Family Financial Connections archive
Date: July 2014

07/30/2014

US Kids Lagging In Understanding Money Management And Finance

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In 2012, The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) financial literacy exam was given to about 29,000 15-year-olds in 18 countries and economies.  An analysis of results by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows that US students ranked 8th (tied with Latvia, although the US students scored a few points below their Latvian counterparts and just below the mean score for all countries.)

Students from Shanghai, Estonia and the Flemish Community of Belgium led the pack, while Italy and Colombias scores trailed at the bottom.

A closer look at the US results revealed a number of useful insights into students’ understanding of financial knowledge and skills.

Among them:

  • More than one in six students in the United States 17.8% compared with 15.3% across OECD countries does not reach the baseline level of proficiency in financial literacy.
  • About one in ten students in the United States is a top performer (9.4%, similar to the average of 9.7% across OECD countries).
  • Financial literacy is strongly correlated with mathematics and reading performance. Around 80% of the financial literacy score reflects skills that can be measured in mathematics and/or reading assessments, while 20% of the score reflects factors that are uniquely captured by the financial literacy assessment.
  • Students in the United States perform as expected in financial literacy, based on their performance in mathematics and reading.

In Ohio, financial literacy is a required component of high school curriculum, but there is no formally prescribed course of study.  According to the Ohio Department of Education’s website, schools are expected to teach as part of the Social Studies Academic Content Standards:

  • the relationship of income level to supply and demand in the market;
  • roles of people in the economy;
  • consequences of choices affecting budgets, savings, credit, philanthropy and investments; and
  • the effect of interest rates on savers and borrowers.

07/29/2014

IRS TAX TIPS: Summer weddings mean tax changes for bride and groom

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Taxes may not be high on your summer wedding plan checklist. But you should be aware of the tax issues that come along with marriage.

Here are some basic tips from the Internal Revenue Service that can help keep those issues to a minimum:

Name change

The names and Social Security numbers on your tax return must match your Social Security Administration (SSA) records. If you change your name, report it to the SSA.

To do that, file Form SS-5: Application for a Social Security Card. You can get the form on ssa.gov, by calling 800-772-1213, or from your local SSA office.

Change tax withholding

A change in your marital status means you must give your employer a new Form W-4: Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. If you and your spouse both work, your combined incomes may move you into a higher tax bracket.

Use the IRS Withholding Calculator tool at IRS.gov to help you complete a new Form W-4. See Publication 505: Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax for more information.

Changes in circumstances

If you receive advance payment of the premium tax credit in 2014, it is important that you report changes in circumstances, such as changes in your income or family size, to your health insurance marketplace. You should also notify the marketplace when you move out of the area covered by your current marketplace plan.

Advance payments of the premium tax credit provide financial assistance to help you pay for the insurance you buy through the health insurance marketplace. Reporting changes will help you get the proper type and amount of financial assistance so you can avoid getting too much or too little in advance.

Address change

Let the IRS know if your address changes. To do that, file Form 8822: Change of Address with the IRS.

You should also notify the US Postal Service. You can ask them online at usps.com to forward your mail. You may also report the change at your local post office.

Tax filing status

If you’re married as of Dec. 31, that’s your marital status for the whole year for tax purposes. You and your spouse can choose to file your federal income tax return either jointly or separately each year.

You may want to figure the tax both ways to find out which status results in the lowest tax.

Note for same-sex married couples

If you are legally married in a state or country that recognizes same-sex marriage, you generally must file as married on your federal tax return. This is true even if you and your spouse later live in a state or country that does not recognize same-sex marriage.

See irs.gov for more information on this topic.

For more information

For more information, go to irs.gov. You can also get IRS forms and publications on irs.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).


07/28/2014

NAB Sells 625 Million Pounds of U.K. Loans to Cerberus

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National Australia Bank Ltd. (NAB), the
nation’s biggest lender by assets, agreed to sell a 625-million-pound ($1.1 billion) parcel of mostly non-performing commercial
property loans in the UK to an affiliate of Cerberus Global
Investors.

The sale will result in a small gain above the loans’ net
book value and release about 127 million pounds of capital for
the bank when it settles, NAB said in a regulatory filing today.
It will shrink the gross loan balance of the bank’s UK
commercial property portfolio by 20 percent to 2.38 billion
pounds, it said.

NAB’s shares have been weighed down by its UK operations,
where mounting bad debts triggered the first drop in full-year
earnings in 2012 for three years. Britain’s foundering economy
torpedoed the bank’s plan to sell the business or expand through
acquisitions, leading to the transfer of UK real estate loans
to the group balance sheet.

“The fact that economic conditions in the UK are now
improving, particularly in commercial real estate, is increasing
interest from funds that buy distressed loan books,” said David Ellis, Sydney-based analyst at Morningstar Inc. “I expect that
within 12 months, the 2.3 billion pounds remaining will have
been fully runoff.”

NAB shares rose 0.3 percent to A$34.69 at the close of
trading in Sydney. That compares with declines of about 0.3
percent for Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking
Corp. (WBC), and 0.7 percent for Australia and New Zealand Banking
Group Ltd.

Provision Coverage

The sale reduces gross impaired loans in the UK by 48
percent, NAB said today. It will allow the bank to increase
provision coverage on impaired assets on its remaining UK
commercial property portfolio to 60 percent from 51 percent, it
said.

“We’ve progressively reduced our exposure to UK
commercial property loans,” incoming Chief Executive Officer
Andrew Thorburn said in the statement. “We continue to look at
opportunities to optimize return on equity by accelerating the
sale of non-core assets.”

NAB shares have fallen 0.4 percent this year, compared with
a 4.2 percent gain in the benchmark Samp;P/ASX 200 (AS51) index.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Nichola Saminather in Sydney at
nsaminather1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Andreea Papuc at
apapuc1@bloomberg.net
Iain McDonald, Edward Johnson



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