Position:Vacations and stress


Forty-three percent of respondents to an OppLoans survey admit to taking a vacation recently that they could not afford, and many report emotional and financial consequences as a result.

* 49% suffer spending-related guilt from their vacations.

* 46% experience stress from their spending, with 55% of them losing sleep because of It

* 27% acknowledge financial consequences that include excessive credit card debt, loans, missed payments, or being forced to borrow money from family or friends.

Approximately 57% of respondents indicate a "vacation mentality" contributed to poor spending decisions that they otherwise would not make. While the responses reveal a national trend of risky overspending, the data also illustrates geospecific and telling differences among the states.

* New Mexico--which has one of the highest percentages of delinquent credit card debt in the country--ranks No. 1 for excessive vacation spending.

* West Virginia--another state with a high percentage of delinquent credit card debt--has the highest level of guilt.

* Utah has the highest level of stress--despite relatively good money management.

However, states that rank high for excessive vacation spending do not necessarily rank high for guilt.

* New Mexico, New Jersey, and New York top the list of states with poor spending and disproportionately low levels of guilt.

* Iowa, Oregon, and Nebraska, conversely, top the list of states with responsible spending and disproportionately high levels of guilt.

"People go on vacation to leave their worries behind," says Matt

Pelkey, senior content manager at OppLoans, "but from our research results, it's apparent that many Americans find guilt, stress, and un-affordable bills waiting for them when they return."


Some 81 % of employers are concerned about holding on to top talent, with one in three being very concerneci--and with good reason, according to research from global staffing firm Robert Half, Menlo Park, Calif., as a separate survey reveals that 43% of professionals plan to look for a new job in the next 12 months.

The retention tactics most often cited by employers are increasing communication with staff (46%), improving employee recognition programs, and offering professional development (each with 41%). However, when workers who said they intend to leave their jobs were asked what would entice them to stay, more money topped the list (43%), followed by more time off or better benefits (20%).

"In a tight employment market, workers have more options, and the grass may look greener somewhere else," says Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. "Employers can help prevent turnover by learning what motivates their most-valued employees and customizing their retention strategies. While money is an important motivator, benefits or growth opportunities are also strong enticements."


In general, U.S. business owners tend to be very happy, maintains a survey by financial services provider It found that, while owning a business commonly is cited as stressful and incredibly time-consuming, small business owners still report higher levels of job satisfaction than many other categories, as they tend to prefer risk and freedom over stability and safety. So, the challenges and volatility actually suit their disposition.

Other findings include:

* Freedom is the most-important reason for starting a business, topping money, prestige, and even job satisfaction.

* Long-term employees are preferred to contractors.

* Local U.S. hires are preferred to immigrants.

* Sales and customer service are the two areas delivering the biggest return on investment.

* 35% of small business owners believe that educational qualifications essentially are pointless in terms of running a commercial enterprise.

* More than half of the survey respondents indicate that getting a loan either was hard or very hard, with just seven percent reporting that getting a loan was easy.

* Over half of respondents say they hit their financial targets sooner than expected.


Is there anything more satisfying than making a great new purchase --whether it is a trendy purse or a shiny car--and telling friends and family about it? Retailers rely on consumer word-of-mouth to build awareness of their products and entice others to buy them. Indeed, many businesses encourage buyers to post about their purchases on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

"Word-of-mouth is one of the most-effective sources of influence on consumer behavior," says Eesha Sharma, associate professor of business administration at Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H. In fact, some studies have found that word-of-mouth affects some 70% of purchases. "Managers spend a lot of time understanding who the influencers are and thinking about how they can seed word-of-mouth."

However, understanding word-of-mouth gets more complicated when consumers feel financially constrained. 'Talking about purchases could make you feel better about them, signifying to yourself or to other people that your financial situation actually isn't that bad," notes Sharma.

Still, it equally is likely that financially-constrained consumers will be reticent to discuss their purchases, because reflecting on the money they spent would reinforce...

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