Crappy Journalism Of The Day: This piece on CNN Money I just ran across.
Headline: “Boomers don’t trust direct deposit.” Opening paragraph:
Unlike today’s seniors, the next generation of retirees is old-fashioned about direct deposit of paychecks and other payouts — according to a survey released Tuesday, the “kids” don’t trust it.
Boy, that makes baby boomers seem awful paranoid, doesn’t it? Those crazy Luddites!
But reading on you learn that the survey found that 59 percent of baby boomers actually use direct deposit. And of those who didn’t, only 19 percent said the reason was because they didn’t trust it.
That’s 19 percent of the 41 percent. That means that a grand total of about 7 percent. So, only about 7 percent of baby boomers don’t use direct deposit because they don’t trust it. (Plus or minus the 2.6 percent margin of error.)
And that’s supposed to justify the headline: “Boomers don’t trust direct deposit.” And: “Unlike today’s seniors, the next generation of retirees is old-fashioned about direct deposit of paychecks and other payouts — according to a survey released Tuesday, the ‘kids’ don’t trust it.”
Since roughly 10 percent of Americans are left-handed, it actually would have been more accurate to headline a story: “Boomers are left-handed.”
And the study (at least the feds’ press release online) doesn’t include similar “trust” data from current seniors. I’d bet you anything that while seniors are more likely to use direct deposit, more than 7 percent of them cite the trust issue as a reason for not using it. In other words, I’d bet the headline and opening aren’t just exaggerated; they’re exactly wrong.
It also ignores all the other reasons why baby boomers would be less likely to use direct deposit. The most obvious: Social Security allows direct deposit of all its checks, so all seniors can have direct deposit if they want it. Not every baby boomer works for a company that allows direct deposit, which will quite naturally reduce the numbers. Also, baby boomers are much less likely than seniors to have trouble getting around town on their own, which likely means some seniors who would like to go to the bank once a month don’t have that option.