What percentage of Americans spend more than they earn? Recent research looks at spending habits, debt, retirement security and how close or far Americans are from achieving financial wellness.
More than half of Americans spend more than they earn, according to recent joint research by the Association of Young Americans (AYA) and AARP.
Almost 50 percent have credit card debt, more than 40 percent have a mortgage or a car loan and over 30 percent have student loan debt. Close to half of them have nothing saved for retirement. The 70 percent of Americans that consider their level of debt to be problematic are right to be worried.
“As we look into the future, financial and retirement security is going to be a concern for all of us,” says AARP Senior Vice President Jean Setzfand.
The most striking finding from AARP’s report is that there isn’t as much variance on financial security by generation as is commonly thought. In particular, student loan debt has similarly affected each generation’s ability to save for retirement and life decisions, not just Millennials. Student loan debt has kept roughly 30 percent of Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers from buying a car or house. It’s kept 40 percent of Millennials and Gen Xers and 30 percent of Baby Boomers from savings for retirement. Student loan debt has kept 25 percent of Millennials and 20 percent of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers from moving from their current residence. Student loan debt is making it harder to achieve the American dream across generations.
Survey results also showed that Americans are willing to learn. Over a third sought advice from a professional financial advisor and close to 80 percent believed such advice would be very or somewhat trustworthy. This is encouraging for employers who offer or are considering offering financial wellness programs. Employees who engage with financial wellness benefits are likely to trust the program, and ideally, apply the advice from it to improve their financial situations.
“Across generations, economic concerns and financial security are a top priority for Americans,” says Ben Brown, founder of AYA. “These findings clearly indicate that all three generations care deeply about programs that ensure long-term financial success for individuals, families, and our nation as a whole.”