Financial news and advice — June/July 2016

A group of wealthy New Yorkers are fighting to pay more taxes, while new data shows there is a fairly large financial literacy gap between men and women in Canada.


Hike our taxes, please!

When it comes to tax, most people want to pay less. But a group of New York millionaires wants to pay more and has been lobbying the state government to raise taxes on the wealthy. The Responsible Wealth group of “upper-income New Yorkers” put out an open letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislature, asking them to implement the “1% Plan for New York Tax Fairness,” which calls for increased marginal tax rates ranging from 7.65% to 9.99% for brackets starting at US$665,000 up to US$100 million, respectively. Members of the Responsible Wealth project include documentary filmmaker Abigail Disney, who is the grandniece of Walt Disney, and Steven Rockefeller, son of former New York governor Nelson Rockefeller and great-grandson of Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller.


FinLit gender gap

Canadian men are more financially literate than women, new Statistics Canada data shows. When quizzed on topics such as interest, inflation and risk diversification, 22% of men answered all five questions correctly, compared with 15% of women. The gender gap, however, was greater among older, better-educated and higher-income Canadians. For example, among those with a university degree, 32% of men and 18% of women correctly answered the five questions — while there was no gender gap in financial knowledge for university graduates under age 35.


Money worries serve double whammy

We all know that being bad at your job can have a negative impact on your finances, in terms of a lower salary or bonus. But, according to a recent study, being bad with money can also adversely affect an individual’s performance at work. Four in 10 Canadians (42%) polled in the Manulife Financial Wellness study say they’ve felt distracted at work because of financial worries. Assuming a distracted worker is less productive, and a less productive worker earns less … well, it’s somewhat of a downward spiral from there.


Impulse buys cost millennials big time

The urge to splurge is keeping millennials from achieving their financial goals, according to a poll by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. More than half (55%) of US millennials surveyed say they make an unplanned purchase of US$30 or more on a daily or weekly basis. Equally troubling: 44% of respondents do not pay their full credit card balance each month or borrow money from friends or family; 41% have less than US$100 in their checking account; 30% paid a late or overdraft fee; and 23% missed a bill payment.