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MacroMonitor Market Trends Newsletter August 2018

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Vacation Savings

Clients may access the August Segment Summary: Saving for a Vacation. A copy of the underlying data in an excel spreadsheet is available to MacroMonitor subscribers upon request.

The data are clear: Taking a vacation has health, happiness, and productivity benefits. Yet several recent studies reveal a number of reasons why fewer Americans than previously are taking a vacation. A May 2018 Bankrate survey cites cost as the number one reason for not skipping town to rejuvenate. Even among workers with paid time off, only 36% will take all their 2018 vacation days; 52% will not use all their vacation days. More, a May 2018 survey by The Motley Fool found that "Some workers don't take vacation because they're not entitled to paid time off. But for others, it's a matter of job-related stress and demands."

Nevertheless, the US Travel Association's 2018 Project Time Off report shows some improvement in the work culture that supports taking time off. MacroMonitor data show a correlation with the Project Time Off finding: Post recession, the percent of US households saving for a vacation has increased from 31% in 2014 to 34% in 2016. The proportion of households whose purpose is to borrow for a vacation is only 4% in 2016—down from a high of 10% in 1998.

Figure 1: Trend: Saving and Borrowing for a Vacation

Households with an employed primary head are more likely than all households to have a vacation-savings goal—39% of employed heads, in comparison with 34% of all heads. More households have the ability to save for a vacation than actually do save for a vacation; households that save are more likely than all households to earn incomes of $75K or more. Planning ahead for a vacation is preferable to paying for a vacation in arrears. Although some financial institutions offer vacation loans, the benefits of a household vacation may be offset by the stress of loan repayment.

Financial institutions can improve the health of their employees by promoting a vacation culture, improve customer relationships with vacation-specific savings instruments, and boost the US economy by increasing the number of households with money earmarked to take a vacation. The value of earned but unused vacation is more than $52 billion a year, according to a 2015 study done for the US Travel Association.

Subscribers have access to this month's Segment SummarySaving for a Vacation—and may request the underlying set of data for this Segment Summary. To learn more about households that plan ahead for time off, contact CFD today.