Financial Tidbits 04/02/2013

The IRS reports it has processed 77.1mm tax returns through Mar. 22 vs. 82mm for the same period last year. The average refund is $2,827 this year vs. $2,860 last year.

Bloomberg reports US bank credit card delinquencies have fallen to 2.47% of all accounts, the lowest level in 18Ys and well below the 15Y average of 3.87%.

An updated report from the Fed indicates the use of mobile banking jumped 33% between 2011 and 2012 and that the most common mobile banking activities were reviewing account balances, monitoring recent transactions or transferring money between accounts. Of note, 21% of mobile banking users have deposited a check with their phone in the 12 months prior to Nov. 2012.

The global chief data and analytics officer of Dun & Bradstreet said in a recent speech that the economy is on solid footing, but that he expects businesses to face 5 more years of slow and inconsistent progress to recover fully from the recession.

The Department of Health and Human Services reports small businesses pay an average of 18% more for employee health insurance than larger ones.

Cisco predicts mobile data traffic will jump 1,700% by 2017.

A study by Pew Research finds 25% of people aged 18 to 34 have moved back home and live with their parents given a still weak economy.

CNNMoney reports 31% of renters expect to buy a home within the next 2Ys vs. 22% in Jan. of 2011.

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Posted in Debt, Economy, Money, Real Estate, Small Business, Tax Returns, Taxes

Financial Tidbits 03/25/2013

The US Mint last year paid about 2 cents to produce and ship each penny it created last year. So can we start saying “a penny saved is two pennies earned”?

A recent survey by the America Saves and the American Savings Education Council finds only about 50% of people say they have good savings habits.

A survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute finds 57% of people have less than $25k in savings and investments, when their home and pension benefits are excluded. In addition, only 50% said they could cover a $2,000 cash need if an unexpected issue surfaced in the next month.

The ABA (American Banker’s Assoication)  reports heavy competition for loans and improving credit quality has led banks to ease C&I underwriting guidelines for mid-sized and large businesses in 12 of the last 13 quarters and for small businesses in 10 of the last 11 quarters.

Identity theft once again tops the list of complaints received by the FTC. Of the more than 2mm complaints received in 2012, 18% were related to identity theft.

YouTube reports the number of unique users visiting the site each month has now surpassed 1B. That is a lot of cat and fail videos!

About 86% of all student loans outstanding are backed by the federal government. According to TransUnion, the 90+day delinquency rate for loans backed by the federal government is over 12%.

The Census Bureau reports the percentage of households that had some form of debt declined to 69% in 2011 from 74% at the end of 2000. Median household debt increased to $70,000 from $50,971 during the same period.

For the first time in history, China surpassed America as the world’s biggest oil importer at the end of 2012. America’s dependence on foreign oil has declined recently, driven by higher shale oil extraction.

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Posted in Bank, Competition, Credit, Debt, Identity Theft, Investing, Loan, Money, Oil, Penny, Savings, Youtube

Financial Tidbits 3/19/2013

FractionsFive out of Four people have Trouble with Fractions!

Bloomberg reports Bank of America is predicting housing prices will increase 8% this year, while JPMorgan Chase forecasts prices will increase 7% this year and rise to 14% by 2015.

The Fed reports household wealth reached $66.1T at the end of 2012, about 98% of the pre-recession high water mark. That news, combined with a surge in equities and rising home prices, has analysts projecting Americans finally recaptured everything they lost during the recession.

Bureau of Labor Statistics data finds about 45% to 50% of new businesses established (from 1995 to 2005) were still around today. That number drops to about 42% by the 7th year, 34% at year 10 and 26% by the 15th year.

The unemployment rate in the US is 7.7% as of the latest report, compared to the worst countries in the world of Greece (26.8%), Spain (26.1%) and South Africa (24.9%). Countries doing the best are Thailand (0.4%), Singapore (1.8%), South Korea (2.9%) & Malaysia (2.9%). Germany is 6.8%, Britain is 7.7%, France is 10.6% & Italy is 11.2%.

A survey by ING finds the average divorced person has $10,000 less in retirement savings than the average married person.

Housing starts came in at 917k vs. 915k est. and 910k prior, as new home construction and building permits jumped to the highest level in 5Ys.

A recent study documented in the New England Journal of Medicine that confirmed the idea a Mediterranean diet (olive oil, nuts, fish and plenty of wine) was more effective in the reduction of heart attacks and strokes than a low fat diet. However, people must drink 7 glass of wine per week to preserve good health. Please eat and drink responsibly.

A recent survey of Americans over age 50 found that 50% failed a rather simple finance math test. Here is the test – there is $100 in a savings account that pays 2% interest annually. If the money is left in the account for 5Ys, will the depositor have: more than $102, exactly $102, or less than $102?

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Posted in Advice, Business Continuity, Finances, Home Prices, Money, Real Estate, Recession, Small Business, Tips

Financial Tidbits 03/11/2013

The CloudAnalysis by Bloomberg finds the largest US companies expanded offshore parking of profits by $183B in the past year, a 14.4% increase over that period. Overall, analysis by JPMorgan Chase estimates all US companies have $1.7T in accumulated offshore profits parked in low-tax countries.

IBM reports 92% of midsize companies say they will invest in the cloud within the next 3Ys.

A 2012 survey of 2,000 American adults found 50% of respondents had 5 or more user-names and passwords and 33% had more than 10. The survey also found 38% of those polled would rather scrub toilets than come up with another unique log-in and password.

A recent BitDefender study found 75% of people use the same social networking and email account usernames and passwords. By hijacking an email account, a hacker can simply use “password help” to get access to everything from bank accounts to social media sites. 

The IRS said many of its agents will focus on people classified as independent contractors vs. hourly or salaried employees, as it prepares to levy fines in this area.

Corporate profits as a percentage of national income hit 14.2% in 3Q 2012, the highest level since 1950.

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Posted in Business, Taxes

Financial Tidbits 03/05/2013

 Forbes released its annual list of billionaires worldwide and the top 5 in order are: Carlos Slim ($73B); Bill Gates ($67B); Amancio Ortega ($57B); Warren Buffet ($53.5B) and Larry Ellison ($43B).

The Labor Department reports people earning in the top 20% account for 38% of all consumer spending, almost as much as the bottom 60% of earners combined.

The WSJ reports app stores run by Apple and Google now offer more than 700k apps each, as revenues reach $25B.

CNBC reports 24% of people have more credit card debt than savings and 16% say they have no credit card debt but also no savings. The good news – 55% of people have an emergency fund that is greater than their credit card debt.

The Fed has released a report showing 35% of those with student loans under 30Ys of age were at least 90 days late on their payments as of the end of 2012, up from 26% in 2008 and 21% in 2004. Overall, 40% of students owe less than $10,000, while 47% owe between $10,000 and $50,000 (up from 38% in 2005).

A JD Power survey finds 67% of consumers have used a company social media sites to obtain service and get questions answered.

Analysts say the expiration of the payroll tax cuts have reduced employee pay by 2%, causing about 46% of consumers to cut back on spending (according to a survey by the National Retail Federation). The survey also found 33% of consumers have cut back on eating at restaurants, 25% are delaying big-ticket purchases and 20% are spending less on groceries.

Link – Architectural Billings Up.

Interpretive Center

Interpretive Center (Photo credit: Nomadic Lass)

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Posted in Business, Consumer, Credit, credit card, Customers, Debt, Driven, Economy, Education, Finances, Google, Loan, Money, Wall Street Journal

Financial Tidbits 02/27/2013

HEZillow reports the percentage of homeowners with negative equity (owe more on their homes than the home is worth) fell to 27.5% as of the end of 2012 vs. 31.1% at the end of the prior year (nearly 12% better).

St. Louis Fed President Bullard said the FOMC will keep monetary policies easy and rates low “for a long time.”

JPMorgan (Chase) said it plans to fire 19,000 people or about 7% of total employees, with 4,000 coming this year and the rest coming through 2014 (mostly in mortgages and community banking).

A recent study that finds only 18% expect business leaders to tell the truth and only 13% expect it from their political leaders.

The top 10 banks control 54% of the deposits; banks that operate in multiple states control 79% of deposits and  banks with assets less than $1B control only 13% of deposits.

Housing foreclosures fell 7% in Jan vs. Dec. and were down 28% YOY.

The FDIC reported yesterday that the banking industry posted a 19% improvement in full year earnings in 2012 vs. 2011, the second highest level ever. Performance was driven primarily by a 25% reduction in loan loss provisions and 8% higher noninterest income (174% gain on loan sales, 94% increase in servicing income and 52% reduction in losses on foreclosed property sales). Loans grew 1.7%, as C&I increased 3.7%, credit cards grew 4.2% and real estate climbed 1.4%. Meanwhile, home equity and real estate construction each declined by 2.2% and 3.1%, respectively. NIM declined 18bp to 3.42% over the year and is down 34bp over the past 2Ys. The total number of institutions fell to 7,083.

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Posted in Bank, Business, Economy, FDIC, Homeownership, Interest Rates, Lending, Money, Real Estate, Recession, Uncategorized

Financial Tidbits 01/21/2013



Tax (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

The Federal income tax began 100 years ago this year (1861), when Abraham Lincoln needed money for the Civil War. This first tax of 3% lasted until 1866 when it was repealed by Congress. Then, in 1894, Congress tried to bring back the tax, only to have the Supreme Court rule it was unconstitutional. After a constitutional amendment, it was finally made final. Things sure have changed from those early days when the tax code was only 38 pages (it is now about 74,000 pages long).

The IRS reports 80% of all tax returns are now filed electronically.

A survey from ADP finds about 50% of part-time workers who are eligible for health care benefits through their job actually enroll. Overall, part-time workers represent 23% of the total workforce.

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Posted in Employees, Insurance, Money, Tax Returns, Taxes

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