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Monday, May 04, 2009

JES: Cutouts

Here's some good stuff that I'm cutting from the Jewish Economics Survey presentation that I found interesting, just not important enough to discuss during the presentation itself... First, a few little factoids:
  • Over 75% of those who have a car own it outright. That's pretty good, I think.
  • About half the respondents have two cars. About 10% don't own a car.
  • About 34% have 4 bedrooms or more.
  • 19.7% of the respondents are 40 and up. 34.8% are in their thirties.
  • Over 15% are single.
  • While 87% of married couples outside of NY/NJ (which includes West Hempstead, Monsey, and Highland Park for the sake of characterization) are members of a shul, just 72% of those within NY/NJ (which does not include those areas) are members.
  • On the flip side, singles within NY/NJ are more likely to be members of a shul by a 63-56% margin.
I thought the average utility costs per month by residence size was interesting:
  • 1-bedroom apt.: $95
  • 2-bedroom apt.: $126
  • 3-bedroom apt.: $255
  • 3-bedroom house: $371
  • 4-bedroom house: $475
  • 5-bedroom house: $561
  • 6-bedroom house: $626
While certainly, all else being equal, people are better off in houses, it's imperative that people who are looking to own instead of rent be well aware of the uptick in their other expenses, from property taxes and home repairs to utilities. For example, a family in Queens who rents a 2-bedroom apartment pays about $121/month in utilities; if they want to buy a 3-bedroom house* in Queens, their utilities almost quadruple to $475/month.

* smallish sample, but the numbers are mostly consistent
Actually, as I was writing that I decided to include it. I thought the next comment was interesting, as it was somewhat opposed to earlier comments by many suggesting people shoot for higher education due to the higher salaries they bring in in the long run; this respondent felt advice to young people should include the following:
Improper preparation of young people to be productive wage earners. Tell people about CLEPs, self study, industry certifications, etc. College degrees can be had in 2 years, not 4. One can earn a living as a CFA, MSCE, A+, Actuary, etc. with minimal college.
Finally, a really cool idea from a family in Lakewood:
Something we do it put all our coins into a big pretzel container at the end of the day (we don't spend coins) and that usually gives us $1,200 - $1,500 a year (no pennies). This way we can afford to go on a one or two vacation, overnight with the kids in the summer
That's a pretty clever way of doing things, and really lets you appreciate just how much small coins add up to - let alone putting aside a couple hundred dollars a month or so. On the flip side, this makes me nervous just to read, in response to the questions about debt:
We usually get "off the book" jobs here and there and are able to cover the credit card debt around August-September each year. Our credit card debt is only on credit cards with 0% interest and no fees.
While the 0% interest/no fees is great, this family (of five) is essentially living on a wing and a prayer. Not only are their jobs "off the books", which [forgetting that issue in and of itself] means that they could easily not get paid or something could go wrong. It also means the income is not steady, cannot be relied upon (especially in a year like this), and if they suddenly can't make a payment on those credit cards, they'll get nailed with fees and their interest rates will shoot up.

Feel free to add any comments, and if you haven't taken the survey yet, what are you waiting for?! If you have, please send it out to friends and family - thanks!

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