Tapped Out

One reason why retailers are struggling: Americans are tapped out

If you are wondering why US retailers are feeling a strain, look no further than the latest report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York that stated 33 percent of Americans said they could not come up with $2,000 over the next 30 days if the need arose.

Many Americans do not have the means for emergencies or for a family member’s needs — like a quarter of a ObamaCare deductible, or even enough for 25 percent down payment on the average cost of a funeral — according to the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Access Survey.

No matter how you look at it, average Americans are tapped out.

There is one glimmer of hope in terms of the financial fragility: The study shows that since the election, there has been a modest uptick in the percentage of households that feel they could come up with the cash.

In October, 65.9 percent of households said they could get the cash. Today, it’s 67.2 percent. The report’s data also point to more Americans giving up on applying for credit — not even for credit cards or a mortgage, or even a personal line of credit often used for starting small businesses.

The percentage of people in the study who indicated that they would likely apply for a minimum of one type of credit over the next 12 months fell from 27.8 percent in October to 26 percent, the lowest level on record in the study.

Think about that: 75 percent of Americans don’t think they will even bother applying. And the fall is even worse for those with credit scores under 680.

Let’s face it, it’s always hard to chase dreams like starting a business or buying a home. In today’s economy, it’s so damn near impossible that people have given up.

President Trump’s optimism has helped turn the tide of business leaders and the financial markets, but the kitchen table economics will not change for many Americans until credit becomes less hamstrung by regulation.

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