Most Americans Have Enough to Get by but Lack Any Financial Cushion for Major Purchases or Expenses

A large percentage of Americans have enough to get by but lack the financial resources to make a major purchase or handle an unexpected major expense. 69 percent of respondents to a recent Gallop Survey said they have enough money to buy the things they need but only 47 percent of respondents said they have enough to be able to make a major purchase or incur an unexpected expense.

As annual incomes rises, the percentage of Americans who have enough money to buy what they need and can handle a major expense increases. 43 percent of those who have annual incomes below $24,000 have enough money to buy things they need and 87 percent of those with annual incomes of $180,000+ have enough money to buy things they need.

Most Americans Have Enough to Get by but Lack Any Financial Cushion for Major Purchases or Expenses

Only 21 percent with incomes below $24,000 have enough money to handle an unexpected expense or make a big purchase. 74 percent have incomes of $180,000+ and have enough to cover an unexpected expense or make a big purchase. The more you earn, the better your financial security is and the better you feel about spending.

Do You Feel Good About Spending?

In the survey, incomes have to reach at least $60,000 for a majority of Americans to feel good about their spending. 53 percent of respondents that earn between $60,000 to $90,000 feel good about their spending. Only 34 percent that earn $24,000 or less feel good about their spending and 62 percent that earn $180,000 or more feel good about their spending.

It’s interesting to see only 62 percent of those who earn $180,000+ feel good about their spending. You would think if you’re income was in the high end of incomes more people would feel good about their spending. It goes to show you no matter how much you make you probably are spending to much.

A good part on how you feel about spending is how much you are saving. Even if you’re earning a couple hundred thousand a year if you’re not saving any spending won’t feel good. Likewise even if you earn less if you’re saving a good percentage of your income you will feel better about saving money.

Savings Rate is Driven by Interest Rates and the Economy

A recent Pew survey about savings habits of Americans showed a majority are not saving enough retirement. Several factors including the state of the economy, personal income and where interest rates are drive the savings rate of Americans. The recent recession and the high rate of unemployment have decimated savings and the net worth of the average American over the past several years.

Combined with the lowest bank CD rates and savings rates since the Great Depression there isn’t an incentive to save. Current CD rates on 1 year certificates of deposit top out at 1.05 percent. The best savings rates and money market rates available from any bank or credit union are also just above 1.00 percent.

Only A Small Fraction of Americans Have Enough Money

Another question posed to those in this survey was “Do you agree with the following statement. Do you have more than enough money to do what you want to do.” To get a slight majority of respondents to say have enough money to do that they want to do incomes have to be $180,000+.  Only 51 percent of those who income is $180,000+ agree they have enough money to do what they want to do.

Overall only 28 percent of respondents agree that they have enough money to do what they want to do. This is a surprise to me but at the same time you can see why only a low percentage agree with this statement. No matter how much most people have they always want more.

Majority Are Not Worried About Spending Money

While a majority of people don’t feel good about their spending a majority also don’t worry about the spending they do. When asked “did you worry yesterday that you spent too much money or not” 67 percent said they didn’t worry. In each income range, from less than $24,000 to $180,000+ a majority didn’t worry about spending too much money.

This last question pretty much sums it up. While most people are not happy with their financial state in life and spend too much money, they don’t do anything about it to change it. Coming up with a financial plan for the long haul and coming up with financial goals will better position you for major purchases or expenses.