August 19, 2022

Bucks: Feeling Anxious? You’re Not Alone

4:48 p.m. | Updated

The economic recovery may be stalling, housing prices still haven’t bottomed out, and the world is beset by revolutions and natural disasters, from tsunamis to tornadoes.

Feeling a bit anxious?

You’re not alone.

The Index of Consumer Sentiment, produced monthly by the University of Michigan, actually rose a bit in May, to 74.3, from 69.8 in April, but dipped again in the preliminary report for June, to 71.8. Writing in a note accompanying the April index, Richard Curtin, chief economist for the university’s surveys of consumers, said consumers seemed to have a negative outlook on their earning potential. “Consumers now give just one chance in three that their income will outpace the inflation rate,” he wrote. It’s not that people expect inflation to increase, he said. Rather, they don’t expect higher incomes in the years ahead.

Depressed yet? Then consider this. Dan Geller, who operates Moneyanxiety.com and markets its research to retail and banking businesses, said his “money anxiety index” was the highest it had been in 30 years. Mr. Geller said he used “structural equation modeling” to crunch various monthly economic data, like inflation and unemployment rates and levels of spending and saving, to create a number that approximates worry about money. He has created index numbers that go as far back as 1959, and he said that people were pretty concerned right now.

“Basically the core reason for the financial anxiety is that consumers don’t have any confidence, or they have low confidence, in any prospect of economic recovery,” Mr. Geller said.

The Money Anxiety Index for March was 88.9; April, 91.3; and May, 91.9. That’s still well below the index’s high of 136 during the recession of the early 1980s, but the trend is worrisome. Historically, he said, when the index rises for five or more months in a row, a recession is likely.

How are you feeling about your financial future? Let us know.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=feeab5969cd75704bfe44fcb5484265f

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