Have Americans literally learned their lesson from the steep financial downturn of 2008? The answer is mixed.
Americans have come a long way in repairing their finances since the 2008 crisis. However, a new study by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation shows making ends meet is still a daily struggle for millions of people, especially for millennials, women, and those without a high school education.
The study was comprised of more than 27,000 adults and measured four key areas: making ends meet, planning ahead, managing financial products, and financial knowledge and decision making. Here are the highlights:
Making Ends Meet
· 18% of individuals said their household spent more than their income over the past year.
· 21% of Americans have unpaid medical debt. Women are more likely than men to put off medical services due to cost, such as seeing a doctor, buying prescription drugs, or having a medical procedure.
· 13% have taken a loan from their retirement account in the past year.
· 50% do not have a "rainy day" fund to cover expenses for three months.
· 56% have not tried to figure out their retirement savings needs.
· 56% have not set aside money for their children's college education.
· 53% have an employer-provided 401k plan.
Managing Financial Products
· 52% always pay their credit cards in full.
· 47% carry over a balance and were charged interest.
· 32% charged a late fee for late payment.
· 26% used one or more non-bank lending methods in the past 5 year.
Financial Knowledge & Decision Making
· Only 37% of respondents were considered to have high financial literacy. That means they could answer four or more questions on a five-question quiz about financial topics. That's down from 39% in 2012 and 42% in 2009.