Surprising Findings

Sometimes, hidden among the gloom and doom news headlines and economic predictions, we find little nuggets of information that surprise and can even make our day.

For example, thanks to national budget cuts, fewer taxpayers are being audited. The average taxpayer’s chance of being audited has dropped by 23 percent in the past three years, and the news is even better for higher-income earners who are usually more likely to get audited. For those earning $200,000 to $1 million, the chance of getting audited is 2.2 percent (more than twice that of the average income earner). Those earning more than $1 million have a 7.5 percent chance. However, even those rates are continuing to drop.

The only exception is the expatriates. More stringent regulation of off-shore assets has resulted in a higher number of American taxpayers who live abroad being audited.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The IRS Has New Favorite People to Audit,” at Bloomberg, April 9, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “2014 IRS Data Book,” at, March 2015.]

Many retirees or near-retirees often consider moving to another location when they retire, or even just downsizing to help save money. Regardless of whether they stay or go, most report they’re happy with their decision. A full two-thirds of retirees say they currently live in the best home of their lives. Another point of interest is the number of retirees who do decide to settle somewhere new: 64 percent say they’re likely to move at least once during retirement.

Where are they moving? Recently, a billboard photo made the rounds on the Internet that read, “Say what you will about the South, but no one retires and moves up North.” Statistically speaking, the South does appear to be a popular choice. Among pre-retirees who say they want to move somewhere else for retirement, 39 percent report their preferred destination is in the South Atlantic region of the U.S.

Here are a couple of other tidbits: 72 percent of homeowners age 65 and up have paid off their mortgage, and almost half of them (49 percent) “upsized” in their last move. One out of six retirees has a grown child living with them.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Merrill Lynch Study Finds New Freedoms Help Two-thirds of Retirees Live in the Best Home of Their Lives,” at MarketWatch, Feb. 25, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to download the report, “Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices,” at Merrill Lynch, 2015.]

We’ve all heard the news about rising obesity rates and the subsequent medical costs associated with treating weight-related illnesses, but did you know that people who actively pursue a healthier lifestyle in the great outdoors contribute significantly to our economic growth?

Americans spend approximately $646 billion each year on outdoor recreation, and that’s more than we spend on pharmaceuticals and other medical products ($389 billion) and motor vehicles and parts ($418 billion). If you think we (children in particular) have abandoned outdoor recreation for indoor electronics, consider that Americans actually spend three times more on outdoor recreation than on computers, cameras and other IT equipment ($211 billion).

In fact, one study found that localities that feature national parks, wilderness and other recreational areas attract more high-wage, high-skill jobs — such as engineers, architects, software developers, doctors, lawyers — than similar communities without them. There also is a correlation between outdoor public lands/open spaces and higher-quality schools and reduced crime rates.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Government Should Begin to Measure America’s Powerful Outdoor Economy,” at Center for American Progress, Jan. 21, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the State of Obesity annual report at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Accessed April 10, 2015.]

Whether you’re considering what tax strategies may be effective for you, potential retirement moves or even making changes to your current lifestyle, please consider us a resource to help you develop a secure financial plan.

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