Other People's Money

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It's time the truth is told: we are a nation of penny pinchers. Three out of 4 Americans (77 percent) save their loose change each day rather than spend it. In fact, our unwillingness to hold up the line at the cash register to fish in our pockets and purses for correct change contributes to an estimated $7.7 billion in coins currently stashed at home in piggy banks, shoeboxes and in between couch cushions. Then there are people who throw their money away, literally. Forty-seven percent of 18- to 34-year-olds admit that they've thrown away a penny at least once in their lives, while just 11 percent of those over the age of 65 have done so. Others have found practical uses for the change in their pockets: 54 percent of Americans use coins as makeshift screwdrivers; 7 percent use them to even out table legs and 73 percent use coins to scratch the paint off lottery tickets. If these folks hit the jackpot, they may never have to count their pennies again.

Payback Time

Approximate weekly unemployment pay*, by state:

New Jersey $429
New York $405
Minnesota $400
Michigan $300
Texas $294
Nevada $291
Ohio $289
California $230
Mississippi $190
*Based on the wages of a full-time worker (40 hours/week, 52 weeks/year), earning $20/hour, with no dependent spouse or children.
Source: Economic Policy Institute

Take-Home Pay

Breakdown of U.S. households by total annual income and benefit compensation:

# OF HOUSEHOLDS (IN MILLIONS) % OF ALL U.S. HOUSEHOLDS
<$10k 10 9.7%
$10k-$14.9k 7 6.8%
$15k-$24.9k 14 13.6%
$25k-$34.9k 13 12.6%
$35k-$49.9k 17 16.5%
$50k-$74.9k 20 19.4%
$75k-$99.9k 10 9.7%
$100k-$149.9k 8 7.8%
$150k-$199.9k 2 1.9%
Source: Census 2000 Supplementary Survey

In the Red

Average credit card debt per U.S. household:

2001 *$8,562
2000 $8,123
1999 $7,564
1998 $7,188
1997 $6,900
1996 $6,487
1995 $5,832
1994 $4,811
1993 $3,601
1992 $3,444
1991 $3,223
1990 $2,985
*As of July 2001
Source: CardWeb.com Inc.

Back in My Day

$1,000 in 2001 dollars was worth:

  • $733 in 1990 dollars
  • $462 in 1980 dollars
  • $218 in 1970 dollars
  • $166 in 1960 dollars
  • $135 in 1950 dollars
  • $79 in 1940 dollars

    Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

BANK ON IT

Percent of racial or ethnic group who bank:

WHITE BLACK HISPANIC* ASIAN
In person 59% 36% 43% 54%
Via an ATM 46% 37% 41% 54%
By direct deposit of payroll check 35% 23% 25% 36%
By phone 19% 13% 16% 22%
Via the Internet 8% 6% 8% 14%
*Hispanics can be of any race Source: Mediamark Research Inc., 2001

Spreading the Wealth

Where Americans put their money:

TRILLIONS*
Equity in real estate 1 $9.3
Net retail investments 2 $6.3
Retirement accounts 3 $5.6
Closely-held businesses $2.8
Cash equivalent instruments 4 $1.7
Checking & savings accounts $0.8
Life insurance policies $0.4
1 Includes primary home, second home, vacation property, income-producing real estate and land .
2 Includes stock and bond mutual funds, stocks, bonds (corporate, municipal, government), real estate investment trusts, unit investment trusts, collateralized mortgage obligations and closed-end funds .
3 Includes IRAs, SEPs, salary reduction plans, Keoghs and individual annuities
4 Includes certificates of deposit (CDs), money market deposit accounts. (MMDAs), money market mutual funds and U.S. savings bonds .
Source: MacroMonitor 2000, SRI Consulting Business Intelligence

LEARNING CURVE

  • Two-thirds of high school seniors believe that financial issues do not have a strong impact on their lives
  • 30 percent of high school seniors have more than $1,000 in savings
  • 4 in 10 high school seniors surveyed believe they can earn more by putting their money in a savings account than in a certificate of deposit
  • 1 in 4 high school seniors know that the federal government deducts income tax from paychecks
  • 3 in 10 high school seniors believe that responsibility for providing for their retirement rests with the federal government

    Source: Americans for Consumer Education and Competition, 2001
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