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Surveying America

How often do you participate in a survey? Maybe you’re stopped outside a store while shopping, or you answer one of those annoying phone calls that always seem to be right around suppertime. Do you stop and graciously give up your time to participate, or do you politely say you’re not interested?

 

If you fall into the latter category, it kind of makes you wonder, who are all those people that participate in the vast number of surveys we hear and read about every day? In fact, is it possible that survey data is somehow biased towards the type of person willing to participate in surveys?

 

In other words, if hypothetically half of America is willing to participate in surveys and the other half is not willing as a general rule, then isn’t it possible to conclude survey data may only represent 50 percent of the population? Further, isn’t it possible to conclude survey data may only represent the type of people willing to give up their time to speak with a perfect stranger about a wide range of beliefs and actions–some of which may be highly personal?

 

For example, a recent survey revealed 24 percent of Americans say they had trouble putting food on the table in the past 12 months. Another recent survey states only 30 percent of the nation’s working population today admits to being fully engaged at work. If you assume these surveys include both people who don’t mind participating in a survey as well as those who do, then those are some pretty staggering statistics.


[
CLICK HERE to read the article, “U.S. stands out as a rich country where a growing minority say they can’t afford food,” at Pew Research, May 24, 2013.]

 

 [CLICK HERE to read the article, “Gallup’s Workplace Jedi on How to Fix Our Workplace Engagement Problem,” at FastCompany.com, June, 2013.]

 

 

This contemplation comes on the heels of learning that the National Security Agency (NSA) is soliciting personal phone records from Verizon and extracting audio and video chats, photographs, emails, documents and connection logs from US Service Providers, including Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple.

 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily,” at The Guardian, June 5, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “U.S., British intelligence mining data from nine U.S. Internet companies in broad secret program,” at The Washington Post, June 7, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Why We Fear Broad Surveillance,” at The Economist, June 6, 2013.]

 

While it’s unlikely NSA would find much interest in your daily emails, calls and texts with friends and colleagues, it can be a bit disconcerting to know data about your electronic and communication habits may be accessible by others without your willing participation. Then again, at least the data retrieved can be seen as impartially universal to include both willing and unwilling participants–unlike much volunteer survey data.

 

When it comes to planning your financial future, it’s important that you communicate accurate information/share accurate information so that financial professionals can accurately assess your situation and offer prudent and relevant advice. However, such a relationship requires trust, which is something we work very hard to earn from our clients. We welcome the opportunity to earn your trust at every juncture. Please count on us as we venture into this complex future where battle lines over secrecy and transparency are constantly being redrawn.

These articles are being provided to you for informational purposes only. While we believe this information to be correct as of May 24, 2013, we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information included.

 

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