Report Shows that Americans are Better Prepared for Retirement

Over recent years, a lot of concerns have been raised with regards to how ill prepared many Americans seem to be when it comes to preparing themselves for retirement in terms of their finances. There have been worries that many Americans will find it difficult to cope financially and meet all of their essential costs when the times comes to retire because they have failed to make adequate provisions for their golden years.

However, a recent report has indicated that the climate appears to be changing for the better, with a rise in the number of Americans making provisions for their retirement years. A recent Fidelity report has shown that as a nation America appears to be better prepared for retirement than in previous years with figures showing that there are now more households that are prepared for retirement in terms of their finances than there were in 2013. The figures were based on analysis of research carried out in relation to funding for retirement and this involved a survey of 4,650 people.

As part of the study, respondents were asked questions relating to how easily they would be able to cover essential costs in retirements such as the cost of food, healthcare and accommodation. Each household was then issued with a score from Fidelity based on the answers provided. Households had to receive a score of 81 or over in order to indicate that they would be able to cover such basic expenses without any issues, and the number of households that achieved this score came in at 45 percent compared to 38 percent in 2013, which was the last time that this particular study was carried out.

Encouraging figures

The figures for this year’s report also showed that the number of households that needed to make changes to their plans for retirement in order to be able to meet the necessary essential costs fell from 43 percent in 2013 to 32 percent.

Officials have said that the figures and information from the latest Fidelity report are very encouraging and appear to show that Americans are becoming more savvy and organized when it comes to preparing themselves for their retirement. Many are now realizing the importance of saving towards their retirement and have become more aware of the problems that they could face if they fail to make the necessary provisions.

Majority of Manitoban Canada Bad Credit Loan Lenders are Unlicensed

When Manitoba consumers are seeking out short-term payday loans online, they are more likely to discover unlicensed lenders than licensed ones, says a new national study by a non-profit consumer organization.

According to Consumers Council of Canada, 12 online lenders in the province of Manitoba were investigated as part of the study and the researchers found that just two were licensed by the provincial government.

Despite maintaining some of the strictest bad credit loan rules in the country, the organization believes “you are not safer in provinces with more regulation.”

For instance, the Manitoba government instituted some of these rules on the payday loan industry:

  • The province has the lowest borrowing rate in Canada: $17 per $100 borrowed.
  • Licensed lenders are required to limit their borrowing to 30 percent of net pay.

Businesses are mandated to issue a notice to the customer at the point of borrowing, which highlights the high cost of borrowing, credit counselling information and the right to cancel the loan at anytime.

“Licensing has not made illegal lending go away,” said Ken Whitehurst, executive director of the Consumers Council of Canada. “Unlicensed lenders seem to request highly specific banking information. It’s very difficult to know who you are dealing with online.”

When measured from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island, the study noted that the province of Newfoundland had the smallest amount of regulation. This means a great number of consumers are faced with a growing number of unlicensed bad credit loan companies. Many of these companies utilize affiliates who build an online presence through websites to funnel “leads” to them. Swift Bad Credit Loans is not caught up in this scheme but it’s an example of a payday loan website.

Overall, study authors averred that close to all licensed lenders had followed the rules and abided by regulations. However, non-licensed enterprises offered very little compliance with the regulations, whether at the federal or provincial level.

Canadian Provinces & Cities Taking Action

Last month, the city of Hamilton garnered headlines after it was reported that several city councilors were looking to introduce legislation that would tighten rules regarding bad credit loan establishments.

If the proposed legislation is enacted then it would become the very first city in the province of Ontario to restrict and regulate payday loan stores at a municipal level.

Matthew Green, Ward 3 Councillor, asked city staff to assess the possibility of such action.

Green’s initiative came as Tom Cooper, director of Hamilton’s Roundtable for Poverty Reduction (HRPR), referred to this industry as “predatory lending,” adding these storefronts “prey on the most vulnerable in our society.”
Stan Keyes, president of the Hamilton-based Canadian Payday Loan Association, said, however, that sometimes a short-term, high-interest loan can be the “smartest solution” for somebody who has rent to pay or a utility bill to cover.

“Payday loans are less expensive than a series of overdrafts or defaulting on an auto loan,” stated Keyes. “They are a better deal than having the electricity or the heat or the telephone turned off, and as a consequence to later pay to have them turned on again.”

A Billion-Dollar Industry in Canada

Since the financial crisis, the payday loan industry has immensely grown.

As of 2014, it is estimated that there are approximately 1,350 payday loan stores across the country. The industry is worth about $2 billion, despite just three percent of families taking out a two-week loan in the past three years.

Experts say that Canadian users of bad credit loan lenders are young with a bad credit rating, who prefer the convenience and can’t access other forms of credit from traditional financial institutions.

Instead of relying on a payday loan to cover expenses, financial experts highly recommend to start a budget and, most importantly, within your means.

“Don’t set yourself up for failure. Create a budget, understand when your money comes in and when your money needs to go out,” said Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc. “Live within your means.”

How Alibaba, PayPal Could Affect Ecommerce

Alibaba is considering a proposal to work with PayPal in a bid to expand and increase the amount of payment options available to its customers after the Chinese company recorded a record in the number of sales and revenue during its annual Single’s day promotion.

Alibaba stated that the company sold merchandise worth $7.5 billion within 19 hours of its promotion, breaking the record which was set up last year. The Chinese e-commerce company’s Vice Chairman revealed that the company has already had discussion with Apple Inc. regarding Apple Pay and a possible alliance and is also open to working with PayPal in the future as more and more people are shifting to online shopping with pre-sales on an all-time high.

This success has given even more confidence to China’s largest e-commerce operator as it looks to increase its accessibility to international merchants, which is a part of its global expansion plan to make Alibaba a direct rival of other e-commerce companies such as Amazon. Just 2 months ago, Alibaba had the most successful IPO in the history; the company’s financial affiliate has more than 180 online million customers in over a hundred countries; at the moment things are looking very positive for the investors and the company itself.

Alibaba’s recent success is “single’s day” or anti-valentine’s day, which has now surpassed Black Friday observed in the U.S. and become the world’s most lucrative online shopping day and the most profitable manufactured holiday ever. Even though the company introduces this day in a bid to boost sales by targeting people who are still single, the lucrative offers that are given to public are so tempting that singles aren’t the only one going after the offers; families have also started to shop online on this day to take advantage of generous discounts and promotional offers.

The increased popularity and the high amount of sales have forced Alibaba to consider an internationally reputed credit card company with strong footing to take care of its payments and sales with PayPal at the top of the list. Alibaba is looking to expand its operations all over the globe and with PayPal having a strong international footing the expansion can be quite easier.

Currently Alibaba is marketing itself in various countries including Singapore, Malaysia etc. through online advertisement, videos and social media. Even though Alibaba has its operations in the United States of America, it is facing strong competition from Amazon. Alibaba is of the view that with the help of PayPal, it can continue to impose itself in the fast growing Chinese e-commerce market and cover up its losses it continues to suffer in the United States of America. The market in china is expected to grow by 25% in the next few years from $390 billion in 2014 to around $800 billion in 2017. With more and more brands becoming dependent on holidays and online shopping, Alibaba’s partnership with PayPal might bring a boom for the Company.