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  • Americans say they can't afford a vacation

    When I read articles like this I find myself wondering what it would take to make America financially secure.
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    Americans, crippled by debt and seeing signs of a slowing economy, are sitting out on pricey vacations and everyday leisure activities.

    A new Bankrate survey found 42 per cent of Americans decided not to take a vacation over the past year because of the cost. Nearly a third said they can afford a vacation less now than they could have five years ago, though 26 per cent said they can afford to do so more now. More than two-thirds of U.S. adults opted out of a recreational activity due to the cost at some point in the past year, the study found.

    You can’t blame them. Trade tensions have economists projecting the likelihood of a recession in the next 12 months at 35 per cent. U.S. student debt is over $1.5 trillion. Almost 40 per cent of Americans think the economy is “not so good” or “poor.”


    Half of respondents said the activities they passed on were too expensive to begin with or not a good value, while 43 per cent said they didn’t have enough money left over after paying everyday bills and 41 per cent said they wanted to save money for other things.
    Parents missed out most of all. More than three-quarters of those with kids under the age of 18 reported missing out on activities, versus 66 per cent of non-parents.

    The survey encompassed over 2,500 American adults online in July with figures weighted to be representative of all U.S. adults.

    Source: BNN Bloomberg.

    james.c.hendrickson@gmail.com
    202.468.6043

  • #2
    A vacation is not an entitlement program, although a lot of people look at it that way.
    Way too many finance their vacations with credit cards instead of saving up and paying for it outright.

    I went years without taking vacations or even much time off from work.
    Brian

    Comment


    • #3
      Ah, there has been a ton of bad news in the headlines this morning - I think recession fears are pretty prominent in the national mood these days.
      james.c.hendrickson@gmail.com
      202.468.6043

      Comment


      • #4
        Seems like peoples view of what a vacation is has changed and increased in price considerably over the last several generations.
        When we were kids, our big summer vacation was going camping somewhere at a state park where we could swim, ride bikes, fish and be in the outdoors every day, cooked suppers on the campfire and coleman stove, it was very economical and probably about all my parents could afford at the time for a big family. A vacation for the young folks in my office the last couple years I worked involved a long distance trip to a beach destination, staying in a fancy condo with pool and eating all of their meals out at restaurants.

        A vacation can be very economical.

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree that the definition of vacation may vary
          There are still some reasonable options, but not if you are trying to impress your facebook/ work friends.

          Many people i know take small trips 3-4 days more frequently then taking a week or 2 week time frame to go long distance to some destination, Then if asked they say "oh i NEVER go on vacation".

          Originally posted by james.hendrickson View Post
          When I read articles like this I find myself wondering what it would take to make America financially secure.
          Personal finance is PERSONAL andthat is why we will never make others financially secure.

          I quit reading (definitely quit believing) these articles and recently decided to quit taking a survey i have for a long time because the questions in these are often misleading to trying to support whatever position whomever wanted the survey done.

          i think TOO many people think they can solve other peoples finances to match some made up "norm" such as person must have A,B and C to meet the standard.
          I have watched many people charge a ton of debt trying to meet these artificial standards.
          Vacations are one of those standards.

          Did they specify $ amounts or time amounts for what they call vacation?

          i have a friend who loves to travel (expensively) and eat out most of the time, This year he has tightened up his budget way beyond what i ever pictured him doing ... so i was intrigued did he feel like there was an economic down turn or slowing? Did he have some sort of insight?
          His income had jumped alot in the last year why the change of course?.............then i figured it out and it became clear... he had a birthday .... this changed his time frame.

          People often make Assumptions and predictions about economy based on actions without ALL the relevant data.

          Why do they keep publishing this type article to appear more "in the KNOW" or to more likely instill fear for those having trouble already?
          Last edited by Smallsteps; 08-14-2019, 11:57 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Really just about priorities isn't it? The whole you can afford anything but not everything mantra. I actually looked up earlier this morning how much PTO I had used so far this year - 124 hours, which equates to 15.5 days or about 3 weeks. Mostly used in 3-4 day weekends either for travel or to get personal things done. Travel is a priority to me so I sacrifice in other areas so I can still meet my savings goals and have money left over to travel. Have a couple other trips planned yet this year!

            Saw a WSJ article yesterday talking about how people are going into debt trying to stay in the middle class. The examples they gave were the absolute worst - a 28 year old couple who bought a $250k house, took out $48k in car loans and now couldn't pay off their TJ Maxx card... do people really sympathize with that? While there are always those who are struggling due to circumstances out of their control, I feel the same about the "I couldn't afford a vacation" complaint. Many who say they can't afford it are choosing to spend on housing and cars and "stuff", which is fine and it's their choice but its not the same as being unable to afford it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by riverwed070707 View Post
              Saw a WSJ article yesterday talking about how people are going into debt trying to stay in the middle class. The examples they gave were the absolute worst - a 28 year old couple who bought a $250k house, took out $48k in car loans and now couldn't pay off their TJ Maxx card... do people really sympathize with that? While there are always those who are struggling due to circumstances out of their control, I feel the same about the "I couldn't afford a vacation" complaint. Many who say they can't afford it are choosing to spend on housing and cars and "stuff", which is fine and it's their choice but its not the same as being unable to afford it.
              I find this odd. I have read many definitions of "middle class" so how can someone fall out of it or go into debt to stay there? (simply use a different definition)

              Keeping up with those around us or some standard they have in their mind does not make a person middle class.
              I have been in many a public place and simply put it is hard to guess someone's ability or lack of ability to afford something. Too many are playing keeping up with the Joneses that is all.
              Vacations are often used as those items too. Somehow people have now equated if you do not take a certain vacation ( defined by who) you are somehow falling behind.


              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Smallsteps View Post
                I quit reading (definitely quit believing) these articles and recently decided to quit taking a survey i have for a long time because the questions in these are often misleading to trying to support whatever position whomever wanted the survey done.

                i think TOO many people think they can solve other peoples finances to match some made up "norm" such as person must have A,B and C to meet the standard.
                I have watched many people charge a ton of debt trying to meet these artificial standards.
                Vacations are one of those standards.

                Did they specify $ amounts or time amounts for what they call vacation?
                .....
                People often make Assumptions and predictions about economy based on actions without ALL the relevant data.

                Why do they keep publishing this type article to appear more "in the KNOW" or to more likely instill fear for those having trouble already?
                Smallsteps, I would give you the biggest high-five right now if I could. Seriously, thank you, for recognizing how blatantly the authors spun these data to fit their view of the world.

                This level of critical thinking about statistics, especially concerning survey results, is sorely lacking, most especially in the mass news media.
                A new Bankrate survey found 42 per cent of Americans decided not to take a vacation over the past year because of the cost. Nearly a third said they can afford a vacation less now than they could have five years ago, though 26 per cent said they can afford to do so more now. More than two-thirds of U.S. adults opted out of a recreational activity due to the cost at some point in the past year, the study found.
                The conclusions this article is reaching (especially the headline!) based on this data is simply absurd. Look at it from the other direction for a second, from the perspective that the world isn't on fire.

                Rewritten: "58% of people elected to take a vacation this year, in spite of the cost. Only ~30% of people feel that they are less able to take a vacation now than 5 years ago, while ~45% view vacations to be just as affordable for them, and vacations are more affordable for 26% of the country. However, adults are also being more careful about how they spend their recreational budgets, with 70% of adults electing not to participate in certain activities due to cost at some point in the past year."

                I'll highlight the bolded point... "at some point in the past year"?!?!? That claim is so fantastically broad that it really tells you NOTHING!! That simply means that ONCE in the last 12 months, 70% of people decided that some form of recreation was too expensive, so they didn't do it. I fit into that category -- a few weeks ago, I chose not to go to a concert, because the tickets were going to be $80+, and the show wasn't worth that to me. But am I struggling financially this year? Not in the slightest!

                Ugh.... this kind of reporting, playing fast and loose with the facts, is just infuriating to me. This is why I NEVER watch cable TV news, and why I only read and pay attention to news articles from a very select few sources that I've vetted for relative neutrality (that is, greater than zero... which is what is mostly what you'll find).
                "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Define "vacation".

                  I define vacation as time away from work at a time when I normally would be working (so not just my normally scheduled days off) but I'm still getting paid.

                  if your job includes paid time off, you can afford to take a vacation. Your job is literally paying you to not work for some period of time. That's a vacation. There's nothing more to afford. Is this survey saying that 42% of Americans have jobs that don't provide any paid vacation time?

                  I suspect that's not the case and by "vacation" these people are referring to traveling away from home somewhere, staying in a hotel, visiting tourist attractions, eating out, etc.

                  Sometimes we travel when I'm on vacation. Sometimes we stay home when I'm on vacation. Either way, I'm still on vacation if I'm not working and I'm being paid for my time.
                  Steve

                  * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                  * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                  * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by kork13 View Post
                    I'll highlight the bolded point... "at some point in the past year"?!?!? That claim is so fantastically broad that it really tells you NOTHING!! That simply means that ONCE in the last 12 months, 70% of people decided that some form of recreation was too expensive, so they didn't do it. I fit into that category -- a few weeks ago, I chose not to go to a concert, because the tickets were going to be $80+, and the show wasn't worth that to me. But am I struggling financially this year? Not in the slightest!
                    Such a great point. I'm making the highest income I've ever made but I'm in the category too. We are currently on vacation as I type this post but just in the past 10 days that we've been here, we have chose not to do something because of the cost. Heck, I bet virtually 100% of people fit into that category if that's the criteria.
                    Steve

                    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Americans, crippled by debt and seeing signs of a slowing economy, are sitting out on pricey vacations and everyday leisure activities.
                      The leading sentence gives me pause--especially the "seeing signs of a slowing economy" part. Exactly what are those signs that folks are reacting to? Did they read about the Treasury 2-10 year yield curve being inverted (a short time) a few days ago? Are they talking about consumer confidence. What? I just find it difficult to assign something that is pretty technical (and hard to define until after it has already happened) as the cause of a particular behavior.

                      Also, if this is true it does seem to be a change for the good as it seems like debt hasn't always been an obstacle to sitting out pricey vacations....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I am in the vacation rental business and this is going to be a record year for us. That aside, a recession is inevitable. Economic expansions and contractions are a natural part of a free-market economy. Generally, when the government steps in to "assist" the severity of a recession with artificially low interest rates and buying its own bonds ("Quantitative Easing"), it is simply kicking the can down the road for a bigger, broader recession.
                        Last edited by TexasHusker; 08-15-2019, 06:34 AM.
                        How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Like2Plan View Post

                          The leading sentence gives me pause--especially the "seeing signs of a slowing economy" part. Exactly what are those signs that folks are reacting to? Did they read about the Treasury 2-10 year yield curve being inverted (a short time) a few days ago? Are they talking about consumer confidence. What? I just find it difficult to assign something that is pretty technical (and hard to define until after it has already happened) as the cause of a particular behavior.

                          Also, if this is true it does seem to be a change for the good as it seems like debt hasn't always been an obstacle to sitting out pricey vacations....
                          I agree it would be a good sign if more people to pay attention to debt but as you said that was NOT stopping many before.
                          Too many don't cut back or pay attention until it reaches a crisis level.
                          This whole article was leading... honestly the average person is NOT looking at the economic indicators as closely as lets say an investor etc,.

                          For many consumer confidence is measured by if the parking lot/ store/ restaurant or other outlets are busy.
                          For average people Unemployment is measured by how secure you feel your job is and how many of your friends/ family are looking for work. not the flawed % rate reported on the news.

                          I find it hilarious when these Chicken Littles ( the sky is falling) try to turn economic indicators (often with flawed data or equations like unemployment) as something joe and jane average are sitting on the edge of their couch waiting for the numbers to come out. Then joe and jane will decide if they go out to dinner/ or vacation, lol.



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                          • #14
                            I agree that most folks aren't looking at technical economic indicators. Most people are basing decision on their own pocketbooks, their own employment status, and what they hear on the news. When the news is talking about the stock market hitting records every day, historically low unemployment, and strong retail sales, people loosen the purse strings and spend (and borrow) more freely. When the news is dominated by the Dow dropping 800 points, inflation fears, and rising unemployment, folks hunker down more and get more conservative with their spending.
                            Steve

                            * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                            * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                            * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
                              I agree that most folks aren't looking at technical economic indicators. Most people are basing decision on their own pocketbooks, their own employment status, and what they hear on the news. When the news is talking about the stock market hitting records every day, historically low unemployment, and strong retail sales, people loosen the purse strings and spend (and borrow) more freely. When the news is dominated by the Dow dropping 800 points, inflation fears, and rising unemployment, folks hunker down more and get more conservative with their spending.
                              Excellent point Disneysteve.
                              james.c.hendrickson@gmail.com
                              202.468.6043

                              Comment

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