Consumer confidence has improved considerably since the “Great Recession” but many Americans still have a handful of financial issues that they worry about on a regular basis. For example, a new PwC study found that “not having enough emergency savings for unexpected expenses” is a current money-related concern for half of surveyed U.S. workers. Nearly a third of respondents also said that they are worried about covering their monthly expenses and being able to retire on time, and roughly one in six surveyed Americans said that they are afraid of falling behind on their debts. Younger respondents were generally found to be more concerned about their short-term finances, while older survey participants were mostly worried about retirement.
Some of the above-mentioned figures are marked improvements from earlier versions of this survey but overall the responses suggest that many Americans are still struggling to achieve financial well-being. That is especially true since many respondents across all age groups said that their ideal level of financial wellness includes not being stressed about their finances, being debt free, having enough savings so as to not worry about unexpected expenses, and having the financial freedom to make choices that allow them to enjoy life. Surveyed workers, though, remain optimistic about the future, and significantly more people than in previous surveys said that they feel the next generation will be better off financially than their generation.
Further, many respondents still believe that their long-term financial goals are achievable, especially if healthcare costs decline, inflation pressures remain muted, and stock prices continue to rise. Surveyed Americans also said that assistance from a personal financial planner or coach could help them achieve their future financial goals. That is encouraging since respondents appear to not only struggle with investing and long-term financial planning but also basic money management. Forty-two percent of surveyed employees, for instance, said that they find it difficult to meet their household expenses on time each month, and 59 percent reported that they consistently carry balances on their credit cards.
If fact, 40 percent of the respondents who said that they consistently carry credit card balances also reported that they find it difficult to make their minimum payments on time each month, and 35 percent admitted that they have used credit cards to pay for utilities and other monthly necessities. Unsurprisingly, 53 percent of surveyed workers said that they are currently stressed about their personal finances, and nearly one in three employees reported that their money troubles have been a distraction in the workplace. Nearly half of respondents who said that they have been distracted at work by their personal finances even admitted that they spend three hours or more at work each week thinking about or dealing with such issues.
Sources: PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)Post author: Charles Couch