Notable American Economic Facts


We have all heard anecdotes about monetary troubles since the 2008 financial crisis. Friends, neighbors and family members have lost jobs; bosses have let employees go; families struggle to keep their homes and lifestyles. Recently, shared some economic facts that underline the current state of American households.

For example, in 2010, the median American family was worth $77,300. In 2007, the same family’s net worth was $126,400. The decline represents nearly 20 years of lost wealth.

Fees from 401(k) plans can significantly reduce earnings over the lifetime of investing. The average couple pays $155,000 in fees, which comes out to almost one-third of the investments’ value.

The unemployment rate is 13 percent for high school dropouts and 3.9 percent for college graduates, which demonstrates the value of an education. Consider, too, the rate for all men (8.4 percent) compared with that for married men (4.9 percent).

America’s costs continue to increase, too. The country houses one-quarter of the world’s prisoners despite having just 5 percent of the global population.

Perhaps on a positive note, the federal government spent more in 1983 (23.5 percent) than in 2012 (23.3 percent), when calculated as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP).

Nevertheless, Americans need not lose hope. Through diligent saving and consistent investing, they can make up for some of these losses. It helps to be mindful of fees related to retirement accounts and to take actions to reduce them as much as possible. In some cases, workers may want to consider extending their careers by a few years. The federal government supports this idea as well, awarding higher amounts in Social Security benefits to those who wait.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and should not be interpreted as individualized investment advice. Investment objectives, risk tolerances and the financial situation of individual investors may vary. Please consult your financial and tax advisors before investing.

Susan Carr-Templeton

About Susan Carr-Templeton

Susan Templeton is the founder of Stafford Wells Advisors, a wealth management firm serving individuals, families and businesses and advising workplace retirement plans. Stafford Wells was founded in 2008 with the mission of delivering independent, complete, unbiased investment and planning advice, free of any conflicts of interest. Susan Templeton has more than 20 years experience in investment management. She received her B.S.B.A. degree in marketing from the University of Denver and her M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. Susan is a trustee for the Advocate Foundation where she chair’s the Planned Giving Committee and is a member of the Investment Committee. Susan serves on the investment committee for the Visiting Nurse Association (Chicago) and is a former trustee of the Village of Oak Brook Police Pension Plan.