I’m sure the current Administration was happy to see some good news on the unemployment rate that they could tout rather than another day about Stormy, the Michaels (that is Michael Cohen and Michael Avenatti), Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein, not to mention Rudy Giuliani, the latest character on the scene. The jobless rate fell to 3.9% in April from 4.1% a month earlier, hitting the lowest level since December 2000, according to the Wall Street Journal, quoting the Labor Department on Friday. As Larry David from Curb Your Enthusiasm would say, that’s “Pretty, pretty, good.”
I was thinking – so how good is this news to the regular Joe and Jane, who are working, day in and day out, to make ends meet, pay the bills and live the dream? Joe and Jane hopefully are thinking and planning for their future – concerned about whether they will have sufficient funds to retire with and troubled by the $30,000 of credit card debt they are carrying. A mid-2017 survey by ValuePenguin found that the average annual percentage rate (APR) for credit cards ranges from 15.99% for travel rewards cards to 20.90% for cash back rewards cards. Beyond that, if you miss payments on a card – the rate can jump to whatever the credit card company says – typically 29.9% to 34.9%.
So which number is more relevant to Joe and Jane – the 3.9% unemployment rate – or the 20.9% interest rate they are paying on their credit card debt? Well, the good news on the unemployment rate is that as rates keep falling, the push for higher wages will increase. In this light, perhaps a raise will be on the near horizon for Joe and Jane. Suppose their combined income is $75,000, and they are the benefactors of a 3% increase. That’s real money – $75,000 x 3% = $2,250 per year – which after taxes will put another $1,900 per year in their pocket. That’s nice. But what about the credit cards. At 20.9% interest on $30,000 of debt, Joe and Jane are paying $6,270 per year of interest on the cards. That’s not nice – in fact, that’s awful!
Economic news can be meaningful – but the most meaningful information is not outside the home – it is inside. For Joe and Jane – they should welcome the prospect of higher wages if they come – but it is critical that they take steps to get rid of that credit card debt. The $6,220 per year, equals $522.50 per month. If they save $522.50 per month, at 7% interest for 20 years – that’s $274,957! This is life changing money and it’s a retirement fund for Joe and Jane.
If you are like Joe and Jane – you need to focus on your finances and get rid of your credit card debt. It so happens that if you’d like to learn how to get rid of the debt, gain tips on how to make a budget work and the truth about credit scores and scammers – your chance is next Wednesday. Check out our FREE seminar below.
Enjoy the weekend