Entries in Survey (18)


Nearly Half of Americans Have More Credit Card Debt Than Savings

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Only 55 percent of Americans have more in emergency savings than they have in credit card debt, according to a survey by

This is the third time has asked survey participants which they hold in higher quantity: credit card debt or emergency savings.

This year’s figure has shifted little from the previous two years. In 2012, 54 percent of Americans said they had more in emergency savings than credit card debt. In 2011, it was 52 percent when questioned 1,004 participants in a telephone survey.

Greg McBride,’s senior financial analyst, said Americans aren’t saving nearly enough as they should.  Although the economy has slowly recovered since the last recession, “the needle has not moved in the past 24 months,” McBride said.

The personal savings rate, or savings as a percentage of disposable personal income, was in a steady decline for about two decades prior to the most recent recession. Though the savings rate is higher now than compared to the recession, it still has not budged from the 20-year downtrend.

On Jan. 31, the Commerce Department reported that the personal saving rate rose to 6.5 percent in December, from 4.1 percent in November.

“People have paid down debt and the household savings rate is higher now than prior to the recession. Despite that, [the survey] illustrates that with stagnant incomes it’s tough for people to make progress toward financial security,” McBride said.

Even among the highest income level surveyed, at $75,000 or more a year, only two out of three had more emergency savings than credit card debt. Just 41 percent of those making less than $30,000 report similarly.

The survey found 60 percent of men and 49 percent of women said they have more in savings than in credit card debt. Also, 29 percent of parents with kids younger than 18 years old have more credit card debt than savings. Of people without young children, 21 percent said the same.

Planners often recommend that you keep three months' pay on hand as an emergency fund.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Gen Z Imagines An Inheritance It Will Not Get

Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Thirty-nine percent of Generation Z (kids aged 13 to 22) think that they will be getting an inheritance -- thus, that they won't need to worry as much about saving for retirement. Only 16 percent of their parents, however, intend to leave them any money.

The two generations' different expectations are borne out by a new survey, "Generation Z and Money Survey," produced by market research company Head Solutions Group on behalf of investment advisers TD Ameritrade.

Ameritrade's managing director of investor services, Carrie Braxdale, says that up to a point Gen Z kids and their parents share the same view of the future. She was surprised to see, for example, that when both groups were given an open-ended, non-multiple choice question asking them to list their biggest concerns about the economy, they gave virtually identical answers.

Without any prompting, both groups said jobs and unemployment were their biggest worry (kids 26 percent, parents 25 percent). Their fourth-biggest concern was not having enough money (kids eight percent, parents 10 percent). Braxdale cites this as proof of just how powerful an influence the parents' financial view can be on their kids'.

For this reason, she says, it's crucial for parents to spend time with their children discussing such subjects as the proper use of credit cards or learning how to make -- and stick to -- a budget.

The survey also documents quite vividly, however, that what they think they have been discussing with their kids may not be the same as what the kids think: 38 percent of Gen Z respondents say their parents have spoken with them about saving for retirement; 49 percent of the parents say that they have.

The degree to which the youngest generation and their parents are not on the same page financially is proof that young Americans who grew up during the recession did not learn much from their parents' woes, says USA Today.

Kids in the survey were not asked why they believed they would be living comfortably on their parents' money in the future, but Braxdale hazards a guess: It's because they're living comfortably on it now.

"We can't say for sure what their rationale is," she says, "but when you're young, and your parents are providing for all your needs," it's not unreasonable to suppose that this might go on forever.

Gen Z has much less confidence that Social Security will be around to help them in retirement: 35 percent believe it won't be, versus six percent of parents. And Z's expectations about retirement are different: 51 percent of parents imagine that retirement will be a time when they no longer work for money; only 37 percent of kids expect that.

The survey of some 2,000 U.S. residents was conducted this spring -- roughly 1,000 kids and 1,000 parents. It took every participant 12 minutes on average to complete. Why would any 13-year old kid sit still that long? The fact the survey was online, says Braxdale, helped.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Workers Can't Seem to Get It Done at Work

Christopher Robbins/Photodisc(NEW YORK) -- Much to supervisors' dismay the workplace isn’t all too conducive to getting things done, a survey by the professional social networking site LinkedIn reveals.

In fact, nearly nine of ten professionals in the worldwide survey say they can’t finish everything on their daily to-do list. One of the problems, according to 26 percent of the respondents, is that they’re too easily distracted, with those in the arts admitting they find it hardest to concentrate on their tasks at hand.  Folks in the agriculture industry claim they have the least difficulty focusing.

In fact, farmers are tops when it comes to completing their daily jobs, with consumer and service workers not far behind. Legal, education and medical employees say they struggle the most to finish their work.

As for making actual to-do lists, it’s probably no surprise that women are more organized than men, with 70 percent claiming to set up task sheets as opposed to 60 percent of males.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Which States Hate, Love Small Businesses?

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- What are the friendliest places to launch a small business? According to 6,022 small entrepreneurs and job creators, Idaho and Texas will roll out the welcome wagon for you. But if you happen to call California, Vermont or Rhode Island home, you might want to think about moving.

Such are the findings of a recent survey conducted by, an online marketplace for local services, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In addition to questions about friendliness, the survey, which was conducted over two months, explored six different measures of a state’s friendliness to small businesses, including: ease of starting a business, hiring costs, regulations, training programs, networking programs and current economic health.

“The best cities in the survey frequently had two things in common: easy-to-understand professional licensing regulations and well-publicized training programs,” said Thumbtack co-founder Sander Daniels. “In fact, businesses cared almost twice as much about licensing regulations as they did about tax-related rates and regulations.”

This was also clear in the city rankings. For example, even though small businesses in Oklahoma City weren’t the most robust in the nation, the area’s simple professional licensing regulations and well-publicized training programs launched the city into the top spot nationwide. It was the same situation for Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Atlanta. (Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento were at the bottom.)

There was little difference across the political spectrum in terms of how respondents rated states’ friendliness towards small business. But there were substantial differences within states. In California, for instance, conservatives were 30 percent less likely than liberals to view the state as supportive of small business, while independents were 15 percent less likely than liberals to have that view.

Also of note:

  • Idaho, Nevada and Delaware had the most small business-friendly tax codes; California and New Mexico had the least-friendly tax codes.
  • Nebraska small business owners were the most optimistic about their business improving during 2012, while Iowans were the least optimistic.
  • The South was the most small business-friendly region of the country, while New England was rated the least small business-friendly.
  • Women business owners were 9 percent more likely than their male counterparts to give high marks to their state government for business support.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Prom Spending Jumps 33 Percent Nationwide

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Many segments of the U.S. economy continue to struggle in the wake of the recent recession, but the prom industry is booming, according to a new national survey by Visa Inc.

The survey finds American families with teenagers will spend an average of $1,078 each on a prom in 2012, a 33.6-percent increase over the $807 spent last year.

Families in the Northeast will spend twice as much on a prom as every other region of the country.

Jason Alderman, senior director of Global Financial Education, Visa Inc., says, “Prom season spending is spiraling out of control as teens continuously try to one-up each other.”

Alderman adds, “It’s important to remember that the prom is a high school dance, not a wedding, and parents need to set limits in order to demonstrate financial responsibility.”

The survey also reveals that parents are planning to cover 61 percent of prom costs while their teens are only covering the remaining 39 percent.

“One of the reasons that prom spending may be running amok is that parents are paying the vast majority of costs, giving teens little incentive to economize,” says Alderman.

Other notable survey results:

  • Northeastern families will spend an average of $1,944.
  • Southern families will spend an average of $1,047.
  • Western families will spend an average of $744.
  • Midwestern families will spend an average of $696.

Prom spending broken down by family income:

  • Parents who make under $20,000 will spend an average of $1,200.
  • Parents who make $20,000-$29,999 will spend an average of $2,635.
  • Parents who make $30,000-$39,999 will spend an average of $801.
  • Parents who make $40,000-$49,999 will spend an average of $695.
  • Parents who make over $50,000 will spend an average of $988.
  • Parents who make over $75,000 will spend an average of $842.

The Visa Inc. survey is based on 1,000 telephone interviews.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Prom Season: How Much Are You Spending?

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new survey by Visa finds that high school students and their parents are spending more on the prom this year.

The average family will shell out $1,078 for their kids' red carpet event this year, up from last year's average of just more than $800.

Analysts say peer pressure is turning the prom into a social arms race, as teens attempt to impress and outdo each other with limos, flowers, and lavish gowns and tuxes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gap, Overstock Biggest Losers in Online Customer Satisfaction

Hemera/Thinkstock/PRNewsFoto/Netflix/Gap/ YORK) -- With the end of the holiday season at hand, and ranked at the bottom of a survey of customer satisfaction with online retailers. Amazon topped the list with previous winner, Netflix, dropping after a customer service blunder earlier this year.

Analytics company Foresee on Wednesday released the seventh annual results of its ForeSee Holiday Study.

Amazon gained two points to score 88 on the study's 100-point scale. Netflix fell 7 points to a score of 79. The movie-rental company lost 800,000 members of about 20 million after it announced a new pricing plan and streaming service in October. Netflix's stock price also took a tumble. The company and CEO Reed Hastings has since canceled its plans and apologized to customers.

The survey results are based on more than 8,500 responses from visitors to the top 40 e-retail websites, according to sales revenue as reported by Internet Retailer's Top 500 Guide.

In addition to Netflix, both and had the largest declines in satisfaction, leaving them with scores at the bottom of the list. fell 6 percent to a score of 73. was down 5 percent to 72.

Amazon, Gap and Netflix did not return a request for comment. Overstock declined to comment about the survey.

The largest gains in satisfaction went to, up 8 percent to 79, and JC Penney, up 6 percent to 83.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


As Americans Get Poorer, Members of Congress Get Richer

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While millions of Americans saw their incomes decrease, their job opportunities dissipate and their home values drop as the economy dipped, the 535 men and women they elected to represent them in the U.S. Congress were not only shielded from the economic downturn but gained during it.

The average American’s net worth has dropped 8 percent during the past six years, while members of Congress got, on average, 15 percent richer, according to a New York Times analysis of financial disclosure.  The median net worth of members of Congress is about $913,000, compared with about $100,000 for the country at large, the Times’ analysis found.

This wealth disparity between lawmakers and the people they represent seems to be continually growing. Nearly half of Congress -- 249 members -- are millionaires, while only 5 percent of American households can make the same claim.

Even among the super rich, members of Congress fare better than other wealthy Americans. While the net worth of the richest 10 percent of Americans has remained stagnant since 2004, lawmakers’ net worth has seen double-digit growth, the Times reports.

Members of the House have fared especially well. From 1984 to 2009, the average net worth of the 435 House reps more than doubled, from $280,000 to $725,000, not including home equity, according to a Washington Post analysis of financial disclosures.

And while lawmakers in the “people’s house” grew significantly richer, the people they represent became slightly poorer, with the average wealth of an American household dropping from $20,600 to $20,500 over the same time period, the Post reports.

This growing disparity may be due, in part, to the rising cost of campaigning, which may deter less-affluent citizens from seeking public office.

To win a House seat, candidates spent an average of $1.4 million in 2010, four times as much as was spent in 1976, according to the Federal Election Commission. Winning a Senate seat is nearly 10 times as expensive, with the average successful Senate campaign shelling out nearly $10 million in 2010.

Unquestionably in Congress' favor: security trading laws. While all Americans -- including those in the so-called "1%" that even some on Capitol Hill malign as "fat cats" -- are beholden to insider trading laws, Congress members are not, allowing them and members of their staffs to trade on insider info about economic data, patents, and other market-shaking information.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Poll: Americans Better Off Than Their Parents

Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A majority of Americans say they are better off financially than their parents were at the same age, though seniors are more positive about their wealth than younger people, according to a Gallup poll.

Of 1,012 adults surveyed, 69 percent said they're better off financially than their parents, down from the 74 percent who said so in 1998, the last time Gallup asked this question.

Gallup asked adults age 18 and older: "Think of your parents when they were your age. Would you say you are better off financially than they were, or not?"

"Most Americans still think they are doing better financially than their parents did when they were the same age," Elizabeth Mendes, deputy managing editor at Gallup, wrote in a blog post. "This is positive news, given the difficult state of the U.S. economy over the past several years -- with millions of Americans seeing their home values deteriorate and jobs evaporate."

Homes in the U.S. are expected to lose $681 billion in value in 2011, according to Zillow. Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate is 8.6 percent, the lowest this year but still higher than many economists had hoped. Unemployment has remained persistently high since the recession began in 2008, with the country witnessing the longest stretch the jobless rate has stayed over 8 percent since 1948.

Older Americans were more positive in their response than younger respondents for the survey. The poll of Americans 18 and older was taken Nov. 28 to Dec. 1.

For respondents age 65 and up, 78 percent said they were better off than their parents while 64 percent of those aged 18 to 29 said so.

The Gallup poll results echo a survey from Pew Research Center last month which indicated wealthy older Americans are better-off than those three decades ago in income, employment, homeownership and housing values.

Pew analyzed the economic well-being of older and younger adults and found that the age-based wealth gap, comparing the net worth of those over 65 with those under 35, skyrocketed. In 1984 it was 10:1, and in 2009 it jumped to 47:1.

Wealthier Americans said they were better off than their parents than poorer respondents. Eighty percent of those making $75,000 or more per year said they were better off than their parents. Of those making $30,000 per year or less, 52 percent said they are better off.

Gallup said the age and income patterns in this year's survey are "the same" as they were in 1998.

There are generational differences in perceptions of wealth. Earlier this month, Gallup released the results of another poll asking, "how much money per year would you need to make in order to consider yourself rich?"

While the overall median response of the 1,012 adults was an income of $150,000, younger respondents age 18 to 49 had a median amount of $160,000. Those 50 and older said they would feel rich with $100,000.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hiring to Increase Slightly at Start of New Year, Survey Finds

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MILWAUKEE) -- Fourteen percent of bosses across the country plan to add jobs in the first quarter of 2012, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released Tuesday by the ManpowerGroup.

“All four geographic regions that we surveyed report a positive hiring outlook for the first quarter of 2012,” explains Manpower vice president Melanie Holmes. “The Midwest is the strongest, and the West is the weakest.”

“Twelve of the 13 industry sectors that we surveyed have a positive outlook,” Holmes said. “Mining tops the list, followed by leisure and hospitality, wholesale and resale trade and professional and business services.” Only one industry sector -- construction -- is still negative, and that's because of the housing slump.

While the report offers an optimistic outlook for next year, Holmes says there’s plenty of room for improvement.

“When business is really good and the economy is healthy, our net employment outlook can be in the 20s -- and it’s in single digits currently,” Holmes said. “Historically we're not as positive as we'd like to be -- but again, the trend is going in the right direction. For nine straight quarters we've shown a positive hiring outlook.”

“When seasonal variations are removed from the survey results, the Net Employment Outlook for Quarter 1 2012 is +9%, an increase from the +7% Outlook during Quarter 4 2011, and stable compared to one year ago when the Outlook was +8%,” the report says. “This represents the most promising hiring Outlook since 2008.”

Manpower surveyed 18,000 employers for their latest report, which is released every three months.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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