"Did You Know…?"

Did you know the IRS won't call you on the phone demanding money? Did you know a coin stays in circulation 5 times longer than paper money? Those are just some of the odd factoids that exist in today's financial world.

—Did You Know… that if an IRS agent calls you demanding money and your Social Security number for “verification,” you are being scammed? The IRS never calls for anything; they always conduct their affairs in writing…and that’s bad enough.

—DYK …The average wedding in the US last year cost $31,213. The bride’s parents paid for 43%, the groom’s parents paid 12% and the happy couple paid the balance, on average. Years ago, I told my daughter to elope and I would give her the money instead of a formal wedding. But nooo….and on top of that the budget was the chief casualty.

—DYK…College graduates account for only about 17% of marijuana use, Bill Maher notwithstanding, according to a Carnegie study reported in The Washington Post.

—DYK…That a $1 bill lasts 5.9 years in circulation while a typical coin is used for 30 years, the Bureau of Engraving tells us.

—DYK…Tax day having just passed, the top 20% of taxpayers, which probably includes most docs, paid 84% of all income taxes. The 3 million people who made over $615,000 paid 45% of the total. Where the economically disadvantaged, the 11 million “working poor,” get to contribute is that they pay about 11% of their gross income in sales taxes because they have to spend virtually everything they make. They also pay higher interest rates for loans and stiff fees for cashing their paychecks because many do not have bank accounts. “Rich or poor, it’s nice to have money.”

—DYK…Over the past decade, Fortune 500 companies have spent an “astounding” 84% of their profits to buy back their stock. That was $700 billion last year alone, about 4% of GNP. By not paying out dividends, or putting the money to work hiring, expanding, or acquiring, they have created a “paper asset bubble” by artificially raising the stock market, according to The Atlantic.

—DYK…That a surprising 75% of small businesses have no interest in growing big, with only 8% reaching 20 employees in 10 years, reported The Wall Street Journal. And yet because there are so many of these small enterprises, they still create far more jobs than big companies, in total.

—DYK…That already between 10% and 25% of the cost of making a new car or light truck, depending upon the model, is from software. And all experts agree that this number will only go up, especially as we approach the dawn of the driverless car.