|By PR Newswire||
|November 21, 2012 12:44 PM EST||
Spending Plans May Reflect Perceived Improvement in Financial Situation and Less Concern About Repaying Debt
Gap Between Affluent and Poor Widens
WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More consumers plan to spend more than last year, and fewer consumers less than last year, according to the 13th annual holiday spending survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). In the past year, the percentage who said they would spend more than last year rose from 8 to 12, and the percentage who said they would spend less declined from 41 to 38. These differences are statistically significant.
In both years, the survey questions were developed by CFA and CUNA and were administered to a representative sample of adult Americans by ORC International in early November (9-13 this year). This year, 660 persons were interviewed by landline and 352 by cell phone.
"Our survey results suggest that holiday spending this year will likely rise by between 3.5% and 4% compared to last year," said Bill Hampel, Chief Economist for the Credit Union National Association. "This represents the fourth year of gradual improvement in holiday spending plans since a sharp decline in such plans in 2008."
The intention of consumers to increase holiday spending from last year is consistent with, and may well reflect, perceived improvement in their financial situation. From 2011 to 2012, the percentage who said their financial situation was better than a year ago rose from 19 to 24, and the percentage who said it was worse fell from 37 to 33. Again, the change is statistically significant.
Despite the rise of student debt and continued concern about mortgage debt, the percentage of those who said they were concerned about meeting monthly debt payments fell from 45 to 43 percent. And those who said they were unconcerned rose marginally from 38 to 39 percent. One factor here might be the increasing percentage -- 19 to 24 percent in the past year -- who said they did not have any credit card payments.
Yet, things are still financially tight for many families. When asked if they had extra funds (not including lines of credit) available to pay for an unexpected expense of $1,000, only 49 percent said that they did. This lack of emergency savings may help explain why an increasing percentage -- 38 to 43 over the past year -- said that, if they received an unexpected windfall of $5,000, they would use most of it to add to savings or investments.
Gap Between Affluent and Poor Widens
There have been many studies and press reports on huge income and wealth gaps between high- and low-income families. But there has been little focus on whether these gaps have increased over the past year. The 2011 and 2012 surveys suggest that they have.
Whether respondents reported they would increase or decrease holiday spending from last year was related to income. Among those with incomes under $25,000, 11 percent said they would spend more while 44 percent said they would spend less. Among those with incomes over $100,000, 18 percent said they would spend more while 31 percent would spend less.
These income-related differences in spending plans may well reflect perceptions about one's financial situation. Among the low-income group, only 21 percent said this situation was better than last year while 45 percent said it was worse. Among the upper-income group, 30 percent said their financial situation was better while only 23 percent said it was worse.
The linkage between holiday spending plans and perceived financial situation was made even clearer by correlating the two variables. Among those who said their situation had improved, 31 percent were planning to spend more than last year while only 19 percent were planning to spend less. But among those who said their situation had worsened, only 2 percent were planning to spend more than last year while 66 percent were planning to spend less.
"It is unfortunate that families with the lowest incomes are more likely than high-income families to think their financial situation has deteriorated over the past year, so are more likely to cut back holiday spending," said CFA Executive Director Stephen Brobeck.
Even though fewer lower-income than upper-income families carry consumer and mortgage debt, a far higher percentage of the former than the latter expressed concern about this debt -- 51 vs. 28 percent. In part, this may reflect the fact that only 19 percent of the lower-income, but 82 percent of the upper-income, respondents said they had extra funds to cover a $1,000 unexpected expense.
CUNA/CFA Tips For Keeping Holiday Debt Under Control
CUNA and CFA suggest the following tips to avoid getting deep into debt during the holidays. "With just a little planning, consumers can substantially reduce their holiday spending debt load without sacrificing holiday quality," Brobeck said.
Make a Budget, and a List: Right now, decide how much you can afford to spend and stay within that budget. Staying within budget will be much easier if you make a price list of all gifts and other holiday items you plan to purchase. Even if it's a more general rather than detailed list, it will still help you avoid overspending and impulse buys.
Check It Twice: Make sure your list includes not only gift or gift recipients, but also all the projects and activities that make up your holiday. It's easy to overlook extra expenses for holiday foods, party clothes, holiday decor and postage. Examine each item and ask yourself, "Does it earn its place in our celebration?" You might discover how much you're doing just out of habit or perceived expectation.
Comparison Shop: You can easily save more than 10 percent on most items, sometimes considerably more, by comparing prices at different stores. The Internet and smart phones have made comparison shopping that much easier. But when shopping online, shop wisely. Be sure you are purchasing from a secure site and review emailed statements for accuracy as you receive them.
Make Time Your Ally. The reason to start sooner rather than later is that when you delay, you pay. At last minute, you have to settle for something, and it might cost more than you wanted or planned to pay. After Christmas is a good time to shop for next year's presents. You can find some great bargains right after the holidays. Then tuck those gifts away until next season (just don't forget about them!). Another benefit to starting early: It gives you more time to find the "right" gift and avoid impulsive decisions, which too often leave you less happy with your purchase.
Pay Off Debts Quickly: You're less likely to overdo it if you pay in cash. If you must make holiday purchases using credit, use a lower-interest card (you'll often find lower rates on credit union cards) and pay off this debt as soon as possible early next year. Don't borrow more than you can repay in several months. Remember that credit card debt is relatively expensive. And if you only make the required minimum monthly payment, you may never pay off the debt.
Plan for Next Year by Opening a Christmas Club Account: While these accounts do not pay much, if any, interest, they provide a practical way to save small amounts over time. Ask your credit union or bank to automatically transfer funds from your checking to your Christmas Club account every month. The discipline of saving reinforces your good budget intentions. Find credit unions you're eligible to join at www.aSmarterChoice.org
See what's in your supply drawer: You may have more wrapping paper, ribbons, unused cards and gift boxes stored away from last season than you realize. Use up those holiday supplies first to trim down the amount you'll have to buy this season.
Understand how layaway programs work. An old holiday standby -- store layaway programs -- have re-emerged this holiday season, allowing consumers to put items on hold at the store and pay for them over time. Before deciding to use layaway, know the payment schedule and read the fine print. Be realistic about how these payments will fit into your spending plan and what you can really afford. Understand the layaway policy including time between payments and schedule of payments, service fees, late and cancellation fee policies, refund and exchange policies.
Be Smart About Gift Cards: The rules today significantly restricted gift card expiration dates and fees compared to several years ago. But those who give or receive a gift card should still read the fine print. And if you get a gift card, use it sooner rather than later to avoid forgetting about unused balances on the card, or forgetting about the card altogether. And if you still have gift cards you received from others last year, use them to shop this year. It's a smart way to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.
Pay Attention to the Return Policy. Some stores have tighter policies. Pay attention to the return policy when you make a purchase; keep receipts and note time limits, restocking fees, and other factors that may affect your recipient.
Find Some Low- or No-Cost Ways to Celebrate. Adding a few changes can ease the strain on your spending budget. For example, draw names to limit the number of people for whom you purchase gifts; give homemade items; make your own gift wrap; organize a potluck rather than trying to make, and pay for, the entire holiday meal.
Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is the primary national trade association for the country's 7,300 state and federally chartered credit unions, which are not-for-profit financial cooperatives serving more than 95 million Americans. More at www.cuna.org. To learn more about or locate credit unions: www.aSmarterChoice.org
The Consumer Federation of America is an association of nearly 300 nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
May. 4, 2015 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,277
Avnet, Inc. has announced that it ranked No. 4 on the InformationWeek Elite 100 – a list of the top business technology innovators in the U.S. Avnet was recognized for the development of an innovative cloud-based training system that serves as the foundation for Avnet Academy – the company’s education and training organization focused on technical training around top IT vendor technologies. The development of this system allowed Avnet to quickly expand its IT-related training capabilities around the world, while creating a new service that Avnet and its IT solution providers can offer to their...
May. 4, 2015 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 604
SYS-CON Events announced today that B2Cloud, a provider of enterprise resource planning software, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. B2cloud develops the software you need. They have the ideal tools to help you work with your clients. B2Cloud’s main solutions include AGIS – ERP, CLOHC, AGIS – Invoice, and IZUM
May. 4, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,417
The Internet of Things Maturity Model (IoTMM) is a qualitative method to gauge the growth and increasing impact of IoT capabilities in an IT environment from both a business and technology perspective. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan will first scan the IoT landscape and investigate the major challenges and barriers. The key areas of consideration are identified to get started with IoT journey. He will then pinpoint the need of a tool for effective IoT adoption and implementation, which leads to IoTMM in which five maturity levels are defined: Advanced, Dynamic, Optimized, Primitive,...
May. 4, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,070
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
May. 4, 2015 11:22 AM EDT Reads: 528
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immediate and actionable interpretation of events as they happen. Another aspect concerns how to deliver ...
May. 4, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 5,709
Enterprise IoT is an exciting and chaotic space with a lot of potential to transform how the enterprise resources are managed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Hari Srinivasan, Sr Product Manager at Cisco, will describe the challenges in enabling mass adoption of IoT, and share perspectives and insights on architectures/standards/protocols that are necessary to build a healthy ecosystem and lay the foundation to for a wide variety of exciting IoT use cases in the years to come.
May. 4, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,207
The world's leading Cloud event, Cloud Expo has launched Microservices Journal on the SYS-CON.com portal, featuring over 19,000 original articles, news stories, features, and blog entries. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. Microservices Journal offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. Follow new article posts on Twitter at @MicroservicesE
May. 4, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,865
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch of Docker's initial release in March of 2013, interest was revved up several notches. Then late last...
May. 4, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,813
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
May. 4, 2015 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 4,285
So I guess we’ve officially entered a new era of lean and mean. I say this with the announcement of Ubuntu Snappy Core, “designed for lightweight cloud container hosts running Docker and for smart devices,” according to Canonical. “Snappy Ubuntu Core is the smallest Ubuntu available, designed for security and efficiency in devices or on the cloud.” This first version of Snappy Ubuntu Core features secure app containment and Docker 1.6 (1.5 in main release), is available on public clouds, and for ARM and x86 devices on several IoT boards. It’s a Trend! This announcement comes just as...
May. 4, 2015 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,185
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
May. 4, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 5,317
It's time to put the "Thing" back in IoT. Whether it’s drones, robots, self-driving cars, ... There are multiple incredible examples of the power of IoT nowadays that are shadowed by announcements of yet another twist on statistics, databases, .... Sorry, I meant, Big Data(TM), tiered storage(TM), complex systems(TM), smart nations(TM), .... In his session at WebRTC Summit, Dr Alex Gouaillard, CTO and Co-Founder of Temasys, will discuss the concrete, cool, examples of IoT already happening today, and how mixing all those different sources of visual and audio input can make your life happier ...
May. 4, 2015 10:04 AM EDT Reads: 490
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
May. 4, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 5,491
SYS-CON Events announced today the IoT Bootcamp – Jumpstart Your IoT Strategy, being held June 9–10, 2015, in conjunction with 16th Cloud Expo and Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Javits Center in New York City. This is your chance to jumpstart your IoT strategy. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but includes hands-on demos and walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of Do-It-Yourself IoT platforms including Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark and Intel Edison. You will also get an overview of cloud technologies s...
May. 4, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,882
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
May. 4, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,363
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
May. 4, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 5,829
The WebRTC Summit 2015 New York, to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 16th International Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit.
May. 4, 2015 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,104
Chuck Piluso will present a study of cloud adoption trends and the power and flexibility of IBM Power and Pureflex cloud solutions. Speaker Bio: Prior to Data Storage Corporation (DSC), Mr. Piluso founded North American Telecommunication Corporation, a facilities-based Competitive Local Exchange Carrier licensed by the Public Service Commission in 10 states, serving as the company's chairman and president from 1997 to 2000. Between 1990 and 1997, Mr. Piluso served as chairman & founder of International Telecommunications Corporation, a facilities-based international carrier licensed by t...
May. 4, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 790
There are lots of challenges in IoT around secure, scalable and business friendly infrastructure for enterprises. For large corporations, IoT implementations are one of the top priorities of the decade. All industries are seeing a competitive need to sustain by investing in IoT initiatives. The value addition comes from improved customer service, innovative product and additional revenue streams. The data from these IP-connected devices can be leveraged for a variety of business applications as well as responsive action controls. The various architectural building blocks of an IoT ...
May. 4, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,121