Archive for the ‘Retirement’ 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…

Millennials’ Financial Habits Differ from Previous Generations

Posted on May 12, 2017 by Laura Lam

More so than Gen X and baby boomers, millennials prioritize issues like buying a home, purchasing cars, saving for and planning vacations and weddings and college planning, according to a recent Stash survey.  Yet these are not issues that most financial advisers typically bring up with clients.  “We have a retirement, baby-boomer-centric service model that tends not to interest millennials,” said Alan Moore, co-founder of the XY Planning Network.  “Advisers need to look at where younger investors are in their lives and help them with those issues, such as navigating debt.” The financial habits of millennials,a giant generation of 92 million people…

Fannie Mae Changes Affect Borrowers With Student Loans

Posted on May 11, 2017 by Laura Lam

Fannie Mae has recently outlined changes in the way lenders can qualify potential borrowers who have student loan debt.  The policy change is designed to make it easier for more consumers to qualify for mortgages, in part by excluding some non-mortgage debt for income-to-debt calculations.  These debts can be things like installment loans, student loans, and other monthly debts as defined in the company’s mortgage lending guide. According to the Fannie Mae web site, “If the lender obtains documentation that a non-mortgage debt has been satisfactorily paid by another party for the past 12 months, then the debt can be excluded from…

Millennials’ Debt Load Could Weigh Down Economy

Posted on May 09, 2017 by Laura Lam

Millennials — 21 to 34-year-olds — hold an estimated $1.1 trillion of the country’s $3.6 trillion in consumer debt, according to UBS, as rising student and auto loans outweigh a drop in mortgages.  All that rising debt is coming with rising default risks. A UBS evidence lab survey found that 52% of people worried about defaulting on any loan over the next 12 months were in the 21 to 34 age group. That’s not good news considering those same individuals are meant to be the largest source of spending on big-ticket purchase items like houses and cars over the next year.  There is already…

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?…

Consumer Optimism Surges in March

Posted on April 13, 2017 by Laura Lam

Consumers continued growing more optimistic in March, however much of the increasing sentiment is due to changed evaluative criteria, according to the Survey of Consumers conducted by the University of Michigan.  The Index of Consumer Sentiment came in at 96.9 in March, an increase of 0.6% from February’s 96.3 and 6.5% from 91 in March 2016, according to the survey. This is slightly lower than the beginning of the month, when the index increased to 97.6. “The continued strength in consumer sentiment has been due to optimistic views on three critical components: higher incomes and wealth, more favorable job prospects, and low inflation…

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…

Will Household Debt Hit New Record in 2017?

Posted on February 21, 2017 by Laura Lam

Americans’ debt balances rose “substantially” in the final quarter of 2016, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.   Household debt totaled $12.58 trillion as of December 31, 2016, according to the New York Fed’s latest quarterly report on credit.  Total debt increased by 1.8%, or $226 billion, in Q4. That lifted household debt just 0.8% below the peak reached in the third quarter of 2008 as the US economy was mired in recession. According to the report, Americans borrowed the most money since the recession to pay for new houses or to refinance their mortgages. Mortgage originations in the fourth quarter totaled $617…