Shiffrin: Finances an issue for Cape Coast Conference

by Shelton on July 14th, 2012

filed under Finances

Shiffrin: Finances an issue for Cape Coast Conference

QA with former Cape Coast Conference commissioner Gary Shiffrin.

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Royal finances: ‘Airmiles Andy’ and the £378000 taxpayer-funded travel bill

by Shelton on July 8th, 2012

filed under Finances

Royal spending went up pound;200,000 to pound;32.3 million, the equivalent of 52p for
every person in Britain, though Sir Alan Reid, keeper of the Privy Purse,
said spending had gone down by 26 per cent in real terms over the past three
years if inflation was taken into account.

Travel accounted for pound;6.1m of the total, with other members of the Royal
family also racking up large bills on charter flights.

The most expensive trip of the year was the Prince of Waless tour of the
Middle East and Africa last November with the Duchess of Cornwall, which
cost pound;460,387 after a private aeroplane was chartered for the entire trip.

Only five days earlier, the Prince of Wales had run up a pound;67,215 bill on a
round trip to Riyadh to attend the funeral of the Saudi crown prince, Sultan
bin Abdulaziz al Saud.

Interactive chart: Breakdown of royal travel costs

Royal aides said charter flights were only used when scheduled flights were
unavailable, but even when members of the Royal family fly on scheduled
flights, their staff fly business class, which is typically eight times more
expensive than economy.

The Duke of York, who travels with three or four staff, stood down from his
role as Britains trade ambassador in July last year, but carried on with
engagements he had previously agreed to fulfil.

The royal accounts show he spent pound;378,249 on travel, of which pound;354,667 was on
trade missions for UK Trade and Investment. They included visits to Jakarta,
Bangkok, Washington, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and two trips to China.

Among the four trips he made on chartered aircraft were a UKTI visit to China,
Thailand and Malaysia in October, which cost pound;72,250, and another visit to
China, costing pound;62,215.

The figures include hotel bills but do not include the cost of flights and
hotels for police bodyguards.

Interactive chart: Distance travelled by rail

The royal accounts only give detailed figures for trips costing more than
pound;10,000, meaning the true figure for the Duke of Yorks travel bill could be
significantly higher.

The Royal flights helicopter was used 153 times by various members of the
Royal family, at a cost of pound;549,183, while chartered helicopters cost
pound;276,719 and 47 other charter flights costing less than pound;10,000 each added
another pound;338,054.

The accounts show that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridges tour of Canada and
California last year cost the taxpayer pound;51,410, the cost of business class
seats for them and their entourage on a flight back from Los Angeles.

The Duke and Duchess, and their foreign relations adviser Sir David Manning
were given free upgrades to first class by British Airways.

The rest of the trip was paid for by the Canadian government, which provided a
charter aircraft for the royal party.

A reconnaissance visit to California by the Duke and Duchesss staff cost the
taxpayer another pound;15,094.

The figures released by Buckingham Palace include the Prince of Waless pound;2m
travel bill, which was announced in Clarence Houses accounts on Friday, as
the accounts detail all publicly-funded royal spending. The accounts do not
include the Prince of Waless private income and spending from the Duchy of
Cornwall.

The 2011-12 financial year was the last one in which the Queens finances were
funded by the Civil List and Government grants.

For the current financial year the Queens funding will come from a percentage
of the profits of the Crown Estate, increasing her income to a projected
pound;36m.

Royal aides said the extra money had been earmarked for urgent repairs to the
royal palaces which had been put off for years because of a steady decrease
in the Queens income in real terms.

Are consumers’ finances worse than their health?

by Shelton on July 6th, 2012

filed under Finances

The most recent
Principal Financial Group Financial Well-Being
Index

— a quarterly survey of American workers at small, growing
companies — reveals some interesting links between Americans
financial health and physical health.

Here are five observations about the state of fiscal and
physical health among respondents to this survey:

  1. If you think Americans look out of shape, you should see
    their bank statements.

    In recent years, health agencies, along with public figures such
    as Michelle Obama and Michael Bloomberg, have expressed concern
    over an epidemic of obesity among Americans. The Principal
    Financial survey suggests that there may be an even greater
    epidemic of flabby finances. Survey respondents were even less
    likely to view themselves as financially healthy than physically
    healthy. 53 percent of respondents consider themselves physically
    healthy, while only 31 percent view themselves as financially
    healthy.

  2. Good intentions arent always followed up with
    action.

    For some of the 31 percent of respondents who consider themselves
    financially healthy, this confidence may not be based on any type
    of concrete planning. Only 28 percent of respondents even have a
    household budget, and just 17 percent have created a financial
    plan.

  3. Many people view health as an investment.

    While the evidence suggests that too many people are failing to
    plan financially, they are at least thinking ahead when it comes
    to the relationship between good health and their financial
    future. Seventy-six percent of respondents think that by spending
    time on their health now, theyll reduce medical bills in the
    future. However, given how few have followed through on even
    rudimentary financial planning, there is no guarantee that all 76
    percent of respondents are actually taking regular steps to stay
    physically healthy.

  4. People may be carrying faith in good health too
    far.

    Even good health cant make you immortal, but the survey
    indicates that most people fail to acknowledge their mortality by
    creating a will. 54 percent of those surveyed do not have a will
    in place. Some expressed the notion that they do not have enough
    money to worry about a will, but there are issues besides money
    — most notably, provisions for the care of any children — that
    should be addressed by a will.

  5. Emergency funds are recovering.

    Savings rates in the US

    were chronically low even before the Great Recession, and
    household finances have taken a beating ever since. Still, if
    that recession taught Americans one thing, it was to prepare for
    setbacks, and the survey suggests that people are at least trying
    to
    beef up their emergency funds

    . Over the past two-and-a-half years, the percentage of survey
    respondents who have an emergency fund has risen to 66 percent,
    up from 61 percent. At a time when bank rates offer little
    immediate incentive to save, the growth of emergency funds is a
    sign that more people are starting to think ahead
    financially.

It makes sense that people view staying physically healthy as an
investment that can save them medical expenses in the future. They
might also want to recognize that this linkage works the other way
as well and that following a sound financial plan can reduce stress
and thus help people stay healthier. In any case, when it comes to
both fiscal and physical health, consistent effort is the best path
towards success.

Need a loan? Go ask Dad

by Shelton on July 3rd, 2012

filed under Finances

There are significant differences in the way mothers and fathers address money matters with their adult children. That is the core finding of a new report issued by Ameriprise Financial.

The study looked at how mothers and fathers discuss finances with their adult children, as well as how likely they were to lend money to support their sons and daughters. According to the results, boomer women are more likely to have regular conversations about their money and health-care costs. But when it comes to actually lending money to an adult child for a major purchase, men tend to be the ones offering support.

Adult children benefit from boomer parents

Despite the differences between genders, virtually all boomer parents surveyed reported providing some funds to their adult children. The survey found 93 percent of baby boomers said they had given their adult children financial support.

However, when it comes to major purchases, fathers are more likely than mothers to open their wallets and share the wealth. Ameriprise found the following percentages of men compared to women were willing to help with their childrens purchases and bills:

  • Fund an automobile purchase: 58 percent vs. 48 percent
  • Pay for their childs auto insurance: 51 percent vs. 43 percent
  • Co-sign a loan or lease: 42 percent vs. 32 percent
  • Make a car payment for their child: 37 percent vs. 29 percent

In addition, fathers were more likely than mothers to say they would help an adult child buy a car or pay off their credit cards rather than contribute to their own retirement fund.

Women more willing to have money discussions

While men are more willing to share their money, women are more likely to talk about it. When it comes to finances, health-care costs and family issues, boomer women tend to discuss these issues in greater percentages as compared to men. The trend seems to continue to daughters, of whom 67 percent report regularly discussing finances with family, as opposed to 59 percent of sons.

One reason boomer women may be more likely to have these discussions is concern for the future. Only 14 percent of mothers say they are very optimistic about their financial future, as compared to 21 percent of fathers. In addition, a mere 16 percent of these women are very confident they will reach the financial goals they feel are important.

However, children appear to be returning the favor of their parents financial support by increasingly lending a hand to their mothers and fathers. Daughters, in particular, have reported a significant increase in the amount of financial support and household help they provide their boomer parents. Two in three daughters say they now provide some form of support to their parents, as compared to 48 percent who said the same five years ago.

The original article can be found at Money-Rates.com:
Need a loan? Go ask Dad