Observations on life

Federal Reserve Board issues Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households.  

I find some of this depressing, but maybe not for the reason you may think. First let me throw out two numbers; 36% and 40%. That’s the percentage of Americans under 25 and under age 40 who have one or more tattoos. Ha‼️ Two tattoos can easily cost $400. Remember that as you walk through the mall and observe the tattoo bedecked folks who have no money.

imageWhat is depressing? Well, the fact that this state of lack of financial well-being is self-inflicted. It appears that a significant percentage of Americans are unable to set financial priorities or live within their means. Yes, for most Americans it really is that simple. It’s not a rigged system or inequality or any other political gibberish.

Being born between the greatest generation and baby boomers and being raised by people who lived through two world wars and the Great Depression people of my generation just think differently it seems. We are comfortable with less stuff, (check the size of the three closets in my 1929 house and you will know what I mean). we have no need for the latest and greatest (except in my case an iPhone and iPad). We are willing to wait and save for our material goals. We turn off the lights when we leave a room. We make do with what still works even if it is old … like us.

When we had birthday parties for our children it was at our house or in our backyard and my wife made the food which was quite modest, not a rented hall or Chuck-e-Cheese or other venue.

So what is wrong with America? Well, it’s nothing socialism will fix or free college, or a $15.00 minimum wage or new government programs. What’s wrong with America is Americans; their perspective, their life choices, their entitlement mentality and their belief that somebody else is responsible and should pay to make things all better. The latest is a government provided minimum income for all. 

Thank God this view of the world didn’t exist for most of the 20th, and the 19th and 18th centuries.

American families overall reported continued mild improvement in their financial well-being in 2015 although many families were struggling financially and felt excluded from economic advancement, according to the Federal Reserve Board’s latest Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households. The report, based on the Board’s third annual Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking, presents a contrasting picture of the financial well-being of U.S. families.

Aggregate-level results show several signs of improvement. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they are either “living comfortably” or “doing okay,” up 4 percentage points from 2014 and up 6 percentage points from 2013. Seventy-seven percent of non-retired adults without a disability are confident that they have the skills necessary to get the kind of job that they want now–an increase of 10 percentage points from the 2013 survey results.

“The new survey findings shed important light on the economic and financial security of American families seven years into the recovery,” said Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard. “Despite some signs of improvement overall, 46 percent say they would struggle to meet emergency expenses of $400, and 22 percent of workers say they are juggling two or more jobs. It’s important to identify the reasons why so many families face continued financial struggles and to find ways to help them overcome them,” she said.

Source: FRB: Press Release–Federal Reserve Board issues Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households–May 25, 2016

imageAmericans don’t always do such a great job of saving money, but when we think about those who have little to no savings, we tend to imagine low-income families struggling to make ends meet. So it’s somewhat shocking to learn that nearly 25% of households earning $100,000 to $150,000 a year claim they couldn’t come up with $2,000 in a month’s time.

In a study published by The Brookings Institution, participants were asked whether they’d be able to come up with $2,000 within 30 days for an unexpected expense. Across all income levels, over 25% of respondents admitted that they could not come up with that much money, while another 19% claimed they could do so only if they sold off possessions or took out payday loans. In other words, nearly 50% of Americans on the whole are considered, as the study puts it, “financially fragile.” And while we might expect lower earners to fall into this category, the fact that so many six-figure families aren’t saving means their money management skills just aren’t up to par. Source: USA TODAY 6-3-16


Categories: Observations on life

8 replies »

  1. You are obsess with tattoos. Back in my youth, it was finding beer money. If I had a lot I went to a night club; if not, we drank at somebody’s home. I drank away quite a few dollars a week. At least tattoos are permanent. (I do not like tattoos.)

    But your point is well taken. I struggled for years to get my emergency fund rebuilt after I got married and had kids. It took a lot of overtime to get there. Once my son left the nest, saving became easy and a priority.

    The closet space has tripled compared to the house that I grew up in. As a kid, I had school clothes and play clothes and the summer clothes got packed away every fall. Now, I have my work uniforms, my work around the house clothes, my church clothes and nothing gets packed away. We have a full closet of just coats for two people. We seem like we keep everything.

    Stuff will accumulate to fill all available space. If you buy a bigger house to seem less cluttered, you will eventually fill all the extra space with junk. You do not have to have tattoos but you can look in the mirror or around your house and say “did I really need that?” or should I have put that money in the bank. Guilty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I see tattoos as the visible symbol of a short-sighted, self-absorbed irresponsible generation. And they cost a lot more than a few beers.


      • I see iphones and ipads as short-sighted status symbols also. There are much cheaper options and the extra money could be in the bank. I purchased a cell phone for $40 it works just fine. I can text, call and surf the web. I only use it when I am on vacation $45 per month for 3 months during the summer. $20 per month high speed internet phone service when I am at home. I live in a cell phone dead zone, but if you go down the hill a mile 4 bars. Everyone is irresponsible to some extent, there are plenty examples – the $80 dinner out with friends every Friday night, is just as bad as the tattoos, when you could just stay home = over $4,000 per year. But staying home is no fun.


      • You are right, there are many other nice to have/do expenses other than tattoos. But tattoos tend to be among the ones most visible and among those who can least afford it.


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