Money Talk


Monday, July 31st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


By Pamela Yip / The Dallas Morning News


Workings looking more at pay, perks
In today's tight labor market, money still talks when it comes to keeping highly valued workers.

Although a raise and improved benefits were the factors employees cited most frequently when asked about what keeps them at a company, Americans are having second thoughts about the relative importance of other perks such as flexible schedules and better training.

The information comes from the second annual BridgeGate Report, a survey conducted by Market Facts TeleNation Inc. of Chicago for technology recruiter BridgeGate LLC.

Interest among those surveyed in a more flexible work schedule stands at 12 percent, down from 14 percent in the 1999 report.

In contrast, more working Americans expressed interest in stock options – 12 percent this year compared with 9 percent last year.

"With the cooling down of the dot.com economy, we're witnessing something of a return to fundamentals," said Dudley Brown, BridgeGate managing director.

"For many workers, the so-called intangibles – notably flexible work schedules and training – are taking a back seat to more concrete concerns.

"In any period of uncertainty or change, compensation and its equivalents tend to rise to the top. Workers certainly do care about benefits, just not as much as they do about cash and increasingly, stock."

Not all wealthy taxpayers itemize their tax returns

Contrary to what you may believe, not all affluent taxpayers are itemizing their deductions on their income tax returns. Some choose instead to take the standard deduction.

Among taxpayers in the $200,000 and up income range, 92 percent claimed itemized deductions on their 1998 tax returns, said RIA in New York, which publishes tax information and software. The company cited figures from the Internal Revenue Service.

Generally, the higher your income, the more likely you are to itemize because of factors such as charitable deductions.

"The fact that more than 8 percent of filers with AGI [adjusted gross income] of $200,000 or more do not itemize may seem somewhat surprising, but this is probably because they live in states with a low or no income tax, have no mortgage interest expense, give comparatively small amounts to charity, and all or most of their medical expenses are covered by health insurance of one kind or another," said Bob Rywick, RIA executive editor.

In Texas, which doesn't have a state income tax, only about 74.4 percent of taxpayers with incomes of $200,000 or more had itemized deductions on their 1998 returns.

The average deduction claimed for taxes by Texans with incomes of $200,000 or more was only $10,512, compared with $67,989 for New Yorkers in the same income range, Mr. Rywick said.

Bush on top in pocketbook poll

When you get down to it, what really counts for many Americans when it comes to choosing the next president is: "Who's going to be best for my pocketbook?"

In the race between Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore, Mr. Bush won out, according to a survey of 1,013 Americans between the ages of 18 and 64.

The survey by NFO Research found that 60 percent of Americans believe Mr. Bush would be better for their wallets than Mr. Gore. Forty percent of those surveyed felt Mr. Gore would be better.

Survey participants also think Mr. Bush manages his own money better than Mr. Gore.

Fifty-seven percent said Mr. Bush manages his household budget best vs. 43 percent for Mr. Gore, according to the survey, which was conducted for Ihatefinancialplanning.com, a Web site for consumers who – you guessed it – hate financial planning.

No deposits, no returns to online banks

A major stumbling block to online banks' ability to attract more customers is the difficulty in making deposits. Now, a new online financial services company is trying to make it easier for consumers to bank online.

Juniper Financial has joined with MailBoxes Etc., the world's largest postal services franchisor, to enable Juniper customers to walk into a MailBoxes Etc. location starting in the fall and overnight their noncash deposits to Juniper for free and receive a tracking code receipt.

Juniper picked Mail Boxes Etc. because of its strong base of locations and its intense focus on customer service, he said.

United Parcel Service will provide the overnight service. Customers will be able to track their shipment online at either www.juniper.com or www.mbe.com.