Only in a country where Lorde wins best “rock” artist and saying “bless you” is offensive is there a national holiday to “spread awareness” of the need for holistic healthcare treatment for animals. This topsy turviness seems to have spread into the world of money.
On Monday, contrary to most recent housing news, the Commerce Department announced that July New Home Sales dropped 2.4 percent from June, with the biggest drop in the Northeast region. The South is the only region that saw an increase and by a hefty 8.1 percent. Housing’s still volatile, but we hold to our opinion that buyers and sellers should both proceed with caution.
The only other news that shook the world on Tuesday like learning Hello Kitty’s ain’t no kitty was the Commerce Department’s July Durable Goods Orders that increased by 22.6 percent. This was solely due to new orders for non-defense air-crafts. Will U.S. planes finally have WiFi?! The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index was the report we were most eager to see. It showed that YOU felt better by 2.1 points in August to 92.4 from July’s 90.3. We’re happy to see the positive trend, but still beg you to maintain caution. We’re not outta of the woods, yet.
Shit didn’t happen on Wednesday.
Thursday’s big news was the second of three revisions for the nation’s second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. It posted a 0.2 percent gain to 4.2 percent from the previous report of 4.0 percent. The increase from first quarter’s 2.1 percent drop is due to increased spending and inventories. The third and final report could prove us wrong, but we still find these numbers as specious as a faux panda pregnancy for food. This being the case, we stick with our recommendation for readers to cut spending to increase saving and investing.
On Friday, the Commerce Department released its Personal Incomes & Outlays report. Personal incomes increased in July, but at a slower pace of 0.2 percent. Personal spending declined 0.1 percent. Contrary to economists, we think this is a good trend. Lastly for the week, Reuters and the University of Michigan released their Consumer Sentiment Index that mirrored the week’s earlier Consumer Confidence report and increased to 82.5 points in August. This is up from July’s 81.1 points and a seven year high. Similar to Consumer Confidence, Consumer Sentiment’s improvement is because of increased employment and decrease gas prices.
All in all, this week’s economic news is as heartwarming as a newly married bride ordering Taco Bell. Consumers seem to feel better and seem to have a saver’s mentality. Everything is awesome, but we still stress caution and the need to continue to cut spending to increase savings and investing.
In my office this week, this article about the great 401(k)s oil companies offer sparked a good discussion. Would you take a lower salary for a better 401(k), better 401(k) defined as one with lower expensed mutual funds and larger company match? We came to the conclusion that “better” is contingent on financial goals. It’s an interesting question nonetheless and one everyone should be able to answer. If you can’t, you must think about your financial goals. For that, you can find help here.
As bewildering as 400 missing Austrian gnomes, we’re told that the home price gains the FHFA saw on Tuesday are an illusion and the home price drops S&P/Case-Shiller saw on Tuesday are good. This reinforces our opinion that if you don’t need to buy or sell, don’t.
We believe that if we focus on good, good multiplies. We, also, believe that we are responsible for life’s outcomes regardless life’s influences. Therefore, we appreciate this read that tells Americans to focus on the positive, create their own opportunities and stop pointing fingers. This is refreshing and true.
Finally, as Gen Xers ourselves, we identified with this article that highlights the precarious placement of our generation between Baby Boomers and Millennials. While we, as almost all generations, have many reasons to cry foul, it’s up to us to create our own outcome.
Also read last week’s #MoneyConscious Mash Up: National Rum Day Edition
That’s what we think is important to know this week in the economic and personal finance world. Come back every Saturday for our, hopefully, entertaining take on all things usually considered boring in our weekly #MoneyConscious Mash Up. Lastly, our free offer for #MoneyConscious Student expires midnight this Sunday, August 31st. Get your copy and help yourself or the student in your life.