Personal finance & money management statistics

See how your finances stack up versus the average American family.

Keeping up with the Joneses has a way of getting you into trouble, so why is it important to look at personal finance and money management statistics like the ones we show below?

Financial stats give you a baseline to compare where you are and where you want to be to what’s realistically achievable. It also can help you understand if you’re falling behind the average curve – or if all Americans are experiencing the same kinds of challenges like what you see when the economy takes a turn for the worse.

Use the statistics and facts below to see how you stack up. But remember, financial success is extremely personal. Success for one household may be just getting by for another. If you’re facing challenges and want to see if you need help, we can help. Call us or complete the form to the right to get the help you need for free.

Personal finance statistics


Just 32 percent of Americans keep a household budget.

30 percent of Americans prepare a long-term financial plan such as savings and investment goals.

Persons most likely to create future financial plans are those with at least some college education and those making $75,000 a year.


Americans spend 12-18 percent more when they use credit cards instead of cash.


76 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.

From the Corporation for Enterprise Development…

Half of the American population has less than one month’s income saved for emergencies. (It is recommended that a family of four have at least $5,887 saved up or three times their monthly income at the poverty level).

44 percent of US households are “liquid asset poor”. Meaning they have less than three months of savings.

56 percent of US consumers have subprime credit scores.

From U.S…

Americans filed 1,071,932 bankruptcies in 2013.

From the Urban Institute…

77 million Americans have debt in collections with an average balance of $5,200.

This balance includes debt from — credit card bills, child support, medical bills, utility bills, parking tickets or membership fees.

1 out of 20 people with a credit file are at least 30 days late with their payments and would need to pay $2,258 to become current. The sources of this debt are from credit cards, mortgages, auto loans and student loans.

From the American Bankers Association…

The national average credit score is 692.

56 percent of Americans don’t know that their credit score is the most important factor for applying for a mortgage, car loan and new credit card.

A good credit score is above 700. Only 58 percent of Americans have scores above 700.

Demographics of debt management & personal finance

Socio-economic status

From the Corporation for Enterprise Development…

25 percent of middle class households, those who earn $56,113 to $91,356 a year have less than three months of savings.

The American middle class uses credit cards for investments such as higher education, entrepreneurship, and medical expenses.

Four out of five of the lowest-income households who earn less than $18,193 annually are liquid asset poor.


From the Corporation for Enterprise Development…

Two in three households of color do not have three months of savings.

White households have 9 times more net worth than households of color:

  • White net worth — $110,637
  • Household of color net worth — $12,377

The homeownership rate for households of color is 46 percent.

The homeownership rate for white households is 72 percent.


African Americans with credit card debt owe less than they did in 2008:

  • In 2008 their average balance was $6,671
  • In 2014 they carried an average balance of $5,784.

Equal percentages (42 %) of African Americans, Whites and Latinos use their credit cards for basic living expenses like rent, mortgage payments, groceries and utilities.

African American households have interest rates at least two percentage points higher than that of White households.

50 percent of White households have received calls from debt collectors.

71 percent of African-American households have received calls for debt collectors.

66 percent of African American households have a credit score of 620 or above.

85 percent of White households have a credit score of 620 or above.

The reasons for their low credit scores vary:

  • For African Americans, late student loan payments or errors on their credit report contributed to their poor credit scores.
  • For white households, it was late mortgage payments and almost maxing all their existing lines of credit.

Money management & retirement


  • 50 percent of working Americans have less than $2000 saved for retirement.
  • 36 percent of Americans don’t contribute anything towards their retirement savings.
  • 24 percent of Americans have postponed their retirement at least once during the past year.
  • 35 percent of Americans over 65 years rely almost entirely on Social Security.

From the Employee Benefit Research Institute…

  • About 36 percent of workers have less than $1,000 in savings and investments that could be used for retirement.
  • 60 percent of workers have less than $25,000 saved up.
  • 58 percent of workers and 44 percent of retirees report having a problem with their level of debt.
  • 17 percent of retirees indicate that their current level of debt is higher than it was five years ago.
  • Sixty-four percent of workers report they or their spouse have saved for retirement.
  • 90 percent of workers participating in a retirement plan had saved for retirement, compared with just 1 in 5 of those without a retirement plan.

From the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College…

  • 50 percent of today’s working families are “at risk” of not being able to maintain their standard of living once they retire.

Money management & gender

From FINRA Investor Education Foundation…

  • Women consistently score lower than men when it comes to financial literacy.
  • Among men and women with low levels of financial literacy, women are more likely to engage in significantly more costly behaviors than men.
  • There are no differences in behavior among men and women with high levels of financial literacy.
  • Women were five percentage points more likely to carry a balance. (In 2012, 55 percent of males had a credit card balance while 60 percent of females carried a credit card balance).
  • Women are four points more likely to make just the minimum payments on their cards.
  • Women are six points more likely to be charged a late fee.
  • Regardless of financial literacy level, in 2012, females paid half a percentage point more in credit card interest rates than men.