Thursday, May 23, 2013
Plans For PFD Spending May Change Come Payout Time
Consumers are feeling fickle, given the nature of the economy, experts say
ANCHORAGE—The amount of this year’s permanent fund dividend won’t be known for several weeks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do the math.
Figuring out the amount of your permanent fund check is a complicated formula but here is what KTVA came up with: $1,180.
Our estimate could be off a bit, but if it holds, that amount would be almost exactly $100 less than last year’s check.
The next question is what people will do with their checks once they have them, whether they plan to save or spend, given the current economy.
State labor economist Neil Fried says it’s hard to predict how people will feel about their economic circumstances from one day to the next.
“One minute, we are feeling very confident and the next month we are not,” said Fried.
“It will be interesting to see. We could say one thing today, but when the dividend comes out in October, people may be feeling differently.”
One thing is certain: Alaskans love their dividends. We spoke with several who say they welcome the extra cash but will probably use a portion of that to save or pay bills.
Local banks and credit unions say they’ve seen evidence that more people are saving.
With more Alaskans choosing direct deposit, they see the funds come in, but say people are slower to spend them.
“I think the trend is that because the economy hasn’t recovered, people are waiting for the other shoe to fall,” says AlaskaUSA’s Dan McCue. “They're concerned that they won’t be able to pay some bills and they want to have that money.”
But despite that, PFD time is usually a good time for many retailers who are stocking up so the spending can begin.