One-fourth of Americans say they have too much debt, with 96 percent of them reporting they are financially stressed, according to a survey by the Center for Financial Services Innovation to gauge Americans’ financial well-being. While those statistics are bleak, they should signal an opportunity for banks, credit unions, fintechs and other companies to provide products, services and guidance to improve consumers’ financial stability, according to Jennifer Tescher, founder and CEO of CFSI.
“It’s clear that income volatility and mounting debt are two of the biggest stressors that work against the financial health of many Americans,” Tescher said. “Their financial health depends on climbing out of debt, planning for the future and living within their means when possible.”
Nearly half of Americans say their expenses are equal to or greater than their incomes, and of those respondents, 38 percent reported having volatile incomes, meaning their pay varies monthly. Twenty-six percent of respondents have volatile incomes and 86 percent of them reported that their financial situation causes them stress.
The survey drilled down to the 18- to 25-year-old demographic and found that a quarter of them have less than one month of available savings, 54 percent have expenses equal to or greater than their incomes and nearly half are only “slightly” or “not at all” confident they’re taking the steps for having enough money for the long term.
The survey results were released in conjunction with the second annual FinHealth Matters Day, June 27, a day created by CFSI to raise awareness about financial health among Americans. CFSI and GfK, a New York-based market research company, conducted the online survey in March among approximately 5,000 respondents older than 17.
“We hear so much about our nation’s economic challenges: stagnant wages, rising inequality [and] slow growth,” Tescher tells Paybefore. “But we hear far less about people’s financial challenges. FinHealth Matters Day is an opportunity for people wherever they sit—stakeholder, provider, consumer—to say it’s OK to talk about money, and here’s my story.”
Consumers are encouraged to promote why financial health matters on social media posts using the #FinHealthMatters hashtag, submitting an essay for the CFSI’s blog post contest and using CFSI resources, according to the CFSI website.
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