ABS East 2015 expands horizons for DRB Financial Solutions

Learn more at www.DRBfinancial.com. 

About DRB Financial Solutions, LLC: DRB Financial Solutions, through its family of companies, is a leading purchaser of annuity payments and other illiquid cash flows. DRB Capital offers liquidity and optionality to prospective sellers in need of cash who have guaranteed or life-contingent structured settlements, annuities and/or investment annuities.  DRBs USClaims is a leading provider of advances to personal injury victims and their families.  DRBs OptiMed Funding provides innovative lien management services and liquidity solutions to the healthcare industry.  DRB Financial Solutions – The Liquidity People. 

Contact: Mark Mruz
[email#160;protected] / 561-982-3000

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/abs-east-2015-expands-horizons-for-drb-financial-solutions-300141185.html

SOURCE DRB Financial Solutions, LLC

Gov. Ricketts: property tax relief remains #1 concern of Nebraskans (AUDIO)

Gov. Pete Ricketts says Nebraskans remain upset about the rate of their property taxes.

Ricketts says property taxes continue to be the top issue during his various top hall meetings across the state.

As I travel the state, the number one issue continues to be property tax relief, Ricketts tells reporters when asked during a news conference. My team right now is working on various ideas with regard to property tax relief. We’re talking to other senators. We’re talking to other groups. So we’ll, as we get closer to January, be rolling out what some of those idea are and really work to see if we can develop a consensus around what those steps going forward ought to be.

The governor says his staff is working on a plan to forward to the legislature next session and Ricketts says he understands any plan will have to include a look at the impact of school funding.

Well, certainly school funding plays heavily into property taxes, according to Ricketts. If you look at most people’s property tax bill, between 60 and 75% of what that money goes to goes to schools. So, it’s certainly one of the things that we’ll need to take a look at as we look at where we go with regard to property tax relief going forward.

Tax relief cuts will affect renters

George Osborne recently announced big changes in the tax system.

Tax relief on rented homes will be cut from 40% or 45% to a basic rate of 20% with the inevitability that losses will be recouped by landlords through increasing rental prices.

Research by EasyRoommate revealed that 44% of UK landlords are looking to increase their rent to offset the losses incurred from new tax-relief changes.

In London, tenants already pay an average of pound;692 per month to rent a double bedroom.

New tax changes also mean landlords will lose the right to claim 10% of the rent against wear-and-tear costs from April 2016. As a result, landlords will likely reduce the levels of general property maintenance and improvements carried out. It could also lead to landlords neglecting basic tenant demands for property improvements. This will have a negative impact on the standard of private rented accommodation.

The change in tax-relief could even potentially drive some landlords out of the property market completely given that it will no longer be the profitable business it once was.

Tenants could be evicted from their rented accommodation if landlords decide to sell their properties for let.

Supply is already scarce in the UK, particularly in London where there are 10 tenants seeking a room for every one double room available. EasyRoommate predicts this figure could rise to 13 seekers per room if a number of landlords decide to move out of the property market.

A separate report by PwC revealed that there are about 5.4 million people privately renting in the UK, as of 2015. According to EasyRoommate, 2.4 million tenants would be negatively impacted by the rent rise.

The tax-relief changes are designed to limit the advantage buy-to-let owners have over those purchasing their own home. Osborne claims that buy-to-let landlords have historically been taxed more favourably than homeowners.

The changes will be detrimental to first-time buyers as they will find it increasingly hard to save a deposit.

The majority of landlords are in for a shock as 55% of those surveyed are unaware of the tax-relief change.

Sinead Moore

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Drug dealing, disbarred former Norristown lawyer loses bid to keep cash, guns

COURTHOUSE gt;gt; A former Montgomery County defense lawyer, disbarred and serving prison time for drug dealing, has lost his bid to prevent prosecutors from taking possession of about $9,000 and two handguns that were seized from his home during the drug investigation.

Specifically, Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy denied Gregory Noonan#x2019;s request for return of property and ordered him to forfeit $9,356 in cash and a Taurus .357 Magnum revolver and a Smith amp; Wesson .38 Special to the county district attorney#x2019;s office.

During a hearing in July, Noonan, formerly of the 100 block of Oberlin Terrace, Towamencin, implied the money represented his personal savings. However, Assistant District Attorney Laura Adshead argued the wrapped bundles of cash found in a drawer of Noonan#x2019;s home in late 2013 were more likely than not derived from Noonan#x2019;s drug dealing.

#x201c;Our allegation was that that currency was proceeds from his drug sales. The order means that the currency found in Mr. Noonan#x2019;s home is to be forfeited to the Montgomery County District Attorney#x2019;s Office,#x201d; Adshead explained.

Structured Settlement, Annuity Companies and the Best Interest Standard …

Under the structured settlement laws of various states, these companies are called interested parties. Being an interested party means that a company receives official notice when any attempt is made to transfer ownership of some part or all of a structured settlement, including the date and time of the court hearing for approval of the transfer. Bracy says that, over the years, some companies have developed their own standards, their own criteria, for what is a proper transfer of a structured settlement. If a would-be seller doesn’t comply with these standards, the companies may object.

Bracy says he doesn’t understand why issuers feel the need to participate in the sales of these settlements. His conclusion is not that the companies are acting out of any bad motives but are rather trying to figure out what a sale would mean for them. Similarly, courts often struggle to figure out how the best interest standard applies to a particular case and what the court should do. Bracy suggests that sometimes, insurance companies go too far in their involvement in proposed transfers.

By adding its own standards to those imposed by statute, an insurance company is adding extra burdens to the sale of a settlement. If a company is not satisfied and objects, that can cause a delay in the proceedings. A court will listen to such objections and may deny a transfer because of the objections. And that is problematic for everyone.

Bracy points out that people with structured settlements who contact a factoring company have an immediate need for cash, a need that was unanticipated. The need for cash is immediate. So any time there is a delay in the sale process, it harms the person trying to make the sale. The possibility of an objection is a hammer that insurance companies hold over the head of the factoring companies.

By way of an example, Bracy mentions Allstate Insurance Company. Allstate has what it calls the six-month rule. What the rule means is that, if a seller has completed a transfer within the last six months, Allstate will object to an additional transfer. Bracy says he understands the notion that a person should not treat a structured settlement “like an ATM machine.” The problem with that rule, Bracy says, is that it ignores the inability of any person to predict what will happen in the future. When people are sitting around the table at a conference setting up a structured settlement that will pay out a certain dollar amount every month, there’s an assumption that the monthly amount will be adequate. And over 90% of the time, things go as anticipated.

However, when things don’t go as planned, structured settlement beneficiaries should have the right to sell future benefits for present cash. For a company to stand in the way of such a transfer is offensive in several ways, Bracy opines, and one of them is that the company is arrogating to itself an authority that rightfully belongs to a court. Bracy says he doesn’t know of a court that has bowed to the six-month rule.

Matt Bracy is a partner in Scheef amp; Stone, LLP., Dallas, Texas, representing businesses and business owners in the areas of general business law, contract negotiations and drafting, business formation, transactions, collections, commercial litigation and government relations. Over his career he has represented diverse businesses and individuals in private practice, and in-house as General Counsel and Director of Government Relations for multi-million dollar companies. The Legal Broadcast Netowrk is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.

Retirement prospects only bright for diligent savers

Only about half of US workers are employed where 401(k)s are offered. Without workplace plans, most individuals dont turn to individual retirement plans (IRAs).

So if only two in five people at large companies will have enough money to retire, thats a dreary finding that points to a brewing retirement crisis for the US That crisis clearly will be harsh on people who havent saved enough, but it could also carry a price tag for people who have been diligent about saving if the government ends up taxing people more to aid a struggling aging population.

Aon Hewitt figures that to retire with enough resources, people should have, on average, 11 times their last annual salary accumulated to cover retirement living expenses. If, for example, a person was earning $75,000 a year when they retired, they would need about $825,000 for retirement. If the person was lucky enough to have a guaranteed pension that would pay $30,000 a year, the total value at retirement would be about $420,000, said Aon Hewitt Associate Partner Grace Lattyak. She multiplied the annual $30,000 payment by 14 to figure the full value of the pension.

To get to the $825,000 needed for retirement, the individual would need to have an additional $405,000 in personal savings from a 401(k), IRA or a combination.

People who are many years from retirement will need to have even larger nest eggs when they retire because health care costs are rising faster than pay and people are living longer, said Lattyak. Thirty-year-olds earning $30,000 now are likely to need about 13.4 times their annual salary the year they retire, Lattyak said.

Employers are cutting out health care benefits and old-style guaranteed pensions for employees. But large US company do contribute about 5 percent of a workers pay toward his or her 401(k) plan. To make sure savings are adequate by retirement, Lattyak said the employee should be saving 12 percent of pay each year to the 401(k), in addition to the contribution their employer provides.

If the person is 35 and hasnt saved anything, and has no pension coming, that individual should start saving 20 percent of pay. At 45, if the person hasnt been saving earlier, Lattyak said about 35 percent of pay should be stashed away.

Companies that nudge their employees to save, rather than waiting for the employee to take the initiative to get going, help their staffs end up with better results. Using whats known as automatic enrollment, companies immediately enroll employees in the 401(k) when they are hired and deposit some of every paycheck in the retirement savings plan for each employee.

Aon Hewitt found that companies using automatic enrollment increased participation in a 401(k) by 20 percent over businesses that waited for individuals to take the initiative. About 84 percent of employees contribute when their employer enrolls them automatically.

Some companies go a step further. They use whats called automatic escalation. Each year they increase the percentage of pay slightly that each employee automatically contributes into their 401(k). With this approach, Aon figures 70 percent of people who work for the same company throughout their work life will have nearly adequate savings for retirement at age 65.

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Millennials Are Better Than Baby Boomers at Saving Money, Survey Shows

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The United States may be the greatest country on Earth, but when it comes to saving money, were no better than average. Based on the latest data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve, the US personal savings rate is just 4.8%. While thats up from the sub-2% saving rate we touched in 2005, it still pales in comparison to the saving rates of many other developed countries, like France and Germany.

Our poor saving habits are having potentially dangerous consequences as workers head toward retirement. A recent survey conducted by Employee Benefits Research Institute showed that less than a quarter of working Americans (22%) feel very confident that theyll have enough money come retirement. On the flip side, a frightening 64% admit that they are behind in their retirement savings.

But are things really as bad as EBRIs survey would suggest? According to a study released in June by T. Rowe Price, it really depends on when you were born.

Older is not necessarily wiser when it comes to preparing for retirement
A common misconception about Americans personal savings habits is that millennials — generally anyone born between 1981 and 1997 — are poor savers who spend frivolously. However, T. Rowe Prices report points indicates just the opposite when millennials are compared to the baby boomer generation (Americans born between 1946 and 1964).

Source: Flickr user ITU Pictures. 

According to the Retirement Saving amp; Spending Study released in June, which analyzed answers from more than 1,500 millennials and over 500 baby boomers, millennials are outpacing baby boomers in many aspects of saving and investing for retirement. The study paid particular attention to 401(k) contributions and respondents ability to budget and save.

Specifically, the study notes that 40% of millennials have increased their 401(k) savings this year, compared to just 21% of baby boomers. Both figures are a bit disappointing, considering that the maximum 401(k) contribution rose $500 to $18,000 in 2015, so if workers had been maximizing their 401(k) contributions, we could have expected to see a greater increase from both age groups. Still, the takeaway is clear: Millennials are doing a much better job of setting themselves up for success come retirement.

Millennials also had quite the edge over baby boomers when it came to prudently managing their money. The study shows that three-quarters of all millennials track their expenses carefully, with 67% reporting that they stick to a budget. Additionally, 88% of millennials surveyed said they do a pretty good job of living within their means, with two-thirds saving by any means necessary. By contrast, just 64% of boomers claim to track their expenses carefully, while only 55% stick to a budget.

Why we are seeing this shift
Why are millennials seemingly better prepared for retirement than boomers? While T. Rowe Prices study didnt go too far into answering this question, there are likely multiple factors at play.

Source: Social Security Administration.

To begin with, T. Rowe Prices study did point out that 60% of millennials surveyed believe Social Security will be bankrupt by the time they retire. If millennials dont believe theyll have a monthly benefit payment waiting for them in their golden years, then theyll be more likely to stick to a budget and save for retirement. As a side note, its worth pointing out that this is possibly the biggest Social Security myth. Despite forecasts from the Social Security Administration that the Trust will exhaust its cash reserves by 2033, the SSA can extend the survival of the program through 2087 by cutting benefits by 23%. No one is exactly thrilled about the idea of reduced benefits, but this 80-year-old financial lifeline for American retirees, disabled persons, and survivors of workers will be there for you when you retire.

Secondly, wage growth has been weak for decades. Based on data from the Pew Research Center, real wages (ie, wage growth with inflation factored in) rose by a meager 7.8% between 1964 and 2014. Meanwhile, many important expenses (eg, college tuition and medical costs) have handily outpaced wage growth over that time. This lack of substantive wage growth means millennials need to be especially smart with what they earn and focus on putting their money into investment vehicles that give them the opportunity to outpace inflation and generate real wealth.  

Lastly, I suspect millennials saving habits could also be a function of witnessing their parents grow up in what can be referred to as the credit generation. For nearly half of todays boomers, based on the recent findings of Allianz Life, credit cards are viewed as a necessary lifeline. However, only about a third (32%) of boomers pay their credit card balance off each month. That sets boomers up for a potentially devastating credit crunch in retirement — a crunch that I believe millennials are well aware of and want to avoid.

Regardless of the differences between millennials and boomers, there are steps that all generations should consider taking to make saving and investing for retirement a success.

Source: Social Security Administration. 

All generations should focus on these solutions
A few simple individual changes, and one important shift in the workplace, can go a long way toward putting the American worker back on track for retirement.

Within the workplace, statistics show that employers that automatically enroll employees in their 401(k) plans have higher participation rates than those that dont. Instead of placing the onus on workers to enroll, employers are requiring workers to take the step of opting out if they dont want to participate.

The latest study from Hearts amp; Wallets shows that between 2010 and 2014, the percentage of businesses using automatic enrollment in employer-sponsored retirement plans (ESRPs) increased from 57% to 68%, while the number of businesses with an ESRP participation rate above 80% concurrently rose from 50% to 64%. Though millennials might prefer a higher matching 401(k) contribution from their employers, it seems the smartest thing employers can do to demonstrate their concern for workers financial well-being is to automatically enroll them in a company-sponsored 401(k).

On an individual level, its critical that more people stick to a monthly budget. Its impossible to maximize your ability to save for retirement if you dont understand the basics of your personal cash flow. This isnt to say that your budget cant be adjusted from time to time. No one ever said your spending habits have to be set in stone for all eternity. However, getting a feel for your spending patterns compared to your income will give you a better idea of how much you can afford to put toward retirement accounts on a monthly basis.

Source: Financial Industry Regulation Authority. 

Finally, its important that the financial literacy of all generations is improved. For instance, millennials may be doing a better job than boomers at saving for retirement, but a recent five-question quiz from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority that covered very basic financial concepts showed that only 24% of millennials answered four or five questions correctly (considered a passing grade). In short, basic financial literacy is lacking, and thats bad news if we expect workers to be in charge of their financial future.

How do we improve the financial literacy of Americans? Thats one of the toughest questions to answer, but my suggestions would involve workers taking the responsibility to seek out information thats readily available online these days; communities and local organizations working together to spread financial know-how; and schools stepping up their game to teach basic financial concepts at an age when students are still impressionable.

Theres no reason why the average American worker cant get his or her retirement back on track. What steps do you see yourself implementing to become a better saver and investor? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.

4 Myths About Federal Reserve Interest Rates

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Speculation regarding interest rate decisions by the Federal Reserve has resulted inmany myths about interest rates bubbling to the surface. Some of the most common fallacies about the Feds interest rate decision have not only prompted many debates but also raised new concerns amongst investors. Since prudent investment decisions are based on our fundamental understanding of financial markets, letseliminate some of these misconceptions that could be deteriorating the value of our investments.

Myth 1: The Fed directly controls all the interest rates.

Reality: The Fed directly controls only one rate known as the Fed Funds rate.

The Fed has a direct control over only one rate and that is the Fed funds rate, which is an overnight rate charged between banks to maintain minimum reserve requirements. Changes in Fed funds rate affect short-term interest rates, particularly the yield of money markets, bank savings accounts and floating rate loans, but long-term interest rates may remain little affected by the Fed funds change. This is because interest rates like those of 10-year treasury bonds and 30-year mortgage are determined by many additional factors, like supply and demand of capital, expectations of growth prospects and inflation. The long-term interest may change only when the Fed funds rate significantly affects any of its contributing factors. While short-term interest rates and Fed funds rate may have a stronger link, the connection with long-term interest rates gets weaker with the length of time.

Myth 2: Interest rates should be kept low so that increased consumer spending can lift the economy.

Reality: A balanced consumer spending and personal savings are both crucial to a healthy economy and required to control the pace of an economy. Consumer spending should not be promoted at the cost of savings and investment.

Spending is an important component of the US economy and makes up 70% of US economic output. During recessions, spending needs to be triggered to boost consumer confidence and stimulate demand in the declining economy (decline in Fed rates). But, interestingly, the first signs of recovery come from corporate spending and not consumer spending, in the form of industrial production, capital formation, and construction. While consumer spending helps in strengthening a failing economy, high national savings help fund more national investments once the economy has stabilized. Excessive consumer spending can lead to consumers saving less, leading to depletion of funds available for investment in the economy and eventually cutting economic growth. In contrast, if there is high savings only, then the economy may remain stagnant. The crucial reason a consumer-dominated economy may not be desired is that consumer spending may crowd out investment spending, which is also a key factor of long-term growth. However, too much of spending or saving can be a concern for the economy. An interest rates change by the Fed helps in maintaining a moderate balance between consumer spending and savings and ensures that inflation is at target levels.

School property tax relief a failure in Pa. | Letter

Perhaps youve seen the heartbreaking story of Abram Belles, a 91-year-old World War II veteran and resident of Luzerne County who couldnt afford to pay his property taxes and his home was scheduled to be sold in a sheriff sale. Thanks to the compassion of many people who raised money to pay his back and current taxes he is now able to keep his home.

This is not an isolated incident, as thousands of people find themselves in this same situation, and its a perfect example of how school property tax relief has not and will not work.

The fall legislative session in Harrisburg reconvenes Sept. 16. Its time for legislators to stop listening to the Pennsylvania State Education Association and other special interests and do whats right for the people. Will the legislators finally eliminate property taxes and bring an end to a tax so morally twisted that it can leave families homeless?

The Property Tax Independence Act (HB/SB 76) will completely eliminate school property taxes and shift the way schools are funded to an increased income and sales tax, expanding the latter and restoring true home ownership in Pennsylvania.

No tax should have the power to leave you homeless.

Ed Kihm
Quakertown

City Council moves closer to allowing temporary tax relief for senior housing …

By identifying this region as deteriorated, City Council may then vote to allow for tax relief a project requested by Calamar Enterprises of Wheatfield, NY The company hopes to develop land at the former Talon properties into a senior-living apartment complex.

In doing this, all of the properties within the designated area would be eligible for tax relief, based on a five-year schedule established by the city, but only on projects that would affect the assessed value of the property, such as home additions.

Any resident looking to benefit from the tax relief provided through this ordinance would need to apply to the city within three years of the approval, according to Gary Alizzeo, the citys attorney. 

Under this tax relief, for a residential Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA), as was requested by Calamar, the new taxable amount would increase by 20 percent each year for five years, at which point the property would reach full taxable value.

This tax relief only includes improvements to the current value of the property. Homeowners in this region would still be responsible for the base taxable value on current structures. 

During Wednesdays study session, Alizzeo also addressed that the agreement includes the cooperation of the county and the city, the two other taxing bodies who must approve the residential LERTA for the tax relief.

This is also conditional upon the county and Crawford Central (School District) in passing a similar resolution, he said. We’re all going in the same direction, so that’s more evidence that we’re working on a coordinated effort. 

We want a coordinated fashion in how we approach that (tax relief), City Manager Andy Walker said.

Now that the first and second readings are completed, the third and final reading of the ordinance is planned for the meeting of City Council on Sept. 16 at 6 pm

Amanda Spadaro can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at aspadaro@meadvilletribune.com.