Fact of Fiction: Overspending or Just Living

Bryan Cranston as Walter White from a GQ photoshoot. Image courtesy of GQ.com

Bryan Cranston as Walter White from a GQ photoshoot. Image courtesy of GQ.com

No matter what generation, there is always a subset of the population living above their means. But, when is enough, enough?

We all have friends who spend every dollar of their hard-earned salary only to have to wait for their next paycheck, certainly if you live in the African-American community. A study from Nielsen, a leading global information and measurement company, has shown that there are no supporting facts to this assumption; but in their study, they found it’s a fact that the African-American community spends less than non-African-Americans. The 2012 study of the African American consumer paints an interesting picture, where the average African-American household makes 165.7 shopping trips per year compared to 153 trips for non-African-American but at the same time spends less than non-African-Americans. The average cost per trip for African-Americans is $37 per trip compared to $45 for non-African-Americans, which totals to $6,138 per year for African-American households in comparison to $6,883 for non-African-American households.

Overall, no matter if African-American or not, most people spend more money than they should; this is seen as a just part of being American. The cost of living and the easy access to credit cards allow this to happen and frankly make it dangerous at the same time. From personal experience, and when looking at my close friends, there is no race to overspending and living above their means, it just depends on who they are, and who they want to be.

by Pascal Rosenast, Organizational Change Management degree candidate at the New School for Public Engagement

 

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2 Comments

  1. Interesting post for many reasons. But it is also important to highlight African Americans earn much less than others. According to Census Bureau annual report on poverty, income and health insurance. Median income in 2012 for Black household was $33,321 in comparison to Asians whose median income was $68,636, Hispanics $39,005 and Whites was $57,009 (see http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-median-income-in-the-us-by-race-2013-9) so one could argue that African Americans already are at a financial disadvantage and have very little to spend. In addition, did the Nielsen study define what it meant by “shopping”?
    This is an important distinction and an area where context would be helpful to paint a clearer picture. Historically, African -American rites revolved around food., and with many single parent household working multiple jobs, many times these families find themselves eating at fast food restaurant like McDonalds, Wendy’s, and other fast food restaurant.

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  2. An interesting report too issued by Demos.org shows that Black individuals in the United States have an average lower credit card debt load than Whites.
    http://www.demos.org/sites/default/files/publications/FACTSHEET_TheColorofDebt_Demos.pdf

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