Wednesday, January 11, 2006

American Consumer 'Stressed'

A flurry of reports are out on personal finances. "The rush of indebted consumers to file bankruptcy before a tough new law took effect pushed personal filings for 2005 to their highest annual level on record, more than 2 million, according to new data."

"Significant increases in consumer bankruptcy filings occurred in every region. It tallied 2,043,535 new filings last year, up 31.6 percent from 1,552,967 in 2004, meaning that one in every 53 households filed bankruptcy petitions."

"Filings in Ohio jumped 51.7 percent in 2005 to 135,142, making it the second-highest state in volume, the data showed. California was the highest, with 164,856, a 35.9 percent increase."

"Straitened circumstances are becoming more familiar to those in their 20s and 30s as they try to get a foothold on the American Dream. Student loans, depressed wages, rising healthcare costs, and soaring housing prices are creating new economic realities. 'We never imagined we'd be peddling our wares for food money at the age of 30,' one says. A combination of graduate school tuition, meager salaries, unemployment, a career change, and the cost of setting up housekeeping had drained their modest resources."

"The proportion of consumers behind on their credit card bills remained near record-high levels in the July-September period as high gasoline prices and rising interest rates continued to put stress on personal budgets. The American Bankers Associated reported Tuesday that the percentage of credit card accounts 30 or more days past due dipped slightly to 4.74 percent in the July-September quarter after having hit an all-time high of 4.81 percent in the spring."

"Even with the slight decline, consumer card delinquencies in the late summer and early fall were at the third-highest level on record, prompting concerns about more problems to come. 'Signs of financial stress still are present,' said James Chessen, ABA's chief economist."


At 6:23 AM, Blogger txchic57 said...

Amazing, isn't it, when rates are low and the enconomy is supposedly great. Everyone's rich on their home equity, yada yada yada. WS bonuses in the billions. Market at post 9/11 highs.

What's going to happen when things turn south. Scary.

Position: NO credit cards. One debit card with a VISA logo that works just fine.

At 4:12 PM, Blogger SLO renter said...

It IS amazing, when we are at the very beginning of the slowdown and nothing really "bad" has happened yet.


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