Financial Tidbits 05/23/2013

About 56% more small business owners sold their businesses to someone else in Q1 vs. the same period last year, according to analysis by 

Harvard reports home improvement spending climbed 9% in 2012 vs. the prior year.

A survey by Vanguard finds about 33% of people ages 25 to 34 do not save anything in their 401(k). 

The Census Bureau reports small businesses operated by a single person represent more than 70% of all companies in the US.

Ellie Mae indicates mortgage payments including taxes and insurance should be no more than 28% of gross income for a borrower.

The latest data from the Fed finds credit card balances decreased 2.4% in Mar. vs. Feb.

The price of building supplies is up 9% over the past 3Ys. Plywood is up 34%, framing lumber has jumped 25% and insulation is up 18%.

An estimated $200B is expected to be loaded onto prepaid cards in the US this year, a 600% increase over the past 3Ys or so.

A study by Borrell Associates finds 75% of small business owners say the ability to target advertisements by customer location is important when it comes to mobile marketing campaigns.

A survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) finds more than 33% of workers experience chronic work stress. It also found contributing factors include low salaries, a lack of opportunity for advancement and heavy workloads.

Accenture finds 41% of workers who graduated from college in the past 2Ys say they are underemployed, as they are working in jobs that do not require their college degrees. What’s more, nearly 63% of those interviewed say they will need more training in order to get their desired job.

The National Association of Realtors reports vacation home sales climbed 10% in 2012 vs. 2011.

A survey by CNNMoney finds most people carry 1 or 2 credit cards (44%), followed by 3 to 5 (37%), more than 5 (16%) and 0 (3%). Meanwhile, the average card balance in 2012 was $1,688 vs. $1,952 in 2010.

The Department of Agriculture predicts a 25% decline in farm profits in 2014, as commodity prices flatten and exports decline.

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Financial Tidbits 05/20/2013

 A survey by the Center for Professional Excellence of HR professionals finds 50% say most recentTexting college graduates are not professional in their first year on the job, up from 40% who felt that way last year. Texting in meetings, a more casual to business and other factors are more typical now.

Research finds banks continue to loosen credit standards as they try to address the more than $2T in excess deposits vs. loans currently in the system.

A survey by research firm Penn Schoen Berland of small business owners finds technology needs are handled by the owners themselves (47%), freelance technology specialists (38%), an in-house dedicated technology employee (18%) and outside technology vendors (14%).

A survey by Mojiva finds 79% of those surveyed now read financial news on their tablets or smartphones and 72% use a banking app or visit the online site at least weekly.

Analysis by Pew Research finds the median debt of households headed by an adult 35Ys or younger declined 29% from 2007 to 2010 ($21.9k vs. $15.5k) vs. 8% for those ages 35Ys or older ($32.5k vs. $30.1k).

A survey by research firm Penn Schoen Berland of small business owners finds the top five sources of funding are: personal savings (39%), other (29%), banks (22%), friends/family (4%) and government grants (3%).

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Posted in Balance Sheet, Bank, Business, Credit, Debt, Entrepreneur, Internet Banking, iPad, Loan, Money, Small Business, Smartphone, SMB

Financial Tidbits 05/14/2013

English: The three biggest web search engines

English: The three biggest web search engines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The FDIC reports community banks hold only 14% of banking industry assets, but originate 46% of all small loans to businesses and farms in the country.

RealtyTrac reports foreclosure activity in Apr. hit the lowest level in 74months, as the housing sector gets better. 

Analysis by Entrepreneur finds 75% of people using search engines won’t click past the first page results and 93%use search engines as their first place to begin research.

Cisco reports that as of early 2012, the percentage of people in this country who owned a smartphone passed the 50% level.

The latest research by the Wireless Industry Association finds 34% of US households as of 2011 only use wireless phones, as land lines go the way of the dinosaur.

BLS data finds roughly 40% of married women now earn more than their husbands vs. only 18% in 1987. The simple fact is that women today are the primary wage earners in many households and they are also more likely to be single than a generation ago. That means they are making financial decisions for themselves and for their families, not only because they want to, but in many cases, because they must.

Women are relatively confident in their ability to achieve financial goals such as buying a house, reducing debt, being able to support themselves and not being a financial burden to their families. Yet, 40% said they needed help to feel financially prepared. In addition only 22% felt “very well equipped” to make wise financial decisions.

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Financial Tidbits 05/08/2013


LinkedIn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As with a lion in Africa, a “watering hole” cyber attack refers to a process where someone profiles the victim using the kind of websites they visit, tests those websites for vulnerabilities and then stakes one out to target a victim, install malware and attack.

CNNMoney reports 92% of employers now use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to find new employees.

In the past 16Ys, the number of women-owned businesses grew at 1.5X the national average. In fact, the study found that the growth in the number, employment and revenues of women-owned firms over this period exceeds the growth rates of all but the largest, publicly traded firms. It also handily beats the growth rates in number, employment and revenue of all privately held businesses over this period.

A survey of small business owners by Constant Contact finds 66% use a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) in their business. In addition, 82% use a calendar app, 74% communicate with customers, 52% use GPS and mapping, 44% use accounting or invoicing and 44% read industry news.

Bring your own Identification (BYOID) is the new term for biometrics. Research by Unisys finds the top customer preferences by device are voice recognition (32%); fingerprint (27%); facial scan (20%); hand/palm (12%) and iris (eye) scan (10%). As mobile device usage and mobility increase, passwords are becoming too difficult to handle, so more efforts are moving into BYOID.

If you are wondering why biometrics or BYOID is gaining traction, consider research by Harris Interactive finds 58% of people have 5 or more passwords, 30% have 10 or more and 8% have 21 or more. Maybe that is why nearly 40% of people have to ask for assistance to reset a password at least 1x per month.

Research by the ABA finds 62% of people say the internet is their preferred method of banking, followed by 20% who say the branch.

A study by the Self Storage Association finds 10% of households pay for extra storage space to handle the overflow of their things. This is up 65% since 1998.

Research by the Federal Reserve finds 28% of mobile phone owners have used mobile banking in past 12  months – a 33% jump vs. prior year. Further, 48% of smartphone users have done banking through their phone in past 12 months – a 14% increase vs. prior year.

A survey of small businesses by the National Small Business Association finds 40% outsource their payroll management.

The FHFA said FNMA and FHLMC will only be able to purchase “qualified mortgages” under the CFPB’s ability-to-repay rule (full amortization, 30Ys or shorter maturity, points & fees of less than 3%) going forward.

A Manta survey finds nearly 40% of small business owners say they are seeing a return on investment from using social media. Further, 74% have one person dedicated to social media activities and 81% have increased the amount of time they are investing in social media vs. last year.

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Posted in Employees, Jobs, SMB, Social Media

Financial Tidbits 04/30/2013

A recent study shows that 25% of people ages 44 to 70 are interested in becoming an entrepreneur and 63% of Americans plan to work during retirement, according to

The SBA has a toolkit for people ages 50+ that includes free online courses targeted at helping older entrepreneurs start or grow their businesses, it can be found on

A recent Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) survey found the percentage of Boomers confident in their retirement preparations has declined by 7 percentage points in the past two years, to 37% in 2013.

Research by Symantec finds companies with less than 250 employees were the focus of 31% of all cyber attacks last year vs. 18% in 2011. About 56% of scams came through social media and were fake gift cards or surveys. Other interesting information from the survey: 1 in every 291 emails contains a virus; 1 in every 414 emails is phishing; the number of identities stolen per breach has jumped 350% vs. 2011; financial services was the 2nd  highest industry attacked at 19% vs. 24% for manufacturing at #1; and the top causes of  data breaches last year were by hackers (40%), accidentally made public (23%), theft or loss of computer (23%) and insider theft (8%). 

The Guardian is reporting Facebook lost 4.0% of its users in the US (9mm) and 4.5% in the UK (2mm), as people spent less time on desktops and mobile usage increased.

Analysis by CNBC of the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) designed to help people stay in their home and avoid foreclosure finds 46% of the oldest permanent modifications have re-defaulted.

The largest bank in the country is JPMorgan Chase, which has grown 60% from 2006 through the end of 2012 and is now $2.03T in size.

The Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity on business creation in the US finds startup activity has fallen to about 0.30% in 2012, about the level of 2007 and down from the peak of 0.34% reached in 2010.

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Posted in Entrepreneur, Facebook, Homeownership, Investing, Market Share, Money, Real Estate, SBA, Small Business, SMB, Success, Technology, Tips, Training

Financial Tidbits 04/24/2013

A study by the Fed NY finds college graduates with student loan debt are less likely to take out auto or home loans than those who have no such debt.

A report by the Brookings Institute finds 60% of job losses between 2007 and 2010 were in construction, manufacturing and retail.

A study by Duke University of 468 chief marketing officers in the US finds they expect to spend 8.4% of their budgets on social media this year, 11.5% next year and 21.6% in 5Ys.

Research firm IDC projects devices running Google’s operating system will hit 49% of the market this year vs. 46% for Apple, as Google surpasses Apple for the first time.

The SBA reports about 50% of all new business ventures fail during their first 5Ys of operation. This is a key reason bank loan officers look for longevity of operation.

A new survey by Ernst & Young of large companies in 50 countries finds 51% of executives think the global economy is improving, but only 29% said it was enough to interest them in making an acquisition this year.

Experts predict in the next 5Ys, 50% of retailers will offer mobile check out using a tablet or smartphone.

A study by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth finds from 2011 to 2012, companies in the Inc. 500 reduced Facebook usage (from 74% to 67%), increased LinkedIn usage (73% to 81%), boosted YouTube usage (30% to 45%) and slightly reduced Twitter usage (67% to 64%).

A KPMG survey of 650 businesses and IT leaders worldwide finds about 50% are already working in the cloud, but 33% said the costs to do so were higher than expected.

The latest Zillow survey shows home prices are expected to rise 4.6% in 2013 and 4.2% in 2014.

Wells Fargo reports the percentage of people borrowing from their 401(k) jumped 28% in Q4 2012 vs. the same period a year earlier. The average loan amount was $7,126 and 34% were taken out by people in their 50s (vs. 29% for those in their 60s and 27% for people in their 40s).

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Posted in Debt, Google, Homeownership, Jobs, Money, Student Loans

Financial Tidbits 04/17/2013

Since the start of quantitative easing #3 in Sep. 2012, the Fed has been purchasing about 60% of total mortgage backed securities available in the market.

JPMorgan now projects home prices nationwide will improve 7.0% this year vs. 3.4% prior.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said the amount of ATM surcharge fees charged by financial institutions has increased over the past 4Ys. The average surcharge fee increased 20% during this period (from $1.75 in 2007 to $2.10 in 2012).

Consulting firm Mercator predicts people in the US will put $202B on reloadable prepaid cards in 2013 vs. $29B in 2009. Perhaps that is one reason why all the large banks have launched and offer prepaid card programs now.

A survey by Sallie Mae and Ipsos finds 33% of college students owned a credit card in 2012 vs. 40% in 2011 and 42% in 2010. Changes in regulation and a move to prepaid cards have been key contributors to the decline.

RealtyTrac reports the number of homes lenders repossessed declined in Mar to the lowest level in 5Ys, but the number of new foreclosure filings increased 2% (showing the sector still needs improvement to get back to where it was prior to the crisis).

If you wanted to know how fast people are going mobile and buying smartphones/tablets vs. PCs, consider statistics from International Data Corp. It found PC sales tanked 14% worldwide in Q1, marking the biggest drop in 20Ys and nearly double the expected decline of 7.7%.

S&P reports US companies reported $14.5B in common stock dividends in Q1, as payout ratios hit 36%.

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