Morning Business Memo…
How much debt do you have? The answer could depend on your age. While most Americans households have reduced their debt load since it peaked in 2007, recent college graduates face a mountain of student loan debt. According to the International Monetary Fund average U.S. household debt is still higher than normal, but dropped from 130 percent of income in 2007 to 105 percent at the end of last year. Many Americans pared back their spending after home prices plunged and the economy tanked during the 2008-09. But the rise in unemployment made another serious problem worse. Many younger Americans either went back to school or stayed in higher education to improve their job skills. Student loan debt recently topped $1 trillion. The Pew Research Center found that for households under the age of 35 the average debt load rose by 2010 to 150 percent on annual income - sharply higher than it was a decade before. Other research found that 30 year olds with student loans are less likely to take out a mortgage or car loan than those who didn't have student debt to pay off.
More new stock market records were broken last week with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones index hitting fresh highs. The averages were up another 1 percent. As for where stocks are headed over the next few months who the heck knows? Even leading market analysts have been totally wrong about this year's advance. The S&P 500 closed on Friday at 1633. Businessinsider.com points out that even the most bullish stock picker on Wall Street had a year-end target of 1615. Since the recent rise, most the strategists from top banks and financial firms have scrambled to revise their forecasts.
A new survey finds that many Americans are confused by insurance. They may buy expensive policies to give them piece of mind, but "we know that many people simply have no idea what's in their home insurance policies," says Laura Adams, senior analyst at insurancequotes.com. 41 percent incorrectly believe a standard homeowner's insurance policy protects against mold damage. "Many people believe that mold would be covered under any circumstances and it's not," especially if your home wasn't properly maintained "When a mold claim is made what happens is they look at how did that mold get there. What were the reasons why the mold came to grow inside or outside the home." Adams says if an insurer finds mold damage was caused by negligence "it would not be covered." Many homeowners are also confused about flood and earthquake coverage
Oscar Mayer is about roll out bacon hot dogs to a hungry public. AdAge reports they'll be on sale just in time for Memorial Day. Unlike other dogs that are wrapped in bacon, Oscar Mayer says this new product will have the bacon cooked in.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesabc