Short Bits

Consumer expenditures rose 2.4% in 2016, according to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Families saw average annual expenditures increase from $55,978 in 2015 to $57,311 in 2016. Spending increased in seven of nine categories: food, housing, healthcare, entertainment, education, cash contributions and personal insurance and pensions. Spending on transportation, as well as apparel and services, declined.

LIMRA conducted a survey to learn how much American workers knew about their benefits and found out they can use more education.

A little more than half of employees weren’t aware life insurance benefits could be used for any purpose, and fewer than half were aware that short-term disability income insurance generally pays for leave after childbirth. One-quarter of employees understood that critical illness insurance pays out a lump sum that can be used for anything upon diagnosis, not just medical expenses.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s February 2018 SCE housing survey showed the majority of households continue to view housing as a good financial investment, although some felt this way more than others.

About two-thirds of respondents think that buying property in their zip code is a very good or somewhat good investment, compared to 60% in 2016. In the West, 70% think buying property is a good investment compared to 56% in the Northeast.

The First-Quarter WELLS FARGO/GALLUP investor and retirement optimism index survey finds that only 20% of non-retired investors have calculated their future retirement income or expenses.

Pre-retirees were more likely to have planned their retirement activities and location.