably the one section of government spending that requires no squabbling, as looking after those who have served their country is seen by many as a duty and not as an option. In fact, many are arguing for spending on veterans benefits to be slightly included so as to quicken the process of veterans receiving their benefits, as currently the Department of Veterans Affairs does not use a computer filing system and therefore many needy veterans must wait months (if not years) to receive their due.

More information and detailed breakdown on Veteran Benefits:

Natural Resources, Energy and Environment - 2.05%

Most of the energy and environment budget is spent on energy and environment concerns that most of us take for granted: reducing pollution, managing the nation’s water and undertaking conservation of our nation’s forests and protected areas. This section does contain some items that can be controversial: from the funding of renewable energy projects at one end and to the funding of oil pipelines at the other.

Breakdown of Natural Resources, Energy and Environment section and other sections:

International Affairs - 1.72%

Most Americans think a much greater proportion of the federal budget is spent on international affairs than actual is with a tiny 0.8% of tax payers’ money being spent on development and humanitarian assistance. The figure for international affairs also includes the 0.5% that is spent on the essential components of foreign affairs like funding embassies and America’s participation in international organizations.

Detailed breakdown of the spending:

Science, Space and Technology Programs - 1.06%

Just over 1% of your tax bill is spent supporting scientific research, with that money roughly being split evenly between NASA and the National Science Foundation. As well as funding big ticket items like shuttle missions and probes, money invested in science in the US pays back dividends in all kinds of unusual ways. For example, the Internet was pioneered by NSF back in the late seventies.
Detailed breakdown of this sector and other sectors as well:

Additional Programs - 14.99%

The remaining items on the itemized federal tax receipt are small-ticket items that nevertheless are essential to the running of the USA, including the cost of law enforcement, response to natural disasters, and Additional Government Programs which includes the cost of running federal government and paying congressmen, senators and the President.

Author bio: This article was written by Simon a blogger, content manager, financial expert. He is a financially conscious guy with a Msc. in International Economics. He is a longtime contributor to various financial, accounting, taxation blogs among others the authoritative taxation and accounting blog of the Wallace&Associates APC Los Angeles a tax consulting services company.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Bank Interest Settlement Calls Time on QE

Lincoln memorial cent, with the S mintmark of ...
Lincoln memorial cent, with the S mintmark of the San Francisco mint. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Well before American sub-prime debt imploded five years ago, sceptics (castigated as cynics at the time) were questioning the AAA ratings attached by US agencies to packages of individually dodgy loans. Since Lehman Brothers' demise and the subsequent global financial crisis the rating agencies have leant the other way, eager to demonstrate fearless rigour in their risk assessments by downgrading countries right, left and centre. The European Union, having become increasingly upset by the downgrades gratuitously dished out to its blameless members, has decided enough is enough. Henceforth, American agencies can downgrade European sovereign debt no more than three times a year. They must also give Brussels a day's notice of their announcements. And if they fail to comply, well, they will be very very naughty.

The EU would have derived little benefit from advance notice of Friday's economic announcements. Euroland's current account surplus in May was a seasonally-adjusted €19.5bn, down by a quarter from the previous month. Italian wages were up by 1.4% on the year, almost keeping pace with Euroland inflation. UK public sector net borrowing rose to a lower-than-expected $10.5bn in May. Headline Canadian inflation rose to 0.7% while core inflation (ignoring fresh food, fuel, tobacco and mortgage interest) was steady at 1.1%. Canadian retail sales growth remained slow, up by just 0.1% in April, and would have been negative if not for higher car sales.

Only the Canadian dollar showed any reaction to the day's data. The Loonie lost a cent to the US dollar, contributing to a loss of three cents for the week. It touched its lowest level in nearly two years against the US dollar and came close to the lows against sterling that it clocked in December 2011 and May, October and December last year. For more information on currency exchange please click here.

The euro was resilient in the face of news that the coalition in Athens was being rent asunder by a spat about funding for the state broadcaster, ERT, and that EU finance ministers had failed to reach agreement on a plan for restructuring and rescuing banks. It held its own against the Swiss franc, the Japanese yen and the pound but lost a cent and a quarter to the US dollar.

An unlikely grouping of the US dollar, the antipodean dollars and the South African rand delivered Friday's best performances while the northern Scandinavian crowns were hung out to dry. The Norwegian krone had a second difficult day while the Swedish krona played catch-up with the day's biggest loss, -1.5%. For more information on international money transfers please visit the Moneycorp website.

This week gets off to a slow start with Italian consumer confidence and balance of trade, German business confidence and the Chicago purchasing managers' index. That will give investors oodles of time to ponder the annual report from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). It calls on governments to undertake a "forceful programme" of "repair and reform" to restore global economic normality. At the same time it advocates turning off the tap of quantitative easing and calling a halt to the "whatever it takes" mentality among central banks. Whilst they have bought time for governments to get their acts together, "central banks cannot solve the structural problems that are preventing a return to strong and sustainable growth". Mr Carney, you have been warned.

Technical Levels


Major economic releases due today

German IFO Business Climate

Sterling Today
US Dollar
Australia Dollar
Canadian Dollar
New Zealand Dollar
UAE Dirham
Swiss Franc
SA Rand

Date (e.g. 24/2/11)
Time (e.g. 16:27)
Indicative rates as of

Friday, March 15, 2013

4 Budgeting Lessons Families Can Learn from Federal Spending

clip_image001Family budgets don't work like federal budgets. Still, the average person can learn from the successes and failures of the federal government. These stand out as 4 lessons that we should all learn.

Don't Buy Things You Can't Afford

Everyone knows, or should know, that you can't buy things you can't afford. A big line of credit does not mean it makes sense to spend money that you don't have. Chances are, if you don't have enough money now, you won't have it tomorrow.

Now, the government does this all the time. When you don't include two wars in your budget, you build a huge fence along the Mexican border, and you keep entitlements at about the same level year after year even though you don't have as much money coming in, you end up with a $16 trillion dollar deficit. And growing.

Learn from this. If you can't afford a Ferrari, buy a Corolla. If you can't afford a house, rent an apartment. There are smarter ways to spend money. You just might not like them as much.

Know When to Limit Subsidies

Subsidies are great for certain things. Federal subsidies, for instance, were instrumental in developing the Internet and countless medical breakthroughs that have improved the lives of millions. Even early subsidies to oil companies made sense. When an industry doesn't have the ability to generate profit yet, subsidies let the government give new companies a little push towards success.

It's similar as you giving your child an allowance. The allowance is basically a subsidy. Sure, it's a lot smaller, but it works in similar ways.

The problem is that the government, like some parents, never learn when to let subsidies expire. Once your kid gets old enough to earn a living, you don't need to give her a weekly allowance anymore. That would be like the government giving the oil industry $20 billion a year even though the top five oil companies made $375 million in profits per day in 2011.

Wait, that happened? You don't need a masters in public administration to see why that doesn't work.

Stop Relying on Fossil Fuels


Fossil fuels are considerably more expensive than you think. You might get a stress headache while pumping $5 per gallon gas into your car, but you're not even thinking about the tax dollars that were used to pay the subsidy mentioned above.

The fact of the matter is that the country and its people need to rely less on fossil fuels. Riding a bike not only uses less money, it contributes to your health, which will become increasingly important as healthcare costs continue to skyrocket.


More Money or Less Spending: You Have to Decide

The government and families face a similar choice: they can either make more money or spend less money. For the government, making more money means raising taxes. For your family, that means getting a higher-paying job or picking up extra hours.

For the government, spending less money means cutting programs, staying out of wars, and limiting subsidies. For families, it means living within your means by setting a budget and sticking to it, even if it means you don't get all of the things you want.

What other lessons do you think families could learn from the federal government?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Not a Bad Start to 2013 for UK's Economy

There is understandably cause for concern across the land. The last few years have not been excessively kind to our local economy, which is partly understandable. We are so interconnected with the rest of the world, that problems halfway across the globe will still have an impact on us. With major countries such as the United States and the entire Eurozone having had a wide variety of problems in recent years, our ability to trade with them effectively has diminished. Fortunately, the United States is beginning a small but important rebound, but the Eurozone continues to be stuck in neutral.

Actually, it's worse than neutral. According to recently published reports, the overall economies in the Eurozone have contracted for three consecutive quarters. It only takes two consecutive quarters for the trend to be deemed a recession. So, unfortunately, we can now say that the Eurozone is officially in a recession. Not that that is surprising news to anyone who tries to export products made in the UK across the Channel. Several of the major countries, such as Spain and Italy are going through economic convulsions and demand has dropped off significantly. Now, even Germany and France are beginning to go backwards, which does not bode well for anybody.

A Lukewarm Economic Spring

Fortunately England doesn't count only on Europe for its economic survival. There is a robust internal market, as well as a long-standing relationship with the United States and even parts of the Pacific Rim. As a result, despite the problems that Europe is struggling with, the UK can expect a slight, but important economic growth pattern in 2013. Granted, there are many variables at this time which could affect the ultimate outcome substantially. If conditions in Europe worsen, which is not completely out of the question, it could have a negative impact on the UK. If the modest economic recovery that United States is enjoying should stall, that too would have serious consequences for our local economy.

Looking For Viable Markets

Many experts in the UK are also counting on the Pacific Rim region to boost exports from the UK. This is a somewhat dangerous gambit, as China continues to grow at a snail’s pace, and Japan appears to actually be sliding into a recession itself. The UK cannot count on its own economy for growth unfortunately. With the average household spending power limited by an unemployment rate which is close to 8%, a lot of the retail spending that fueled the economy a decade ago just isn't there anymore, at least not for the moment.

Therefore, many experts feel that UK overall can expect a growth of only 1% this year. That does not leave a whole lot of margin for error, as described above. We can only hope that our trading partners are able to get their economic house in order, so that we may continue to prosper.

Chris Harlepp is a US-based lifestyle writer covering some of the latest trends in modern consumer habits and tendencies, such as researching how to sell your house fast. He writes on a freelance basis for many of the major lifestyle blogs.

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