For Mark Roberts’ Use:

In the past few years, you might have seen encouraging reports on the state of the economy. Unemployment is low, and in general we’ve seen positive trends in the stock market. Of course, many people’s feelings about the economy are still divided along party lines. But with regard to personal household finances, more than half of us still say that our situations haven’t improved in recent years.

So, what factors are driving those trends?

Wages have stagnated. Even though unemployment rates remain low, average wages are growing at less than 3 percent per year.

Lack of emergency savings. You’ve probably heard the old tried-and-true rule of emergency preparedness: Save at least six months’ worth of personal expenses in an easily accessed account. But are you doing that? The median American household has saved $11,000, which for most, is not equal to six months of bills.

Heavy debts. American consumers now owe more than one trillion dollars in credit card debts. For an individual household, this can lead to thousands of dollars in interest paid, and years of payments before those debts are eliminated.

Personal investing is slow. We are still not preparing adequately for retirement. Of those who had not invested in 2008, 87 percent still had not made that move by 2018.

Market volatility. While markets remain strong overall, political turmoil has led to some sharp ups and downs, leading to some hesitancy among investors.

With wages slow to rise and debts at an all-time high, it’s no wonder many of us aren’t saving for an emergency or investing funds for the future. But on an individual level, there are often small alterations we can make to our budgets, that will lead to greater household stability and security. Schedule an appointment with us to discuss your own concerns, and we can help you analyze your finances and get you started on a more confident track.