Have you ever wondered whether social media was having a positive or negative impact on our mental well-being? The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a warning about the negative effects of social media on young kids and teens, and of course it mentions cyber-bullying. But it notes that the same risks may be true for adults. The key issues include:
Does it seem to you that America is experiencing more than its share of natural disasters, and that there are more extreme weather events happening today than ever before? Turns out you’re right. Since 1970, the number of major storms, floods, earthquakes and heatwaves that cause at least ten deaths or prompt the declaration of a national emergency has quadrupled worldwide, to around 400 a year. China, India and America suffer the greatest number of natural disasters—not always in that order.
You don’t hear much about America’s personal savings rate these days, and the reason may be because the news is discouraging: collectively, the percentage of our income that we save is trending downward again, and may be about to hit record lows. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis tracks the U.S. personal savings rate, going back to the late 1950s, when when people were setting aside a thrifty 11% of what they made. Americans achieved a record 17% savings rate in the mid-1970s (see chart) before a long decline set in. In 2013, the rate briefly spiked again above 10%, but as you can see from the chart, Americans have become less thrifty since then. The most recent data point shows Americans saving just 3.6% of their income.
Chances are, you’ve heard that tax “reform” is right around the corner—that is, if you can call it “reform” when hundreds or perhaps thousands of new pages are about to be added to the tax code. First, the White House released its tax legislation wish list. Now the Republicans in the House of Representatives have released a proposal called the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” which fleshes out some of the details.
The urge to splurge is one of the toughest challenges to a monthly budget, and leads to unhappy encounters with the credit card statement. But psychologists say there are solutions for the chronic overspender.
What does it really cost to own a pet? More than non-pet-owners probably realize, although if you do own a dog, cat or fish, you probably have a good idea that they’re not cheap.