From Our Two Cents Monthly Newsletter – November 2017 Edition.
- According to a release by the Institute for Policy Studies, roughly 20 percent of American households have a net worth of zero or lower. Among the contributing factors are student loans, credit card debt, and low wage growth.
- The unemployment rate in the US has reached its lowest level since 2000, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This comes with a near record-high 6.09 million job openings; however, wage growth in October was only 2.4 percent.
- Amazon has begun harnessing augmented reality (AR) technology in its online shopping experience. Using an app, shoppers can see how items will look in their homes before buying. The feature, called AR View, is already available on newer iOS devices and is coming soon to Android.
- New home sales in the US have reached their highest mark in 10 years, according to the Commerce Department. New home sales have increased by nearly 19 percent over the past year.
- Continuing the trend from recent years, health care costs in retirement continue to rise. A healthy couple retiring in 2017 can now expect to spend $275,000 on health care in retirement, an increase of roughly 6 percent since 2016.
- Cyber Monday is slated to be the single largest online shopping day in the history of the United States. According to Adobe Analytics, an estimated $6.6 billion was spent on the Monday following Thanksgiving this year.
- According to the Wall Street Journal, retail juggernaut Hasbro is looking to buy one of its chief competitors, Mattel. Though no merger appears imminent at the moment, the potential of a new retail powerhouse is worth watching.
- Microsoft founder Bill Gates has pledged $100 million to fund Alzheimer’s research. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, and the number of individuals affected by dementia is expected to increase by 162 percent by the year 2050.
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