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Auto Loan Delinquency Increases

It shouldn’t come as a surprise but many are still concerned about the increase in auto loan delinquency during the third quarter of this year. More Americans were late in their loan repayment as job cuts and lay-offs continued. The auto delinquency rate is determined by the amount of people who fall behind 60 days or more on their repayments.

It edged up to 0.81 percent in the July-September quarter. This increase reflects both seasonal trends and the weak economy. It’s actually quite common for late payments to occur during this period because borrowers focus on other expenses. Many of them get back on track during the first and second quarters. But amid these worrying figures, there are some bright spots.

Washington DC, for example, experienced a significant rate decrease in delinquency. Other states such as North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland, and Vermont also saw a decrease as well. North and South Dakota typically have the lowest delinquency rates in the United States for all kinds of loans. It is the improvements see in states like Louisiana that can be seen as a sign of recovery. Year-on-year, the state’s auto delinquency rate plummeted by over 14 percent.

While it is too early to say for certain, some analysts believe that the some spots in the country are starting to recover faster than the others. The relatively small increase in delinquency compared to 2008 also reveals that these types of loans are quite difficult to get today because financial companies have raised their lending standards.

Meanwhile, consumers are also trying to cut spending and taking on fewer loans. The rate of auto delinquency followed the results of mortgage delinquency. On the other hand, credit card delinquency mellowed in the third quarter from the second.

E-Commerce Sales Might Go Up, But Not Enough

With almost every American feeling the pinch, every little bit counts. Some hopes are pinned on e-commerce sales in the United States. However, even as it toppled analysts’ sales estimates, it is unlikely to be large enough to change the outlook in holiday spending this season. According to Forester Research Inc, e-commerce represents only about 6 percent of total spending, while significant, it is not enough to offset the pace of decline in in-store sales.

Online retailers have a lot to be happy about though. Online sales are around 14 percent higher so far compared to last year. A lot of consumers are going online to compare holiday deals and search for discounts. As such, traditional retailers are given a chance to increase their sales by offering irresistible deals.

But people are not only looking for deals on the internet, they are also browsing in stores like Best Buy Co, Target, and Wal-Mart to save money. This year, more people visited stores during the Thanksgiving weekend but they spent less on average. The trend worries many retailers but they are coming up with ways to stay profitable.

According to the chief executive officer of Mercent Corp, “retailers are being aggressive with promotions and a low-cost assortment of goods and value-conscious consumers are responsive to those deals.” Mercent tracks sales associated with internet advertising from 120 merchants. That is, the number of clicks on internet ads that result in sales.

The last several days marked the start of the holiday shopping season in America. Black Friday, the first day after Thanksgiving, is traditionally the time when retailers start becoming profitable. This year, it was promoted as “Cyber Monday” because of the boost in internet shopping.

Holiday Spending – Should You Save Instead?

Individuals listening to politicians, looking at the movements of the stock market, and reading recent news reports almost inevitably get a boost in confidence. After all, “improvements” are being seen everywhere. But does the macroeconomic upturn really affect your daily life? It is good to have some level of optimism. It is a different matter altogether if you use this as an excuse to spend more or become irresponsible with your financial obligation.

Take note that even if the stock market improves, it does not necessarily mean that there is an improvement in the GDP, which is the factor that decreases unemployment. Spending too much money at this point is not only ill-advised; it can also be devastating to your finances. Also, try to ask yourself whether you really want to return to your old holiday shopping habits under these conditions. Some blogs that tackle this topic further are listed below:

Marketing Profs uploaded a recent blog post titled, “Weaker Online Holiday Spending Expected”. The article revealed that despite the improving economy, consumers will still hold on tightly to their money. Nielsen’s survey showed that 42 percent of consumers intend to spend less this year compared to last years. In addition, they will spend a smaller percentage of their budget online.

The Project Economy Blog has an interesting article titled “Investors Eye Consumers’ Holiday Spending”. While research shows that shoppers will spend less this year because of the difficult economic times, the number of buyers will actually increase. It also talked about the importance of holiday shopping because most retail outlets rely on it for 40 percent of their profit. The actions of consumes during this period can make or break the industry.

Kelly from Almost Frugal asks her readers “How Much Are You Spending for the Holidays?” She recounts her own family’s experience when it comes to spending. This is a more personal blog post because she talked about how her family coped with spending for birthdays, weddings, Thanksgiving, and anniversaries.

When To Quit Your Job – How Much Money Do You Need?

Everyone has probably thought of it. Whether it is easing into early retirement, starting your own business, or earning passive income, people want to live the good life. Quitting your job and seeking better opportunities is a perennial topic but it is more relevant today than ever before. So many people are either working part-time, unemployed, or fearing that they will be part of the next batch of lay-offs. As a result the real unemployment rate has only gone higher and higher.

The situation is a lot worse in the United States because people don’t want to lose their group health insurance. But even if you decide to get your own insurance, the main question is how much do you need to survive without your job? Would you also buy life insurance if were not provided? This is one of the main factors that keep people stuck to where they are.

What Kind of Escape do you want?

Determine what kind of escape you want – whether it is a change in career, semi-retirement, or retirement and then plan accordingly. Also, try to gauge your current standard of living. A civil servant might be happy to live on his pension and may not need anything else. But a highly-paid executive may not be happy with this set-up. Basically, the pile of cash you need depends on your circumstance and preference.

Are You Willing to Relocate?

If you are shifting from one job to another, some people would recommend having at least six months worth of savings. However, if you’re looking to start your own business, it is a different matter altogether. For people who had been there, they recommend at least two years worth of savings – in a very accessible, liquid form. The good news is relocating from one area to another can stretch your dollar significantly.

How Far with Your Dollars Stretch over the Long Term?

There are a lot of factors that can affect the value of your money today. Even a person investing conservatively should earn at least 3 percent annually to cover inflation. Anyone who is seriously considering an escape should take a look at their cash flow.

Will You Be Willing to Cut Back – Significantly?

It is a fact that middle-class households usually have budgets that can be dramatically cut. But people see their neighbor’s luxury as their necessity and this is where the problems occur. Use the zero-based accounting to determine how much you can cut back each month.

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