Judging by what personal finance statistics say, money really does make the world go round. And the challenges the pandemic has pushed us into have unambiguously shown us that one of the major issues in America is caring for one’s assets.
Whether you are a savvy small-business owner or a full-time worker, we think the stats we’ve gathered here will come in handy for improving your financial goals. So, what can we learn from 2020 and expect from 2021? Let’s find out.
Top 10 Personal Finance Statistics and Facts
- 40% of US citizens can’t pay $400 in case of an emergency.
- Only 24% of Millennials have developed basic level financial literacy.
- Before the pandemic, over 40% of student-loan borrowers were failing to make payments.
- Personal budget statistics show US Millennials’ average savings is less than $5,000.
- In 2019, full-time workers’ average yearly income in America was $48,672.
- About 7% of American debtors believe they’ll never be able to pay off their debt.
- Debt statistics show there were cca. 300 million Americans with household debt in 2018.
- Bank fees are increasing during the coronavirus pandemic.
- You can boost your budget/savings by swapping bottled water for a water filter.
General Personal Finance Facts and Stats
In the first section of this article, we’d like to share some general information about American citizens’ overall financial situation.
1. 40% of US citizens can’t pay $400 in case of an emergency.
According to a report, Americans residing in the metropolitan area around Los Angeles and San Francisco have the most difficulties saving for emergencies. This is mainly due to the mind-blowingly high housing costs.
2. Around 61% of Americans don’t have enough money saved up to cover a $1,000 emergency, according to financial planning statistics.
The fact that 6 in 10 US citizens can’t cover a car repair or medical emergency costs worth $1,000 is worrisome. Moreover, pre-pandemic data reveals that 39% of Americans stated they had no money whatsoever in their savings accounts.
3. Stats on the average American savings by age reveal that only 24% of Millennials have developed basic level financial literacy.
Less than a quarter of this generation have basic knowledge of finances and the importance of saving and budgeting. The picture becomes even grimmer if we add to that the fact that 34% of them have expressed utter dissatisfaction over their financial capacities.
4. As statistics on personal finance indicate, before the pandemic, over 40% of student loan borrowers were failing to make payments.
(The Wall Street Journal)
A growing number of US citizens are getting high-level degrees. Though this is positive, statistics also point to an increase in student loan debt. There are concerns that millions of students may never pay back the $200 billion worth of government-granted student loans.
5. The Millennials’ average savings in the US is less than $5,000, according to American personal finance statistics.
In fact, they score the lowest total net worth of a mere $8,000. The majority of Millennials still get financial help from their parents. Since 1996, the net worth of individuals aged 18–35 has decreased by 34%.
6. US citizens in their 30s have a median retirement savings of $45,000.
According to a report on average American savings by age, this figure is nearly three times more compared to that of individuals in their 20s. Americans in the latter age category have a mere $16,000 saved up.
This isn’t so surprising if we take into account that some of these individuals don’t begin working until after graduating from university. As for seniors (60+), they have the highest median retirement savings of a whopping $172,000.
7. Transportation and housing are the largest expenses.
Together, these expenses add up to nearly half of total spending. More precisely, data from 2019 shows people spend roughly 33% of their money on housing, and 16% on transportation. Moreover, 43% of the money they set aside for food is spent on take-outs and restaurant meals.
8. According to personal finance statistics, before the pandemic, a typical American spent an annual average of $60,060.
Moreover, reports reveal that an estimated 41% of people actually managed to follow their budget plans. This isn’t so surprising if we bear in mind that roughly the same number of people—40%—didn’t spend more than the amount of money they earned.
9. In 2019, full-time workers’ average yearly income in America was $48,672, which implies a 4% increase compared to 2018.
These statistics for personal income were based on the salaries of 118.3 million US citizens. Moreover, the weekly income of these full-time employees is a total of $933. Part-time workers, on the other hand, earned a weekly median of $284, witnessing an increase of 4.41%.
10. Before the pandemic, 59% of US citizens stated their financial situation had improved—an all-time high.
The only other year with roughly the same numbers as at the beginning of 2020 was 1999, when 58% of people claimed to be in a better financial situation than before. However, we can’t turn a blind eye to the pandemic’s devastating consequences on the economy.
Its detrimental effect is clearly reflected in personal income growth statistics from 2021. Currently, only 35% of people are doing better than before financially, 24% less than a year ago.
This segment explores facts and stats that reflect how well Americans have been handling the issue of debt over the years.
11. Bank fees are increasing during the coronavirus pandemic.
Due to the pandemic, bank balances are thinning and unemployment rates are soaring. Sadly, banks try to recover from part of their losses by hitting their clients’ wallets harder.
According to personal finance statistics for 2021, monthly maintenance fees for account checking have reached a record-breaking high. Currently, customers pay an average of $13.95 a month for checking account maintenance.
12. 57% of cardholders who already have credit card debt said they would add to it because of the holiday season.
Interestingly, almost a third of people without credit card debt (29%) stated the same. Furthermore, 48% of the former category claim the holiday season justifies taking on more debt.
13. 46% of underaged children’s parents were willing to take on more debt during the 2020 holiday season.
A lot of parents were willing to do so to please their children. In fact, personal finance statistics from 2020 reveal that cardholders with underage children were almost twice as likely as childless cardholders to take on more debt for the sake of gift-giving (61% as opposed to 34%).
14. About 7% of American debtors believe they won’t ever be able to pay off their debt.
Over the years, American citizens have been growing visibly more certain of their ability to pay off their debts. For instance, debt statistics tell us that in 2018, 30% of debtors thought they would die while still in debt. In 2019, however, that number dropped to 25%.
15. The cost of college tuition is double what it used to be in the 1980s.
Data on college costs is pretty unambiguous regarding the growing financial burden of those who seek higher education. Naturally, this has also had drastic consequences on student loan debts.
The national student loan balance has increased dramatically over the past few decades, as money statistics in America reveal. In the second half of 2020, it reached a whopping amount of $1.7 trillion. In fact, this number has grown sixfold compared to what it was eighteen years ago.
16. In 2018, there were approximately 300 million Americans with household debt.
In fact, these people shared a total debt of no less than $13.21 trillion. Viewed from the perspective of demographics, the average American debt varies from one age group to another. This makes absolute sense since they don’t always share the same expenses, like education.
The 75+ age group had the lowest average debt of all categories—$34,500. Those between the ages of 45 and 54, on the other hand, were on the opposite side of the spectrum. According to personal financial statistics, people in this group owed an average of $134,600.
Tips for Saving Money
Perhaps you’ll find this last section the most useful of all. Here we’ll present a couple of suggestions on how you can direct more money toward your savings.
17. The “50-30-20” rule suggests dedicating 30% of your income to non-essential costs.
In her book All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan, Elizabeth Warren elaborates what this expense ratio implies. Namely, 50% of one’s post-tax resources should be spent on needs (utilities, health care, food, etc.), 30% on wants (non-essentials), and 20% on savings.
18. If you want to avoid the most expensive items at stores, steer away from eye-level shelves.
When it comes to saving money, statistics show that grocery stores frequently keep their priciest products where they’re spotted more easily—at eye level. A simple way to save money, therefore, is by checking out the bottom and top shelves.
Typically, that’s where you can find more affordable products. What’s more, they don’t necessarily differ by quality from the expensive ones.
19. Consume in-season produce.
Another simple way to save money when grocery shopping is purchasing in-season food. Not only will in-season fruits and veggies taste better, but they’ll be more budget-friendly as well.
For instance, during December, turn to vegetables such as beetroot, artichoke, cauliflower, Brussels sprout, and pumpkin. If you’re shopping for fruit, there’s kiwi, persimmon, orange, apple, pear, grapefruit, and the like.
20. Personal budgeting statistics show that you can boost your budget and savings by swapping bottled water for a water filter.
According to Statista’s data, in 2019, people in the US spent $14.4 billion on bottled water. In case you haven’t taken them into consideration so far, maybe now is the time to do more research on the benefits of water filters.
Firstly, they’re a way to decrease your ‘needs’ expenses (see stat 18). For instance, a four-member family can save about $3,000 a year simply by drinking filtered instead of bottled water. Besides the financial benefit, there’s also the fact that it’s more environmentally friendly.
How many Americans are in debt?
Stats show that eight out of ten US citizens carry the burden of consumer debt. Last year, an average American’s consumer debt equaled $26,621.
(Statista) (Shift Processing)
How much debt does the average American have?
Last year, the total overall debt in America hit an astonishing sum of $14.88 trillion. That means that the average American debt stood at a total of $92,727.
How much does the average American have in savings?
Research based on the info from 2,702 individuals shows that in 2020, the average American had $65,900 in their bank account. Bear in mind that this amount doesn’t include retirement funds, but personal savings exclusively.
We understand that financial stability is difficult to attain. Judging by these personal finance statistics, it’s clear that there are many concerns for the average American. However, with smart strategizing and wise spending habits, it’s far from impossible.
- Axiom Groupe
- Shift Processing
- The Street
- The Wall Street Journal