Archive for May, 2014

Why Aren't Americans Buying Homes?

Posted on May 30, 2014 by Saldutti

Activity in the U.S. housing market has slowed to a level that even Fed chair Janet Yellen has said she’s concerned about the recovery. This comes even as mortgage rates have been declining, and lending standards have been easing. A lot of attention has been paid to the demand-side of the story. Specifically, there’s concern that Americans don’t want to buy homes, perhaps because they’re not optimistic about the economy, or they’re worried about the security of the jobs. But an increasing number of economists are saying housing supply is the real problem, not home-buyer demand. “This entire housing recovery…

These Money Beliefs Hurt More Than They Help

Posted on May 29, 2014 by Saldutti

How often have you thought, “If I just make more money, I’ll surely be happy?” Or, the other side of the proverbial coin, “Money is the root of all evil?” While some commonly held money beliefs ring true (like save 10% of your income and you’ll be prepared for a rainy day) there are other so-called bits of “conventional wisdom” that aren’t worth remembering at all because the behaviors they promote don’t provide the promised results. DailyWorth lists these five common beliefs that hold you back — personally and professionally. The Belief: Money will make me happy – Too many…

Where is the Average Student Loan Burden the Largest?

Posted on May 28, 2014 by Saldutti

More than a million Americans this year will graduate with substantial student loan debt, the National Conference of State Legislatures recently reported. The graduates will have an average of $26,500 in student loans, joining the tens of millions of other adults who collectively hold more than $1 trillion in student loan debt. That burden is largest, on average, in many Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, a few Southeastern states and California. Some of those states – especially in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic – are also home to the highest share of adults with bachelor’s degrees, but that data still doesn’t perfectly…

Memorial Day Sales 2014: What to Expect

Posted on May 24, 2014 by Saldutti

For many Americans, Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer fun – even if summer doesn’t officially start until June 21. According to a survey published by RetailMeNot, many Americans use the long weekend to make purchases in preparation for summer, with 79% checking out Memorial Day sales. But just because something’s on sale doesn’t automatically make it a good buy.  “It’s easy for consumers to get trapped into the ‘it’s on sale so I have to buy it’ mentality, especially during big holiday weekends when retailers are really pushing their promotions,” said Casey Bond, content director of GoBankingRates….

Memorial Day Travel Best Since 2005

Posted on May 23, 2014 by Saldutti

A strong case of cabin fever and a little more money to spend should inspire a greater number of Americans to hit the road this Memorial Day weekend. That’s the forecast from auto club AAA, which said it expects 36.1 million people to travel 50 miles or more. If that estimate holds true, it would be the largest number of people traveling during the holiday weekend since 2005. Most will drive to their vacation spots, but more people are expected to fly or take a cruise or train this year compared with a year ago, AAA said. The improving job…

Recovery Aftermath: The Decline of New Households

Posted on May 22, 2014 by Saldutti

Americans are swimming in debt and that’s holding back the economy, says Cardiff Garcia, U.S. editor of financial news site, FT Alphaville. By the end of the first quarter U.S. households were $11.65 trillion in debt, according to the New York Fed. That’s bigger than the GDP of any country or region in the world except the U.S. and the European Union. The fastest growing debt category: student loans, which top $1 trillion. Pew Research reported that four in ten U.S. households (37%) headed by an adult younger than 40 have student debt. Households with student loan debt have a…

Is Today's Mortgage Market Worse Than Before the Crash?

Posted on May 19, 2014 by Saldutti

In some respects, now is as bad a time for the mortgage business as the aftermath of the disaster of 2008. Of course, the crash was terrible but the industry got the benefit of unparalleled subsidies. Now the business may lose its crutches before it’s ready to keep its balance. More than $100 billion of taxpayer money has been pumped into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to keep them on an even keel. The Federal Reserve Board kept short-term interest rates low and bought enormous amounts of mortgage-backed securities, driving down long-term yields and enabling a refi boom that kept…

Student Debt Weighing Down Young Americans

Posted on May 15, 2014 by Saldutti

The difference in how well young adults with college degrees are living depends significantly on whether or not they’re carrying student debt, according to the Pew Research Center. A new report, titled “Young Adults, Student Debt and Economic Well-Being,” details a growing wealth gap between those in debt and those who are not. Roughly four-in-ten households headed by an adult younger than 40 currently have some student debt, which the Pew Research Center notes is the highest share on record. Yet, Pew finds another reason why this greater share of households with debt is troublesome. Young adult households headed by…

No Swiping: 5 Risky Places to Use Your Debit Card

Posted on May 14, 2014 by Saldutti

Late last year, a data breach at Target compromised the debit and credit card information for 40 million Target customers (plus the online account information of 70 million more). This left many people are wondering if it’s time to switch back to cash. While no one is recommending that we should abandon plastic entirely, there are some places where using cash (or a regular credit card) is better for security. And it shouldn’t be much less convenient than using a card.  Web entrepreneur and “Digital Goddess,” Kim Komando, offers this advice. ATMs – Did you know that the place you…

5 Reasons You Might Want to Ditch Your Debit Card

Posted on May 13, 2014 by Saldutti

Your debit card may work a lot like a credit card, but there are a few important distinctions that can make a world of difference. WisePiggy asked some top experts in personal finance why they choose credit over debit — here are their top five reasons. Extra consumer protections – It’s fairly common knowledge that most credit cards these days give you options to protect against fraud, but that isn’t the only consumer advantage to buying on credit. “Some credit cards also have benefits such as extended warranties, purchase protection and rental car insurance,” says Beverly Harzog, financial expert and…