Archive for the ‘Healthcare’ Category

Is the New Household Debt Record Cause for Concern?

Posted on June 14, 2017 by Laura Lam

Last month, the New York Federal Reserve reported that household debt across the nation has hit a dubious milestone in the first quarter: It surpassed the peak debt level of 2008 at $12.7 trillion. Household debt — including mortgages, auto and student loans, and credit cards — rose $149 billion compared with the last quarter of 2016, with nearly all the gain coming from mortgages. Reaching the peak raises questions about whether the backdrop exists again for another financial meltdown.  But the data show the current structure of debt is substantially different from 2008. According to a research officer at…

73% of Americans Have Financial Regrets

Posted on June 06, 2017 by Laura Lam

Nearly 3-in-4 U.S. adults have financial regrets, according to a new Bankrate.com report. The most common is not saving for retirement early enough, followed by not saving enough for emergency expenses and taking on too much credit card debt. Taking on too much student loan debt is fourth, however, it tops the list among older millennials (27-36 year-olds). Fifth overall is not saving enough for your children’s education and sixth is buying more house than you could afford. Baby Boomers are the most likely to regret not saving for retirement earlier; remorse over this issue grows steadily from age 18-62. It’s…

American Households Spend 53% of Its Income On These Expenses

Posted on May 19, 2017 by Laura Lam

If there’s one fairly steady theme over the past couple of decades, it’s that consumers are saving less of their income and their household budgets are being pushed to the limit.  According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank’s February data, the personal saving rating in America was a paltry 5.6%. Comparatively, U.S. workers were socking away more than 12% of their paycheck 50 years ago.  At the same time, a number of household expenses have largely outpaced the inflation rate and wage growth. These include healthcare costs, college expenses, and in recent years housing costs, since home prices have…

Average Retirement Savings is Inadequate

Posted on April 14, 2017 by Laura Lam

Most American families, even those close to retirement, have little or no retirement savings.  Not surprisingly, younger families have less stashed away. According to a report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the mean retirement savings of a family between 32 and 37 years old is $31,644. But that number doesn’t tell the whole story. Since so many families have zero savings and since super-savers can pull up the average, the median savings, or those at the 50th percentile, may be a better gauge. The median for families between 32 and 37 is a scant $480. How big should your nest egg be in your 30s?…

Retirees Will Influence Future Consumer Spending

Posted on March 15, 2017 by Laura Lam

Major demographic shifts over the next decade will have a dramatic affect on U.S. consumer spending – which in turn will influence the overall economy, specific industry sectors and individual stocks, according to a new report.  Population growth will be uneven, favoring the South and West as retirees migrate to the Sunbelt in search of warm climates and lower taxes.  This shift in population could affect public sector spending and municipal bond markets. The Conference Board report, “The Impact of Demographic Trends on Consumer Spending,” examines the size and age distribution of the future population, how spending patterns will change…

What to Buy in January

Posted on January 06, 2017 by Laura Lam

Have you spent too much on Christmas presents? Are holiday gift cards burning a hole in your pocket? Either way, frugal shoppers will find plenty of bargains in January, although some things should be put on the “wait” list.  Here are this month’s steals and deals from Cheapism.com. BUY: CHRISTMAS/HOLIDAY ITEMS – Prices on holiday-themed goods take a dive immediately after Christmas and continue to fall throughout January. By early in the month, prices should be at least half off, albeit on a dwindling selection. Still, it’s worth stocking up on holiday wrapping paper, ornaments, cards, and the like to…

Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season

Posted on December 23, 2016 by Laura Lam

During the holiday season, words like “values”, “impact”, and “empathy” feel especially relevant. People across the economic spectrum feel drawn to giving back to their communities and the causes that matter to them. But during this busy time of year, translating good intentions into action can feel overwhelming.  How can we really make a difference? A Desai Foundation study found that people were not sure how to give, when to give, or how much to give. The “giving” phenomenon is often wrapped up in monetary donations and recognition, but we forget that giving is really about service. And we can all…

Election Day 2016: Facts & Figures

Posted on November 08, 2016 by Laura Lam

Many Americans will be heading to the polls at some point today to cast ballots on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. So who picked that day, and why do we still observe it? Do some people vote on other days in the fall? Here are some answers to those and other questions about Election Day. Elections took place way before the Constitution was ratified – The English in particular conducted voting soon after they landed in Virginia in the 17thCentury. But not everyone could vote and not every office was up for election. But many colonies allowed…

Consumer Delinquencies Hit New Low

Posted on October 24, 2016 by Laura Lam

Consumer delinquencies fell last quarter to their lowest point in at least 15 years, according to quarterly data released by the American Bankers Association (ABA).  The percentage of overdue closed-end loans was 1.35% in the second quarter, down three basis points from the first quarter. The ABA’s so-called composite ratio tracks delinquencies in 8 closed-end installment loan categories including personal, home equity and direct auto loans. It defines a delinquency as a payment that is 30 days or more overdue. The latest figure was the lowest since at least 2001, and it marked nearly 4 years of delinquencies below the…

Household Income Grew 5.2% in 2015

Posted on October 06, 2016 by Laura Lam

Americans last year reaped the largest economic gains in nearly a generation as poverty fell, health insurance coverage spread and incomes rose sharply for households on every rung of the economic ladder, ending years of stagnation.  The median household’s income in 2015 was $56,500, up 5.2% from the previous year – the largest single-year increase since record-keeping began in 1967, according to the Census Bureau.   The share of Americans living in poverty also posted the sharpest decline in decades. The gains were an important milestone for the economic expansion that began in 2009. For the first time in recent years, the…