Summer is swiftly approaching and, with it, a yearly barometer of the public's confidence in both its nation's pocketbook and its own. Will the coming months persuade the public that past economic woes are truly past, or will American consumers remain cautious about their personal finances and the amounts they can safely spend in these uncertain times?
Hints that the Federal Reserve might soon raise interest rates have triggered a bumpy ride for the stock market over the last few weeks -- this despite a startling succession of positive earnings reports from many of the nation's major corporations. I believe the post-2000 economy has fallen into a vicious cycle: The opinion of individuals about their personal economic well-being affects investors' sentiments, and in turn, the up-and-down behavior of the stock market and other broad-based economic news impacts those same Americans.
Given that, it seems a sound idea to see if the public's sentiment on its own personal economic welfare can provide some hope -- or at least clarity -- about the nation's economic health. And two good ways to measure that is to ask people how they feel about their own money situation and, more specifically, how much they plan to spend on summer travel this year.
Here are the results of two recent InsiderAdvantage surveys on these topics.
Question One: Currently, are your personal finances getting better, getting worse or staying about the same?
Better 25 percent:
Worse 21 percent:
Staying about the same: 53 percent
Undecided/ No opinion: 1 percent
Question Two: Do you intend to travel more, less or about the same as last summer?