We can afford only half a car and none of a house, but we'll pay for "password management.

This week’s Debt Report

CARS: Affording only two wheels

The average American family can’t afford to buy the average new car without risking its financial security.

In fact, a ” prudent, median-income family” can only afford to buy 52.7 percent of the $30,342 that the averaged-priced new car costs, says a new report from research firm Requisite Press.

Of course, that doesn’t stop those families from buying the car, anyway.

“Car buyers are often encouraged to focus solely on monthly payments,” says Phil Kelton, president of Requisite Press. “But long-term loans, with seemingly affordable payments, inflate the amount that buyers spend and can erode household financial security. Buyers that aren’t fully informed can easily become financially struggling owners and poor long-term customers.”


JOBS: Raises on the way

Here’s a happy prediction: “U.S. employees can expect a median base salary increase of 3 percent in 2015.” That’s according to research released Wednesday by a management consulting firm called Hay Group.

Sadly, after “factoring in annualized consumer price index growth,” that’ll only be a net gain of 0.9 percent.

RACE: Hispanics are housing happy

The average U.S. household is worth almost $400,000. But for Hispanic households, it’s much less — only $109,oo0, says a report this week from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

That means Hispanics represent more than 16 percent of the country’s population but only 2.2 percent of its wealth.

But the bank says the future might be better if not exactly bright: “We project the Hispanic share of total wealth to increase from 2.2 percent in 2010 to either 2.6 percent or 3.2 percent of the economy’s total wealth by 2025.”

Why? Because much of Hispanics’ wealth is wrapped up in their houses — more than 56 percent have “high asset concentrations in housing” compared to less than 37 percent of the rest of the country. The recession wiped out a lot of wealth. But with the economy improving and home prices rising, that can change quicker for Hispanics than other demographics.

REAL ESTATE: Not a seller’s market

Everyone is talking about the hot housing market, but few are buying. So concludes a survey of 700 real estate agents released Wednesday by a brokerage firm called Redfin.

“Sellers are slow to catch on that the market is shifting away from their favor,” the survey concluded. “Just 24 percent of agents surveyed told us that ‘sellers have all the power’ in their markets, down from 35 percent three months ago.”

The reasons are simple: Sellers and lenders are setting their prices too high, and buyers are patiently waiting them out.

TECH: Paying for passwords

Governments and businesses are mandating “complex and strict, password creation rules and regulations” to protect its citizens and customers — which means profits for companies who can help do that, says a new report from a research firm called Markets and Markets.

It’s called “password management solutions,” and it’ll be a $311 million business this year, Markets and Markets predicts. In five years? It’s expected to grow to $710 million.

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