Posts Tagged "consumption"
May 26, 2022
Parents Work Less After Kids Leave Home
When children grow up and become financially independent, how do parents adjust their finances? Are they finally spending money on themselves? Saving more for retirement? Paying down debt?
No one has come up with a convincing answer yet. Especially puzzling is that past research has shown that parents seem to reduce their consumption after the adult children move out. Yet there’s no evidence that much of the extra money is going into 401(k)s. So what’s going on?
A new study for the first time finds a missing puzzle piece: parents, freed from the obligation to support their children, are choosing to work less.
Parents work one to two hours less per week after their adult children leave home for good, according to researchers at the American Enterprise Institute and the Center for Retirement Research.
Consistent with this finding, their household income declines roughly 4 percent because they’re working fewer hours or finding less demanding jobs with lower pay.
Reaching this conclusion required a series of steps. First, the researchers broadened the definitions of saving and consumption used in earlier studies to see if that shed any light on the issue. Finally, they looked at the parents’ decisions about work.
In the past, the estimates of saving had largely been confined to putting money in 401(k)s. Perhaps something could be learned by counting paying off a mortgage or other debts as a form of saving. But the researchers still found no evidence parents are paying their debts off faster after the kids leave.
So where is that extra money going? …Learn More
April 26, 2022
Workers Stress about Inflation Spike
Regular working folks can always find something about their finances to be stressed about. But today’s stress is coming from a new place: a level of inflation this country hasn’t seen in four decades.
A large majority of workers – 76 percent – identified rising prices as having a negative impact on their finances. And among households earning under $55,000, 84 percent are feeling stretched, according to the financial services website Salaryfinance.com.
Nearly half of the 3,000 workers the firm surveyed in February specifically said that inflation is stressing them out, causing anxiety, depression, or both. They said the inflation makes it tough to afford basic necessities or save money.
The stress is understandable. The consumer price index has risen 8.5 percent over the past year, and the increase isn’t just at the grocery store or the gas pump. A narrower measure of inflation that excludes food and energy is also up sharply – 6.5 percent for the year. Housing, another necessity, is driving up living costs too.
Workers got some protection from price hikes in 2021, because their wages were outpacing prices, according to the Wharton School. But those gains could disappear this year if inflation continues to accelerate.