Experts say the 2020s will bring an economic boom

Plus, the pay-later craze, and when people really start saving

Dec 18, 2020 | Current events
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Economists think the next decade will be a screaming success

The past year has been a rough one by most economic measures, but these dark days may give way to a decade of growth. Researchers at UCLA have forecasted a new “Roaring Twenties” in the US that will parallel the expansion of the gilded age a century ago. What’s behind the optimism? Our relatively deep financial hole plus the potential trade boost vaccines will provide could lead to 6% GDP growth in Q2 2021, a major leap from this quarter’s poor 1.2% gain. From there, experts forecast higher rates of growth through the next three years than we’ve seen in a decade. These economists admit we have months of hardship before a turnaround, but, like Pantone’s new Colors of the Year, we’re starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Watch out PB +J...

Because big purchases and point-of-sale loans are becoming the hottest combo when Americans go shopping. These loans let buyers break large purchases into many smaller installments, without interest, fees, or even a debit card. Services like Affirm are hoping piecemeal payments will make large price tags easier to swallow: Instead of paying $1895 for a Peloton, you’re paying just 39 monthly payments of $49. With the pandemic putting the finances of many in a tight spot, 44% of consumers said the availability of these buy now, pay later programs is important in determining how much to spend over the holidays. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t wary — nearly half of those surveyed also said these programs would cause them to spend 10-20% more than they would while using a credit card.

Didn’t save in your 20s?

Then you’re far from alone, according to Charles Schwab’s 2020 Modern Retirement survey of aspiring and current retirees. The findings revealed 2 out of 3 people started saving for retirement at age 30 or later. Despite the late starts, the average respondent still had nearly $1 million saved. But before you delay building your own nest egg, keep in mind Schwab’s methodology favored the wealthy — respondents needed at least $100k saved to be eligible for the survey. And with an average age of 64, those surveyed also represent the baby boomer generation, whose financial circumstances are very different from those facing millennials.

Who’s getting paid $195 to say “happy birthday”?

Few are in the position to monetize “happy birthday” messages, but for lesser-known celebrities, the service Cameo allows money-making opportunities that rival any limelight. Brian Baumgartner, better known as Kevin Malone from NBC’s The Office, managed to rack up $1 million in 2020, sending customized messages to paying fans. But scoring the spot as Cameo’s top earner in 2020 didn’t come easy. At $195/message, Baumgartner would have had to send an average of 14 messages each day to reach a cool mil. Already planning how to capitalize on your notoriety? Keep in mind that Cameo takes a 25% cut of anything you earn.