Are you doing really well, or really badly with your finances when compared to the average American?
You shouldn’t compare in a way that will make you feel bad about your finances, but it’s helpful to see how you are doing compared to others.
There are lots of personal finance stats out there about the various aspects of finances, so you’ll find something in there to fit your current life circumstances.
So, how do you size up against the average American?
Let’s take a look at some general personal finance statistics and some apps that can help you get your finances in shape.
Quick Picks: Savvy Apps To Manage Money & Grow Wealth
Now before we get into all these numbers and shocking stats, let’s talk about a few apps that can help you track your spending, increase your savings, and grow your wealth.
Here are our Savvy picks for your finances:
Track Your Finances
- Best Overall Money Management App: Personal Capital
- Best App For Simple Budgets: Mint
- Best Free Budget Template: Savvy Couple Budget
Increase Your Savings
Grow Your Wealth
Snapshot Of Personal Finance Statistics
For a long story short, there are some worrisome personal finance stats being thrown about and a lot of numbers to check out.
Here are some of the most important stats that stuck out to us:
- Almost 1 out of 4 people (24%) don’t pay bills on time
- Less than 50% of Millennials are homeowners
- 50% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck
- The average credit card debt is $23,325 per person
- The median income per person is up to $79,900 per year
- 34% of people have started side hustles to earn more
With debt being so high, we really encourage you to invest more of your time not only in making financial goals but in saving more money in simple ways.
We have over 101 ways to save money that you should check out and try to reduce your debts and change these stats for good!
American Financial Literacy Statistics
Financial literacy is so important for every American to have, but it’s not something that we all feel that we possess.
Financial literacy is where you have a basic understanding of how money works, and we will also look at some financial planning statistics.
In 2018 there was an NFCC Financial Literacy Survey. The survey found that:
- 55% of Americans ranked their financial literacy as an A or B (meaning that 45% ranked themselves lower than this)
- but 79% believed they would benefit from getting advice from a professional about everyday financial things
- 1 in 4 Americans (25%) say that they do not pay their bills on time
Well the NFCC has the data for their 2020 Financial Literacy Survey, so let’s see how it’s changed:
- 57% of Americans rank their financial literacy as an A or B
- 78% think advice from professionals would benefit them
- 1 in 4 Americans (27%) STILL do not pay their bills on time- technically up 2% from 2018
So most people think they know their finances pretty well, but is that reflected in the stats? A quarter of people are still paying bills late and accruing debts!
The American personal finance statistics below tell us a shocking story of how much we’re overspending.
1. Not Enough States Have Financial Education
Every day we make important decisions around money, from what we buy to eat to what we buy to drive and live in.
Doesn’t it make sense that we should learn how to manage our finances wisely?
In the United States, only 21 states actually require high school students to take a personal finance class.
That means that only half of all graduating high schoolers know what they’re doing when they’re signing up for debts.
All those young adults who take out loans for school or a car haven’t learned about interest rates, credit scores, or payment plans.
All those people getting their first credit card have no financial education on how to budget their money and make those paychecks last.
College students will soon carry credit card debt without having the means to pay it off quickly, which will follow them past college and affect their credit scores.
2. Millennials Score Low on Financial Literacy
Now that Millennials are all out of college and are making up 35% of the workforce, they’re making a large impact on how work environments are changing and running.
The problem is that only 24% of all Millennials demonstrate financial literacy.
That means that less than a quarter of Millennials don’t believe they have the financial skills they need in life.
3. Financial Illiteracy Costs Us Money
In 2020, it’s estimated that financial illiteracy cost Americans a whopping $415 billion!
Consumer debt increases with inflation of course, but it also increases as people spend money they don’t have.
On average, Americans lost $1,634 in 2020 due to misunderstandings about personal financials like debt payments and bills, compared to around $1,200 in both 2018 and 2019.
Budgeting and Spending Financial Statistics
It’s also interesting to look at the budgeting statistics and spending that other Americans are doing.
There are certain things that we all need to spend our money on, but then there are a lot of other things that we spend on too. Are we spending on the things that we should be?
4. Americans That Actually Follow A Formal Budget
A study by Gallup found that only 1 out of 3 Americans follow a budget each month.
An interesting fact that they found was that people are more likely to have a budget if they earn over $75,000.
A personal budget doesn’t mean a strict budget, but just managing your money in general.
5. Holiday Spending Is Too High
It’s always interesting to look at what other people are spending over the holidays, as this can be a time when we try to spend a lot to keep up with others.
On average, people spent $1,048 in 2019 during the winter holidays, including food, decorations, gifts, and more.
Now with shutdowns and Covid circumstances, they found that holiday spending decreased to $998 in 2021.
People still spend a lot in wintertime, but you’d be surprised how much people spent on other holidays too!
We tallied it up, and between all the holidays NRF surveys, people spent $3,683.55 throughout the year.
It was reported that the average debt for Christmas was $1,325– it’s time to think, are the holidays really worth going into debt for?
6. Paycheck to Paycheck Statistics
How are we supposed to have solid financial plans when the money is spent before it’s made?
Living paycheck to paycheck is where you are relying on your next paycheck to be able to pay for your life and bills.
That means no real retirement savings or money tucked away for a raining day because all the money coming in has got “BILLS” written on it.
The worrying thing about doing this is that if you lost your job, you wouldn’t have any money for your bills.
Unfortunately, it looks as though half of Americans are living pay to paycheck, which isn’t ideal for us.
It doesn’t mean that this is because of not earning enough money, however, as the report found that only 20% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck earned less than $40,000 per year.
Total American Debt
One of the biggest troubles we face in personal finance is high debt. Consumer debt has increased every year as people buy more stuff, get mortgages, and attend college.
You may be wondering how many Americans are in debt, so let’s take a look at some personal financial statistics pertaining to loans and debts:
7. Percentage of Americans In Debt
Unfortunately, there are a lot of Americans in debt, and a variety of different types of debt as well. So many will be wondering what it is like to be debt-free.
An article that was published in 2017 reported that the US has 157 million Americans with an average credit card debt of $23,325.
44 million Americans are burdened with student loan debt.
The total credit card debt in the country stands at a huge $1,023,000,000,000, according to the Federal Reserve.
With all of the numbers in mind, it works out to be approximately 62.4% of Americans with credit card debt and 17.5% of Americans with student loans.
8. Students Can’t Afford Payments
We all heard that to get a high-paying job, you need an education, but the student loan debt holding people back after they graduate is becoming an issue.
Research now shows that over 40% of Americans can’t handle their student loan payments every month.
Graduates have payments between $300 – $400 a month, which is a large chunk of income for people just out of college.
It’s great that more people have degree-level education, but it’s hard to exit school and be in such bad financial standing.
Young adults are entering the workforce and starting payments right away, when entry-level pay may not be able to support them.
9. Statistics On Defaults, Delinquencies, and More
Another downside to debt is when you are unable to make the payments.
There are reports which suggest that the amount of defaults has been going up.
For student loan debt, 4.5% have defaulted on at least one of their student loans (from a report on CNBC in 2016).
The American Bankers Association has said that there has been an increase in delinquency rates for both credit cards and auto loans.
The delinquency rate for credit cards has increased by 2.74% and on auto loans, it has increased by 0.87%.
Average American Debt Financial Statistics
Now it’s time to take personal financial stats to the next level- looking at our massive stats on debts!
A survey in 2021 by Nerdwallet found that the average American household has $155,622 of debt.
That’s a large number, but we can break it down even more so you understand how your debts compare to the average person’s.
There are different types of debt that Americans have, and a lot of people have a combination of a few of them.
Let’s take a look at the different kinds of debt that the average American has:
10. Credit Card Debt
NerdWallet found that the average credit card debt in a household stands at $6,006.
11. Student Loan Debt
Student loan debt is, on average, the second largest household debt after mortgage debt.
The Federal Reserve Report on Economic Well-Being in 2020 found that people who went to a private, for-profit institution were 2X more likely to be behind on debt payments than those who went to public or private non-profit institutions.
NerdWallet found that the average student loan debt was $59,042- Americans in total owe $1.58 trillion in student loan debt.
12. Mortgage Debt Per Household
According to a report by Nerdwallet in 2018, the average mortgage debt per household is $185,591.
The newer NerdWallet survey in 2021 found that mortgage debt has increased to $207,861 for the average household– meaning debts have increased by over $22K!
Motley Fool has found in June 2021 that the new average downpayment for a house is $27,850, but the range is up and down all over the state.
Here is a great article on the costs of selling a house.
13. Auto Loan Debt
Lastly, NerdWallet reports that the average auto loan in America was $28,882.
Average American Credit Scores
14. Average Credit Score Is Up
A credit score is what lenders look at when they are deciding whether or not they want to lend money to you.
The average American has a FICO score of 716.
Credit scores do tend to improve with age, and as the population gets older we hope to see scores improve.
Have you checked your credit score lately?
Savings and Retirement Statistics
When it comes to personal finance statistics, a really important area that we tend to focus on is savings and retirement funds.
These are very important, as we don’t want it to come to a time when we don’t have enough money to live.
15. Saving Statistics
According to Marketwatch, 44% of Americans in 2018 didn’t have enough money to cover a $400 emergency.
In 2021, GoBankingRates reported that 40% of people had less than $300 in their savings. That means the average savings for Americans are decreasing steadily, and we may be in trouble.
This is important as it means that they may have to rely on debt for something like this. People need to start saving more in order to prevent growing their debts.
16. Retirement Statistics
Your retirement savings may not be where they want to be, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t change things.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of Americans who don’t have a lot of money saved for retirement – 13.7% have $0 saved, and 28.6% have less than $10,000 (GoBankingRates report)
32% of Americans have no money put aside for retirement in 2020, but 23% of adults have no retirements plans at all in 2021.
Employment & Side Hustle Financial Statistics
Now let’s talk about income- how much are people actually making from their employment and secondary sources of income?
Following on from retirement savings statistics, would it then surprise you that there is a large percentage of Americans who are planning on working after retirement age?
80% of Americans plan on doing this in fact!
In 2021, the median income per household in America was $79,900, which is up $1,400 from 2020, meaning people are making more (despite inflation rising more!).
In June 2020, payroll employment increased by 4.8 million, and unemployment went down to 11.1%.
It’s now estimated that 34% of Americans have side hustles to improve their personal finances.
17. Percentage of Americans With More Than One Income Stream (not including investments, pensions, and similar)
An article on Bankrate showed that there are 45% of Americans who have multiple streams of income outside of their main job, that is not investing, pensions, etc.
There is also the statistic that 3 in 10 Americans say that they need the additional income to be able to pay for their bills.
What Do All These Personal Finance Statistics Mean To You?
Now that you’ve seen all these crazy numbers, what does it actually mean for you?
Well, first off, you should probably look at your own credit card debt and other debts and see how much you owe.
If you’re behind, you may need some help with debt management to pay things off quicker.
Lastly, even if your income isn’t where you want it to be, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start investing.
It’s one of the best ways your money can grow without you working more.
Key Takeaways On Financial Statistics
When you are looking at what other people are spending their money on, it’s easy to compare and think that you aren’t doing a good job.
If you are looking at the personal finance statistics in this article, don’t allow yourself to feel bad about it.
Use these statistics as a source of inspiration, and use them to get motivated with working on your finances.
Think about how looking at these make you feel, and make adjustments as needed.