Who can we believe?
( Bloomberg) — March 12, 2015 / Household wealth in the U.S. increased from October through December by the most in a year as stock prices advanced to an all-time high at the end of 2014. Net worth for households and non-profit groups rose by $1.5 trillion in the fourth quarter 1.9 percent from the previous three months, to $82.9 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Thursday from Washington in its financial accounts report, previously known as the flow of funds survey.
A report like that would make you believe that Americans are all richer and feeling quite confident about the future. The rest of that Bloomberg article was just as upbeat. It proves how numbers can give a distorted view of the world. Those numbers were provided by the Federal Reserve.
Wait this really isn’t what it appears to be. USA Today offered this additional piece of information: But the wealth gains are flowing mainly to affluent Americans. Broad stock market averages have jumped more than 150% from their trough in the spring of 2009. But roughly 10% of households own about 80% of stocks.
The reality is that millions of families live paycheck to paycheck. The majority do not have significant savings for their retirement. The Median Value of Assets for Households in 2011 was $68,828.00. Married couples over 65 years had the highest wealth at a Median Value of $284,790.00. Take away the value of their home and you realize that many senior citizens are primarily relying on their Social Security income. The source for this data is the U.S. Census Bureau.
This data says two things to me. 1) You cannot rely on the reporting from just one publication for complete information. 2) There is a great economic divide in this nation.