It’s not surprising – but it is worrisome – that young Americans aren’t saving. The generation under 35, known as millennials, have a savings rate of under 2%. They are burning through their assets and going into debt. The ramifications of this are myriad:No money to move out of parents’ house, no cushion if they want to switch jobs, no money for homeownership, not to mention no money for saving for a 401k or other retirement benefits.
Consumer advocates often lament the number of consumers who are “unbanked.” It’s true that having a bank account is a sign of stability and that having your money attached to a checking account and ATM card can help build credit and promote long term saving. But it appears that banking fees have driven millions of low income customers away; 25 million Americans are unbanked. Another 63 million are under-banked, which means they may have bank accounts but rely on some alternative financial services. These include check cashers, payday lenders, prepaid cards, and lending and saving circles instead of banks.
Let's say you're at the auto dealership, negotiating terms for your new car. At the next sales desk is a family whose income, credit score, and assets are identical to yours. When all is said and done, however, your loan costs $300 more than your fellow customer's. How come? Most likely, it's because you're African-American and your fellow customer is white. Wait a minute, isn't that illegal, you wonder? Well, sure, but how do you prove it?
Postal banking, an idea whose time has come… again
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