Archive for the ‘Economic News: How Are We Doing?’ Category

With the top 1% of earners in the United States bringing home an average of $16.4 million annually, how many mortgages or student loans could the average "one percenter" erase?

how much debt can wealth of one percent erase

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Average Household Mortgage Debt

  • At the end of the second quarter of 2012, Americans had $13,216,356,000,000 in outstanding mortgage debt.
    • 2011 population estimate: 311,591,917
    • Homeownership rate: 66.6%
    • Average household mortgage debt: $149,981

Average Student Loan Debt

  • Class of 2011: average student loan debt: $26,000

Doing the Math

  • At $26,000 each, the top 1%'s average income could pay off the student loans of 631 people.
  • At $149,981 each, the top 1%'s average income could pay off 109.34 mortgages.

This infographic was provided exclusively by Total Bankruptcy.

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

The Wealth of Few, the Debts of Many

The top 1% of Americans earn an average of $16.4 million every year. How much of the average credit card debt or the national debt could this wealth eliminate?

the debt of many and the wealth of few

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Average Credit Card Debt

  • 2012 Projected Credit Card Debt: $870 billion
  • 2012 Projected Number of Credit Card Holders: 191 million
  • Average Credit Card Debt per Credit Card Holder: $4,554.97

National Debt

  • The national debt is $16,283,161,895,179.85
    • The public holds $11,453,560,734,889.31 of this debt
    • Intragovernmental holdings are responsible for $4,829,601,160,290.54 of this debt

Doing the Math

  • At an average credit card debt of $4,554.97, the top 1% average wealth could pay off 3,600 credit cards.
  • The average "one percenter" could pay less than 1% of the national debt.


March Madness is in full swing now and gamblers' wallets across the country are a little lighter as they wait in anticipation to see how their brackets play out.

Whether you're a regular college hoops enthusiast or not, it has been projected that over 100 million people will take part in the "bracket" sensation that encompasses March Madness.

It has been estimated that those 100 million people will be collectively gambling approximately $12 billion on this NCAA tournament.

Based on the government's census calculations from 2012, the amount of money spent on gambling during this year's March Madness could have paid off over 2.6 million people's credit card debt at $4,554.97 each!

With approximately 191 million credit card holders in 2012, the credit card debt was projected at $870 billion.

Is it even worth asking ourselves why gamble when we could pay off some of our debt?

March Madness is its own world. It's a distraction from our lives. It brings us highs and lows. It brings people together. It pulls people apart. It pits people against each other. All in all, it is great fun.

What else could this $12 billion pay off if we didn't gamble it away?

  • The Heinz Company's $12 Billion Debt
  • Clear Channel Communications' $12 Billion Debt
  • Portugal's Town Hall's $12 Billion Debt
  • Texans' $11 Billion Unpaid Child Support
  • Illinois' $9 Billion Unpaid Bills

There's a lot of debt that could be paid off with $12 billion but right now this country is busy watching their brackets.

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Could the Big Banks Fail Now?


In 2008, the American people were faced with an abrupt request on the part of then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to invest $700 billion toward bailing out some of the nation’s largest banks. Without this bailout, the American people were told, their entire economic system would soon be crippled or destroyed.

Naturally, the Bush Administration and legislative branch jumped on the threat and invested the requested funds. But could it happen again? Is anything keeping big banks from failing now?


The “Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act” was enacted in 2010 and contains some sixteen major reforms to regulate banks deemed “Too Big to Fail.” One of the changes outlined in Dodd-Frank has to do with placing a big bank into a state of “receivership” following quantitative failure.

This provision of Dodd-Frank effectively grants the United States government full authority to take over a big bank should it teeter toward failure. This practice represents a massive increase in authority.

Prior to the recession of 2008, the United States government was only allowed to overtake certain subsidiaries within any given company. Now, the government can overtake and overhaul most of the holdings of a company should it fail.

This practice is less like a bailout than it is a bankruptcy. The government steps in and takes over the liquidation or expansion of bank holdings in an attempt to return the company to stability.

Failure Under Dodd-Frank

The ability of the United States government to take over banks may do more harm than good should a really large bank fail. The liquidation process outlined in Dodd-Frank likely doesn't take into account the truly global nature of banking these days.

This misunderstanding, however, isn't the only threat facing America should a big bank fail. The nation’s largest banks have only grown in size and influence since the recession of 2008.

In the case of Wells Fargo, the acquisition of Wachovia in 2008 led to double-digit gains and expanded the company’s sphere of influence by leaps and bounds.

Interconnectedness is still a problem among big banks as well. Institutions like Bank of America (which holds an amount of revenue roughly equivalent to 18% of US GDP) would not only collapse individually, they’d likely take an almost unthinkable number of institutions with them.

This domino effect was a major fear in 2008, and remains so today; the difference now is these banks are bigger and more connected.

Could It Happen

Hypothetically, were a big bank to fail, the United States government would step in through the FDIC and take over operations.

First, they would likely implement planned strategies for dealing with the economic fallout across international borders, some of which include: Identifying foreign problem areas prior to the failure; coordinating with regulators; and homing in on resolutions by district.

Next, the FDIC would get to work on restructuring the affected bank to fit pre-established models. Part of this restructuring would be the reallocation or liquidation of assets and placing the company into a state of receivership.

Theoretically, after these two steps, the FDIC and U.S. government would then oversee the company until the entire process is finished.

It’s important to keep in mind that the criticisms leveled against the provisional regulatory power of the United States government under Dodd-Frank may or may not come into play. It’s uncertain now whether the interconnectedness, size, and global nature of today’s banks would hinder the processes outlined in Dodd-Frank or not.

The primary reason behind this uncertainty is simple: There hasn't been a collapse since the recession in 2008.

Dodd-Frank’s regulations may keep collapses from having the heavy impact they did in 2008, they may have no affect at all, or the FDIC’s stewardship of large, failing banks may prove more disastrous for the country than outright collapse. We simply don’t know.

However, should another financial crisis strike this country on the scale of the recession, conditions are ripe for it to be the worst yet, should the provisions of Dodd-Frank prove ineffective.

Friday, February 1st, 2013

The Decline of the Middle Class

People talk about the shrinking of the middle class, but what exactly is it they’re referring to? How has the middle class changed in recent years?

the middle class decline

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U.S. Adults 2008 U.S. Adults 2012
53% associated themselves with the middle income tier. 49% associated themselves with the middle income tier.

A Decade of Decline

Middle-tier median income falls...

  • 1983: $58,307
  • 2001: $72,956
  • 2010: $69,487
  • Incomes are scaled to reflect a three-person household (in 2011 dollars)

Share of Aggregate Family Income for Each Tier of the Population

Year Lowest fifth Second fifth Third fifth Fourth fifth Highest fifth Top 5%
2010 3.8 9.5 15.4 23.5 47.8 20.0
2000 4.3 9.8 15.4 22.7 47.7 21.1
1990 4.6 10.8 16.6 23.8 44.3 17.4
1980 5.3 11.6 17.6 24.4 41.1 14.6
1970 5.4 12.2 17.6 23.8 40.9 15.6

This IG was brought to you by Total Bankruptcy.

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

How the Economy Affects Birth Rate

Throughout the last decade, it has been hard to ignore the effects of the economy on our personal lives. Millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet, losing their jobs and facing foreclosure on their home.

Researchers have discovered that not only has the recent economic downturn had an effect on our bank accounts, it has also had an effect on our country's birth rate.

how does the economy affect birth rates

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This infographic was brought to you exclusively by Total Bankruptcy.

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Does the Economy Affect Birth Rates?


The national economy touches every aspect of our lives, not only the financial impact of racking up debts and filing for bankruptcy. The effects of high unemployment, home foreclosure and general uncertainty about the future seems to touch on birth rates, according to new studies.

The U.S. birth rate declined again in 2011, potentially showing that a drop in the economy led to a reduced number of births in the country. Now at a record low of 3,953,593 births, there were 45,793 fewer births than in 2010.

The overall fertility rate has also declined, falling to 63.2 per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, the lowest recorded fertility rate in U.S. history.

During the Great Depression, the economic downturn led to a 17% decrease in birth rate, due to nearly 20% of women choosing not to have children at all. The number of children per woman declined to just over two children, where it held steady for nearly a decade. The birth rate had been on the decline since the 1920's, as more families started using birth control to limit family size.

As the economy began to bounce back at the end of the Great Depression and the start of World War II, the United States experienced a Baby Boom from 1946 until 1964. At the height of the Baby Boom, the number of children per woman rose to just over 3.5 children.

When the oil crisis occurred in the 1970's, the United States saw an 18% decline in the birth rate, down to just under two children per woman. When the economy began to rebound, there was a slight rise in the birth rate. When the economy saw a minor downturn in the early '90's, there was another decline in birth rate, this time by 15%.

The number of U.S. births peaked at 4.3 million in 2007, but has steadily declined since then, as 2008 brought the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression in the 1930's. The number of children per woman hovers around two, a number that has remained fairly steady since the early 1990's. It could be a sign of a weak economy, or it could be the result of women choosing to wait until later in life to have children.

In 2008, North Dakota, the state with one of the lowest unemployment rates (3.1%), was the only state to experience any spike in birth rate, and it only increased by 0.7%. Birth rates show greater decline in minorities (such as Hispanics), who have seen more economic strain.

From 2008 to 2009, Hispanics saw a 5.9% decline in birth rate. Whites, who have generally experienced less economic strain, show a smaller decline in birth rate at just 1.6%, heavily suggesting birth rate goes hand-in-hand with economic state.

Demographers expected a higher number of women at childbearing age would lead to a mini-baby boom, but statistics show otherwise. It may be years before a link between a lower birth rate and the economy is clear.

Right now, it's too early to tell whether we're at the start of a lower fertility trend, or the end of a low fertility trend tied to the economic downturn.


Election Day is upon us and the issue of Disaster Relief Funds has quickly moved itself up the ladder after Superstorm Sandy swept across the eastern seaboard last week. Disaster Relief Funds are part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, known as FEMA. Both presidential candidates have cut FEMA budgets in their 2013 budget proposals, but exactly how much is yet to be determined.

In President Obama’s 2013 budget proposal he has the FEMA budget cut by 3%, but the Disaster Relief Fund itself cut by 14%. Other things within the FEMA budget that he plans to cut budget on are Staff & Expenses, Emergency Food & Shelter and Radiological Emergency Preparedness.

The great thing about the FEMA budget is that it allows for carrying over unspent money from year to year. 2012 had a FEMA budget of $7.1 billion but actually had $7.8 billion this year due to a rollover from last year. That money is definitely coming in handy after Superstorm Sandy.

"We've been able to get over 1,000 FEMA officials in place, pre-positioned," the president said. "We've been able to get supplies, food, medicine, water, emergency generators, to ensure that hospitals and law enforcement offices are able to stay up and running as they are out there responding."

Mitt Romney’s 2013 budget proposal shows a 22% cut in non-defense discretionary spending, according to the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities. FEMA is included in non-defense discretionary spending, but Romney’s plan does not include where specifically those cuts will come from.

The media has been reporting for the past few months that Romney has vowed to not touch entitlements or defense, and still reduce federal spending to less than 20% of GDP. In order to do this, other budgets, including the FEMA budget, would have to be cut approximately 40%.

"Gov. Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions," said Amanda Henneberg, spokeswoman for Romney’s campaign. "As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities, and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most. This includes help from the federal government and FEMA."

Romney's experience turning around struggling businesses, even leading some through the bankruptcy process, could give him a unique advantage managing the federal government's expenses should he turn victorious on election day.

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The 6 Most Under Compensated Professions


There comes a time when you realize that you’re not being appreciate for the work you put forth. Many people in America are under paid and are increasingly becoming more and more frustrated with that fact.

Despite the high unemployment rate, many feel that they are not being compensated the way they believe they should be. Teachers have been a large example for this growing trend of professionals and, frankly, they have a point.

In an economy where under-appreciated professionals are having to file for personal bankruptcy, many are left wondering what can be done to stop the bleeding.

Yahoo has developed a list of jobs where the hiring demand is very high but the yearly income is substantially low. Another common factor among the jobs that are listed below are the very high job satisfaction scores across the board. This list details the most under paid professions that are currently operating.

Security Guard

Average Salary: $23,900

No. of Openings: 195,000

Job Satisfaction: HIGH

Many people who work within this field praise the flexible hours that this job commands. This can be a stressful job and can be a lonesome occupation.

Sports Coach

Average Salary: $28,470

No. of Openings: 71,400

Job Satisfaction: HIGH

Training amateur or professional athletes for competitions or matches is a daunting task that requires extensive knowledge of the sport being played. More well known coaches make impressive salaries but there are many that don’t even come close to those numbers and put in as much, and sometimes more, work than their counterparts.

Medical Assistant

Average Salary: $29,100

No. of Openings: 162,900

Job Satisfaction: MEDIUM

There is a wide range of duties for these professionals. There are many that are employed in this country (nearly 550,000) and they must do anything from assist the doctors in complicated procedures to filing away medical documents.

Recreation and Fitness Workers

Average Salary: $31,030

No. of Openings: 124,700

Job Satisfaction: HIGH

Much of this profession is dedicated to helping people succeed in their health goals. Weather they are rehabilitations experts for fitness freaks focused on getting you trim, these employees are often dedicated to their craft.

Administrative Assistant

Average Salary: $31,870

No. of Openings: 118,500

Job Satisfaction: HIGH

Now more than simple secretaries and meetings minutes recorders, administrative assistants are now needed to be complete multitaskers with a drive to be organized and highly educated in writing and communication skills.

Real Estate Agent

Average Salary: $39,070

No. of Openings: 45,000

Job Satisfaction: HIGH

The market hasn’t made this profession any easier but these professionals often put a lot of work into one single sale in order for them to put food on the table. Despite having to take a test every few years to stay licensed, real estate agents must have copious amounts of patients due to the amount of paperwork involved.

Child, Family, School Social Workers

Average Salary: $40,680

No. of Openings: 58,200

Job Satisfaction: HIGH

This is a high stress job that directly affects the people you work with and commands a certain type of individual to be able to handle the rigors involved with this profession.

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

2012: Is it Better to Rent or Own?

In this struggling economy, many people have lost their jobs and are worried about losing their home to foreclosure.

So the question remains: Are you better off paying rent to a landlord or being tied down to a mortgage? This infographic weighs the pros and cons of each. Which is right for you?

Is It Better To Rent Or Own A House?

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2012: Is it Better to Rent or Own?

Whether you’re afraid to make a big commitment or unsure of the housing market’s stability, it’s never a bad idea to weigh the pros and cons of renting. Instead of running around searching the Internet for reasons to rent or own, look no further than this infographic to tell you useful info to help you make a well-informed decision.

Pros and Cons of Renting


  • Jobless Friendly
    • If you lose your job, the government is more likely to qualify you for state benefits if you’re renting a property.
  • Zero Repair Costs
    • No maintenance or repair costs.
    • You generally aren’t responsible for anything that breaks on the property—unless you broke it, that is.
  • Easy Moving
    • It’s a tough housing market for those looking to sell. No House? No problem.
    • Renting allows you to move after your lease expires and that can be a huge relief for some.
  • Lower Deposits
    • Typically you’ll be liable for, at the most, 3 months rent as a deposit.
    • Houses typically require a 20% down payment up front.
  • Landlords
    • Pro: Landlords can be honest and timely people when it comes to repairs or communication.
    • Con: Occasionally, landlords can be neglectful and untimely, resulting in delayed maintenance or sluggish response times.


  • Insurance
    • The landlord has the house under their coverage.
    • You are still responsible for property-related insurance.
  • No Return On Investment
    • A house is an investment with the ability to appreciate over time.
    • Since you’re not the owner, you won’t gain value from the home you rent.
  • No Customizations
    • Many rental companies and landlords don’t like changes to the house and it could prevent you from hanging pictures on the walls or painting a room.

What You Should Know About Renting-to-Own

  • Cost
    • When you rent-to-own, you’ll typically pay a premium for the lease rather than if you had a normal renting lease.
    • This option is only for those who actually intend to eventually own the house and not for those wishing to just rent the place due to higher rent cost.
  • Static Home Price
    • When signing the lease, you’re agreeing to pay a set amount.
    • This amount depends on the current market price of the home.
    • If you rent-to-buy in a bad housing market, you could stand to gain a great deal when the sector improves.

Pros and Cons of Renting a House versus an Apartment


  • More space in a House
    • If you have pets or a desire for a sprawling lawn, a house may be ideal for you.
    • Should you have very few items and possibly no children, an apartment is a logical choice.
  • Improved Privacy
    • While it isn’t always the case, houses can be a lot more private than your typical apartment complex.
  • Infestation
    • So your neighbor at the house you were renting has a bed bug problem. It surely isn’t a common problem between the two of you.
    • Now imagine that same neighbor with the infestation lives just down the hall and the bugs are often seen crawling along the hallway ceiling.
    • You could have a serious issue within the week.


  • Maintenance
    • Get out the shovels and lawn mower and get ready to tend to the landscaping. Your lease may not cover this kind of work whereas an apartment complex would maintain the yard for you.
  • Professionalism
    • While it isn’t always the case, many private owners lease out houses.
    • On the other hand, a company that has a professional staff that knows the tenancy laws typically owns apartments.

Who’s renting?

  • In 2011, 66% of Americans owned the housing they lived in.
  • The remaining 34% rent their residence.
Age % owning their housing % renting their housing
Under age 30 58 42
30 to 44 years old 64 36
45 to 64 years old 79 21
65 years or older 83 17

What are renters leasing?

  • Single-family homes: 34%
  • Structures with 2 to 4 units: 19%
  • Structures with 5 or more units: 42%
  • Mobile homes: 4%


There could be a variety of enticing perks that come along with renting or owning an apartment or a house, though there are possible challenges ahead in both instances, such as eviction or foreclosure. Don’t shy away from either option, but you should always make an informed decision and consider all the positives in addition to the negatives.

This infographic was brought to you by Total Bankruptcy.