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Coin Experts on the Future of the Penny, $2 Bill & More

The U.S. Mint currently loses over $50 million a year on pennies—specifically on the production of this practically-worthless (literally) coin. So it's no surprise that over half of the coin collectors and numismatic experts polled expect the penny to be phased out of use in the semi-near future. For more on matters of money, check out the graphic below from International Precious Metals:

Coin Experts Survey Infographic
Coin Experts Survey Infographic

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What America's Average Take-Home Pay Looks Like Compared to Other Countries
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When you look at how much money people make around the world, salaries can only show part of the picture. In practically every country, workers give up a chunk of their paycheck to the government. So after taxes, which citizens get to hold onto the biggest slice of their pie? These graphics from the company relocation program CapRelo lay it out, analyzing what people making the average wage in a number of countries can expect to pay in taxes each year.

A map of the percentage of the average wage in each country that goes toward taxes
CapRelo

The countries with the highest tax rates in the world can all be found in Europe. In Belgium, workers give up 45 percent of the average wage, while in Sweden, they pay 52 percent, and in Denmark, they pay 56 percent. But not every nation on the continent follows this trend. In Switzerland, employees making the average wage pay just 2 percent in taxes, one of the lowest rates in the world. The only citizens that pay less are in India and Saudi Arabia, where the tax rates are 0 percent.

Lower taxes don't necessarily equal bigger paychecks. Though Denmark pays the most taxes, the average take-home salary ($28,227) is still higher than it is in Saudi Arabia ($21,720) and India ($1,670). But workers in Switzerland enjoy the biggest wages after taxes by far, with an average take-home salary of $84,006. The runner-up is the U.S., with an average take-home salary of $52,344.

A graph showing average salaries versus take-home pay
CapRelo

Of course, these figures don't take the cost of living into account. Citizens paying less in taxes are often forced to spend that money on benefits they would receive from the government in other countries. In Switzerland, for example, you have to pay to drive on motorways, while in the U.S., most highways are maintained using government funds. Meanwhile, the U.S. is one of the few developed nations that doesn't offer universal healthcare. And while Swedes may pay a lot in taxes, thanks to generous government subsidies, they also pay some of the world's lowest rates for childcare. So make sure you consider all the factors before picking a new place to live based on tax rate.

[h/t CapRelo]

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This Simple Rule Will Tell You How Much You Can Afford to Spend on a Car
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Looking for a new car can be intimidating, especially if you don’t have a set budget in mind when you walk onto the lot. Fortunately, there’s a handy rule of thumb that you can use to determine what you can afford to spend. Just remember these numbers: 10, 20, and four.

According to the finance blog I Will Teach You To Be Rich, car expenses—including monthly payments, gas, interest, maintenance, and insurance—should cost no more than 10 percent of your gross monthly income. But how do you calculate monthly car payments from the total price of a new car?

First, you should commit to putting a 20 percent down payment on the vehicle before taking it home. To cover the rest of the cost, plan on making monthly payments for no more than four years. That means your car payments will come out to be the total cost of the vehicle, minus the 20 percent down payment, divided by 48 months. Add in the estimated cost of insurance, gas, and other necessities, and that's what you can expect to spend on your car each month.

If you’re planning on bringing home a new (or used) car, it’s vital to have these numbers calculated before you start the process. Then, once you have the math figured out, all you have to worry about are your negotiating skills.

[h/t I Will Teach You to Be Rich]

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