NJ economist explains who will hurt

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As the Federal Reserve announced another big interest rate hike Wednesday to fight inflation, life is getting harder and more expensive for New Jersey residents who live paycheck to paycheck and rely on their credit cards to get by.

The Fed raised rates by 0.75% to slow the economy.

Rutgers University economist James Hughes said that as rates rise, “the burden, as usual, will fall on those who are heavily dependent on credit because interest rates on any debt are bound to increase, and the most common form of debt is credit cards.” debt.”

Credit card pain

He said that means “those who have been living off their credit cards will find life a little more difficult as the Feds shake up.”

A new Creditcards.com survey found that 60% of people in New Jersey and across the country say they’ve had credit card debt for a year, and 40% say it’s been at least 2 years.

The report found that 29% of Gen Xers, 22% of baby boomers and 12% of millennials with credit card debt have had a balance on their cards for at least 5 years.

The survey also found that nearly half of respondents (46%) said they currently have credit card debt due to unexpected emergencies and expenses.

Additionally, 24% said they had credit card debt because they were forced to use credit cards to cover food, childcare and utility payments.

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No silver bullet

Hughes said the lower middle class and those without savings and those dependent on credit will feel the effects of the rate hike first, and that’s not a bad thing.

“The only thing is that consumers are following consumer strategies of moving away from labeled products to storage products or moving from beef to chicken, changing their consumption patterns,” he said.

“With these really uncertain economic times, people have to be very, very careful with their consumption. It’s painful, but it’s a way to avoid more pain in the future.”

For the rest of this year, Hughes expects the Fed to take a wait-and-watch approach.

“They will continue to look at the popular inflation metrics and if they see inflation softening, they will soften the increase,” he said.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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