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Low Interest Rates Putting Cash Back in Our Pockets [AUDIO/ POLL]

We’re saving an average of $3,000 a year thanks to historically low interest rates. But, that’s not the case for everyone.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke
Mark Wilson, Getty Images

The Bureau of Economic Analysis finds that Americans spent 5.8 percent of their after-tax income paying interest on mortgages, credit cards, car loans and other debt, a steep drop from 9.1 percent in 2007.

“Those who have been able to buy a new home or car or refinance their mortgage have been able to take advantage of the low rates,” said Maury Randall, Chairman of the Finance Department at Rider University. “But, lower interest rates have severely hurt retired people and others who rely on interest from savings.”

“Debt levels also have been reduced due to various sorts of financial distress. Many people have had their homes foreclosed upon. Others have had to claim personal bankruptcy to handle their credit card debt. So, while their debt has been wiped away, it’s not a result of something positive.”

We’re also shelling out more cash in other areas. “Monetary policy with printing of money has generated a good deal of commodity inflation and we’re paying that extra at the gas pumps and when we buy foods and the like,” said Randall. “So, if you’ve been able to take advantage of the low rates, then that’s a plus. But, there are many other factors that are coming into play here.”

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