Entries in Paycheck (4)


Most Americans Would Choose 5% Raise over More Vacation Time

Steve Cole/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Taking time off from work to recharge your batteries is vital, but a new survey reveals a majority of Americans  -- 56 percent -- put more value on earnings and would choose a 5 percent raise over two weeks’ vacation.

The finding comes from a new Job Happiness Survey of 26,000 Americans by Yahoo! Finance and Parade magazine.

Additional findings:

  • When asked what age they expect to retire, 28 percent said they’d finish up at age 66 to 70.  Just 15 percent think they’ll actually retire at 65; age 66-70: 28 percent; age 60-64: 20 percent; age 65: 15 percent; younger than 60: 13 percent; older than 76: 13 percent
  • If respondents could do it all over again, 59 percent say they would not choose the same career they work in now.  Forty-one percent say they would.
  • Fifty-one percent of respondents say they would be friends with colleagues if they didn't work with them.
  • If respondents lost their jobs tomorrow, 27 percent say they’d have no savings to tide them over.  Twenty-six percent have only one to three months of savings.  Fifteen percent have four to six months of savings squirreled away, while 13 percent say they have more than two years.
  • Fifty-one percent of respondents say workers get ahead because of internal politics, while 27 percent believe it is hard work and initiative that move them forward.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Staying Fit Can Mean More Money in Your Paycheck

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND) -- Everyone knows exercising is good for your health, but what few of us may realize is that it's also good for your pocketbook.

According to Vasilios Kosteas, the lead author of a new study out of Cleveland State University, people who exercise regularly earn 9 percent more pay on average than those who can’t be bothered with working out.

Other studies have made similar boasts but without clearly explaining a cause-and-effect connection.  In attempting to prove his thesis, Kosteas used a statistical technique called propensity-score matching that takes numerous factors into consideration such as age, education and if a study subject played high school sports.

Long story short, the researcher says his results reveal that exercising can result in higher pay although he’d like to do follow-up studies just so there’s no doubt about it.

Meanwhile, Kosteas says he can’t guarantee exercise will put more money in everyone’s paycheck but there may be other rewards such as lowering healthcare costs or remaining healthy enough to stay productive as you age.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Stupid Projects' Cost Taxpayers $6.5 Billion Last Year

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Most Americans don't have a clue as to where most of their tax dollars are going.  If you're one of them, a new report by Sen. Tom Coburn is bound to make you feel a little ill -- or more than a little furious.

The Oklahoma Republican claims that $6.5 billion was wasted on so-called "questionable initiatives" during the 2011 fiscal year ending last Sept. 30.

Coburn says his study, "details 100 of the countless unnecessary, duplicative, or just plain stupid projects spread throughout the federal government and paid for with your tax dollars this year that highlight the out-of- control and shortsighted spending excesses in Washington."

According to the lawmaker, post-death improper payments are among the most egregious instances of waste that have totaled over $600 million during the past five years. Coburn points to the example of one former government worker's son who cashed his dead dad's checks for 37 years, stealing more than a half a million dollars from taxpayers.

The study also lists a $113,000 federal grant to preserve the history of video games and another $130,000 for robot "dragons" to help preschoolers learn language skills.

Through it all, Coburn points to the real culprit, stating, "There was no bigger waste of the taxpayers’ money in 2011 than Congress itself. The dismal nine percent approval rating, the lowest ever recorded, would indicate the vast majority of Americans would agree."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Payroll Tax Showdown: What It Means to You

Steve Cole/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Since a bipartisan bill to extend the payroll tax cut that passed the Senate on Saturday is expected to fail in the House Tuesday, lawmakers in Washington are gearing up for what could be a Christmas fight over how to avoid giving the average American a lousy gift for the New Year: a $1,000 tax hike.

While both parties have already agreed that the one-year cut should be extended, the political fight revolves around how to pay for the $112 billion tax cut, which went unfunded last year and which both parties have vowed will not add to the deficit this time around.

If the temporary holiday is allowed to expire, as it is set to do on Jan. 1, every worker would see their payroll taxes, which fund Social Security, increase by 2 percentage points to 6.2 percent, meaning Uncle Sam would take an extra $1,000 from a worker who earns $50,000 in 2012.

“If it doesn’t happen, every paycheck in the country will go down on Jan. 1,” said Chuck Marr, the director of federal tax policy at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. “It’s real money.  Every person you see every day has a thousand dollars less money.  That’s a lot of bucks.”

Because payroll taxes are only collected on the first $106,800 of income, cutting the rate has the greatest impact on low and middle income earners -- groups that tend to spend the largest proportion of their income.

“With the payroll tax cut, what is really at stake here is deciding whether or not to infuse $120 billion of disposable income into the economy in 2012,” said Andrew Fieldhouse, a federal budget policy analyst at the Economic Policy Institute.  “It’s not the best way to create jobs, but it is the biggest jobs measure being considered by Congress.”

Both Republicans and Democrats agree that raising taxes on middle and low income earners is a bad idea in the midst of an anemic economic recovery.  But the jury is still out on how big of an effect extending the current tax break will have on stimulating growth.

Republicans argue that the payroll tax cut shouldn't be funded with a tax increase that would be leveled at job creators, especially when the cut's stimulative effect is debatable. Democrats claim it is necessary to keep the economy growing.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio