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National Bureau of Economic Research Says 50% Americans Are Financially Fragile

50% Americans Are Financially FragileNational Bureau of Economic Research ReportAccording to a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, five out of ten Americans would struggle to raise $2,000 should some straitened circumstances come their way. Additional expenses, such as an unforeseen home repair or unexpected auto accidents, sudden legal expenses or a major medical bill, would definitely take a toll on their monthly paycheck.

About 28% are “certain” that they could not raise $2,000 if given a limited time to pay off unexpected bills. Moreover, 22% said they are “uncertain” whether they can cope with an extra $2,000 of additional debt.

Only 25% of Americans are sure that they would be able to raise extra funds.

Of the 1,900 respondents, the majority would rely on the financing strategies available for them. Financial schemes such as bank loans or cash advances serve as a lifeline during such financial struggles.

More specifically, the study shows that 60% would have to use their savings, 34.2% would have to rely on their families and friends for financial support and 29.5% said they would consider applying for financing schemes such as an unsecured loan, reverse mortgage, or use their home equity and their credit cards. Tightening on personal and family expenditure is also considered as an excellent way of raising emergency funds.

The National Bureau of Economic Research has also conducted the same survey on several other countries, including the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada and France. Interestingly, America is listed among the countries least able to cope with financial emergencies. The list also includes Germany and the United Kingdom, which both have 50% ‘financially unprepared households.’

On the other hand, people from the Netherlands, Italy and Canada are best able to cope with unexpected financial problems. An impressive 57.7% of the respondents from the Netherlands said that they would certainly be able to raise $2,000, at a pinch.

The fact that on a rainy day almost half of the residents of USA don’t have even $2000 to sustain, is an alarming situation.

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Coffee Is More Expensive Than Gas

Coffee Prices Versus Gas PricesCoffee lovers may not notice it, but coffee prices have overtaken gasoline prices in the past year. As of April this year, a one-pound can of ground coffee costs $5.10 which is 40% more than the previous year, said the US Department of Labor. In contrast with oil prices, one gallon of regular gasoline averages $3.83 which is 37% more than the previous year.

With the current trend in the oil market, fuel prices are anticipated to stabilize, whereas coffee prices could continue to increase for some time. Currently, the cost of unroasted beans is on an upsurge. In fact, coffee producers were trading $2.61 per pound this week, almost twice as much as last year.

According to several top coffee producers and distributors, they are considering another price increase on their U.S. coffee products this week. The J.M. Smucker Co., producer of Folgers and Dunkin Donut coffee, is set to announce an 11% price increase, its fourth this year. Similarly, other coffee manufacturers such as Peet’s Coffee and Tea Inc, and Kraft Foods Inc. are considering a price hike.

Following the market’s upward trend, Starbucks Corp. has just announced a 17% price increase on all packaged coffee products in the US and 6% in Canada. This increase follows the 4% increase imposed in 2020. Starbucks has also increased its retail price on packaged coffee sold on the market.

Despite the soaring prices, coffee remains essential.

Consumers who can’t say no to coffee would rather look for alternative brands that cost less. After all there are other brands aside from the four leading coffee labels – Seattle’s Best, Godiva, Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks. Obviously, cheaper coffee labels enjoy the current trend.

On the production side, the International Coffee Organization has noted an increase by 8% on the coffee harvest due to the support from the Ivory Coast, Ethiopia and other coffee-producing countries. However, some of the major coffee exporters, such as Indonesia, have experienced smaller crops. Poor harvests are often attributed to environmental changes such as flooding, drought and other serious weather conditions. With the changes in the environment and the poor harvest, coffee prices continue to soar.

Coffee is just part of the bigger picture. More and more basic necessities are moving upscale. Although the average inflation rate is not as high as in the 70s, it is expected to continue its upward trend.

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Expedia Survey – Only 38% Of Americans Avail All Vacation Time

It is understood that everyone has a routine that includes work, family and recreation. But when it comes to balancing them together, most of us falter. Even after returning home after ten or eleven hours of tiring office work we have the same files, pending work and bosses running through our heads. With more and more competition for better jobs, people have started compromising on vacations and breaks.

While people need, and are entitled to, vacations, some financial experts have a different perspective about people not availing vacations in the United States. They feel that taking vacations is one of the major reasons that gets Americans to spend more, save less and get into debt. So by forfeiting vacations, many Americans are trying to save more and spend less.

As a result a lot of Americans tend to forgo their vacations and work instead. As a matter of fact, only about 38% of Americans were able to use all their vacation time according to a Expedia survey. Also, recent years have been a great challenge for many employees. People had been laid off and many were trying to keep their jobs and cope with tough times. People were ready to work extra hours without additional benefits just to keep their jobs. With such a situation existing, very few could think of actually going on a vacation.

Now that the economic situation has stabilized a little bit and the economy has evened out, people have started planning for vacations; at the very least, a short break to reconnect with their family and friends. However, because of the way the work situation has been, people still feel that they cannot get away completely from their work. They carry their laptops and notebooks even on vacation to check on their emails and stay connected with work. According to a recent Rasmussen survey, 72% of the employees said that they check in with the office regularly even when they are on a vacation!