Four-in-10 living paycheck to paycheck, survey finds
NORTHBROOK, Ill. — Forty-one percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, according to a new survey by Allstate Financial.
The survey, the second installment of the company’s "Life Tracks" poll, also found that 8% do not earn enough each month to pay for essentials, while 50% say they have enough money left over at the end of the month after paying for essentials. Overall, 50% said their financial position was "excellent" or "good," while another 50% said theirs was "fair" or "poor." The company hired FTI Consulting to survey 1,000 adults between Dec. 15-19, 2012, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1% in 95 out of 100 cases.
"This second Allstate Life Tracks Poll takes the pulse of Americans to measure the health of their personal finance situations," Allstate president and CEO Don Civgin said. "Too many Americans are faced with financial challenges today that lead to an unstable future. As financial services professionals, how we bridge that gap and bring greater awareness to the financial issues people are facing, is the true test of measurable success in our industry."
In particular, men were more enthusiastic about their finances than women, with 53% of men calling their situations "excellent" or "good," compared with 47% of women. Meanwhile, 74% of single parents called their situations "fair" or "poor," but only 46% of households making $50,000 annually or less had a retirement plan in place, compared with 89% of those making $75,000 or more.
While 48% of people who had not graduated from college were living paycheck to paycheck, 32% of those who had graduated were as well.
But at the same time, 91% expressed confidence in their ability to manage their personal finances, with 42% of parents "very confident" they could pay for educational opportunities for their children, and 41% expressing the same sentiments about their ability to buy a car. Forty-seven percent of prospective home buyers said they were "very confident" about their ability to buy a new home, while 41% felt the same about being able to pay for expenses during retirement, and 82% said they thought they were doing better financially than friends, neighbors and coworkers, while 52% said they were doing better than they were when growing up.
A large majority of Americans, 82%, say they make some kind of debt-related payment each month, including 49% who pay credit card debt, 43% making mortgage payments, 36% making car payments, 17% making student loan payments and 15% with medical debts. Of the 51% expecting a tax return, 45% intend to use it to pay off debts. Sixty-five percent of Americans with credit card debt say their debt level has increased or stayed the same in the past year, while 15% say their short-term emergency savings have increased, and 14% say their long-term savings and investment activity has increased, despite 60% saying their savings have remained the same in the past year.
Forty-seven percent say they’re saving less than they should be, while 40% admit they’re not handling their personal finances in the way they’re supposed to or may not know what to do. Fifty-nine percent say they know what they’re supposed to do and generally make the right decisions in regard to personal finances, but 34% say they don’t always do it, and 6% say they’re unsure what to do, though 91% say personal financial management is a skill people can improve during their lifetimes.
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Unfortunately, that’s a clear picture of what we have today. Lots of people work hard to make ends meet, at the same time many people are unemployed. Living is expensive today and to cover at least essential expenses you need to be well paid at work. And quite often our expenses are much more than our income so lots of Americans borrow money to buy the necessary things. There are many financial services because today they are in high demand, there are even loans for people who live from paycheck to paycheck. It’s a sad situation because we can be confident about our future.
Shopkick, citing Nielsen data, stakes claim as leading shopping app
PALO ALTO, Calif. — Shopkick, a shopping app, on Wednesday announced that Nielsen ranked Shopkick No. 34 out of approximately 1 million apps in December 2012. While still trailing giants like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter overall, Shopkick dominated the shopping category during the holiday season, with more frequent and prolonged usage than all physical retailers’ own apps including Starbucks, Walmart, Walgreens, Kroger and Safeway, the app developer noted.
"Mobile is redefining the physical retail world," stated Cyriac Roeding, Shopkick CEO. "It is on its way to become the No. 1 marketing tool for retailers and brands, because it is the only interactive medium consumers have with them in the noninteractive physical world, especially at stores. … It’s the perfect way for retailers and brands to touch shoppers at each point in the purchase cycle — from research through browsing, to purchase."
Shopkick 3.0, released last October, topped the Nielsen shopping app statistics. According to Nielsen, shopkick is the No. 4 most widely used shopping app – behind Amazon, eBay and Groupon — which makes it the most widely used shopping app at physical retailers. In addition, Shopkick ranks No. 1 on most time spent in-app per month (2 hours, 37 minutes), No. 1 on the number of sessions per month (22) and No. 1 in terms of time spent per session (7 minutes).
Shopkick’s users viewed more than 1 billion products in the app within three months, a number that previously took Shopkick one-and-a-half years to reach. Previously, users looked at five to eight products per day in the app. With Shopkick 3.0, each user averages over 100 products viewed per day, the company noted.
Since launching in August 2010, Shopkick reported it has driven more than $300 million in revenue to its alliance of retail partners and brands, with more than $200 million in 2012. Each engagement on Shopkick is valuable to brand and retail partners, and is a revenue event for Shopkick: every walk-in to a partner store, every product scan and every purchase.
Shopkick has accumulated 15 national retailers, including Target, Macy’s, Old Navy, American Eagle, Crate & Barrel, Toys"R"Us, ExxonMobil and Simon Malls, and more than 70 brands, such as Procter & Gamble, Kraft Foods, Disney, Revlon, Unilever, Pepsi, and top financial institutions, Visa and MasterCard, as partners.
To provide high-value rewards to shoppers for actually being present in stores, the Shopkick app detects a Shopkick signal, emitted from a patent-pending device located in each participating store and picked up by a shopper’s phone’s microphone and then delivers "kicks," Shopkick’s cross-retailer reward currency.
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Harris Teeter may be next grocer to explore ‘strategic options’
MATTHEWS, N.C. — Carolina retailer Harris Teeter may be exploring a sale, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday evening.
According to the report, Harris Teeter is being advised by JP Morgan. WSJ tabulated Harris Teeter’s market value at $1.8 billion for its 200 supermarkets.
Harris Teeter recently reported a sales increase of 3.7% for its first quarter ended Jan. 1 to $1.2 billion. The chain reported that sales increase was driven by an increase in comparable store sales of 2.5% and sales from new stores, partially offset by store closings.
“We continue to focus on driving unit sales and growing our market share," stated Thomas Dickson, Harris Teeter chairman and CEO at the time first quarter results were announced. "During the first quarter of fiscal 2013, our pricing and promotional strategies were effective in this regard, as evidenced by an increase in the number of active households and number of customer visits we experienced over the prior year. However, aggressive pricing by competitors, low inflation during the period and the generally sluggish retail environment experienced during the holiday season combined to put downward pressure on our gross profit."
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