Money and Happiness in the U.S. – Better Life Index

Better Life Index, just released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Americans’ household wealth is about $102,000 on average, significantly higher than those in many other developed countries. Income inequality is high, however, with the top 20 percent of the population earning nearly $82,000 a year while the bottom 20 percent get by

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Food Stamps - Our Ticket to Prosperity? - "Never spend more than you earn" and "always try and save a little something."

Sure, we should never spend more than we earn. And we should always try to save a little something. But sometimes we need a helping hand from our friends and family to meet financial challenges. People want to help. Giving to someone in need takes some finesse. Only friends, family and neighbors who care, are compassionate

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Debt Deleveraging – is Debt Deflation Coming?

Households and businesses have been reducing debt for a couple of years. But the debt has simply morphed into government debt. But in Europe and the U.S. we’re getting close to debt reduction time, or what’s being referred to as the “fiscal cliff”.
Soon we will be deliberating the possibility of experiencing debt deflation. Austerity is

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Our Unemployment Rate – Do We Have a Structural Jobs Problem?

The unemployment rate is dropping, but not fast enough for many. Jobs affect household spending and are needed to pay down household debt. Jobs affect the well-being of families and their ability to achieve goals.
So how do we address the unemployment issue? Unemployment can be cyclical (as the economy improves, employment goes up) or structural.
Caroline

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Men Spend More and Save Less to Find a Mate

The perception that women are scarce leads men to become impulsive, save less, and increase borrowing. Research shows us that women have expectations of how men should spend their money when courting. Their expectations increase as the ratio of men to women goes down.
Some of our behaviors, including saving and spending, are much more reflexive and

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Income Buys Satisfaction, Not Happiness – the Value of Intrinsic Goals

Most Americans want to spend less money, according to Gallup polling organization. Families continue to monitor spending closely but aren’t making meaningful changes in cutting back their spending.
While families manage their household budget and spending, behavioral psychology has found that spending money does not make people happier. Gallup polling data indicates that families’ sense of

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Spending and Investments Decline, Chance of Recession Rises

With spending and investment portfolios declining in the midst of a household debt contraction our chances of going into recession are rising.
Household spending fell in June for the third straight month; never in the past five decades has this happened outside of a slump.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index plunged 16.8 percent in 11 days,

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Spend, Save and Invest - Our Moral Hazard

On October 18, 2007 , Harvey Rosenblum wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal titled “Fed Policy and Moral Hazard.” Mr. Rosenblum was aiming his thoughts toward the Federal Reserve and the “Bernanke put”, citing support for further fed easing in light of few signs of inflation.
Tucked inside his contribution to that day’s

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The New Abnormal: Consumer Psychology - Whether to Spend or Save

Last year, Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of PIMCO, the influential bond shop, declared a “new normal,” a global realignment in which the U.S. consumer, no longer a hungry monster, became cautious and subdued.
The current circumstances might be better described as the new abnormal, in which no one knows anything. In June the Conference Board Consumer Confidence

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Living by Illusions – a Perspective from Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher shared these thoughts on October 13, 1978:
“At home we are a country profoundly ill at ease with ourselves…Why is that? What has happened to this country of ours that we thought we knew? It is not just a question of pinning down who is responsible, important though that is. The first step in

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