Reporting Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – So what impacted your bottom line in 2011? With the economy still shaky, the stock market rocky, and loans still tough to come by, 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan finds that many faced financial challenges this past year.
Most investors found 2011 pretty tough to stomach, so it’s little surprise that Kiplinger’s Personal Finance tagged stock market volatility as one of year’s the biggest factors impacting the wallets of Americans. Mike Desenne, Senior Editor at Kiplinger.com says, “We all know from our daily lives that there’s a lot of uncertainty in our finances, there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world, and the markets reflect that uncertainty.”
Some other personal finance matters that Kiplinger’s says influenced how Americans spend and save in these uncertain times were: rock-bottom mortgages, though credit remained tight. Rising college tuition costs at public and private institutions was a big concern too. While low returns on savings proved to be challenging for those Americans trying to put more money in the bank.
Kiplinger’s also identified consumers fighting back as a trend of the year. The backlash against big banks made a big statement in 2011 as consumers said no to fees. According to Desenne, “I think that a year ago or two years ago, that didn’t happen. In 2012 we’ll see. But I think there’s been a shift – at least for the time being – in consumer’s mentality towards banks.” While some of the proposed fees never became a reality, some consumers took their money to credit unions – yet another sign that more Americans are watching their dollars.
Now you may recall that Congress has passed a two month extension to the payroll tax cut. That amounts to 2 percent extra in your weekly paycheck. The question now is whether they’ll eventually extend the cut through the entire year. If you’re interested on seeing what that would mean to your weekly paycheck and how much extra money would add end up in your pocket by the end of the year, click on this link: http://www.kiplinger.com/tools/tax_increase_calculator/