The year of 2020 has undoubtedly been a tragic year for the finances of the average American. Jobs slashed, increasing reliance on unemployment benefits, dipping into the remainder of life savings and even retirement savings… it’s an ugly picture.
The Motley Fool recently compiled the results of some new research from Northwestern Mutual, and the numbers are not good at all…
“Americans who carry debt are spending a whopping 33% of their monthly income to repay their creditors. And that doesn’t include mortgage debt.
Americans who owe money have an average balance of $26,621. With the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting median weekly earnings of all workers at $994, that would mean that the typical American would have to devote more than half a year’s earnings just to paying off their debt balance. That’s obviously not going to happen.”
(And by the way, the more you owe, the more in ADDITIONAL interest you have to pay over several years on top of the original debt.)
“A whopping 13% of Americans anticipate being in debt forever. That would mean that even as retirees, they’d be paying interest to creditors. And they might pass away never having paid their balance in full.”
The pandemic has gotten to the point where the conventional wisdom of personal finance may no longer hold.
If you are one of the Americans who fall into all three categories mentioned above, your options are quite limited…
Practice frugality VERY aggressively and dedicate as much of your income as possible to paying off debt, only spending money on essential expenses and putting every other penny into eliminating the debt.
Increase your income drastically through several means: Getting a raise at your current job, finding a new job with a higher salary, starting a side hustle where you can rake in additional income per month (while practicing aggressive frugality, of course).
Negotiate some extraordinary payment circumstances with the credit card companies and your loaners, hoping they will bite the bullet and give you more leniency in paying off your debts over time.
In short, an iron-proof commitment to money you won’t see in 99.9% of Americans – even the ones who are obsessed with personal finance and budgeting.
Can it be done? It most certainly can, but the odds are very unlikely. Especially in today’s circumstances.
I don’t know what much else can be said, other than offer some hope for 2021. It will be the year where we get ourselves out of this dark hole, or find ourselves falling deeper into the abyss.
What do YOU think should be done to solve the rising debt crisis faced by millions of Americans? Reply to this newsletter and share your suggestions with us!
American Hotels Are Becoming Abandoned Buildings
What’s happening to the hotels in the USA? They’re certainly not being occupied like they used to last year, and many of them ended up empty and unoccupied for the entirety of 2020.
“According to STR, Inc, a hotel industry market data firm, the US hotel occupancy rate plunged 26.4% to 36.8% during the week of 13 to 19 December, compared over the same period in 2019.
STR said the average daily rate (ADR) dropped 21.9% to $85.50 over the week. Revenue per available room (RevPAR) was at $31.45, down 41.5%.
For the first time on record, the industry had one billion unsold room nights as Americans stayed home and or travelers avoided hotels.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, hotel occupancy rates in 2020 were hovering between 65-70%. They then fell to an annual low of 22% in mid-April, surged for a bit, and are flatlining at 36.8% as of the week ending December 19. This has resulted in 25% of US hotels facing the real possibility of foreclosure, and two million jobs in the American hotel industry being slashed.
And what are the only chances of survival? More stimulus money and the widespread distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
Otherwise, 2021 will be the year of bankruptcies, foreclosure, and mergers.
Finally, NEW Non-Vaccine Treatments Are Being Developed for COVID-19!
With all of the nonstop talk happening nationwide about COVID-19 vaccines, you have to wonder if other non-vaccine alternatives are being developed. Treatments that have less controversy behind them and will hopefully have more Americans compliantly taking them without fear of judgment or a restricted way of life.
One company headed down this path is Sorrento Therapeutics, which has TWO treatment options undergoing clinical trials right now. From CNBC:
“[Sorrento Therapeutics] won a $34 million contract from DARPA co-funded by JPEO to develop an intramuscular injection that delivers gene-encoded neutralizing antibodies against COVID-19 and its variant strains… it will [undergo] a Phase 2 clinical study.
It is hoped that the injection could enable rapid protection from and/or treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 so patients can produce their own protective antibodies within days of getting the injection.”
And if injections aren’t your thing, maybe nose drops will be:
“…the company has filed an investigational new drug application with the FDA for a Phase 1 clinical trial to test the safety and efficacy of COVI-DROPS, antibody nose drops that it claims boosts immunity against COVID-19 by blocking the infection and spread of the virus…
In previous animal studies, COVI-DROPS reduced the severity of and shortened the duration of the disease in infected hamsters.”
THERE WE GO! Animal studies, the one thing desperately missing from the COVID-19 vaccines produced by Moderna and Pfizer.
Looks like the biotech sector in 2021 will be filled with ample opportunity for investors to make more money from the COVID-19 pandemic…
Is Wall Street Buying Up All the Medical Practices in America?
This breaking news story from Bloomberg has some heavy implications for the healthcare industry, especially the protection of bad doctors at the expense of the patient’s health:
“Last year, Jessie Harrell went to see her gynecologist for a routine appointment. She’d been seeing Dr. Tim Baird for 14 years… All of Dr. Baird’s patients, Harrell learned, [now] needed to sign a form agreeing to ‘binding arbitration,’ a legal concept that meant she was waiving her right to a jury trial in the event of medical malpractice.
Advocates of arbitration contend that it’s a sensible alternative to resolving disputes in a trial. Arbitration, they say, frees doctors to treat patients more holistically and to worry less about how a treatment decision might play with a jury. But it has also helped enable a trend that has very little to do with patients’ well-being: the rise of private equity in medicine.
The private equity playbook involves acquiring practices in fields such as dermatology, gastroenterology, and obstetrics and rolling them up into enormous medical networks with hundreds of doctors’ offices and thousands of individual doctors under a single brand.”
In plain non-lawyer language, a violation of our Constitutional rights as American citizens. This is nothing more than a money-making power move by bankers who want to directly impact how well-intentioned doctors treat their patients.
Wall Street can remain a dirty sector for all I care. But the LAST thing we need to be doing is eroding the public’s trust in doctors, nurses, and the healthcare industry as a whole.
What do YOU think about this evil practice by Wall Street? Should they be digging their dirty hands into medical practices in the first place? Reply to this newsletter and tell us how you feel!