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Financial FYI: How does your spending compare and how many pre-retirees plan to work in retirement

How Do You Compare?

The average American household spent $37,782, last year, not counting mortgage or rent.  Divided into six categories, 23 percent on shopping, 14.5 percent on getting around (gas and auto expenses), 17.5 percent on food and drink, 7 percent on travel and leisure, 17 percent on house- and home-related expenses, and 21 percent on health and family.

Austin, Texas residents were the No. 1 spenders in the U.S., averaging $67,076 in overall household expenses over 2009 (excluding mortgage and rent). The lowest-spending city in the U.S. was Detroit, where residents, hit hard by the recession, spent $16,446 on items including food and drink, shopping, gas, travel and entertainment.

Retirement Reality

According to new retirement research by LIMRA’s 44% of pre-retirees plan to work in retirement, 24% are involuntarily forced to retire and 76% of retiring couples do not retire simultaneously.  Furthermore, only one in six retirees even have a financial plan.

Corporate Taxes

General Electric filed more than 7,000 income tax returns in hundreds of global jurisdictions last year, but when push came to shove, the company owed the U.S. government a whopping bill of $0.  Similarly, both Bank of America and Exxon Mobile also paid no US income tax for 2009.

Personal Taxes

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey indicates that nearly three-quarters of Americans say that the government wastes their tax dollars and roughly half the public believes the tax system is unfair.  As a result, four in 10 say they’re angry about the amount of taxes that they pay.  The poll also indicates that Americans are split on their overall opinion of the country’s tax system: 49 percent say it’s fair and 50 percent say it’s unfair.   Personal Finance Tip!

Sending off a son or daughter to college  and wondering how much financial aid you’ll get? has an Quick Expected Family Contribution Calculator that takes just one minute to complete. It will help you understand the major variables that affect financial aid.  For a more-accurate estimate, try FinAid’s Financial Aid Estimation Form. For tips on how to increase your child’s chances of receiving funding, see Improve Your odds for College Aid.

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