Community column

Top 10 amazing and mind boggling stats in finances, taxes


Did my headline grab your attention? C’mon, you know it did! There are truckloads of studies that confirm that it is in our DNA to gravitate towards Top 10 lists. What is the reason behind this phenomenon? I think it’s easy to see; most of us are remarkably busy and incredibly lazy! Furthermore, we demand clarity and simplicity... now! In other words, we want somebody to “uncomplexify” for us! Regrettably, far too many authors and columnist (me included) use unnecessary fluff to make their point. In the end, many of our words amount to a whole lotta nothing! We would arguably better serve our readers if we wrote in bullet points, as this writing style essentially gets right to the message. In the end, bullet points provide straightforward precision that saves readers an exceedingly amount of their most precious commodity, time! Therefore, when viable, please bullet away! Without further chit-chat (fluff), away we go!

10. The personal savings rate in the USA was +5.3% as of 3/31/15. The savings rate of the average Chinese household is +30% (source: Department of Commerce).

9. To rank in the top 1% of all wage earners (for tax year 2012) required an adjusted gross income level of $434,682 (source: Internal Revenue Service).

8. Of the 40 million Americans that currently hold student loans, 8 million of the borrowers are in default (source: Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection).

7. The government took in $471.8 billion of tax receipts in April 2015, the largest monthly total ever collected in history. (Source: Treasury Department).

6. Twenty current members of the US House of Representatives (out of 435 members in the House) have no educational degree beyond a high school diploma (source: Congressional Research Service).

5. The trust fund backing Social Security retirement benefits took in payroll tax contributions that exceeded retirement benefit payments made to retirees for the 26 consecutive years 1984-2009. Since 2010, benefits paid have exceeded payroll taxes collected. For example, in 2014, covered workers paid in $646.2 billion of payroll taxes, but retirees received $706.8 billion in benefit payments (source: SS Trustees 2015 Report).

4. An average of 658 Americans die each year from extreme heat, a total that exceeds the average number of deaths caused every year by tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and lightning combined (source: Center for Disease Control).

3. The winning bid to have lunch (2013) with billionaire Warren Buffett, the world’s 3rd wealthiest person (worth $73 billion), was $2.3 million, down from 2012’s record of $3.46 million. Buffett lives in a house in Omaha, Nebraska that he purchased in 1958 for $31,500 (source: Forbes).

2. 91.4% of the 261,157 applications to the eight Ivy League schools (Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale) for the 2015-16 school year were rejected (source: Time Magazine).

1. Art Wall has more hole-in-ones (45) than any golfer in PGA history does. Sam Snead is # 2 on the list with 32 aces (source: Golf World). Okay, this one has nothing to do with finance or taxes, but it is an exceptionally amazing stat! There I go again; adding more fluff! Nuff said, Cheers!

Harry Pappas Jr., CFP®

Managing Director-Investments

Certified Estate and Trust Specialist

Pappas Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors

1000 Sawgrass Village Suite 103

Ponte Vedra, Florida 32082


The opinions expressed here reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of the report and are subject to change without notice, while the preparation of this report, and its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed. Wells Fargo Advisors LLC, Member SIPC, is a Registered Broker-Dealer and a separate non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.

harry pappas