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Retail sales and Financial Literacy

Today’s news that retail sales increased slightly at 0.3 percent in January is positive news on a couple of fronts.
While the increase was not as large as many economists were hoping for, keep in mind that much of the country was braving intense winter storms and snow throughout much of the month. So put in context, an increase of any size can be thought of as a pretty good thing.

And from a financial health and literacy point of view, the news is especially good. Why? Because it’s another sign that while consumers are going out and spending again, they aren’t doing so with the reckless abandon that marked the period of time before the economic recession. Consumers seem to have learned their lesson in the recession, are keeping better tabs on their economic conditions and being more vigilant in avoiding over-spending.

Of course time and more economic data will show just how true this is. But in the absence of any other data and in a desire to believe that consumers are following their better angels and not their worst demons, today’s news shows we’re off to a pretty good start to the year.

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