Consumers Corner # 11

These big numbers
can affect your life

By Jim Murphy

Here are some quick facts and figures that can make a big difference in your daily life. Read on, then let me know what you think.


That’s the percent of 45-to-65-year olds surveyed by ipsos/USA Today who have no retirement savings or investments.

Under $1,000

Another report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) says almost 25% of current workers have less than $1,000 put aside for retirement.


This is the median U.S. household wealth – or assets without debts – for blacks. The number for white households is $141,000.

To help close that wealth gap, Keith Weigelt, the Marks-Darivoff Family Professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, teaches free financial literacy classes around the inner city called “Building Bridges to Wealth.”

His message: “Poor people need interest,” he said in the Daily Pennsylvanian. But many people on the lower end of the wealth spectrum put 95 percent of their money in banks, generating little interest in the process.

Weigelt introduces classes to the benefits of mutual funds, and offers members an opportunity to invest as little as $1 in micro-investing or savings groups.

His reason: 95% of low-net worth families earn less than 1 percent on savings or money market, he said in a HUFFPOST blog in 2013. “Families with a net worth of $50,000 or higher are significantly more likely to invest in assets with historical returns of 8 percent or more” because of knowledge and opportunity.

His four rules are:

  • Use low-cost investing
  • Save early
  • Invest regularly
  • Diversify holdings

Professor Weigelt takes a Robin Hood approach to support his free programs. He teaches his business curriculum to elite private high schools, then uses income from those classes to fund his inner-city efforts.

For information or questions about these programs, email or call 215-898-6369

Philly Fun Fact:

200 to 2

William Penn reduced capital crimes from over 200 in England to just two in his colony of Pennsylvania: for murder and treason.

Photo Credit:

“Scoreboard” flickr photo by alykat shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license


Jim Murphy is a direct marketing copywriter who has run his own consulting business since 2004. For nine years, he wrote and edited “Choices,” an award-winning credit union magazine with a circulation of 80,000. He also is a certified member of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides.

Any comments made are Jim’s opinion, and not necessarily those of the Old Pine Community Center.





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