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Category: Personal finance


At last, investors are seeing the glass half full – but why do 10 percent with access to a 401(k) not participate?

Maybe it’s finally time to be optimistic.

The Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index, released Thursday, rose to plus-43, a surge of 12 points since March and the highest level in two and a half years.

Investors are more optimistic about their ability to maintain incomes over the next 12 months, and optimism is especially high among non-retired investors at plus-45, the highest in two and a half years. Optimism also increased among retired investors, up 25 points since March to plus-32.

Among the data:

• Despite higher optimism, over half of investors, 54 percent, say they have

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Washington workers earning an annual average above $50,000 for the first time; unemployment benefits will increase

Washingtonians, you’re rich. Well, maybe you’re just middle class – but for the first time, the Employment Security Department says you earn an average wage above $50,000.

Washington’s average annual wage grew by 3.4 percent in 2012, to $51,595, surpassing $50,000 for the first time, the department announced Wednesday. The average weekly wage rose from $959 to $992.

These figures include those wages that are covered by unemployment insurance. Much of the increase was driven by a 6.1 percent increase in the number of insured workers earning more than $75,000, the department said in a release.

Overall, the average number

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People, small businesses in Washington state pay thousands more in taxes because of offshore loopholes, advocacy group says

Washington state taxpayers pay an extra $1,091 in taxes to make up for revenue lost to offshore tax havens, according to a study by WashPIRG, a state public interest group.

“Tax dodging is not a victimless offense,” said Micaela Preskill of WashPIRG, in a news release on Thursday. “When companies use accounting gimmicks to move their profits to tax haven shell companies, the rest of us have to pick up the tab.”

The group estimates that each year, corporations and wealthy people avoid paying about $150 billion in taxes by stashing profits in offshore tax havens. Some $90 billion of

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Make a $25 deposit, get a chance to win $5,000; Washington credit unions join in “Save to Win” program

Spend a few dollars on the lottery and chances are, the money goes away.

There is, however, a new game in Washington.

Make a $25 deposit, or more, at one of six state credit unions, and you will be entered into a drawing with up to $5,000 in monthly prizes and a $5,000 annual prize.

Washington thus joins Michigan, Nebraska and North Carolina in a program called “Save to Win.”

The six credit unions participating are OBee, in Tumwater; TwinStar, in Lacey; North Coast in Bellingham; Fibre Federal in Longview; Connection, in Silverdale; and Express, in Seattle.

“Save to Win

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Inflation hits 0.8 percent increase following decline in previous period; gas and alcohol contribute

Inflation is up. Blame the twin fuels of alcohol and gasoline.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday released its latest look at the Tacoma-Seattle Consumer Price Index. Overall prices in the area rose 0.8 percent for the two months ending in February.

The February figure follows a decline of 1.4 percent marked in December. Not since last April, when prices rose 0.9 percent, has the CPI registered so high an increase.

The primary contributor to the upswing was gasoline, which recorded an increase of 8.4 percent for the two months. Alcoholic beverages showed a 2.2 percent increase, and registers

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Saturday: KeyBank partners with local agencies to provide free help with IRS tax returns

If you don’t know your EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) from the EFTPS (Electronic Federal Tax Payment System), there’s help available, and it’s free, and it arrives on Saturday at two Tacoma locations.

KeyBank is partnering with two local agencies to provide free tax advice to low- and moderate-income wage earners. The events are being held as part of what’s known as Super Refund Saturday.

The return-preparation gatherings will be held at the Tacoma Goodwill Milgard Opportunity Center, 714 S. 27th St.; and at South Sound Outreach, 1106 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Both begin at 9 a.m. and run

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Fourth quarter wage figures relased: Want to earn the highest wage? Get an advanced degree

Here’s a chance to compare and contrast your wages against the wages earned nationwide.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday reported fourth quarter earnings – and the median weekly figure for 103.8 million full-time wage and
salary workers was $775, which was 1.4 percent higher than a year earlier.

• Women who usually worked full time had median weekly earnings of $692, or 79.1 percent of the $875 median for men.
• The female-to-male earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity. White women earned 79.6 percent as much as their male counterparts, compared with black (87.4 percent),

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Tacoma-area prices down 1.4 percent over the past two months; annual inflation hereabouts up only 1.4 percent

Among the fiscal cliffs, canyons and cauldrons we face, there’s one you don’t need to worry about: Inflation.

For now, cross it off you list of cares and woes.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Wednesday issued its bimonthly compendium of financial data as compiled in the Consumer Price Index for the Greater Puget Sound area.

The news soothes. Overall prices were down 1.4 percent over the past two months. Not since December 2011 did inflation deflate, down 0.5 percent. Not since December 2008 – with a 1.5 percent decline – were prices down more than shown in the latest

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