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Love, Money & Real Estate #22
Financial Wellness and Mexican Archaeological Sites
Well, January is over. This month, which is traditionally the coldest, if you live in Chicago, has flown by as the second warmest in history. This year, our winter consisted of two brief cold snaps, relatively little snow, and an extraordinary amount of rain. The outlook through the middle of February is high 30s and low 40s. How was your winter?
January was Financial Wellness Month. How’s yours?
January was financial wellness month (thank you Hallmark Holidays). And, I think the majority of employers are missing two key points when it comes to overall workforce wellness:
There are four key pillars to overall wellness: health, mental, financial and DEI.
Financial wellness plays directly into each of the three other pillars, and its something I think is best served by employers.
Here’s how I see the world:
DEI: Providing the appropriate financial education, tools, resource and solutions can help employees who are struggling to overcome structural financial inequities and help them cross the threshold into financial stability. (New research from PYMNTS and LendingClub shows 64% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, including a shocking number of people who earn more than $100,000/year.)
Health: So many times, employees choose the wrong insurance plan, and wind up paying an average of $1,300/year unnecessarily. That, plus high-deductible health insurance plans can cost employees significantly more in cash-out-of-pocket deductibles.
Mental: When you're stressed about money, you're often not sleeping through the night. Debt weighs on your soul. It may not be the only cause of mental unwellness, but it can certainly compound it.
As Best Money Moves, my financial wellness company, begins our 7th year in business, we're seeing more companies recognize the benefits of adding financial tools, education/literacy, solutions, financial coaching and more. Employees recognize the value added and are using these tools. Savvy employers are moving to address real and perceived inequities in workforce financial wellness as a way of dealing with the Great Resignation, to meet DEI goals, and for a variety of other reasons.
I’ll be delighted to share more details about why this makes sense for all businesses.
Paycheck to paycheck
Thought I’d include a few more statistics from the PYMNTS and Lending Club survey:
64% of consumers lived paycheck to paycheck in December, 2022
56% of consumers believe inflation will be higher in 2023
51% of consumers earning $100,000+/year are living paycheck to paycheck
40% of consumers expect their personal finances to improve in the next year, while 27% think things will get worse
Are we heading for a soft landing or a hard fall?
Meanwhile New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, wonders if Americans can recognize a good economy if they trip over it:
Imagine that your picture of the U.S. economy came entirely from headlines and cable news chyrons. Would you know that real gross domestic product has risen 6.7 percent under President Biden, that America gained 4.5 million jobs in 2022 and that inflation over the past six months, which was indeed very high last winter, was less than 2 percent at an annual rate?
This week, the Federal Reserve will decide how much to raise interest rates. The market is betting on .25 percent. Your guess?
In other news…
Home prices keep rising. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 9.2% annual gain in November. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 8.0%, and the 20-City Composite posted a 8.6% year-over-year gain.
Mortgage interest rates are down. Refi activity is up 20% compared with early November (2022), according to Fannie Mae’s chief economist, Doug Duncan and the Fannie Mae Refinance Application-Level Index (RALI).
66% of Gen Zers say their generation is irresponsible with money and “wildly susceptible to social media marketing,” according to new research from Clever Real Estate. Their survey found nearly 3 in 5 Gen Z Americans (58%) have bought a product recommended by an online influencer — 4x the share of baby boomers who have done the same. Hello, TikTok.
Redfin launched Favorites Lists. It’s a new tool that allows Redfin’s app and website users to organize their favorite homes for sale into custom lists that can be shared.
Where did people move in 2022? According to the National Association of Realtors’ analysis on migration trends, the answer is “South.”
Florida (318,855), Texas (230,961), and the Carolinas – North Carolina (99,796) and South Carolina (84,030) – were the states with the most net domestic migration gains in 2022.
Florida was the fastest-growing state in 2022, with an annual population increase of 1.9% within a year. In fact, that was the first time since 1957 that Florida’s population grew faster than anywhere else across the United States.
California (-343,230), New York (-299,557), and Illinois (-141,656) experienced the largest net domestic outmigration. Despite this decrease, California remained the most populous state, with nearly 39 million residents statewide.
For metro areas with more than 150,000 households, most areas that experienced the largest influx of people were in Florida, Texas, and the Carolinas.
Ocala, FL; Tallahassee, FL; Charlotte, NC; Savannah, GA; Houston, TX; Deltona, FL; and Myrtle Beach, SC were some large areas where inbound exceeded outbound moves by more than six percentage points.
Is your car too easy to steal? Progressive and State Farm are refusing to write policies for some 2015 to 2019 Hyundai and Kia models in Denver and St. Louis, among other cities. Apparently, these cars are missing electronic immobilizers.
Chat GPT is being used by real estate agents, and a million other people. Real estate agents are apparently using it to write listings. There's a lot of conversation about whether this will change things forever. The answer is, it might. And, it already has. Sign up for free (for now at OpenAI.com)
The Federal Reserve denied Custodia's request to become federally-insured. This remarkable press release provides some insight into how the Fed really feels about crypto.
Single women own more homes than single men, according to LendingTree. LendingTree’s analysis found this to be true in 48/50 states. (All except North and South Dakota.)
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On a personal note…
One of my favorite things to do is trek up mountains and around old places. Ek’ Balam is a fabulous place, a Mayan archeological site that still has so much of the plaster detail and stonework attached to the temples and buildings.
I find exploring old places like Ek’ Balam helps me remember my place in the grand scheme of things. And, adds perspective. This site is one of the older Mayan sites in the Yucatan, and at its height (770-840 CE) was the seat of government. But, like many Mayan sites, it didn’t last long. Some of these cities fell apart just 50 years after reaching their heights. Perhaps they were in use 200 to 300 years at most.
Compared to the United States, that seems like a lot. But compared to other cities around the world, like Rome or Athens, not so much. Then, compare that with hiking up mountains that are millions of years old. Again, it’s about perspective: helping me remember that my time here is limited, pushing me to keep doing more (and better).
Have a great week.