The longest U.S. government shutdown in history laid bare an uncomfortable truth: Americans aren’t saving enough and the majority of us have no rainy-day fund to protect us when the inevitable you-know-what hits the fan.
More than 70% (!) of all types of employees at all income levels surveyed live paycheck to paycheck and said they’d have difficulty meeting their financial obligations if their paycheck were delayed for just one week! That’s according to the 2018 “Getting Paid in America” Survey by the American Payroll Association.
This explains why, after missing just one or two paychecks, we heard so many heart-breaking stories from government workers who weren’t being paid or were furloughed. For example… [Read more…] “The Most Important Lesson Learned from the Government Shutdown: Americans’ Finances are Fragile”
What was until recently an unloved bull market has now reached the point of “euphoria,” and investors are “having a hard time imagining a decline,” according to Morgan Stanley.
After all, what’s not to love about a bull market that has only two directions – up… and up faster?
It’s being called a “market melt-up,” and the main fear people now have is of missing out.
Those caught up in the euphoria – and the fear of missing out – might want to consider the following:
- The S&P 500 is trading at 2.3 times its companies’ sales – a smidgen below its dot-com peak
- Price-earnings ratios have only been higher for 1% of the stock index’s history
- The cyclically adjusted price-earnings ratio is higher than before the crash of 1929, and higher than at any moment in history except right before the dot-com crash
Those of us who experienced the pain of the dot-com meltdown in 2002 and the financial crash of 2008 hope that the market will never become that irrationally exuberant again.
Back then, people justified their exuberance with the mantra that “this time it’s different.” [Read more…] “The Stock Market Never Goes Down Any More? (Really?!?)”
A comment last week by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen (read Is Pamela Yellen Related to Janet Yellen?) sent my inquiring mind down an investigative rabbit hole. (Update: Janet Yellen was replaced by Jerome Powell in January, 2018.)
Janet stated that the Great Recession showed that a large number of American families are “extraordinarily vulnerable” to financial setbacks because they have few financial assets to fall back on when the you-know-what hits the fan.
She cited a new study showing that an unexpected expense of just $400 would force the majority of American families to borrow money or to have to sell something to cover it.
Just $400! Yikes! What is that? A minor car or appliance repair or a small medical or dental expense?
That stat came from a survey released by the Federal Reserve this summer that was so ignored by the media that it even escaped my notice.
When I finally tracked down that Federal Reserve survey (Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2013), I could see why the media wanted to keep it under wraps.
Here are a few startling revelations from this Report…
[Read more…] “Fed says most Americans “extraordinarily vulnerable” to financial setbacks”