Michelle Smith: “Yahoo’s Daily Ticker: Fed Claims Americans Are Richer Than Ever — Really!” – Money News

Posted on :Dec 16, 2013

By: Michlle Smith

Money News

December 16, 2013

Americans continue getting richer and household wealth has hit a record high,  according to data from the Federal Reserve.

The third quarter marked the  eighth consecutive quarterly increase in household net worth, and Americans’  riches jumped 2.6 percent, reaching $77.26 trillion, the Los  Angeles Times reported.

In nominal terms, Americans’ wealth is  at a record high. But Yahoo  Daily Ticker hosts Aaron Task and Lauren Lyster cited surprise at the  news that Americans are now richer than ever, asking “really?”

“A third of Americans  believe we’re still in a recession and 39 percent say the national economy is  getting worse,” Task notes.

Sarcastically, Lyster says she can’t imagine  why. Household net worth is now back to 2007 levels, “meaning before the Great  Recession.”

But the hosts suggest some Americans’ perception of economic  conditions may be shaped by other records this nation can lay claim to, such as  having 47 million people on food stamps.

Or perhaps it’s the mountains  of consumer debt. Besides mortgages, Americans owe more for credit cards, auto  loans and student loans.

In fact, student loan debt is now over $1  trillion, which is another record, the Daily Ticker hosts point out.

After the recession, consumers began deleveraging, but data suggest the tides  may be turning.

Household debt increased at an annualized rate of 3  percent in the third quarter to $13.1 trillion. That was the sharpest run up  since the first quarter of 2008, Reuters reports.

Some of Americans’ sour sentiment and mounting debt may stem  from wages, which have stagnated, says Lyster.

As of October, median  household income was down over 6 percent from December 2007, according to  Sentier Research.

Meanwhile during the third quarter, companies’ cash  piles grew to $1.93 trillion, from $1.81 trillion three months before, Reuters  says the data show.

But Americans don’t necessarily need better wages to  get richer. According to the Fed, Americans’ big wealth increase last quarter  was due in large part to the housing recovery.

However, many missed out  on that opportunity because they were renting. The number of renters increased  to 35 percent last year, notes the Daily Ticker hosts.

And half of  those renters now spend 30 percent or more of their stagnant income paying rent,  which is a 12 percent increase from a decade ago, Task and Lyster note.

The other major contributor of Americans’ growing riches was the soaring stock  market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has also reached record levels, Lyster  argues.

“Oh, and by the way, it’s the richest 10 percent of U.S.  households that own about 80 percent of stocks. Really,” she adds.

But  nonetheless, the nation is swimming in wealth, record amounts of it.

“So for the almost 11 million Americans without a job, and the 8 million more  who work part-time and wish they had a full-time job, just remember to thank the  wealthiest among us for helping America achieve this new milestone,” says  Task.

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On Google Plus