This week’s Sentiment Survey special question asked AAII members how they thought the average consumer was faring relative to a year ago. Nearly 39% said the average consumer is faring better, though many clarified their responses by describing the average consumer as doing somewhat or a little bit better. Lower energy prices and, to a lesser extent, a better job market and wage growth were credited. Approximately 17% said the average consumer is faring about the same. Though energy prices are low, several of these respondents view prices on other goods and services as rising. Slightly more than 21% described the average consumer as faring worse. These respondents said higher prices and expenses—particularly for health care—and slow-to-stagnant wage growth were offsetting the benefit of lower energy costs.
Here is a sampling of the responses:
- “Aside from current gasoline prices, consumers are basically marching in place.”
- “More people are employed and gas prices are down.”
- “Not as well. Prices are up, but income is down or steady.”
- “Stealth inflation in products, especially health care, is eroding purchasing power.”
- “A little better. “Lower energy expenses leaves more cash available for discretionary spending.”
Want to weigh in? Take the survey yourself and see results online at http://www.aaii.com/sentimentsurvey.
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