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Definitions from the SCF
Every three years, the Federal Reserve Board conducts a study called the Survey of Consumer Finances. They collect detailed financial data from several thousand households, and provide several reports. The methodology is consistent and the resulting reports are well respected.
Wealthandwant has taken the
data provided in several published reports and done additional
calculations from that data; copies of the spreadsheet are available
upon request; nothing shown here is done from the downloadable datasets
on the FRB website, though some of the findings here may suggest some
additional work that might be done from those datasets.
Bonds [BOND] Direct holdings of "bonds,
bonds and corporate or
foreign bonds ... tax-exempt and other government bills
and bonds(Direct holdings are those held outside of a managed asset such
as mutual funds, trusts, managed investment accounts, annuities, and tax-deferred
Residential Real Estate [ORESRE]
estate besides a primary residence (second homes, time shares, one- to
four-family rental properties, and other types of residential
property); Market value of residential real estate other than principal residences
Net Equity in Privately
Businesses (BUS) Net equity in closely held businesses.
"The forms of business in
this category are sole proprietorships, limited
partnerships, other types of partnership, subchapter S
corporations and other types of corporation that are
not publicly traded, limited liability companies, and
other types of private business. If the family surveyed
lived on a farm or ranch that was used at least in part for
agricultural business, the value of that part net of the
corresponding share of associated debts is included
with other business assets." " In the survey, self-employment
status and business ownership
are independently determined. Among the 11.5 percent of
families with a business in 2004, 69.9 percent had a
family head or the spouse or partner of the head who
was self-employed; among the 15.0 percent of families
in which either the head or the spouse or partner of the head
was self-employed, 53.5 percent owned a business (data not shown
in the tables)."
35. Home-secured debt consists of first-lien and junior-lien mortgages and home equity lines of credit secured by the primary residence. For purposes of this article, first- and junior-lien mortgages consist only of closed-end loans, that is, loans typically with a one-time extension of credit and a prearranged payment size and frequency. As a type of open-end credit, home equity lines typically allow credit extensions at the borrower’s discretion subject to a prearranged limit and allow repayments at the borrower’s discretion subject to a prearranged minimum size and frequency.Other residential debt [RESDBT] Amount outstanding on mortgages secured by residential real estate other than a principal residence.
Installment Debt [INSTALL] Amount outstanding on installment debt. "The majority of installment borrowing is related to the purchase of a vehicle (data not shown in the tables); in 2004, such borrowing accounted for 55.5 percent of the total amount owed (54.8 percent in 2001). The second-largest use of installment borrowing is for education-related expenses. Balances on loans for this purpose in 2004 made up 26.0 percent of total installment debt; the comparable figure for 2001 had been 22.2 percent.
39. The term ‘‘installment borrowing’’ in this article describes closed-end consumer loans, that is, those that typically have fixed payments and a fixed term. Examples are automobile loans, student loans, and loans for furniture, appliances, and other durable goods."
Other Lines of Credit [OTHLOC] Amount outstanding on lines of credit other than home equity lines of credit.
Credit Card Balance [CCBAL] - Amount outstanding on credit cards.
40. In this article, credit card balances consist of balances on bank-type cards (such as Visa, MasterCard, and Discover, and Optima and other American Express cards that routinely allow carrying a balance), store cards or charge accounts, gasoline company cards, so-called travel and entertainment cards (such as American Express cards that do not routinely allow carrying a balance and Diners Club), other credit cards, and revolving store accounts that are not tied to a credit card. Balances exclude purchases made after the most recent bill was paid.
Other Debt ODEBT "Amount outstanding on miscellaneous debts (e.g., debts to family members, borrowing against insurance policies or pension accounts, margin debt, etc.)."
From 2001 to 2004, the proportion of families that held other types of debt edged up 0.4 percent, to 7.6 percent.42 In 2004, 0.5 percent of families had a margin loan, 3.5 percent had a loan against a pension from a current job of the family head or that person’s spouse or partner, 1.6 percent had a loan against a cash value life insurance policy, and 2.7 percent had another miscellaneous type of loan (data not shown in the tables).
42. The ‘‘other debt’’ category comprises loans on cash value life insurance policies, loans against pension accounts, borrowing on margin accounts, and a miscellaneous category largely comprising personal loans not explicitly categorized elsewhere.
EQUITY: Total value of direct and indirect stock holdings (included in STOCKS and RETQLIQ).* (*Direct holdings are those held outside of a managed asset such as mutual funds, trusts, managed investment accounts, annuities, and tax-deferred retirement accounts.)
INCOME: Total income for the year preceding the survey year. "To measure income, the interviewers request information on the family’s cash income, before taxes, for the full calendar year preceding the survey. The components of income in the SCF are wages; self-employment and business income; taxable and tax-exempt interest; dividends; realized capital gains; food stamps and other, related support programs provided by government; pensions and withdrawals from retirement accounts; Social Security; alimony and other support payments; and miscellaneous sources of income for all members of the primary economic unit in the household." (Recent Changes, footnote 2.)FAMILY The definition of ‘‘family’’ used throughout this article differs from that typically used in other government studies. In the SCF, a household unit is divided into a ‘‘primary economic unit’’ (PEU) — the family — and everyone else in the household. The PEU is intended to be the economically dominant single individual or couple (whether married or living together as partners) and all other persons in the household who are financially interdependent with that economically dominant person or couple.
This report also designates a head of the PEU, not to convey a judgment about how an individual family is structured but as a means of organizing the data consistently. If a couple is economically dominant in the PEU, the head is the male in a mixed-sex couple and the older person in a same-sex couple. If a single individual is economically dominant, that person is designated as the family head in this report.
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Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone hasn't yet led to a society in which all can prosper