Financial news and advice — June/July 2015

Canada’s 1% should be revered for their contribution to the economy, argues a new report. Plus, more than a third (37%) of people surveyed in the US are afraid of investing in the stock market.


Hail the One Percent

The nation's most privileged are getting a bum rap from Wall Street "occupiers" and other members of the 99%, claims a report from Toronto-based consultancy Creaghan McConnell Group. It argues that Canada’s business families — think Bombardier, Irving, Loblaw (now in the hands of Galen Weston Jr.), McCain, Rogers and Shaw — should be revered for collectively generating hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue, paying $6 billion in corporate taxes and providing 1.6 million private sector jobs. The report also indicates that the top 1% of income earners in Canada paid more than 20% of all federal and provincial income tax collected in 2010. "Many of our wealthiest citizens have been painted with condemnation over growing income disparity," says Peter Creaghan, cofounder and partner at CMG. "We believe the other side of the story needed to be told."


Tax agency brings 94-year-old war vet back from the dead

Siegfried Meinstein 

In April 2014, Siegfried Meinstein, a Second World War vet living in Ohio, tried unsuccessfully to file his taxes. Problem was, the IRS had the 94-year-old on record as deceased. It took months and the assistance of a state congressman, who heard about Meinstein’s predicament through the media, to finally get the agency to accept his living status — and his tax return — earlier this year. On the flip side, Social Security benefits records indicate that a whopping 6.5 million Americans are 112 years of age, the Associated Press reports. While few, if any, are actually alive, the agency doesn’t have death records for the individuals. Dead or alive, 13 of them are receiving Social Security benefits.


Fear of stock market rivals fear of death

More than a third (37%) of people are afraid of investing in the stock market, according to a US survey by personal finance website That figure may not seem high, until you consider just 46% are afraid of death. More than 73% say stock market investing is gambling, while 31% think the market is rigged. However, 75% believe investing in stocks is a good idea and 63% are likely to do so in the future.


Proud parents eschew kids' support in retirement

Of Canadians age 50 to 69 who have determined how much they need to retire comfortably, two in five estimate their savings fall short, according to the 2015 RBC Financial Independence in Retirement Poll. While a majority (72%) of younger Canadians, ages 18 to 34, say they owe it to their parents to keep them comfortable in retirement, 76% of 50- to 69-year-olds say they don’t want their kids’ financial help when they retire.


Premium cards more prone to fraud

Elite credit cards — the ones labelled "black" or "infinite" — are often considered a sign of financial success. Unfortunately, fraudsters think so too, targeting elite cards more than twice as often as basic or corporate cards due to their higher credit limits. A year-long study of credit card transactions by Tel Aviv-based fraud prevention software company Forter found the fraud rate for elite cards was 1.7%, compared with 0.8% for basic cards, 0.7% for corporate cards and 1% for gold, platinum and loyalty cards.