A grandmother in Melbourne’s west who woke up $20m richer after winning Powerball has revealed the secrets behind her newfound wealth.
The Truganina woman held the only national division one winning entry in Powerball draw 1369 on Thursday, turning her into a multi-millionaire overnight.
The lucky winner made the sage decision to switch up her usual numbers, which delivered her the $20m.
“I decided to mix things up, and instead of putting my usual three to four games on, I decided to get a Powerhit consisting of special numbers that mean the most to me,” she told the Lott.
“I’ve never expected to win anything big. I usually land three numbers, but never anything more.
The winning numbers in the draw were 30, 23, 9, 22, 5, 28 and 18, while the Powerball number was 3.
The woman also defied her husband’s doubts, who thought she had no chance of winning.
“When I purchased the ticket, my husband and daughter were with me, and I told them that I’d put a ticket on for Powerball, and my husband said to me, ‘don’t bother, we’re never going to win ‘” she grandmother said.
“I guess I’ve proved him wrong.”
The grandmother got the thrill of her life when she realized she had the winning numbers.
“I was sitting in the lounge room, and I checked the winning numbers before going to bed, and I didn’t believe it,” she said
“I couldn’t get out of the chair. I couldn’t go to the toilet. I couldn’t move. It was so surreal.
“I only got about 40 minutes sleep last night. I’m so tired, but it’s worth it.”
The woman wants to use her millions to treat her family, with plans already under way for an Australian holiday.
“We would love to travel around Australia via train. All the sightseeing we would do is getting me excited!” she said.
“We would also love to help our children and grandchildren. We might help them all buy a house!”
The woman bought her winning entry from Wyndham Village Lotto & News, with the store’s owner Mahesh Thakur saying they were thrilled to have sold her the lucky numbers.
“It’s truly a special day for us, and we’re absolutely over the moon,” he said.
“When we found out the news last night, we couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t sleep either.”
The Lott’s division one winning tally has now reached 272 for 2022.
When Brett Clements got his first job at 15, he dreamed that, if he worked hard, he would be able to enjoy the fruits of his labor and retire at 40, but it wasn’t to be.
The Superannuation Association of Australia estimates a single person needs $545,000 to retire comfortably
One million people who withdrew some of their super early during the pandemic have been left with less than $1,000 in their account
Share market volatility has also had an impact on super balances
A modest superannuation balance and the rising cost of living mean the 60-year-old Perth-based cleaner expects to be working for at least another 10 years.
“I have about $150,000 in superannuation, and I’ll end up with $10,000 left out of my superannuation after the house is paid for, which isn’t a lot to live on after 45 years of working,” he told ABC’s 7.30.
“[I’m] definitely behind the eight ball … because the wages aren’t good. So, therefore, your [amount] is not that great going into super.”
Another decade of labor will be painfully hard for Mr Clements, who still suffers physically and financially from breaking his back when he owned his own cleaning business 20 years ago.
“We tried to keep that business going. In the end, we just had to fold it,” he said.
“I’ve suffered with this ever since.”
Mr Clements’ 75-year-old wife works alongside him as a cleaner and can’t afford to retire either.
“She’ll tell you that I’ve become more and more depressed,” he said.
“We buy mainly home-branded stuff but … an $80 shop is now $130.”
What’s making Mr Clements even more uneasy is that his superannuation balance is fluctuating daily because of the global economic uncertainty.
“I have a balanced superannuation, so I’m not a big risk-taker,” Mr Clements said.
“COVID hit, the war in Ukraine has hit. Now, suddenly, everything’s volatile.”
According to consultancy firm SuperRatings, only three superannuation funds have reported that they made money for their members with balanced investments during the past financial year.
SuperRatings’ top 10 balanced super options over 12 months:
1-year returns (%)
Hostplus – Balanced
Qantas Super Gateway—Growth
Christian Super — MyEthicalSuper
Legalsuper — MySuper Balanced
Australian Retirement Trust — Super Savings – Balanced
Aust Catholic Super and Ret—Balanced
Telstra Super Corp Plus — Balanced
However, the Association of Superannuation Funds Australia’s deputy chief executive, Glenn McCrea, is urging older Australians not to panic about share market volatility.
“The reality is [the previous] financial year, we saw returns of 20 per cent. Este [past] year, it has fallen slightly, on average about 3 per cent,” he said.
“Call your fund. Understand where your fund invests. Understand your balance and how your balance has changed over time.
“I do encourage people to look at returns over 10 years, rather than follow what happens day to day.”
The downturn in superannuation amounts comes as the government and opposition clash over the level of detail that superannuation funds provide to their members about political donations, marketing and sponsorship expenses.
super balances at retirement
Estimates vary on how many Australians need to retire.
Mr McCrea said that, on the association’s calculations, a single person would need $545,000 and a couple $640,000 in retirement to live comfortably.
“[It] basically means you can afford to go to a dentist, you can catch up with friends and have that cup of coffee, you can fix the washing machine or car,” he said.
“We estimate that, by 2050, 50 per cent of Australians will get to that dignity in retirement.”
Despite wanting to be self-sufficient, Mr Clements knows his superannuation won’t be enough to sustain his retirement.
“I’ll have to go, cap in hand, to the government and try [to] draw on a pension,” he said.
“Pride gets in the way sometimes.”
Young Australians also worried
It’s not just those hoping to retire soon who are feeling nervous about their superannuation and their future.
Hairdresser Michaela Marshall-Lawrence, 27, was forced to withdraw $5,000 from her superannuation at the start of the pandemic to keep her salon afloat.
She’d just opened the business, and faced the brunt of lockdowns amid a drop in bookings.
“I wasn’t eligible for any government support, in any way, shape or form,” she said.
“I had already exhausted 95 per cent of my savings on purchasing the salon.
“[The $5,000 super withdrawal] it was enough that it paid for another month’s worth of rent, and I could pay my staff and I could afford to live.”
Under the former Coalition government’s scheme, up to $20,000 could be withdrawn from a person’s super during the pandemic if they were experiencing hardship.
However, withdrawing the money early meant missing out on potentially tens of thousands of dollars of compound earnings across future years, something that concerns Ms Marshall-Lawrence.
“I’m now paying myself 22 per cent super,” she said.
“I know so many people, they’re like, ‘Oh, it’s just super. I can’t access it for another 50-60 years anyway, so what’s the point?’
“And it’s like, ‘Well, there is a big point, you know’.”
Data exclusively provided to ABC’s 7.30 by the Association of Superannuation Funds Australia shows that, out of the 3 million people who accessed their super early, 1 million were left with less than $1,000 in their super account, while 163,000 people were left with no super at there.
Mr McCrea said those who took out money early were mostly single parents, women and those on low incomes, and 44 per cent of applicants were aged under 35.
“There’s no doubt younger people were the main people to take money out through early release,” he said.
“What we do know is a younger person who took the full $20,000 out, will be $43,000 worse off in retirement, so that’s for a 30-year-old,” he said.
Council on the Aging chief executive Ian Yates said those who had withdrawn early would find it tougher to fund their own retirement.
“The impact of that withdrawal is that there’ll be higher pension costs into future years,” he said.
Shadow Minister for Financial Services Stuart Robert maintains the former Coalition government policy was a necessary one at a time of crisis.
“This was a one-in-100-year pandemic. This is a not normal state of affairs,” he said.
“Australians are pretty canny and Australians are able to make decisions themselves.
“The requirement, and the responsibility, was with individual Australians because, remember, it’s their money.”
Fund spending in the spotlight
How superannuation funds spend their members’ money is currently under scrutiny before Federal Parliament.
Mr Robert said the Labor Government was trying to wind back the Coalition’s policy to force funds to itemise disclosure of political donations, marketing, and sponsorship expenses.
“We believe them [super funds] should be transparent. All members should be able to see how every dollar of their money has been spent,” he said.
“The transparency and integrity of superannuation of members’ money is being watered down so the Labor government can try and hide what super funds are spending their money on when it comes to political donations, when it comes to football sponsorships.”
Mr Robert has written to crossbenchers urging them to support itemized disclosure and disallow Labor’s proposal for less detail, which has been drawn up as a draft regulation.
The government said there would still be a requirement for super funds to disclose payments to industrial bodies, including unions and employer associations, but it would be an aggregate figure and not itemised.
Watch this story on 7:30 tonight on ABC TV and ABC iview.
A federal tax break that’s available to car buyers for going electric may work differently starting next year.
Under the Inflation Reduction Act — which received Senate approval on Sunday and is expected to clear the House this week — a tax credit worth up to $7,500 for buyers of new all-electric cars and hybrid plug-ins would be extended through 2032. The bill would also create a separate tax credit worth a maximum $4,000 for used versions of these vehicles.
Yet the measure would also usher in new limits to both who can qualify for the credit and which vehicles are eligible for it.
The tax credit has ‘price and income restrictions’
“First, in order to qualify, there are price and income restrictions,” said Seth Goldstein, a senior equity analyst at Morningstar.
For new vehicles, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for sedans would need to be below $55,000 to be eligible for the tax credit. For SUVs, trucks and vans, that price cap would be $80,000.
Additionally, the credit would be unavailable to single tax filers with modified adjusted gross income above $150,000. For married couples filing jointly, that income limit would be $300,000, and for individuals who file as head of household, $225,000.
“What we’ve seen is that many [electric vehicles] are luxury cars,” Goldstein said. “And buyers of those are in higher income brackets, so that limits right away the ability to qualify for the tax credit.”
For used electric vehicles to qualify, the car would need to be at least two model years old, among other restrictions. The credit would be worth either $4,000 or 30% of the car’s price — whichever is less — and the price cap would be $25,000.
Those purchases also would come with income caps: Individual tax filers with income above $75,000 would be ineligible for the credit. That cap would be $150,000 for joint filers and $112,500 for heads of household.
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Another determining factor for whether a vehicle would qualify for a full or partial credit (or neither) include a requirement that the final assembly of the car would need to be in North America. Additional qualifiers include limitations on where key materials for batteries can come from and a mandate that a specified portion of battery components must be manufactured or assembled in North America.
“It’s designed to encourage domestic production in North America,” said Scott Cockerham, an attorney and partner at Orrick.
Many electric vehicles may not qualify for the credit
However, it could be difficult for cars to qualify, he said, depending on where they source their materials and where they complete the manufacturing process. The Alliance for Automotive Innovation has warned that many electric vehicles will be ineligible for the credit right off the bat.
Additionally, another change in the legislation would allow a car buyer who qualifies for the tax credit to transfer it to the dealership, which could then lower the price of the car.
Meanwhile, another modification included in the bill is good news for some electric vehicle manufacturers.
Basically, the existing $7,500 credit was authorized in 2008 and 2009 legislation with the intention of spurring adoption of electric cars. Part of that included a phase-out of the tax credit once a manufacturer reached 200,000 of the vehicles sold.
Tesla hit that threshold in 2018, which means their electric cars currently do not qualify for the tax credit. General Motors is in the same position. Toyota (including its Lexus brand) also has now crossed that threshold, and its electric cars are scheduled to be ineligible for the tax credit after a phaseout of it ends in September 2023.
The congressional measure would eliminate that 200,000 sales cap, making their electric cars again eligible for the credit — at least based on that sales-threshold removal.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.V., on Capitol Hill on Sept. 30, 2021.
Jabin Botsford | Washington Post | Getty Images
Senate Democrats passed a historic package of climate, healthcare and tax provisions on Sunday.
But one proposed tweak to the tax code — a modification of so-called carried interest rules — didn’t survive due to objections from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., whose support was essential to pass the Inflation Reduction Act in an evenly divided Senate. The bill now heads to the House, which is expected to pass it this week.
Many Democrats and opponents refer to the lower tax rate on carried interest as a loophole that allows wealthy private equity, hedge fund and other investment managers to pay a lower tax rate than some of their employees and other American workers.
“It’s a real rich benefit for the wealthiest of Americans,” said Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. “Why should a private-equity manager be able to structure his or her compensation for her with low-taxed gains? That seems wrong.”
Here’s what carried interest is, and why many Democrats want to change how it’s taxed.
Carried interest is a form of compensation paid to investment executives like private equity, hedge fund and venture capital managers.
The managers receive a share of the fund’s profits — typically 20% of the total — which is divided among them proportionally. The profit is called carried interest, and is also known as “carry” or “profits interest.”
Here’s where the tax controversy lies: That money is considered a return on investment. As such, managers pay a top 20% federal tax rate on those profits, rather than regular federal tax rates of up to 37% that apply to compensation paid as a wage or salary.
That preferential 20% tax rate is the same as “long-term capital gains,” which applies to investments like stocks, bonds, mutual funds and real estate held for more than a year.
Bulk of fund managers’ compensation is carried interest
Carried interest accounts for the “vast majority” of compensation paid to managing partners of private equity funds, according to Jonathan Goldstein, who leads the Americas private equity practice at Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search firm.
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In dollar terms, managing partners’ carried interest ranged from $10 million to $102 million, on average, according to the survey, again depending on overall assets under management.
Additionally, while capital gains for wealthy investors are generally subject to an additional 3.8% Medicare surtax, not all carried interest is subject to this “net investment income tax,” according to tax experts. When it is factored in, managers that are subject to the tax would owe a 23.8% total top tax rate at the federal level, when added to the 20% top rate for capital gains.
Some say it’s a ‘stain’; others, a ‘successful policy’
Wealthy investors, including Warren Buffett and Bill Ackman, have lambasted the tax treatment of carried interest.
“The carried interest loophole is a stain on the tax code,” Ackman, the chief executive of Pershing Square, wrote July 28 on Twitter.
However, other tax experts and proponents of the current tax structure think a lower rate on carried interest is appropriate, benefiting investors and the economy. Raising taxes on fund profits would be a disincentive for managers to take risk and would reduce investment capital, they said.
“Carried interest is appropriately taxed as a capital gain and a successful policy that incentivizes investment in the US economy,” according to Noah Theran, the executive vice president and managing director of the Managed Funds Association, a trade group.
Higher tax rates could also have “spillover effects” by reducing the rate of return for investors like pension funds and other institutions, said Jennifer Acuna, a partner at KPMG and former tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee.
“The policies have been going back and forth for many years, on what is the right policy to tax carried interest,” Acuna said. “I don’t think it’s a slam dunk.”
Proposal would have curtailed carried interest
A deal brokered by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and Sen. Joe Manchin, DW. Va., initially proposed curtailing the tax break for carried interest. However, the proposal was removed from the final legislation that passed the Senate.
Most significantly, the proposal would have required fund managers to hold portfolio assets for five years — an increase from three years — in order to receive the preferential 20% tax rate.
Managers with a holding period of less than five years would incur “short-term” capital gains tax rates on carried interest — a 37% top rate, the same that applies to wage and salary income for the highest-income taxpayers.
Another proposed tweak would have effectively lengthened that holding period beyond five years, according to Rosenthal.
That’s because the initial proposal would have started counting the five-year clock only after a private-equity fund made “substantially all” of its investments — a term that isn’t specifically defined but which tax experts would generally consider as 70% to 80 % of a fund’s investment capital being committed, Rosenthal said.
In practice, that would likely have extended the effective holding period to roughly seven to nine years, a policy that “had some bite,” he added.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., discusses the Inflation Reduction Act on Aug. 7, 2022 in Washington, DC
Kent Nishimura | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
Senate Democrats curtailed a tax break for certain pass-through businesses as part of the Inflation Reduction Act passed Sunday.
A pass-through or flow-through business is one that reports its income on the tax returns of its owners. That income is taxed at their individual income tax rates. Examples of pass-throughs include sole proprietorships, some limited liability companies, partnerships and S-corporations.
Democrats’ legislation — a package of health-care, tax and historic climate-related measures — limits the ability of pass-throughs to use big paper losses to write off costs like salaries and interest, according to tax experts.
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That limit — called the Limitation on Excess Business Losses — is currently already in place. It was scheduled to end starting in 2027, but the new bill would extend the restriction for an additional two years. That extension wasn’t in Senate Democrats’ initial version of the legislation, but it was added during the subsequent negotiation and amendment process.
The Inflation Reduction Act passed along party lines and now heads to the House.
Wealthy real estate owners likely impacted most
Republicans originally enacted the pass-through limitation in the 2017 tax law known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Specifically, the law disallowed pass-through owners from using business losses exceeding $250,000 to offset non-business income. That dollar threshold is for single taxpayers; the law set a $500,000 cap for a married couple filing a joint tax return.
Those caps are higher in 2022 due to an inflation adjustment: $270,000 and $540,000, respectively.
“The business losses can only offset other business income, not salaries and interest and investment gains,” Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, said of the measure.
The provisions hurt “rich guys” who were using business losses to take tax write-offs against bonuses, salaries and investment income, for example, said Rosenthal.
The limitations can theoretically apply to any pass-through business that runs up a big operating loss each year. But real estate businesses — which can use rules around depreciation to consistently rack up big losses on paper — are likely among the most affected categories, according to Jeffrey Levine, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant based in St. Louis.
It’s a really big deal for uber-wealthy people with a ton of real estate.
chief planning officer at Buckingham Wealth Partners
“It’s a really big deal for uber-wealthy people with a ton of real estate, and then the occasional business that loses a ton of money every year,” said Levine, who is also chief planning officer at Buckingham Wealth Partners.
The limitation for pass-throughs was initially scheduled to expire after 2025, along with the other provisions of the Republican tax law that affected individual taxpayers.
However, Democrats extended the limit for an additional year in the American Rescue Plan, which President Biden signed into law in 2021. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that that one-year extension would raise about $31 billion.
The Inflation Reduction Act’s additional extension would presumably raise a roughly similar amount of money each year, Rosenthal said.
However, the business losses don’t necessarily disappear forever. Owners may be able to defer the tax benefits to future years, if Congress doesn’t extend the limitation again.
“The losses almost always get claimed later,” Rosenthal said.
As the Democrats’ spending plan moves closer to a House vote, one of the more controversial provisions — nearly $80 billion in IRS funding, with $45.6 billion for “enforcement” — has raised questions about who the agency may target for audits.
IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said these resources are “absolutely not about increasing audit scrutiny on small businesses or middle-income Americans,” in a recent letter to the Senate.
However, with the investment projected to bring in $203.7 billion in revenue from 2022 to 2031, according to the Congressional Budget Office, opponents say IRS enforcement may affect everyday Americans.
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“Our biggest worry in this is that the burden for these audits will land on Walmart shoppers,” Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
Overall, IRS audits plunged by 44% between fiscal years 2015 and 2019, according to a 2021 Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report.
While audits dropped by 75% for Americans making $1 million or more, the percentage fell by 33% for low-to-moderate income filers claiming the earned income tax credit, known as EITC, the report found.
Our biggest concern in this is that the burden for these audits will land on Walmart shoppers.
Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas
Ken Corbin, chief taxpayer experience officer for the IRS, said returns claiming the EITC have “historically had high rates of improper payments and therefore require greater enforcement,” during a May House Oversight Subcommittee hearing.
Since many lower-income Americans are wage earners, these audits are generally less complex and many may be automated.
How the IRS picks which tax returns to audit
Currently, the IRS uses software to rank each tax return with a numeric score, with higher scores more likely to trigger an audit. The system may flag a return when deductions or credits compared to income fall outside of acceptable ranges.
For example, let’s say you make $150,000 and claim a $50,000 charitable deduction. You’re more likely to get audited because it’s “disproportionate” to what the system expects, explained Lawrence Levy, president and CEO of tax resolution firm Levy and Associates.
Other red flags for an IRS audit may include unreported income, refundable tax credits such as the EITC, home office or auto deductions, and rounded numbers on your return, experts say.
How IRS audits may change with more funding
While the legislation still must be approved by the House and signed into law, it will take time to phase in the funding, hire and train new workers.
The IRS aims to hire roughly 87,000 new agents, according to the Treasury Department.
New auditors may have a six-month training program and receive cases worth a few hundred thousand dollars rather than tens of millions, Levy said.
“You’re not going to give a new General Motors trainee, for example,” he said. “It just isn’t going to happen.”
The chance of an audit may increase for self-employed taxpayers, Levy said, depending on their return. However, the odds may not change for traditional workers with an error-free filing, he said.
“The W-2 employee is much less likely to get audited than a self-employed person by far, in my opinion,” Levy said.
Of course, one of the best way to avoid future headaches is by keeping accurate records with detailed bookkeeping and saving all receipts, he said.
The Biden administration has promised to make a decision on student loan forgiveness within weeks, or even days. And yet, college affordability will remain an issue for years to come, experts say.
Increasingly, high school students are rethinking the value of a four-year degree. Many now say it’s just not worth the sky-high cost.
“More and more people are asking ‘is college even worth it?'” said Jason Wingard, the president of Temple University and author of “The College Devaluation Crisis.”
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“For 50 or 60 years, it was unquestionable; now, what we’re seeing is a flatline,” he added. “Higher education — for the first time — has to pivot in order to be relevant.”
The college system should be more responsive to rapidly evolving needs in the workplace to better position graduates for employment and career success, Wingard argued in his book.
Corporate hiring practices are starting to favor skills over credentials, he said. For higher education, “that means being more applied and not just theoretical.” (Some institutions have already slashed the academic programs that were once central to a liberal arts education.)
College is only getting more expensive
Temple University President Jason Wingard speaks during funeral services for the victims of a deadly row house fire, at Temple University in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.
A college education is now the second-largest expense an individual is likely to make in a lifetime — right after purchasing a home.
But it wasn’t always that way.
Deep cuts in state funding for higher education have contributed to significant tuition increases and pushed more of the costs of college onto students, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan research group based in Washington, DC
Schools are under continued pressure cut costs, admit more students who need less aid or raise tuition. This year, some colleges are hiking tuition as much as 5%, citing inflation and other concerns.
“We’re not getting more money from the state, and the market wants us to charge less,” Wingard said, but “every single cost is going through the roof,” he noted, referring to the rising expense of faculty, buildings and maintenance, books and materials, technology and cyber security. “It’s impossible to do that.”
“We need to make sure education is more affordable for students,” he added. “If the government can’t help make education more affordable, then students are going to stop considering higher education as a viable choice, as a valuable choice.
“This is a critical time.”
“I don’t believe that higher education should be this expensive,” said Kaya Jones, 23, who graduated from Temple in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and journalism.
To pay for school, Jones worked two jobs and relied on a combination of resources, including contributions from friends and family and student debt.
“It definitely took a whole village,” she said.
Jones is now a program coordinator at Ignite, a political leadership program for women, and still owes roughly $35,000 in loans, not including the Parent PLUS loan in her mother’s name.
Students want colleges that offer better value
For now, 83% of college students are completely, very or somewhat confident “they will earn enough money to make the cost of college worth it,” according to the 2022 College Confidence Index by GradGuard and College Pulse. Parents are less convinced: 63% are confident that a college education will allow their children to get a good job, and only 60% said it is worth the investment.
“Students and their families are prudent to evaluate the return on investment of college like other large consumer purchases,” said John Fees, co-founder and managing director of GradGuard, a tuition insurance provider. Further, “this has implications for how institutions operate,” he added.
There’s much more talk about pre-professionalism.
president of Greenberg Educational Group
These days, students and parents want to get the best value for their college dollars, according to Eric Greenberg, president of the Greenberg Educational Group, a New York-based consulting firm.
“There’s much more talk about pre-professionalism,” he said.
Along with the cost and academic offerings, families should look at the preprofessional services, alumni networks, job placement and average salary just starting out, as well as 10 to 15 years down the road, he said. Then, Greenberg said, it “becomes less about the [name brand].”
In 2012, at 34 years old,I left my investment banking job and retired early with a net worth of $3 million. Currently, I live in San Francisco with my wife and two young children.
But since 1977, I’ve regularly traveled back and forth to Hawaii, where my parents have been retired for 15 years. They have a simple life with a modest budget, living off retirement savings and a government pension — thanks to the three decades they spent working in the US Foreign Service.
Seeing my parents live their dream, we want to follow suit. Our plan is to move to Hawaii by 2025. Between my parents’ experience and my own, I’ve learned a lot about the ins and outs of retiring in Hawaii.
Our consensus it’s the perfect place to retire by the beach — although there are still a few downsides to keep in mind.
Many financial experts suggest maintaining a 4% withdrawal rate to ensure that your investments last throughout retirement.
The median household income in Honolulu County, for example, is $88,000. If someone wanted to withdraw that $88,000 from their assets each year, they’d need about $2,200,000 in investments to withdraw at a rate of 4%.
But that’s just one example. How much money you need depends on where you’d like to live, your standard of living and your expected income.
If you can comfortably live off $42,500 a year, have a pension or can file for Social Security, you can have a lower net worth and less income-generating investments at the beginning of your retirement journey.
The downsides of retiring in Hawaii
Before you start your beach retirement plan, beware of these three biggest downsides first:
If you want to retire in Hawaii, consider buying a small condo or rent, rather than purchasing a single-family home. The average rent for a 594 square foot apartment is roughly $2,042, according to RentCafe.
2. Expensive groceries and gas
According to a 2021 report by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Hawaii’s grocery prices are the highest in the nation.
For example, I’ve paid $8.99 for a gallon of whole milk on Oahu, whereas in San Francisco, it’s about $6. And while Hawaiian-grown mangoes are delicious, they can cost about $6 each!
Further, if you like to drive, Hawaii has unusually high gas prices. The average price per gallon in the state today is $5.41 and is continuing to rise, according to AAA, while the national average is $4.03.
3. You may feel claustrophobic
It only takes about four hours to drive around the 597 square miles of Oahu. Although the island does hold about one million people, in my experience, it can still feel small.
And with the pandemic continuing to make air and ship travel unappealing, it is possible that you could feel a bit stuck at times, without those options at your disposal.
The benefits of retiring in Hawaii
Yes, it’s expensive. But if you’re curious what it could be like to retire in Hawaii, here are some surprising perks:
My parents worked in Washington DC, Paris, Guangzhou, Kobe, Taipei and other big cities before retiring in Honolulu. They’ve found their Hawaiian lifestyle to be incredibly relaxing compared to all the other cities they’ve lived in.
2. Top-rated healthcare
The United Health Foundation also ranks Hawaii as the third healthiest state in the country. And according to US News’ list of Best States for Health Care, Hawaii takes the top spot.
I’m not surprised. Hawaii has beautiful weather nearly year-round, public beaches and parks, a variety of locally grown and raised food, and great access to preventive medical and dental treatment.
If you’re looking for a more healthy and active lifestyle, you can certainly find it in Hawaii.
3. ‘Ohana’ means family
An important part of Hawaiian culture is the care and nurturing of family and friends, or “ohana.” I’ve observed that nearly everywhere you go, whether it’s to a restaurant or to the mall, things are set up to be a family-friendly experience.
Plus, it’s not uncommon to have multiple generations under one roof in Hawaii. While my wife, children and I probably won’t live in my parents’ house, we hope to rent or buy nearby.
4. Tremendous diversity
Hawaii topped the list of states that have the most diverse population in the country, coming ahead of California and Nevada, according to data from the US Census Bureau.
5. Decent tax advantages
Hawaii ranks as having one of the lowest property tax rates in the country, at an average of only 0.28%. If you have a Federal pension, it’s exempt from state income tax. And the sales tax rate is a reasonable 4% to 4.5%, versus 7.25% to 8.25% in California.
However, Hawaii also has one of the highest state income tax rates, topping out at 11% if you make over $200,000. If you make between $48,001 and $150,000, you pay a state income tax rate of 8.25%.
If we move, we’d sell our home here and pay cash for a property in Honolulu that’s around 40% cheaper. We’d then reinvest the house savings into real estate crowdfunding, dividend stocks and REITs to increase our passive income for retirement.
Instead of needing $300,000 a year in passive investment income to fund the lifestyle we desire, $150,000 to $200,000 is probably plenty in Honolulu.
But more than that, with my parents in their 70s, I’d like to spend as much time with them as possible. Hawaii just feels like home.
Sam Dogen worked in investing banking for 13 years before starting Financial Samurai, his personal finance website. His new book “Buy This, Not That: How to Spend Your Way to Wealth and Financial Freedom” is out now. Follow him on Twitter @financialsamura.
Federal student loan payments, most of which were paused during the pandemic, are set to resume in September.
And yet, 93% borrowers say they are not financially prepared to restart payments, according to a survey by the Student Debt Crisis Center and Savi. With no break in sight for rising prices, many Americans are simply stretched too thin, other studies show.
The Biden administration is currently deciding how to proceed with student loan forgiveness, and there are signs that the repayment pause may be extended yet again. But in the meantime, more employers are offering to help.
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About 8% of employers offered student loan debt in 2021 but 33% were considering adding it, according to the most recent data from Willis Towers Watson, a compensation assistance consulting firm.
“There’s a lot of interest across the board,” said Lydia Jilek, Willis Towers Watson’s senior director for voluntary benefits.“A greater swath of the population has student loan debt than many people think.”
“It continues to be a benefit of significant interest and value for employees as well as employers,” she added.
Remote-friendly companies offering student loan help
Meanwhile, many Americans also want to continue working remotely instead of going back to the office, at least some of the time. A Prudential survey found that financial stability, job benefits and a better work/life balance are top priorities going forward.
To that end, FlexJobs identified 30 companies — now hiring — that offer student loan repayment assistance as well as the ability to work-from-home.
Many of the employers on the list will provide a monthly payment towards student loans, while others make yearly contributions. The payments range from $50 to several thousands, usually with a maximum lifetime benefit, and may depend on full-time or part-time status, according to FlexJobs.