- Did you know that Wall Street is really named after a wall? It was a wooden barrier built in 1653 to protect the Dutch colonists who then ruled Manhattan from the British and Native Americans.
- When planning for retirement, really plan for it: In addition to what you’ll need to live comfortably, factor in likely price and cost-of-living increases and those unexpected or splurge expenses that surely will come.
- There are six federal tax brackets. 10 percent, 15 percent, 25 percent, 28 percent, 33 percent and 35 percent. But it’s a common misconception that all of your income is taxed at one of those rates, depending on how much you make. If you’ve got, say, $30,000 of taxable income and are filing as an individual, you’ll pay 10 percent on the first $8,700, then 15 percent on the rest (that’s the rate for income between $8,700 and $35,350). Even people who are in the top 35 percent bracket (making $388,350 or more) pay only the 10 percent rate on the first $8,700 of their income.
- The Dow Jones industrial average is named after real people.
Charles Henry Dow and Edward Jones met while they both worked for newspapers in Providence, R.I. Dow left to take a job as a reporter at a financial news bureau on Wall Street, and the bureau hired Jones on Dow’s recommendation. In November 1882, they started their own financial reporting firm (Dow, Jones & Co.) in the basement of a candy store, publishing a two-page summary of the day's financial news called the “Customers' Afternoon Letter.”
- A credit report is a record of your credit activities, listing your credit card and loans, balances and bill payment history. It also shows if any action was taken against you because of unpaid bills. A good report means a higher credit score, which often results in lower interest rates.
- If your credit card is used to make fraudulent charges, you’re responsible for no more than $50 in liability, period. But timing matters if your debit card is lost or stolen, so notify your bank ASAP. The longer you wait, the higher your potential liability.
- When it comes to your credit cards, the best thing you can do is pay your bill on time and in full every month — the money that your plastic provider puts upfront for charges will be interest-free. Don’t fret; your credit card company still makes money in “swipe” fees from merchants accepting your card.
- The word “tax” is derived from the Latin word “taxo,” which itself evolved into another word: “taxa,” meaning “charge.” Taxa, meanwhile, is also the root of the word “taxicab,” which derived from “taximeter cabs,” fare-charging vehicles that were introduced in London in 1907.
- Sure, we’ve all heard the quote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” But Benjamin Franklin offered this wisdom in a larger context. The complete sentence that Franklin wrote in a November 1789 letter to buddy Jean-Baptiste LeRoy, a French scientist who studied static electricity, goes as follows: “Our new Constitution is now established and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes
- If you’re offered $100,000 cash up front or a penny that’s doubled every day for a 31-day month, go with Abe Lincoln. Start with a penny and double its sum every day and you’ll accrue a lump sum of $10,737,418.23 at the end of a 31-day month. Now that’s compounding interest!
You may also like: The one time you can use retirement money to pay off debt. »
Sid Kirchheimer is the author of Scam-Proof Your Life, published by AARP Books/Sterling.
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