First, I hope that you are enjoying the Labor Day Holiday Weekend. As a reminder, Labor Day is a federal holiday in the United States, celebrated on the first Monday in September, to honor and recognize the American labor movement and the works and contributions of laborers to the development and achievements of the United States.
There is so much more than the many contributions of organized labor in the news at this time involving labor. In fact, I can’t remember a time when there were so many issues involving labor — the labor shortage in many areas, the $15 minimum wage, paid family leave, four-day work weeks, working from home, more creative benefits to help attract the best workers, pay equity, and mandated vaccinations, just to name a few. These are all important issues that could affect all of us financially, directly or indirectly, so it is something to think about the next few days.
I want to pass along a few recent survey results, and these from Bankrate fit with our Labor Day theme.
“• 55% of those in the workforce are likely to search for a new job in the next 12 months. This includes over three-quarters (77%) of Gen Zers (age 18-24) and nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of millennials (age 25-40).
• Among those who are employed and looking for work more than half (56%) say work flexibility (i.e. working hours and/or the ability to work remotely) is important to them.
• Other qualities that job seekers say are important to them include higher pay (53%), job security (47%), time off/vacation pay (35%) and better or more inclusive work culture (24%).
Surprisingly, even some 28 percent of those currently employed, and not in a job search, said they will be looking for a new job in the next year. Along with younger Americans, those with lower incomes tend to expect to be in the job hunt (including 67 percent of those with a household income of $40,000/year and less), as well as nearly 7 of 10 Blacks and Hispanics (68% and 67%, respectively), compared to 47 percent of whites.
41 percent of U.S. adults who are currently working or looking for work expect to work remotely or from home one day a week or more in the next 12 months. Some 19 percent say they expect to do so full-time; another 13 percent say they’ll do so 3-4 days a week, while some nine percent say they expect 1-2 days of remote work/working from home a week. 24 percent said, “not at all”, while a little more than 1-in-5 (24%) said it was not applicable, indicating that their work could not be done remotely. This tendency to anticipate working remotely once or more per week was higher among younger workers (52% Gen Z, 48% Millennials, 34% Gen X, 30% Boomers).”
An additional Bankrate survey also caught my attention. It was about how all Americans are being affected by increasing prices in many areas, but it got me thinking and asking about how many of the categories, where there are significant price increases, are arguably for wants vs. needs. Here are some survey results. “The top categories in which U.S. adults have experienced higher prices than they are accustomed to are groceries (71%), gas (67%) and restaurants/dining out (46%), followed by consumer products (e.g., furniture, electronics, clothes, etc.; 35%), travel (e.g., hotels, airfare, car rental, etc.; 26%), home services (e.g., construction, cleaning, landscaping, etc.; 26%), personal care services (e.g., salons, gyms, etc.; 21%), childcare (6%), or other areas (3%).” These encouraged me. “Nearly four in five (79%) of those who experienced higher prices in 2021 have taken financial actions as a result, with the most popular being cutting back on some purchases to afford others (47%) and delaying/avoiding certain purchases altogether (45%). Further, 38% made a special effort to research deals and shop sales.”
On a different subject, here are some September National Days that I hope you will consider celebrating with me: Sept. 4, National Wildlife Day; Sept. 5, International Day of Charity (please make a donation); Sept. 10, National 401(k) Day (please open an account if one is offered and you have not taken advantage of it, or commit to maximizing your contribution this year, if you haven’t); Sept. 12, National Grandparents Day; Sept. 15, National Linguine Day; Sept. 18, National Cheeseburger Day (my grandson seems to celebrate this one almost every day); Sept. 20, National Pepperoni Pizza Day (I would celebrate this one almost every day if my wife and doctor would let me); and Sept. 20, Respect for the Aged Day (I am definitely looking forward to that day). Finally, Sept. 28, Ask a Stupid Question Day. You mean that’s not every day?
On yet another different subject, personal finance advice has been in the media a lot lately because of inflation. One place I did not expect viewers to receive some was the Dr. Oz Show, but I welcomed it. I thought that the underlying theme might be about stress and mental health, but it was about a debt diet, which works for me too. Actually using the diet theme resulted in one of the best lines ever: Debts are the love handles of the financial world. Now that’s just funny!
Two things that I thought readers could benefit from, that we have talked a lot about in the past, were first, the importance of always shopping with unit prices in mind, and, second, the importance of negotiating down many of your reoccurring expenses, like you credit card interest rate, phone, cable, and internet charges, and your insurance premiums. Then there were two other pieces of valuable advice. First, stop paying so much extra for cut up and washed vegetables and fruits. Cut them up and wash them yourself. Second, consider a “spending fast day” at least one a week, where you spend absolutely nothing that day. It forces you to focus on your spending in a very direct way.
John Ninfo is a retired bankruptcy judge and the founder of the National CARE Financial Literacy Program. Find his previous weekly columns at http://www.mpnnow.com/search?text=Ninfo.
Read More: Some recent survey results to consider