Nightly Business Report – April 19, 2019

ANNOUNCER:  This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Bill Griffeth and Sue Herera.  

welcome to this special edition of NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.  

BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR:  April, if you don`t know, is Financial Literacy Awareness Month that`s devoted to teaching Americans how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits.  

HERERA:  And that is a little bit of what we`re hoping to do tonight.  

GRIFFETH:  So, we start with a few statistics for you.  According to the Federal Reserve, 40 percent of Americans don`t even have 
$400 set aside for an emergency, 25 percent have nothing saved for 
retirement.  And a recent survey by CNBC and financial technology firm 
Acorns show that more than a third of the respondents don`t make enough 
money to meet their needs and to save.  

By the way, NBCUniversal and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) ventures are investors in Acorns.  Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) is the parent company of CNBC which produces this program.

HERERA: So, as you heard from Bill, the problem is complex.  It`s not a 
simple one to solve, but we invited Reed Fraasa, a financial planner at 
Highland Financial Advisers to help us tackle that.  

So, Reed, always nice to have you here.  


HERERA:  Let`s start with the basics.  Why is it so important to start one, 
early, and also learn about financials?  

FRAASA:  Financial literacy is actually the — so critical.  It gives you 
the basic tools to do your own financial planning.  We believe financial 
planning is really the way for you to realize planning for progress and 

GRIFFETH:  All right.  Well, stay there, we`ve got more questions for you 
and things to go there.  And let`s start with one of the big issues out 
there and that would be retirement.  

More than half of adults are feeling better about their retirement plans 
than they were three years ago, and yet saving for retirement ranks as the 
overall top personal financial concern, and that`s especially true for 
those between the ages of 45 and 64.  

HERERA:  And given those numbers, we`ve asked Bob Pisani to dig a little 
bit deeper into the state of retirement and here`s what he found.  


BOB PISANI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Do you know where your retirement is?  Americans can certainly use help, baby boomers in particular, that`s me, we have not saved nearly enough for retirement.  
We`re going to live longer than most of us think, and if the trends 
continue, some of us are going to run out of money before we die.  

Just look at the state of the three legs of the retirement stool.  You`ve 
got private savings, you`ve got pensions and you have Social Security.  

Let`s start with the private savings.  At Vanguard, the average 401(k) 
account for an investor who`s 65 years old and up was just under $123,000 
in 2018, but that number is inflated by a small group of super savers.  The 
median balance, half have more, half have less, for the age group is 
$58,000 for a 65-year-olds.  Try averaging that over 20 years.  

Most Americans are expected to live into their 80s, remember, so you`re not pulling out a lot of the yearly basis.  Five percent of that may be a year, 
that`s $3,000.  Let` look at pensions.  The state of those who have 
pensions aren`t much better, the median private pension last year was only about $9,000 a year.

Finally, the Social Security in 2018, average Social Security check, about 
$1,400 a month, let`s say that`s $17,000 a year.  So, let`s add all this 
up.  What do we have?

We get just a little more than $29,000 a year.  Well, it`s certainly 
possible to live on $29,000 a year, particularly if you live in a 
relatively low-cost part of the country.  But it`s hardly a robust 

And remember something, these are the lucky ones.  A study by the St. Louis Federal Reserve found that only 27 percent of households have a defined benefit plan.  That`s a pension plan, and only one-third have a defined contribution plan, that`s like a 401(k).  That`s not a lot of people.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bob Pisani at the New York Stock Exchange.  


GRIFFETH:  So, Reed, what do we do here?  How does your retirement plan 
change as you age, 20s, 30s, 40s and so forth?  

FRAASA:  Well, I think the important thing is people need to get started 
early, obviously.  Most importantly is when you`re young, 20s and 30s, time 
is on your side.  You really need to have minimum 70 percent to 80 percent 
in equities.  That may continue on for the rest of your life, but it`s 
really important to get started with investing early on.  

As you get older, you need to be aware of the fact that at least 25 percent 
to 30 percent of your portfolio has to remain in equities just to keep pace 
with inflation.  

HERERA:  Yes.  And, you know, you say keep up with inflation, but we`ve 
been in a relatively low inflation environment which has made it a little 
bit more challenging for some people in the market, but you`ve got to stick 
with it.  You have to have the overall plan and invest consistently, right?  

FRAASA:  That`s right, Sue.  Even at low 2.5 inflation in about 24 years, 
you`re going to double your standard of living.  In about 12 or 14 years, 
it`s going to be 50 percent higher.  

So, inflation is insidious.  It`s there and it`s a risk that you constantly 
have to be aware of.  

GRIFFETH:  As you`re reducing the equity exposure as you age, where does 
that money go, especially in a low interest rate environment?  

FRAASA:  So, that`s a very subjective thing.  There`s no absolute.  People 
used to think that as you got older, you`d reduce your equity, and increase 
it with bonds.


FRAASA:  That`s kind of an antiquated way of approaching portfolio 
management.  Today, you want to think of total return, that`s your capital 
appreciation in addition to your dividends and interests.  

So many people as they become more comfortable with stocks and they 
understand how markets work — again, this comes with financial literacy —  


FRAASA:  — and understanding — they can take on and maintain that equity 
into retirement.  

HERERA:  What about using baskets where maybe you have a little bit more diverse portfolio and you`re not doing it, even when working with a 
financial planner, you`re not picking individual stocks.  

Does that raise the comfort level for some people as they get closer to 

FRAASA:  Absolutely.  Diversification has mutual funds and ETFs.  
Basically, what you`re doing is you`re eliminating two big risks, business 
risk and industry risk.  What you get rewarded for is market risk and 
market risk is where really 70 percent to 80 percent of your return is 
going to come from anyway.  

So, that`s a really prudent way to buy into the equity market.

GRIFFETH:  However, you need to understand your own risk tolerance.


GRIFFETH:  And people`s stated risk tolerance can be very different from 
the one they put into practice once the market turns.  

FRAASA:  Absolutely.  That`s the art of — the art and science of financial 
planning.  The art is trying to understand the client and work with them 
over the expectations.  But the reality is that through financial literacy, 
education, knowledge — remember there was a clothing company that said the educated consumers are the best customer?  Well, educated clients become better clients because they`re more likely to stay in their portfolio.  

HERERA:  And also rebalancing, right?  As the market volatility increase, 
even if it`s not a volatile market, you have to take a look at what you 
own, whether it still fits in the plan and rebalance.  

FRAASA:  That`s right, Sue.  Things will change.  Whatever you start with 
over time, your portfolio is going to change.  

So all of these, again, it comes with knowledge around investments and how it works and what you should do.  Rebalance is a very important part of any portfolio manager, absolutely.  

GRIFFETH:  All right.  Again, stay there.  

HERERA:  We have a lot more ahead.  

GRIFFETH:  Yes, we do.

HERERA:  We`re going to turn to Washington now, though, and retirement may actually be one area where Republicans and Democrats can actually agree.  

As Ylan Mui reports, the two parties are working together to make changes 
to some very popular savings plan.  


considering the biggest piece of retirement legislation in more than a 
decade, and it actually stands a pretty good chance of becoming law.  It`s 
called the Secure Act, and the goal is to expand access to private 
retirement savings, especially for people who work with small businesses.  

PAUL RICHMAN, INSURED RETIREMENT INSTITUTE:  It`s packaging them all into a comprehensive piece of legislation that would address many of these little issues that have cropped up over the years where solutions have been offered to try to increase the ability of workers to save for their 

MUI:  This bill allows small businesses to band together, to offer 401(k) 
plans for their employees.  It repeals the maximum age for IRA 
contributions which is currently 70-1/2.  It also requires companies to 
allow long-term part-time workers to participate in 401(k) plans.  It also 
lets you withdraw from your IRA for a birth or adoption without a penalty.  

And it`s a provision that expands the use of 529s to pay for home 
schooling, private schools, or even to pay off your student loans.  The 
House is expected to vote on this bill soon and it`s got the backing of top 
Democrats and Republicans.  

GOP Congressman Mike Kelly is one of the co-sponsors.  

REP. MIKE KELLY (R), PENNSYLVANIA:  We were sent here by our folks back home to act in their best interest, not in our best interest, or our 
party`s best interest, but in the best interest of the people, which to me 
is the real reason why all of us come to Washington to serve.  

MUI:  The Senate has been working on a similar proposal.  Experts are 
calling it practical, common sense legislation.  

SHAI AKABAS, BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER:  This is the next important step in the messy sausage-making process that is Congress, but I think there is a lot of optimism toward getting something across the finish line later this year.  

MUI:  This could be a rare example of successful bipartisanship amid 
divided government.  

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Ylan Mui in Washington.  


GRIFFETH:  OK.  Reed, now, the idea behind these bills is to make all of 
these plans more accessible to more people, but when you have the number of people we cited at the top of the program and we still don`t have enough to save after they`ve met their expenses, what do you say to those people as they need to save for retirement?

FRAASA:  Yes.  So, just first on the proposed bills, there have been a lot 
of pension regulations in the last 30, 40 years, mostly an attempt to 
encourage more people to save.  


FRAASA:  None of it`s really made much of a budge in that because you`re 
facing people and the majority of people don`t make enough money to meet their needs week to week.  Some of these provisions I suggested, it`s not going to really help people.  It would look good if they passed a bill, but 
I don`t think it`s really going to have much of an impact on this.

But what people need to start thinking about is if you are living paycheck 
to paycheck, and you need to find money to start saving — obviously, 
retirement is the most important goal you should have.  But you need to 
start with an emergency fund.  You need to get to where you first have 
three to six months of living expenses set aside just to give you the 
freedom to be able to do things like maybe change your career or something like that, to start doing this.  

So, it starts with an understanding and again, financial literacy, 
understanding your cash flow and that is — we never use the word “budget”.  
It`s a negative word.  It turns people off. 

But cash flow, every business in the world understands cash flow.  Every 
household needs to understand.  It`s a starting point.  

What is your income?  It`s got to be equal to or greater than your 
expenses, and have to understand, your expenses are fixed or discretionary.  
Those are needs and wants, right?

People tend to mix up the wants with the needs, and that`s when they get in trouble sometimes.



FRAASA:  But that`s where it starts.  You need to find the money to start 
saving for these goals and sometimes it means you might need to re-engineer a career, downsize your house, transportation cost.  There`s many things that you can look at.  

HERERA:  So, once you`ve got that emergency fund, you set that aside and 
you don`t touch it, right?  

FRAASA:  Right.

HERERA:  And then it allows you a little bit of breathing room for as you 
mentioned maybe an intermediate term goal like changing the career or going back to school.  

FRAASA:  Yes.  Yes.  And once you have that, start saving for retirement 
and a 401(k) plan with your employer, a great place to start.  

GRIFFETH:  And there may be a perception that you need to have a certain 
amount to start that process.  You don`t.  I mean, it`s ideal if you can 
save, 5 percent, 10 percent, 15 percent of your income and save whatever 
you can save, right?  

FRAASA:  Everyone uses the example of, don`t buy Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX). Make your own coffee.  Those little things do add up, but the big things is your housing cost and your transportation cost.  Those are the two biggest decisions in your life that are going to impact what you have available.  

HERERA:  And if you can and you`ve got access to a 401(k) through your 
employer, put in as much as you can, and hopefully enough so that you get 
the employer match.  

FRAASA:  Absolutely.  Most employers today have really simple plan.  It`s 
called a match plan.  Absolutely.  Learn about that plan, maximize that 
match if you do nothing else.  Absolutely.  You`re leaving money on the 

GRIFFETH:  All right.  We`ll let you go at this time.  

Reed Fraasa with Highland Financial Advisers — again, thanks for joining 

FRAASA:  Thank you.  My pleasure.  

GRIFFETH:  Appreciate it.

HERERA:  Still ahead, has spring sprung for the housing market?


GRIFFETH:  There has been a lot of talk about interest rates lately and 
that matters because they affect everything from the interest that you 
receive on your savings account to the interest that you pay on a car or 
home loan.  I mean, in a nutshell, the higher the interest rate, the more 
you pay to borrow money.  

And as we learned, anything this spring has had its potential homebuyers 
are very sensitive to any change in interest rates.  

Diana Olick has more for us.  


DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  At a Sunday open house in Bethesda, Maryland, homebuyers were taking advantage of warmer weather and lower mortgage rates.  

DANA RICE, COMPASS REALTOR:  Everything was falling into place where 
interest rates are going down, the weather is nice, and we have houses to 
look at and people are excited.  

OLICK:  Things were busy at this five bedroom colonial and while the supply of homes for sale is higher than last spring, the market is still very 

TANIA PETERS, PROSPECTIVE BUYER:  It seems like there are fewer houses on the market that are more affordable and it also seems that they would go very quickly, so within the first couple of weeks of showing.  

OLICK:  Tania and her husband Matthew want more space for their young 

MATTHEW PETERS, PROSPECTIVE BUYER:  If we look at the upper end of our price range, it seems like there are more options.

OLICK:  Price is still clearly an issue and while the most markets are 
shrinking and the run-up over the last few years is dramatic and falling 
mortgage rates are not making up for it.  The average rate on a 30-year 
fixed saw a recent peak just over 5 percent last November, but then began 
falling slowly.  It went to around 4.5 percent in February and then took a 
deep dive toward the end of March, only to bounce back up a bit right 
after.  It is still, however, lower than a year ago.  

GLEN KELMAN, REDFIN CEO:  People have been on a nice edge about whether they can afford a house and lower mortgage rates mean more buyers.  It`s had an unusual effect.  There`s almost no slack in the system.  Because wages haven`t kept up with home prices, people are having to borrow the money.  And when it gets easier to do that, we see more buyers.  

OLICK:  And that Bethesda home went under contract in just a few days, even though it was on the higher end.  More higher end homes are selling simply because there`s more of them available.  The good news is, home builders are finally starting to focus on the entry level market.  



HERERA:  Issi Romem joins us now to talk more about the housing market.  He is the chief economist at Trulia.  Issi, nice to see you.  Welcome.  

ISSI ROMEM, TRULIA CHIEF ECONOMIST:  Thanks for having me.  My pleasure.

HERERA:  Diana kind of laid out the interest rate scenario and the way that 
interest rates affect how people buy their homes or whether they buy a 

What type of market are we in this spring?  Is it a buyer`s market or still 
a seller`s market?

ROMEM:  So, we`re still in a seller`s market and we are definitely seeing 
signs of a gradual shift towards a buyer`s market and we`re seeing it in 
the most pronounced way along the West Coast, in the most expensive 
markets, they are hitting affordability ceilings first.  And where we`re 
seeing that is home sales that have started falling and not because fewer 
homes are being put on the market, but because homes are having a harder time selling.  We`re seeing a bit more price cuts, we are seeing homes on 
the market longer, and these are all telltale signs of a change in flavor 
toward a buyer`s market.  

GRIFFETH:  But you have had an inventory problem for first-time buyers and not enough homes out there for them to choose.  Is that starting to 
alleviate or not at this point?  

ROMEM:  Well, what we are seeing is inventory is starting to inch up in a 
few places, especially those places that are cooling off the most.  That`s 
the good news.  It does mean that buyers will have more places to go look 
at on the weekend.  

The bad news is, it`s not a greater flow new listings on to the market.  
It`s not that there are new open houses each weekend.  It`s like last 
week`s open houses are showing up this week again because they`re not 
selling as easily.  

HERERA:  The other issue has been the cost of land and the cost of labor, 
so builders aren`t putting new houses, regardless of whether it`s the high 
end or the low end on the market because they simply can`t afford to do it, 
or they don`t have the workers to build them.  

ROMEM:  That`s right.  New construction has not rebounded back to its 
levels in early 2000 yet.  We are below historic levels of new 
construction, and that has an outsize effect on inventory in general.  

Think of it this way, every new unit that comes on to the market, a new 
home or a home after someone passes away allows typically a trade-up buyer to move into the home and vacate their house which then gets sold to another trade-up buyer and so forth and they can see changes and they mean that every new unit that comes on the market instigates the whole sequence \of additional houses that come online and provide that inventory.

When new units are missing or smaller number, we see overall inventory go down, including inventory of existing homes for sale.  

GRIFFETH:  One last issue: property taxes.  Some of those starts that have 
the higher property taxes are starting to see their markets cool off 
because the demand is lower because the property taxes are not as 
deductible as they used to be, right?  

ROMEM:  That`s part of the issue, and it probably should go into the math 
that someone who is about to buy a home makes.  My guess, though, is that 
issue of the mortgage interest deduction having the lower cap now in 
property tax deduction having a lower cap now isn`t front and center on 
buyer`s minds, at least not as front and center as prices themselves and 
the affordability concerns because these tax issues come into play two, 
three, four or five years down the line when people do their taxes, and not 
at the moment of home purchase.  

HERERA:  Issi Romem, thank you.  Appreciate it.  Issi is with Trulia.  

ROMEM:  My pleasure.  

HERERA:  And coming up, the money game.  A football pro tackles personal 


HERERA:  We all know that spending money can be easy, but saving it can be difficult, even for adults.  Experts say one solution is financial 
education.  It`s a topic that Sharon Epperson is diving into tonight.  She 
has two reports.  

Her first takes us to a school in Jersey City, New Jersey, where lessons 
about money are being taught at an early age  



SHARON EPPERSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  This sixth grade class at Golden Door Charter School in Jersey City, New Jersey, may look like many others, but the subject is not science or English.  

TRAINA:  Who can tell me what direct deposit is?  

EPPERSON:  These 11 and 12-year-olds are learning about money and the 
basics of saving.  

TRAINA:  You`re writing that check.  And that money is coming out of your 

EPPERSON:  Spending.  

JONATHAN YOUNG, STUDENT:  I heard you can get in a lot of debt due to 
credit cards, so I will stick to cash.  

EPPERSON:  And the cost of borrowing.  

FATIMA ALI, STUDENT:  I heard of interest, like asking questions about it 
and she would answer and I`m like oh.  

EPPERSON:  Some are sharing what they learned with their parents.  

DEANNE MARIE COLLADO, STUDENT:  I pay more attention to what they purchase and what I purchase as well.  

EPPERSON:  And finding out for themselves how to secure their own financial future.  

EMANI SANTIAGO-DELEON, STUDENT:  It`s something that has to stick with you for the rest of your life.  It`s something that helps you.  

EPPERSON:  New Jersey had some financial education standards in place, but a new law that goes into effect in September is taking those benchmarks a step further, requiring all school districts to teach financial literacy in 
sixth, seventh and eighth grades, including topics this public school 
already covers.  

Most states have financial education standards in high school, yet a recent 
report by the Brookings Institution founding that only 28 states have 
financial education standards in lower grades, including middle school.  
Yet, advocates say that it is essential to start teaching at a younger age 
so that young people will be able to better manage their money as adults.  

ANGELA MCKNIGHT (D), NEW JERSEY STATE ASSEMBLY:  This is very important to have it taught in school.

EPPERSON:  New Jersey Assemblywoman Angela McKnight, who cosponsored the bill which is now law, disagrees with skeptics who question whether financial literacy can be taught in a classroom.  

MCKNIGHT:  They will not forget it.  This is a life skill.  You do not 
forget a life skill.  

EPPERSON:  Danielle Traina agrees and looks toward to infusing financial 
education into her curriculum and having more teachers across the state do the same.  

TRAINA:  I tell my kids all the time I wish I had a teacher when I was in 
middle school that prepped me the way they`re being prepped.  And they`re really doing well.  I told them they should be proud of themselves because not a lot of schools teach this course, so they`re ahead of the game.  

EPPERSON:  For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Sharon Epperson in Jersey City, New Jersey.  


GRIFFETH:  And now to a professor who is also a professional football 
player.  NFL linebacker Brandon Copeland is no stranger to success on the 
field.  Off the field, he plays it safe with his money.  And as Sharon 
reports he`s teaching others to do the same.  


EPPERSON:  On the field, Brandon Copeland plays to win.  

Off the field, he`s changing the game.  

BRANDON COPELAND, NFL PLAYER/PROFESSOR:  The conversation has changed from what do I have now to how can I use what I have now so that I don`t have to depend on anyone else to give me a paycheck for the rest of my life.  

EPPERSON:  A Baltimore native, Copeland grew up surrounded by the sport.  
His grandfather, Roy Hilton, spent 11 years in the NFL.  For Copeland, 
football came naturally, but it was the skills he developed in the 
classroom that really paved the way.  

COPELAND:  My grandfather made it cool for me to be smart, be educated and pushed to get A`s an B`s.  

EPPERSON:  And it was that ethic that landed him at one of the most 
prestigious high schools around.  

COPELAND:  I was fortunate to go to a high school called Gilman in 
Baltimore and the head coach of my football team, he ran his own hedge 
fund.  But as a young kid I didn`t know what he did.  I had no idea.  I 
just knew that he was pretty well off and so one summer I went to work for 

EPPERSON:  A summer that would help shape his future love of finance.  

He quickly learned that making money and understanding how to take it to 
make more would be his ticket to financial freedom , an ideology he fine-
tuned when he attended the prestigious Wharton School of Business at the 
University of Pennsylvania.  

When you`re with your teammates in high school and college and even now, do they talk about money and do they understand the importance of 
understanding how to manage their own money?  

COPELAND:  The common denominator of most people in this world is we all talk about money, right?  That`s what we deem as successful and 
unsuccessful.  The biggest money lesson I`ve learn side is basically don`t 
try to keep up with the joneses.  If it`s not something of value, then 
don`t chase it.  

EPPERSON:  And it`s that lesson that Copeland wanted to share with others, a basic conversation about money that many are not being taught, even at 
the highest levels.  So, we reached out to his alma mater.  He`s now known 
at UPenn as Professor Cope.  

COPELAND:  The premise of this class is to talk about stuff that you 
actually will use in your lifetime, right?  And my goal is that you don`t 
come to that decision for the first time and you`re trying to learn on the 

EPPERSON:  The course focuses on everyday finances like how to budget 
yourself based on your salary, the basics really, he co-teaches the class 
with Dr. Brian Peterson.

COPELAND:  At certain point in time, I knew that in 45-degree angle, me, 
personally, I don`t plan on using it.  If I have to use it, I`ll break out 
a TI-84 or Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) the answer, right?  We have the camera.  
So, you just see us make a lot of money and then you see us lose it, but if 
you`ve never been taught how to budget, if you`ve never practiced that, and you hone your skills and gain the reps , but you give a 21-year-old kid $2 million and say good luck.  You know, don`t lose it.  

Now, players are talking about money but not just talking about — I`m 
going to buy this or I`m going to get this.  It`s more about, where you 
invest it in?

EPPERSON:  So, now, your conversation with teammates aren`t just about what you`re going to get but how you`re going to get there. 

COPELAND:  Exactly.

EPPERSON:  A lesson in life he hopes will help others change their 
financial game.  

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Sharon Epperson in Philadelphia.  


GRIFFETH:  And again, it`s Financial Literacy Awareness month and one thing we`ve always learned is, it`s never too late to start.  

HERERA:  Absolutely.  

GRIFFETH:  So, the best time to start, tomorrow.  Get started.  

HERERA:  And thank you for watching this special edition of NIGHTLY 
BUSINESS REPORT.  I`m Sue Herera.  

GRIFFETH:  I`m Bill Griffeth.  Have a great weekend, everybody, and we will see you again on Monday.


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