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Time to update our survey and poll results

Staff Writer
Wayne Post
John Ninfo

I get survey updates several times a week from bankrate.com, creditcards.com, wallethub.com, and others, so let’s look at some of the recent ones, keeping in mind that things can, and do, change quickly in these pandemic times.

$ From creditcards.com: Over one-third of small business decision makers (35%) say they or the business owners have dipped into their personal funds to keep their businesses afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes 24% who say they or the owners used a personal credit card and 21% who say they or the owners tapped a personal savings account since March (10% did both).

In addition, 30% of small businesses opened Paycheck Protection Program loans from the Small Business Administration, 24% accessed cash from a business savings account, 20% used a business credit card for financing and 9% took out another type of loan. That means 70% of small businesses depended on at least one of the aforementioned funding sources over the past five months.

Unfortunately, it may not be enough to guarantee their continued survival. Most small business decision makers (53%) also say they will require an increase in sales and/or some manner of assistance to remain in business through the end of the year. Examples include increased sales (32%), government assistance (19%), a loan (13%) and something else (8%).

$ In a new survey by CreditCards.com, reported by bankrate.com on Aug. 5, 79% of credit card debtors (including 91% of millennial credit card debtors) say they are concerned about making minimum credit card payments due to various Covid-19-related scenarios. In addition, of U.S. adults with credit card debt:

62% say that a continued nationwide surge in Covid-19 cases will affect their ability to make minimum payments.

61% say they may not be able to make minimum payments if they’re unable to work.

56% say not receiving additional government stimulus money would hold them back.

26% fear they won’t be able to make minimum payments now that the $600 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit has ended.

$ With Americans starting 2020 off with over $1 trillion in credit card debt, and projected to have a net increase of $80 billion, due in part to the pandemic, Wallethub has released a report on the states with the highest and lowest credit card debt. For once, New York State was not first. In fact, New York was 36th , with a medium debt of $2,598.

$ On the other hand, Wallethub also recently released an updated analysis of the U.S. tax landscape, an in-depth look at the states with the best and worst taxpayer return on investment in 2020. The analysis used 31 metrics to compare the quality and efficiency of state-government services across five categories — Education, Health, Safety, Economy, and Infrastructure & Pollution — taking into account the drastically different rates at which citizens are taxed in each state. Perhaps not a surprise, New York State ranked 46th, ahead of only North Dakota, California, New Mexico and Hawaii.

An interesting finding, in light of the upcoming, election is that Red States have a higher taxpayer return on investment, with an average ranking of 21.17, compared with 32.00 for Blue States (1 = Best).

$ One more first-place finish for New York State is WalletHub’s updated rankings in July for the states where people need loans the most due to coronavirus. Greater interest in getting a loan indicates that more people in the state are struggling to make ends meet. In order to determine where people are most in need of loans as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, WalletHub combined internal credit report data with data on Google search increases for three loan-related terms in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

$ These statistics from the American Bankruptcy Institute may be a surprise to some, and are by no means a predictor of the future, as we work through the many effects of this pandemic. Total commercial chapter 11 filings increased 52 percent from the previous year this July. Conversely, total commercial filings decreased 17 percent in July 2020. The 42,861 total bankruptcy filings in July 2020 were down 33 percent from the 64,345 total filings in July 2019. Total consumer filings decreased 34 percent in July 2020, as the 40,093 filings fell from the 61,031 consumer filings registered in July 2019.

$ As reported in early July by bankrate.com, as businesses that were closed due to Covid-19 reopen, significant percentages of Americans are planning to spend less than they did before the pandemic, according to a new study from CreditCards.com. The top items that people spent on before the pandemic, but expect to cut back on going forward, include movie tickets (45%), sports/concert/theater tickets (45%), bars (44%) and restaurants (38%). Also, Boomers (43%) are more likely to be tipping more than Gen Xers (39%) and Millenniels (33%).

$ More than one in three (36%) U.S. adults say they’ve delayed at least one major financial milestone as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey by Bankrate.com released in July. Delayed financial milestones include finding a new job (12%), buying/leasing a car (11%), buying a home (9%), furthering education (7%), getting married (5%), having children (5%), retiring (5%) or another major financial milestone (5%). In addition, generation Z (ages 18-23) and millennials (ages 24-39) were twice as likely as their elders (ages 40+) to delay a major milestone (52% of those ages 18-39 vs. 26% elders).

I have found these reports and statistics to be interesting, and I hope that our readers do also. Next time, we will look at some issues like a historic increase in home sales in July, and our decreasing birthrate. STAY SAFE AND SANE.

John Ninfo is a retired bankruptcy judge and the founder of the National CARE Financial Literacy Program. Find his previous weekly columns at http://www.mpnnow.com/search?text=Ninfo or at http://www.monroecopost.com/search?text=Ninfo.