An urban exodus, the true cost of pet ownership, and why less commuting may mean more working

Credit or debit: Credit card charges are down during the pandemic, while debit spending is more than double the pre-COVID19 growth rate. Per The Wall Street Journal, several factors may be at play, including an increase in contactless payment preferences and online shopping for everyday items like groceries. Visa and Mastercard are responding to the spending shift by pushing to add new debit options by linking their instant-payment debit networks with payment platforms such as PayPal, Venmo and Square’s Cash App. The new trend could create long-term complications for banks and lenders who traditionally provide credit, but researchers are unsure how long it will take for the public to return to credit card based purchases after the pandemic.

Dog days: Owning a pet may cost more than you think.  The American Kennel Club analyzed two separate reports regarding the average costs of dog ownership over a canine’s lifespan. Depending on size, breed and specific needs, dog owners can find themselves spending anywhere from $15,000 up to $93,520 over the lifetime of their pet.

They also found that there is a generational difference on the mindset of pet ownership and spending on pet-related purchases. Millennials on average will have more pets than Baby Boomers, and are more likely than previous generations to adopt a pet before getting married or having children. They are also more likely to spend more money on purchases for their pet’s toys, food and treats.

Time to move?:  Thousands of high earners have been leaving New York City this year, deepening concerns over a projected $9 billion budget shortfall for the city, reports CNBC. The mass adoption of remote work has allowed former city dwellers to look beyond their zip codes for the first time when considering where to live. More than 246,000 New Yorkers filed change-of-address requests to areas outside of the city since March, which is double the rate from the previous year. While the New York area suburbs are the primary beneficiary of the exodus, many are also beginning to consider relocation to lower-cost states including Florida, Texas and Nevada.

In your free time: Americans spent nearly 60 million fewer hours commuting to and from work each day from mid-March to mid-September. Most employees working from home report having reallocated the additional time to their work day or to household chores instead of using it for hobbies or relaxation. However, they also admit to working less with an average of 32 hours per week during the pandemic compared to the average 36.4 hours before the pandemic.

“One explanation for the apparent contradiction,” explains The Wall Street Journal, “is that employees might be working during their traditional commuting time but taking more breaks during the day, perhaps because of responsibilities such as child care.”


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