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MoneyTalk: 2019 Personal Finance Year in Review

December 27, 2019 @ 2:05 pm CST

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2019 in purple textToday we’re talking about our 2019 Personal Finance Year in Review. Our annual year in review webinar has been hosted for the past 5 years by Dr. Barbara O’Neill and today she shares the 5 biggest highlights of this webinar.
Watch the recording.

Show Notes
  1. What are some interesting 2019 research study results that were mentioned in the webinar?
  • The 2018 NFCS: 53% of 27,091 respondents agreed that thinking about finances made them anxious
  • Hearing about low saving amounts can de-motivate poor savers (they feel they are part of a big group)
  • Avoid “thinking blind spots” about financial goals by offering clients a master list of goals to pick from
  • Evidence of “as soon as…” thinking (sequential goals); encourage funding multiple goals concurrently
  • People respond better if you frame savings deposits granularly (i.e., $5 daily deposits vs. $150 per month)
  • Take care of physical health to reduce dementia risks with the same practices to reduce heart disease risk
  • People cut spending when they are told they spend more than others in similar circumstances
  • 57% of Millennials spent money they weren’t planning to on products they saw in social media feeds
  • HS personal finance course mandates were associated with smarter student loan borrowing decisions
  • 1 in 4 older adults report feelings of isolation; may shorten life expectancy as much as smoking
  1. What were some interesting findings from federal government agency reports?
  • The Survey of Household Economics (SHED) found that 3 in 10 adults have a variable family income
  • SHED also found that 39% of respondents could not cover a $400 expense without borrowing or selling
  • SHED also found that 1 in 5 adults had major unexpected medical bills; 25% have no savings or pension
  • The Census Bureau reported that fewer Americans are living in poverty but more lack health insurance
  • Poverty rate was 11.8% (lowest level since 2001); 27.5 million people lacked health insurance
  • CFPB youth financial education report: well-implemented mandates improved financial behaviors
  1. What were some interesting financial events related to taxes and investing in 2019?
  • More than 25 million taxpayers switched to claiming the standard deduction instead of itemizing
  • Only about 10% of tax returns included itemized deductions vs about 30% previously
  • About 20% of taxpayers were under-withheld in 2018; the IRS subsequently relaxed the penalty trigger
  • The IRS unveiled a new tax form for taxpayers age 65+ that will be available for next tax season
  • The IRS unveiled a draft of a redesigned tax withholding form for 2020 and beyond
  • Morningstar announced that it is planning an evaluation system for cryptocurrencies
  • Some states are considering state-level fiduciary rules for financial advisors
  • The stock market had bouts of volatility; in November 2019, the DJIA index crossed 28,000
  1. What were some interesting financial events related to credit and banking?
  • The average annual percentage rate (APR) on credit cards was 17% (highest rate in > 2 decades)
  • Reason: Creditors are charging higher rates to offset generous rewards programs that eat into profits
  • Robo-advisory firm Betterment started an FDIC-protected savings account with a 2.69% yield
  • Other fintech firms such as Wealthfront and SoFi have also launched non-bank banks
  • About 106 million credit card customers and applicants were affected by the Capitol one hack
  • Terms of the Equifax hack settlement were announced: 10 years of free credit monitoring or up to $125
  • Three Federal Reserve interest rate cuts took place in 2019, almost reversing 2018 rate increases
  • ATM fees climbed to a record high in 2019 and the average overdraft fee was $33.36
  1. What were some other interesting 2019 financial trends and events?
  • Average light duty car prices increased to $37,401; the average car loan is $32,119
  • The average new car loan term reached a new high of 69.17 months (almost 6 years)
  • 2019 was 50th anniversary of financial planning profession which began with a 1969 small group meeting
  • The state of Pennsylvania launched a child savings program called Keystone Scholars
  • 29% of oldest Baby Boomers age 65-72 are working/looking for work (highest rate for ages in > 50 years)
  • Millennials: approaching middle age in worse financial shape than every living generation ahead of them
  • Payday loan protections to ensure that civilian borrowers could repay loans were rolled back by the CFPB
  • The print version of 47-year old Money magazine ceased publication
  • The 35-day federal government shutdown exposed the financial fragility of many U.S. households
  • Auto loan delinquencies surged past Great Recession rates; 7 million borrowers are 90+ days behind


December 27, 2019
2:05 pm CST
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