Money and mayo

This week’s Debt Report: Money and mayo

ECONOMY: Half full or half empty?

Consumer confidence in the economy is sliding. But the leaders of the businesses they patronize? They’re “increasingly optimistic.”

A Harris poll released Wednesday concludes, “After going up last month, attitudes on the economy drift downward.” In May, 26 percent of us believed the economy would get better by the end of the year. But this month, that dipped to 22 percent.

A day later, another survey reported, “Optimism for the nation’s economic outlook among U.S. business leaders continued to rise from first quarter 2014.” Specifically, 74 percent believe the rest of the year will be just rosy, up 8 percent from the quarter before — the biggest jump since 2004.

RETIREMENT: Gone fishin’

In a totally un-shocking development, a poll released Monday found that 28 percent of Americans spend more time thinking about vacation planning than retirement planning.

“Frankly, we’re not surprised people spend more time thinking about vacations instead of tackling larger challenges such as saving for retirement,” says Scott Thoma, retirement strategist for financial services Edward Jones, which conducted the poll of more than 1,00 adults. “All too often, people don’t prioritize planning and investing for the long-term because it’s 20 to 30 years away, but this is a big mistake.”

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SAVINGS: No emergency room

Last year, less than half of all Americans — 45 percent, to be exact — had three months of living expenses saved up. This year, it’s down to 40 percent, according to a Bankrate report issued Monday. Not only that, but 26 percent have zero emergency savings.

“Americans continue to show a stunning lack of progress in accumulating sufficient emergency savings,” says Greg McBride, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst. “Even among the highest-income households  — those with annual income of $75,000 or above — fewer than half currently have a six-month savings cushion.”

DEBIT CARDS: Once more into the breach

“Data breaches” of debit cards are up, but so is the overall use of debit cards.

“Overall, 14 percent of all debit cards were exposed in data breaches in 2013, compared to 5 percent in 2012,” reports the 2014 Debit Issuer Study. That’s a big jump, mostly attributed to the high-profile Target breach. But even so, “transactions per active card per month” ticked up from 19.4 in 2012 to 20.1 last year.

CAREER: Hold the mayo

The more you like mayonnaise, the less success you’ll have at work and investing. So says a new survey by something called the Association for Dressings & Sauces.

“Half of consumers who named mayonnaise as their favorite condiment are less likely to be competitive, athletic, or risk takers,” the ADS announced Tuesday.

But the ADS didn’t reveal how many people it asked or how it conducted the survey. So, you know, take it with a grain of salt.

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