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Consumerism at its worst?

|Includes: BBBY, BBY, Dell Inc. (DELL-OLD)

This morning Fidelity Investments reported that the number of people making hardship withdrawals reached a ten-year high. According to statistics on NPR, there was a 37% increase in requests compared to the same period last year.  What I found striking was the age range of 35 to 55 year olds. These folks are in their peak earning years and should(I am usually this very loosely) have the wherewithal to support their basic expenses.

Of the eligible hardship withdrawal options the money can be used for, the most likely candidates are:

  • Using the money to prevent foreclosure of their home
  • To pay medical expenses
Lets face it, these figures don't even include the millions on the unemployment lines who are likely taking premature distributions simply to get by. If our "miraculously" still employed are squeezed to the point of being unable to pay for the basics than this does not bode well for the "discretionary" retailers like BBBY, DELL , BBY and the like.

Disclosure: "No Positions"