Advertiser Disclosure

News

How Trump’s Proposed $200 Billion China Tariffs Could Affect You

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

iStock

Americans may feel a sting in their daily lives from the next swath of tariffs that President Donald Trump threatens to slap on $200 billion worth of Chinese-made products.

Trump’s initial tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports steered clear of popular consumer products. But as he looks to put a 25% tax on an additional $200 billion of China-made imports, it’s almost inevitable that U.S. consumers would see price hikes on items as varied as fish, baseball gloves, vacuum cleaners, computers, luggage, tires, dog leashes, furniture, lamps and mattresses.

Last year, the U.S. imported $505 billion of goods from China, meaning this next round of tariffs would account for nearly 40% of Chinese imports.

Almost 23% of the targeted items on Trump’s $200 billion list are consumer products, according to an analysis conducted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), a nonprofit, nonpartisan economics research institution in Washington, D.C. For comparison, consumer products made up just 1% of the list of the initial $50 billion worth of made-in-China imports subject to added tariffs.

“I mean, when you get to $200 billion, you’re covering most everything,” said William Reinsch, Scholl Chair in international business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization based in Washington, D.C. Reinsch previously served as the president of the National Foreign Trade Council.

The new tariffs may take effect after public hearings are held, which end on Aug. 30. A hearing is scheduled from Aug. 20-23 at the U.S. International Trade Commission at 500 E Street SW, Washington D.C., beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Where would consumers be hit mostly?

Based on the import value in 2017, the PIIE analysts found the major consumer products targeted are:

  • furniture ($11 billion);
  • seats ($10 billion);
  • computers ($8 billion);
  • lamps, lighting and parts ($7 billion);
  • travel bags ($7 billion); and
  • agricultural and food products ($6 billion).

Affected household goods are:

  • cooking appliances ($3.8 billion);
  • vacuum cleaners ($1.8 billion); and
  • refrigerators ($1 billion).

To break down the list further:

Dozens of fish are on the hook for price increases. That includes tilapia, salmon, cod and trout. When you eat out, your restaurant bill may also go up if you order seafood like tuna, squid and octopus that come from China.

If you like to cook with typical Chinese food ingredients, you may find higher prices on lychees, sea urchins, garlic, bamboo shoots, dried mushrooms and monosodium glutamate (better known as MSG), which are on Trump’s list.

As you browse the aisles at your nearest big-box store, you may find household supplies with higher prices including toilet paper, facial tissue, paper towels and napkins, as well as dishes, plates and cups made of paper or paperboard.

Clothes and accessories made of leather or furskin, including belts, gloves and mittens may cost more. Also on Trump’s list: bed sheets, linens and towels.

And if you live in one of the more than 84 million U.S. households with a pet, take note: Prices of dog leashes, collars, muzzles, harnesses and dog and cat food may swing up, too.

You can check out the full list of more than 6,000 Chinese items subjected to tariffs here.

How would consumers be hurt?

Immediate impact

Some effects are immediate. On the one hand, tariffs would raise the prices of the made-in-China products that Americans buy in stores, but on the other, domestic producers may jack up the prices of their products, too.

“Usually what happens is that when the domestics discover that their competitions’ prices are going up, they’re tempted to raise their prices to take advantage of the situation,” Reinsch said. “They won’t raise it as high as the foreigners have to raise it, because after all, as long as they’re a little bit cheaper, they have an edge.”

In that sense, the consumer wouldn’t gain much if they switch from a Chinese product to the American-made version.

Reinsch estimated that consumers can see the effects rolling out between three and six months after the tariffs are imposed.

How much would prices go up?

It’s hard to predict whether American importers would ease the tariffs by paying themselves or pass part of or even the full cost onto their customers — it depends on the industry, alternative import sources and market conditions. As a result, consumers may not have to bear the full 25% tariff on every Chinese product, if it was to be imposed, experts say.

“Generally speaking, the more expensive the item, the more likely that the manufacturer or importer is to swallow a part of the tariff,” Reinsch said. “Otherwise, the cost will be pretty significant.”

Economists estimate that on average, about half of that unfavorable tax hike — 12.5% to 15%— would be passed on to customers, and the rest absorbed by the producer or manufacturer.

Shoppers who looked for washing machines this year may have already understood how tariffs affect consumer product prices. The price of imported washing machines shot up 16.4% three months after the Trump administration imposed 20%-50% tariffs in February, according to the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based conservative think tank.

Indirect impact

Other effects are likely to emerge slowly, as 47% of the $200 billion tariff list comprises tens of billions of dollars of intermediate inputs — parts and components of final products — imported from China. Even though consumers don’t buy such things directly, they end up being incorporated or assembled into something else, and the additional costs will feed into the final products.

U.S. importers or producers may not be able to switch quickly to alternative suppliers in other countries, so American companies may have to pay the higher price for the parts and probably pass that cost onto consumers, said Gary Hufbauer, economist and nonresident senior fellow at the PIIE.

But even if American companies alter their supply chain and find a vendor that makes the same thing with comparable quality, the products probably won’t be as cheap as the Chinese parts used to be.

“If it was cheaper than the Chinese product, you would have found it a year ago, and you’d already be there,” Reinsch said. “So, it’s pretty certain that if plan A, which is China, suddenly becomes more expensive, it’s pretty certain that your plan B will also be more expensive — not as expensive as the tariffs but more than you were paying before.”

Either way, the consumers are going to lose, either from immediate price hikes or when the impact of the tariffs is sprinkled into the supply chain of a product that in part relies on Chinese components.

“[The tariffs] will all find their way finally to consumer prices,” Hufbauer said.

Take consumer technology products as an example.

A recent study by the Consumer Technology Association estimated that a 25% tariff on Chinese printed circuit assemblies and connected devices — an input into the production of a host of consumer technology products such as fitness activity trackers, wireless headphones, modems, routers, smartwatches and other Bluetooth-enabled devices — would lead to an average retail price hike of 6.2% on the final products.

Trade talks

In the lead-up to the new tariffs, the U.S. and China are scheduled to be back at the negotiating table in late August to ease trade tensions that have been built up in the past few months between the world’s two biggest economies. Experts interviewed by MagnifyMoney said the meeting would not likely affect the already-announced tariffs due to the tight negotiation window and a large number of issues dividing the two nations.

At best, the administration would delay the implementation of tariffs, and impose the tariffs in stages — perhaps at different rates for each stage, said Hufbauer.

In any case, it’s likely that over the time, individual Americans would feel the effect of higher tariffs when they check out at the country’s largest retailers.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Advertiser Disclosure

News

Survey: 55% of Americans Want to Retire Early, But Aren’t Saving Enough

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Saving for retirement is a lot like hitting the gym: you know you should be doing it, but working up the motivation to go can be challenging. A recent MagnifyMoney survey of over 1,000 Americans found that while 55% of respondents would like to retire early, they simply aren’t saving enough to do so.

Of the survey respondents who said they’d like to retire before the age of 66, 25% are saving just 4% to 5% of their income, while 19% are saving only 1% to 3% of their income. At this rate, aspiring early retirees are setting themselves up for a major disappointment.

Key findings

  • Nearly 55% of respondents with a retirement savings account want to retire before turning 66, but their contribution levels don’t match up with their goals. Nearly half (44%) of those who aim for early retirement save 5% or less of their income for retirement.
    • A recent MagnifyMoney study on average retirement savings by age found that millennials have saved an average of $34,570 for retirement and Gen Xers have saved an average of $168,480. Given the low contributions uncovered in our studies, though, lofty goals of early retirement may not be a reality for many savers.
  • Almost 3 in 10 millennials want to retire before they turn 60. However, less than a quarter of millennials are saving more than 10% of their income for retirement.
  • People say they are planning to increase their savings: 54% of respondents plan to increase their contribution level in 2020, or the percentage of income going toward retirement.
    • Millennials (69%) are the most likely to say they plan to increase their retirement savings in 2020 — beating their older Gen X counterparts (57%). Meanwhile, 12% of baby boomers will actually decrease their contributions, which is understandable considering many are at or around retirement age.
  • Increasing contributions in 2020 is certainly warranted: Just 26% of savers are currently contributing 10% or more of their income to their retirement savings account. For Gen Xers, that number is 32%.
    • On the other hand, 41% of savers are contributing 5% or less. While that’s better than nothing, it’s hardly enough, especially for older Americans.
  • Men (64%) are more likely to plan on upping their retirement contributions this year, while more women (51%) will keep things the same. This could be because 60% of men want to retire before age 66, compared to just 49% of women.
    • Notably, women are twice as likely as men to say they don’t know when they last increased the amount they contribute to retirement savings (9% vs. 5%).

How much people are saving vs. when they want to retire

For our survey, we asked respondents to come clean about how much they are actually stashing away for their retirement years. We found that 23% of those surveyed contribute just 4% to 5% of their income to retirement — far less than the typical recommended amount of 15%.

Meanwhile, 18% contribute between 1% to 3% to retirement savings, and a stunning 12% don’t contribute anything at all. Not everyone is procrastinating on building a nest egg, though: 16% of respondents are saving between 6% to 9% of their income for retirement, 14% are saving between 10% and 14% and 6% are saving 15% to 19%. At the high end of the curve, only 5% of people are saving 20% or more of their income to retirement savings.

Younger people certainly have room for improvement. Over half of millennial respondents (51%) are saving only 5% or less of their income for retirement, while less than a quarter (24%) are saving over 10% of their income. Despite their relatively low rate of savings, 69% of millennials say they want to retire early, before the age of 66.

Gen Xers seem to be a bit out-of-touch with reality: many aren’t aggressively saving for retirement, but they’re still saying they would like to retire early. While 62% of Gen Xers say they want to retire before age 66, over half of them (56%) are socking away less than 10% of their income for retirement.

Our takeaway: Younger generations might be in for a rude awakening if they crunch the numbers to determine when they’d actually be able to retire, based on their current rate of savings.

Baby boomers are in a different situation, as many of them are close to or already retired. Understandably, as more boomers retire (according to our survey, 39% of that generation said they’re already retired), many are understandably stashing away less in retirement savings. It makes sense that our survey found 29% of boomers said they are not saving anything for retirement.

When comparing retirement contributions by gender, there are a number of stark differences — most notably the 18% of women who said they are not saving anything for retirement, compared to 7% of men. Additionally, only 20% of women are saving at least 10% of their income for retirement — much less than the 30% of men who are doing the same.

One possible reason for this discrepancy could likely be chalked up to the gender wage gap, as women are still earning just 82 cents for every dollar pulled in by a man. Less money earned means less money available to save. Lower earnings might also explain why women are less likely to say they want to retire early: Our survey found that 49% of women want to retire before age 66, compared to 60% of men.

Who plans to increase their retirement savings in 2020?

Our survey found that overall, 54% of respondents said they will increase their retirement contributions in 2020. By generation, that included 69% of millennials and 57% Gen Xers. Understandably, only 29% of baby boomers plan to up their contributions in 2020.

Of the respondents who say they plan to increase their retirement contributions in 2020, many aim to retire early: 63% of those who want to retire before age 66 are planning on upping their contributions this year.

Our survey found wide variance regarding when respondents had last increased their contributions. While 38% of respondents said that they have increased their retirement contributions in the past year, 17% admitted that they have never dialed up their contributions. Meanwhile, 24% of people said that the last time they increased their retirement contributions was two to three years ago, 7% said it was four to five years ago, another 7% said it was more than five years ago — and 6% said they do not know when they last increased their contributions.

How much should you be saving for retirement?

Our survey found that when it comes to how much of their income people are devoting to retirement savings, it’s all over the map, from over 20% to nothing at all. So with no clear consensus among our survey respondents, how much should you actually be saving for retirement?

When it comes down to it, there are many factors that play a role in how much you should stash away for your golden years. The most important step, though, is to just start saving — check out our listings of the best IRA providers and the best robo-advisors to begin the process. That might sound simple, but a staggering 12% of our survey respondents did admit to saving nothing at all.

The importance of saving for retirement now rather than later cannot be emphasized enough: It takes time for your returns to compound. The sooner you start, the more time you allow your investments to grow. Additionally, you should contribute up the percentage that your employer matches (if they offer that benefit) — otherwise, you’re essentially leaving money on the table.

For those looking for specific metrics and benchmarks to gauge how much they should be socking away, there are a number of tried-and-true guidelines. Fidelity, for example, recommends saving 15% of your pre-tax income for retirement (that percentage includes any contributions you also get from your employer).

That percentage was calculated with the assumption that you’re saving for retirement between the ages of 25 and 67, and that most people will need to draw around 45% of their retirement income from their own retirement savings in order to live comfortably in their golden years. Looking at Fidelity’s 15% as a guideline, it’s clear that many people are falling behind, as our survey found only 12% of people are saving at least that much. Additionally, Fidelity’s guideline of 15% is assuming that the person wants to retire at age 67, when in fact our survey found most people (55%) want to retire before age 66.

Methodology

MagnifyMoney commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,064 Americans with a retirement savings account, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was fielded Dec. 10-16, 2019. For the purposes of our survey, we defined generations as: millennials (ages 23 to 38), Gen Xers (ages 39 to 53) and baby boomers (ages 54 to 73).

Members of Generation Z (ages 18 to 22) and the Silent Generation (ages 74 and older) were also surveyed, and their responses are included within the total percentages among all respondents. However, their responses are excluded from the charts and age breakdowns, due to the smaller population size among our survey sample.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Advertiser Disclosure

News

Survey: Millennials Are Underestimating Retirement Savings Needs

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone and is not intended to be a source of investment advice. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

For many savers, a cozy retirement can seem like a distant dream rather than a realistic future. Costs of living continue to rise, while it’s becoming harder for many to keep up with saving. More and more senior citizens are working into retirement, and millennials may be underestimating just how much they’d need to save for retirement in the first place.

MagnifyMoney commissioned a survey of 800 full-time workers to get a better look at their understanding of their own retirement savings needs. The results show that while millennials may be underestimating the real costs of retirement, so are baby boomers. Furthermore, some baby boomers indicated that no amount of money would make them comfortable enough to retire.

Key findings

  • 73% of full-time working Americans believe $1 million is enough to get them through retirement if they stop working at age 66. There was widespread agreement on this across all age groups.
    • $1 million in retirement savings is a general rule of thumb to follow, although an individual’s actual retirement savings should be more specific based on projected spending in retirement.

  • Meanwhile, nearly 1 in 5 millennials said having $500,000 in their retirement savings account would make them comfortable enough to stop working tomorrow. Another 14% of millennials would retire after amassing $750,000.
    • Millennials aren’t alone in believing less than $1 million is enough. Across all age groups, 20% of respondents said that $500,000 in retirement savings was enough. The next largest cohort — 17.4% of respondents — said $1 million in retirement savings was enough.
  • Interestingly, more than 1 in 5 baby boomers responded similarly to millennials, saying just $500,000 would get them through retirement if they stopped working tomorrow. Another 15% of boomers said $750,000 would be enough to retire.
  • Some baby boomer respondents offered a bleaker outlook: More than a quarter of Americans ages 54-73 reported that no amount of money would make them comfortable enough to retire.
    • Boomers were almost twice as likely to say that no amount of money would make them comfortable enough to stop working compared to younger Americans. 14.4% of millennials and 15.2% of Gen X-ers had the same sentiment.
    • Boomers may be less willing to stop working than other age cohorts because they believe they need to save more before they stop working, or because some feel you can never really have enough money saved for retirement.
  • More than 1 in 10 Americans have lofty goals for their retirement savings. Just under 12% of our respondents want to accumulate at least $3 million before ending their career.

How much should I save for retirement?

Saving for retirement is not an exact science. Shooting for a $1 million nest egg is a common rule of thumb — and most survey respondents agree that $1 million would be enough.

However, the amount of retirement savings you need depends on your estimated expenses in retirement. Your exact number could be more or less than $1 million, depending on how much you expect to spend on housing, discretionary costs or lingering debts.

For example, $1 million in savings would fund a 20-year retirement where you’re limited to $50,000 in annual spending. If you anticipate a 30-year retirement, $1 million in savings would only cover around $33,000 in annual spending.

How much you should have saved for retirement also depends largely on your age. For example, it’s unlikely that at 30 years old, you’ll already have $1 million set aside unless you’re extremely blessed. You’ll have to build up your savings as you go and as your income, hopefully, increases with age.

Fidelity offers a different take on savings guidelines by age. According to Fidelity, by age 30 you should have 1x your annual salary saved, growing to 3x your annual salary saved by age 40, 6x by 50, and 8x by 60.

How do I save for retirement?

If you think you’ve underestimated how much you truly need to save for retirement, there’s still time to get your savings on track.

A common retirement savings tool is the 25x rule, which dictates you need to have 25 times your annual retirement expenses saved. Core to this rule is the assumption that you’ll need to cover 25 years of retirement. So if you calculate an estimated $70,000 in annual spending in retirement, for example, following the 25x rule would indicate a nest egg goal of $1.75 million.

That’s a far cry from the mere $500,000 that 20% of our respondents indicated would be adequate for retirement. If you stuck to that goal, by the 25x rule, your annual spending in retirement would be cut down to $20,000.

It’s best to throw your retirement savings into an investment account, rather than a high-yield savings account. Over time, investing can post returns around 8%, well above the 2% savings APYs we see today. Retirement savings are more than just your 401(k), too: individual retirement accounts, or IRAs, allow you to save on your own, whether instead of or in addition to your 401(k).

If you’re an investing beginner, there are a ton of resources out there to help you get started. Robo-advisors and online brokerages offer an easily navigable investing experience that allow you to set your own goals and preferences.

Methodology

MagnifyMoney by LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 816 full-time American workers. The survey was fielded October 1-3, 2019.

We define millennials as those aged 23 to 38, Gen X as those 39 to 53 and Boomers as those aged 54 to 73. Members of Gen Z (ages 18 to 22) and the Silent Generation (ages 74 and up) were also surveyed, and their responses are included within the overall total percentages. However, they were excluded from the age breakdowns due to the lower sample size among respondents in those age groups.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.