Cheat Sheet Q&A:
The question: How do ticket sales for the 2014 Olympics compare to previous Olympic games?:
Bottom Line: One of the side stories throughout the Sochi games thus far has been the lack of international tourism (especially US citizens) into Sochi for these Olympic games. That has translated in empty seats being commonly spotted at virtually all events. So what is the sellout rate thus far for the Sochi games and does it compare to its recent peers?
Olympic Sellout rates:
· 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics: 80% est. thus far
2012 London Summer Olympics: 100% - the only recent complete sellout
2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics: 97%
2008 Beijing Summer Olympics: 95%
2006 Torino Winter Olympics: 85% est.
2004 Athens Summer Olympics: 67% - easily the worst in recent history
· So the average sellout rate of the previous 5 venues had been 88%
So Sochi is performing in a below average manner, however they aren’t performing significantly worse than the average of the 5 previous venues and they are performing significantly better than Athens (which is especially ironic consider Athens is where the Olympics were born).
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The value of a college education in 2014:
Bottom Line: We know that the cost of a college education has only been moving in one direction. Despite record cost, record student loan debt, low employment rates for recent grads, etc.; it’s clear that generally speaking a college education is well worth it. For Millennial’s who do have full time employment the annual salary differences are dramatic.
· Salary without a college education: $28,000
· Salary with a college education: $45,500 per year
So the annual difference stands at $17,500 per year. That’s a new record. That’s also a 63% difference in annual income. We don’t know if that margin will continue over the course of Millennial careers (or even increase) but it’s clear that the benefit of a college education in the workplace is well worth the cost.
Marriage rates prove religion still matters:
Bottom Line: The way that the media portrays marriage and values would likely have you thinking that religion isn’t a driving factor in who we choose to spend the rest of our life with. It would appear that is far from the truth. Consider this…
The Facebook research firm, Quartz, studied marriage in England and found the following.
· Given the cited religion (or lack thereof) of English people the odds of marrying someone of the same religion is 20%
· 73% of married couples in England are of the same religion
That’s beyond statistically significant. Whether it’s because of the religion itself, or the values that the religion instills in people that they seek in others – it’s clear. Religion is still extremely relevant with regard to finding our partners for life (and most likely the biggest consideration). Shh… The media might find out and report it or something. I’m just kidding, you know that wouldn’t happen.
What you need to do if you’ve recently had a credit or debit card reissued:
Bottom Line: There is a new problem that is cropping up for many who have recently had credit and/or debit cards reissued due to one of the many recent data breaches. They are getting late payment statements from other companies.
If you have previously setup auto payments with companies on one of your reissued accounts remember to reset the auto pay information with those companies/creditors. Many people are getting hit with late fees, penalties and credit impairment because they forgot to change the card information on file with the new one. It’s an easy oversight but it can be costly in many ways.
Raise taxes and lose citizens:
Bottom Line: It’s simply a matter of economic fact. Everyone has their threshold of tax tolerance before they’ll alter their life. Just ask New Yorkers, former residents of Detroit or France. Btw, after the French top tax rate was raised to 75%, the defections from France rose 500% between 2012 & 2013.
Here is a fact. Wealthy individuals have the financial flexibility to leave that many average Americans don’t. And every time targeted tax increases are passed that focus on upper income earners we see defections. At the local, state, or even national level. Here is the latest example. The United States.
Last year taxes on upper income earners rose in the US. The result a record 2999 Americans renounced their citizenship last year.
In fact prior to 2009 the record number of American defections in a year was 762 with an average of about 500 per year. Here are the numbers in recent years:
· 2009: 742
· 2010: 1534
· 2011: 1781
· 2012: 932
· 2013: 2999
Now here’s the thing. Upper income earners already pay the overwhelming majority of taxes in this county (40% don’t pay any net Federal income tax and many actually profit from the Federal tax system). So not only do you lose their economic impact but you also lose the tax revenue already being generated by them. This is the story that repeats itself over and over again at all levels of Government and yet the lesson never seems to be learned. The irony is that those who earn less are actually hurt by the increased taxation that drives the upper income earners and tax payers away.
The ACA change that could make the biggest impact in our area - seasonal employees don't count:
Bottom Line: The recent ACA delays for the employer mandate further complicated an already messy situation. That being said there are many employers that will be impacted by the changes, especially businesses that have seasonal employees. Here are the newly announced changes:
· Employers with fewer than 100 employees don’t have to comply until 2016
· Employers with more than 100 full-time employees will have to offer benefits to at least 70% of their full-time employees in 2015 & 95% of them in 2016
· Employees that work for less than six months with an employer (seasonal employees) don’t count towards the employee count (so in other words if you’re over 100 during season but under during the rest of the year – you don’t have to comply until 2016)