Bloomberg Business reports that 32 of the 35 districts in which inequality is greatest are represented by Democrats. Clearly, extreme inequality correlates strongly with Democratic political representation. Bloomberg Rankings, drawing on U.S. Census data, have measured the level of inequality—the Gini coefficient—in each of the 435 U.S. congressional districts. It’s a fascinating list (and a map) that reveals all sorts of interesting things. Of the 100 districts with the highest levels of inequality, not one held by a Republican is considered to be in play this November. (bloomberg.com)
If you have a spending problem, can you earn your way out of a spending problem? A post at lifehacker shows that chances are you can’t dig yourself out of a spending problem by earning more. There’re certain situations where your income is really, then earn more is essential to digging out of that hole. However, once spending problem becomes a lifestyle problem, there won’t be enough money to fix the bad spending habits. Increasing your income is desirable. Unless you also take care of your spending side of the equation, you can’t dig yourself out of a spending problem by earning more.
If you found yourselves spending on needless stuff or regretting after big ticket items, Everything Finance has an article to show how to align your spending with your values. First, make a list on what’s important to you. From that list, pick out some of your absolute favorites so you can easily forgo unnecessary and trivial things. You can then share those goals with your loved one in order to work as a team and to keep each other accountable. Next, make those goals visible and monitor your spending to see if your goal of spending on your values is on track. The biggest thing is to learn to say no to yourself. By aligning your spending with your values, you will have higher success rate to save enough money for your favorite trip oversea, home down payment, or even retirement.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average size of a new single-family American residence in 1950 was 983 square feet. MarketWatch reports that nowadays Americans are buying bigger and more expensive homes as the average size has ballooned to 2720 square feet. That decision would delay many people the chance to reach financial independence early in life. There is no doubt that Americans’ families love bigger space as about half the new homes last year have four or more bedrooms and a quarter of them has three ore more garages. The average price of new homes also climbed to $351,000 in 2015, up $100,000 from 2009.
Did you make any New Year’s financial resolutions? According to Bankrate.com, the top financial resolutions are to stay current on living expenses,to pay down debt and to save money. By first month, 30 percent of us have given up on these resolutions. Don’t worry. Elisabeth Leamy, from ABC News, shares 50 excellent strategies to keep your money resolutions. Instead of focusing on small stuff such as packing for lunch or skipping Starbucks coffee, she encourages people to save big–at least $1000–by control the top five costs: Housing, Cars, Credit, Groceries and Health Care. By applying some of the 50 strategies to save at least $1,000 on these top five costs, you are in much better shape to keep your money resolutions for the year.
Based on the Internal Revenue Service’s database, Financial Samurai write an excellent article about how much the top income earners make. To be the 1% one needs to make $380,354, and to be in top 5%, it is $159,619. To be above 50%, one only needs to earn around $33,000 per year. While it’s the trend to complain about the top 1% of tax payers, but they pay nearly 38% of all the income taxes. If you earn less than $33,000, you can join the above-average income earners by moving to high-tech locations where the average salary is way above average. You can also try to work more than 40 hours a week and to upgrade your skills constantly in order to get ahead. After all, there are still many six-figure jobs available in the market.
Base on a whitepaper report from American Student Assistance, US News & World Report discussed about the profound impact of student loan debt on the daily lives and spending habits of young Americans. The student debts affect the majority of borrowers’ decisions to make large purchase such as car and home. Borrowers believe education is worth it, but they are making financial sacrifices elsewhere. These young Americans have problem saving for their emergency fund and for their retirement. Education is a great investment but it also make the new generations more indebted.
An article on Brownsville Herald recommend saving more money as a resolution to keep. According to a report from the Pew Charitable Trusts, over half of American households have less than one month of income available in case of an emergency. Personal finance bloggers often advise to keep at least three to six months of income as a part of emergency fund. However, saving can be difficult for those with household incomes of less than $35,000. The ability to save mostly depends on age and household income. So, does saving more money rank near the top of your resolution list?
According to Oxfam report, just 62 people own about the poorest half of the entire world population – or 3.6 billion people. Back in 2010 it took 388 rich people. But as the global inequality has reached levels not seen in over a century, the richest 1 percent own more than the other 99 percent put together. To put that into perspective, the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population – that’s 3.6 billion people – has fallen by a trillion dollars since 2010 while the wealth of the richest 62 has increased by more than half a trillion dollars.
Some of the basic concepts of personal finance needs to repeat as often as possible. One of them is to live below your means as written by Jonathan Chevreau of Financial Post. Live below your means is considered as an eternal truth of personal finance. “This is the granddaddy Truth of personal finance. Without it, there’s little point talking about the rest. The only way to become financially independent is to be consistent about spending less than you earn, year in and year out, decade in and decade out.” The formula for happiness, attributed to Charles Dickens, is based on living below your means. If translated into today’s world, in David Copperfield the character Micawber would say: “Annual income $50,000, annual expenses $40,000, result happiness. Annual income $50,000, annual expenses $60,000, result misery.”
The Price of Happiness is confirmed to be $75,000 Per Year by a study from Princeton University. Another article written for About Money delves into the relationship between money and happiness as Joshua Kennon discuss this topic of how much money it takes to be happy. The first step to financial success is to define what you want. Once you narrow down the income the next step is to figure out the safe withdrawal rate to be happy with that income level. By selecting the proper asset classes, you can deride how much money you need in your portfolio to achieve your desired level of happiness.
On Money, Financial blogger Jason Vitug shows three essential money concepts for millennials to become financially savvy: Define your lifestyle, don’t keep up with the Joneses, and money can indeed buy happiness.
According to USDA Report, the total cost to raise a child for food, housing, childcare and education, and other child-rearing expenses up to age 18 is $245,340. That report does not included the costs associated with pregnancy. Holly Johnson of the Simple Dollar put into details the total cost to have a baby by include the medical costs, the impact of maternity leave, and the ongoing costs of caring for a newborn. While the true cost of having a baby depends on one’s health insurance and place of residence, the new parents can expect to pay up to $6,500 for out-of-pocket expense out of the average cost of $10,000 for delivery and a hospital stay. The cost adds up when the yearly $6,960 premium for health insurance is included along with associated costs. Overall, the bundle of joy also comes with extra financial responsibility.
Millennials, born from 1980 to 2000, are now the largest, most diverse generation in the U.S. population. Here are some top financial mistakes that millennials make, written by Ashley Eneriz for Everything Finance blog. The financial mistakes include taking on a lot of debts, not saving for retirement, not having emergency fund, passing up on health insurance and ruining credit scores.
Interaction with pets can provide stress relief and comfort to pet owner. But taking care of pet costs money. Before you go out to get a pet, Jessica Sommerfield explains that there are some financial costs to consider before getting a pet. Whenever you travel there’s boarding fee for your pet. If you rent, there’s also deposit for pet along with damage expenses. Finally, you also have to consider vet bills throughout the lifespan of your pet.