Posts Tagged ‘tips’

The True Cost of the 12 Days of Christmas in 2017

Posted on December 15, 2017 by Laura Lam

Purchasing the gifts included in the classic holiday song “The 12 Days of Christmas,” will only cost 0.6% more than in 2016, according to the 34th annual holiday economic analysis by The PNC Financial Services Group.  PNC calculated the 2017 price tag for the PNC Christmas Price Index at $34,558.65. That’s just $200 more than last year’s cost and less than the government’s Consumer Price Index, which increased 2.2% through September for the past 12 months. “The U.S. economy is growing at a sustainable pace, fueled by higher consumer confidence, low unemployment, modest wage gains and low interest rates,” said…

Americans Waiting for a Bigger Raise

Posted on November 17, 2017 by Laura Lam

The government said that average hourly earnings rose 2.4% over the past 12 months.  That’s a slip from the 2.9% increase reported in September. It remains below the 3% to 3.5% range that many agree is normal in a truly healthy economy.  The last time wages were up more than 3% year-over-year was in April 2009, just as the economy was emerging from the depths of the global banking crisis that fueled the Great Recession. Why have wages remained stagnant even though many other indicators of the job market and broader economy look healthy? Unemployment continues to drop. The housing…

Sales to First-Time Home Buyers Fell 34% in 2017

Posted on November 16, 2017 by Laura Lam

First time homebuyers continue to struggle to enter the housing market amidst limited housing inventory, falling to the fourth lowest level since 1981, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers report.  The share of first time homebuyers in the housing market decreased from 35% in 2016 to 34% in 2017. In the 36-year history of NAR’s report, the long-term average of first-time homebuyers rests at 39%. “The dreams of many aspiring first-time buyers were unfortunately dimmed over the past year by persistent inventory shortages, which undercut their ability to become homeowners,” stated NAR…

Are Home Equity Loans Staged for a Comeback?

Posted on November 15, 2017 by Laura Lam

There has been a hint of optimism for home equity lending among bankers this earnings season, but attitudes remain mixed a decade after the housing market crash began.  While home equity lines of credit provided a lift to some bank consumer portfolios, a number of other banks said their home equity businesses had fallen and added little about their future. Industry observers say bankers should take the long view. Home equity lines of credit especially are poised to grow now that home values have been rising for a number of years during the economic recovery.  “If you think about the…

Will Regulation Solve Cybersecurity Problems?

Posted on November 13, 2017 by Laura Lam

Cybersecurity was a main topic at a recent New York banking conference.  According to Arthur Lindo, senior associate director of the Fed’s division of supervision and regulation, more rules may not be the best answer to protecting the financial system.  “I don’t think the solution to the cybersecurity problem rests in regulation,” said Lindo.  “We’re going to try a more flexible approach.” The Fed and other regulators issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on cyber risk management standards last year, which is typically followed by a prospective rule. After the industry and others involved in computer security discouraged regulators from…

Millennials are saving more for retirement

Posted on November 10, 2017 by Laura Lam

In the race to save for retirement, one group is doing surprisingly well: millennial parents.  That’s according to a new NerdWallet survey, which found that 38% of millennial parents (ages 18-34) save more than 15% of their income for retirement. All told, millennial parents reported a median retirement savings rate of 10% of income, compared with 8% for Generation X parents (ages 35-54) and just 5% for baby boomer parents (ages 55+). Given the picture typically painted of this age group, you might be shouting “fake news” right now. There’s one caveat: The results include only those currently saving for…

Daylight Saving Time: Facts and Figures

Posted on November 03, 2017 by Laura Lam

Sunday, November 5, 2017, marks the end of Daylight Saving Time – a twice-a-year occurrence that we collectively partake in, changing our clocks forward an hour in the spring and back an hour in the fall. But why do we do this? What purpose does it serve? Is it really for the farmers?  You might be surprised how many misconceptions there are surrounding this longstanding practice. Who came up with changing the clocks?  The idea to change the clocks to save daylight was first proposed by English architect William Willett in 1907 when he published The Waste of Daylight. It is believed that Willett’s idea arose…

Halloween Scares Up Record Sales

Posted on October 31, 2017 by Laura Lam

This may not be good news for your waistline, but your sweet tooth might appreciate it: Halloween candy sales are crackerjack this year.  Halloween candy sales are expected to rise 4.1% from last year, reaching a seasonally adjusted $4.1 billion, according to HIS Markit data.  “Consumer confidence is riding high, so consumers are likely to splurge a little more on edible goodies,” said David Deull, a senior economist with IHS Markit. The sales increase is particularly impressive given that candy prices have dropped 0.9% compared with last year, marking the second consecutive Halloween candy price decline, according to IHS Markit…

Best and Worst States for Consumer Credit Scores

Posted on October 30, 2017 by Laura Lam

Consumer credit varies nationally due to regional variations in income and the cost of living.  According to a new study from LendEDU and Experian, the Northeast had the highest average credit score (694). The Midwest (693), Pacific (691), and Rocky Mountain (690) regions followed closely behind. The Southeast (668) and Southwest (662) regions had the lowest credit scores on average.  The best average state scores are roughly 7% higher than the national average, while the worst states are about 7% lower. Vantage Scores were used for the rankings. Scores of 700 and above are considered good, and below 650 is…

Best States for Halloween Candy

Posted on October 27, 2017 by Laura Lam

A recent analysis of Halloween candy purchases found that Oregon tops the list of best states to go trick-or-treating in based on how much money residents spend on candy, with 3 Musketeers as the favorite there.  Trailing in second place is neighboring Washington – choosing 100 Grand bars as the top treat – but Oregonians spend on average $11.64 more per person on Halloween sweets. The top states and amounts spent per person on candy: Oregon ($40.29) Washington ($28.65) New Jersey ($24.36) Utah ($23.73) California ($19.72) New York ($19.08) Pennsylvania ($18.78) Illinois ($18.19) Virginia ($17.76) Wisconsin ($16.74). What state ranks…