Americans should plan for 'inevitable economic downturn' after yield-curve inversion: analyst

Katie Krzaczek
Associate Editor

Americans have become more prudent with their finances, especially amid fears of a recession.

“If people take this yield-curve inversion seriously, as some are, this may be a signal that the expansion will not go 13 years,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate, told Yahoo Finance’s YFI AM. “We should be planning for the inevitable economic downturn. … That means saving for emergencies, saving for retirement.”

A trader looks at screens as he works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., August 13, 2019. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz - RC1C0EF05090

That also means forgoing some of life’s simple pleasures, like going to a concert or booking a vacation.

Bankrate’s latest study found that 68% of Americans have skipped out on recreational activities in the past year due to the cost, reserving that money for everyday expenses.

“Consumers are pretty cautious on the future in general,” Hamrick said, with Bankrate previously reporting that “one in five Americans...thought a recession had already begun.”

In the past year, Americans have passed up everything from vacations to a trip to the movies in order to pocket some money for the future. Bankrate’s survey of 2,504 Americans found that:

  • 42% decided not to take a vacation (of at least one overnight stay)

  • 32% skipped attending a music concert or live arts event

  • 28% chose not to dine out with family and friends

  • 26% passed on a trip to the amusement park, zoo, or aquarium

  • 26% gave up attending a professional sports game

  • 25% sacrificed going to the movies

Hamrick said he sees skipping out on some indulgences as “a sign that Americans are being prudent with their finances.” Many respondents said the money they saved ended up going toward paying down debt or investing in a retirement fund.

Parents of young children (under the age of 18) are the most likely to report missing out on activities (76% vs. 66% of non-parents) due to affordability and are also the most likely to cite paying off debt (student loan and/or credit card) as the reason they couldn’t afford to take part, the study found.

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