Keeping up with the Joneses usually leads you down a bad financial path, so why look at personal finance statistics like the ones below?

These types of statistics give you a baseline to compare to as you assess your own financial health. You can assess if a financial challenge is unique to you or if it’s endemic due to a weak economy. Are you falling behind because of debt or are you ahead of the curve with a well-balanced household budget?

Use the financial statistics below to see where you stand. Just keep in mind that financial success is almost always relative. What one household counts as success may be just getting by for another. See how you stack up and use that information to plan your next financial moves.

Budgeting and Spending Statistics

Each year the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases an overview of average household money management stats. The most recent report covers spending habits for 2020.

How does your budget compare to these household personal finance statistics?

In 2020 the average household earned $84,352, before taxes. Average expenditures were $61,334, leaving $23,018 in free cash flow.

Here’s how some of the budget categories that you see break down:

  • Around 34% of housing costs go towards rent and mortgage payments
  • The average household spends 68% of their food budget on groceries and 32% on dining out 
  • 56% of transportation costs go towards vehicle purchases, such as paying off an auto loan; 16% goes to gas and oil, with the remaining 28% spent on other costs, such as repairs
  • For health care costs, 71% covers insurance

Winter holiday spending

Americans spend more money this time of year than any other – and 2021 won’t be an exception. Ninety percent of consumers plan to celebrate the winter holidays this year, according to research from the National Retail Federation.

The average amount they’ll spend? A whopping $998 on “holiday essentials”, such as decorations, food, gifts, and shipping costs. Here’s a breakdown of where that money will go to:

  • $648 for gifts for family, friends and coworkers
  • $231 will go to food and decorations
  • $118 on other non-gift purchases

With that large a figure pegged on holiday spending, it’s safe to say most Americans will go into debt for the holidays. A 2020 study from MagnifyMoney reported, on average, $1,381 was borrowed to fund the holidays – 89% said they wouldn’t be able to pay off that debt within a month. Here’s a breakdown of the types of debt incurred and how many consumers took on these debts:

  • Credit cards: 56%
  • Personal loan: 27%
  • Store cards: 22%
  • Payday/title loan: 18%
  • Home equity loan: 6%

How many Americans actually keep a formal budget?

A Gallup poll found only about 1/3 of Americans (32%) maintain a household budget

  • Only 30% of Americans have a long-term financial plan that includes savings and investment goals
  • You’re most likely to budget if you make at least $75,000 per year

The average American spends less than 4.5 hours a year with scheduled time on their calendar for finances, according to Calendar.com.

Treading financial water

A MarketWatch report found that more than half of American households (56%) were living paycheck to paycheck in Q1 of 2021. 

  • More than half of Americans (51%) dipped into their savings over the last 3 months, and 27% of those surveyed had to withdraw $1,000 or more from savings accounts, including 21% of baby boomers and 30% of Generation Z and Millennials.
  • Half of Americans (49%) say they have saved less than $500 in the past 3 months, and 40% of those who saved less than $500 were hit by job loss or a fall in income
  • 45% of those surveyed who had an income less than $30,000 a year said they had more emergency savings than credit-card debt. This percentage increased to 70% for households with an annual income of $75,000 a year, or more.

However, a separate 2021 survey by LendingClub and PYMNTS found just over 60 percent of the paycheck-to-paycheck population is able to pay their bills comfortably, while close to 40 percent struggle to keep up. 

  • 52% of consumers who have savings of between $1,000 and $15,000 live paycheck to paycheck, including 11% who have difficulty paying bills.
  • Average savings amounts for those who do not live paycheck to paycheck largely held steady over the past 12 months at around $16,500. 
  • Average savings amount of struggling paycheck–to-paycheck workers was $6,200 as of April 2021, a nearly threefold increase from March 2020.

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Total American Debt

[On-screen text] Personal Finance Statistics: Total American Debt

Narrator: Total American debt is higher than ever

[On-screen text] Total Credit Card Debt is $764 billion, Total Student Loan Debt is $1.4 Trillion

Narrator: Credit card debt stands at 7 hundred and 64 billion dollars while student loan debt is over ONE trillion dollars

[On-screen text] Total Nonrevolving Debt (Loans) = $2.7 Trillion

Narrator: Non-revolving debt, including student loans, are part of the reason Americans owe 2.7 trillion dollars

[On-screen text] More Americans are in debt, too

Narrator: Indebtedness is widespread

[On-screen text] 63% of Americans carry credit card balances

Narrator: 157 million Americans have credit card debt

[On-screen text] 17% have student loan debt

Narrator: And 44 million people have student loan debt

[On-screen text] AVERAGE DEBT BY HOUSEHOLD: Mortgage = $180,018, Student loans = $50,868, Auto loans = $29,058, Credit cards = $16,425, Total Average Debt = $136,643

Narrator: Average American household debt levels are high across the board with close to $50,000 in student loans and over $16,000 in credit card debt

[On-screen text] 49% of Americans say they are “concerned or fearful” about their financial well-being

Narrator: It’s no wonder almost half of Americans feel stressed about their finances

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Narrator: If debt has you stressed, visit Debt.com or call 884-402-3574 to find the solution that’s right for you

Due to the nature of the pandemic, credit card debt, student loan debt, and auto debt have fluctuated within the last few years.

According to the latest 2021 data from the Federal Reserve:

  • Americans held over $1 trillion in credit card debt as of Q3 ($1,010,400,000,000)
  • Nonrevolving debt (loans) in Q3 totaled over $3.3 trillion ($3,357,000,000,000)

According to a Y charts investment company:

  • As 2021 comes to a close, the total outstanding auto loan debt totals $1.44 trillion ($1,443,000,000,000)

According to NerdWallet’s latest 2021 data this is the average American debt:

Avg. balance owed in 2021 Total debt owed in U.S. Percent Change (2020-2021)
Total debt $155,662 $15.24 trillion +6.20%
Mortgage $207,861 $10.67 trillion +8.22%
Credit cards (revolving) $6,006 $357.04 billion -13.85%
Student loans $59,042 $1.58 trillion +2.46
Auto loans $28,882 $1.4 trillion +6.10

NerdWallet attributes the increase in American indebtedness to the fact that cost of living consistently outpaces income growth. While median household income levels have gone down 3% in the past few years, cost of living increased by 7%.

Percentage of Americans in debt

A 2022 Go Banking Rates article reveals: 

The latest U.S. Census Bureau data put 2021 population estimates at almost 332 million (331,893,745) people; however, 22.3% of that figure are under 18. That leaves roughly 257,881,440 adults in the U.S. 

According to Value Penguin, the average consumer balance is $5,315, and the median debt per family is $2,700. As of 2022, Americans owe $807 billion across almost 506 million card accounts. 

  • Roughly 45.4% of American families carry credit card debt balances
  • While 15% of American adults carry student loan 

That shows just how much of a problem student loan debt is for borrowers, even though more Americans hold credit card debt. Although student loan debt is the second largest source of debt after mortgages, fewer Americans have more total debt in that category. 

Defaults and delinquencies on the rise

Several reports released in 2021 show how borrowers have fallen behind on their payments:

  • Education Data reports 10.8% of student borrowers default on their education loans within their first year of repayment; 25% of borrowers default within their first five years. 
    • Over 1 million student loans enter default each year – with $124.4 billion in student loan debt in default
  • Meanwhile, the American Bankers Association found delinquency rates on the rise for bank cards (credit cards) and declining for auto loans: 
    • Credit card delinquencies increased from 1.65% in Q4 2020 to 2.05% in Q1 2021 (of all accounts)
    • Direct auto loan delinquencies fell from 2.05% in Q4 2020 to 1.85% in Q1 2021 (arranged directly through bank)
    • Indirect auto loan delinquencies fell from 2.49% in Q4 2020 to 2.10% in Q1 2021 (arranged through a third party)

Average American Financing

[On-screen text] What does the average American loan and credit line look like?

Narrator: Just because the average household has over $136,000 in debt, it doesn’t mean we’re slowing down in seeking new financing

[On-screen text] Average Student Loan Debt is $37,172

Narrator: In student loans, the average graduate now leaves school with over $37,000 in loans to repay

[On-screen text] Average Monthly Student Loan Payment for 20-30 year-olds in $351

Narrator: For a borrower age 20-30 years old, your average monthly payment is about $350

[On-screen text] Direct Loans: Undergraduate = 3.76%, Graduate = 5.31%, PLUS parent loans = 6.31%

Narrator: If you plan on getting new student loans, here are the current interest rates for federal loans

[On-screen text] Average credit card APR = 15.59%, Credit Cards with Bad Credit = 23.04%

Narrator: For new credit cards, interest rates are higher now than they were in 2016. But a bad credit score means an even higher APR.

[On-screen text] Average credit card limit if you have a bad credit score (300-499) = $509, excellent credit score (781-850) = $9,543

Narrator: Your available credit limit also depends on your credit score

[On-screen text] 62% of auto loans have terms OVER 60 months, 20% have terms from 73-84 months

Narrator: Auto loans today have longer and longer terms

[On-screen text] Average car payment = $499, up from $483 last year

Narrator: Yet the average monthly payment is up to almost $500

[On-screen text] Average car loans: New Car = $28,667, Used Car = $17,242

Narrator: The average amount financed for a new car versus a used car varies by more than $10,000

[On-screen text] Average mortgage = $309,200

Narrator: Finally in mortgages, the average home loan as of January 2017 was over $300,000

[On-screen text] Average 30-year mortgage APR = 4.1%, Average monthly payment = $1,491

Narrator: With an average interest rate of 4.1% on a 30-year mortgage, the average monthly payment was almost $1,500

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Narrator: If you need help to pay off all this debt, visit Debt.com or call 884-402-3574

Auto loans

According to a WalletHub auto financing report:

  • The average new car auto loan financing cost was $35,283.89 (as of Q3 2021)
  • The average used car auto loan financing cost was $23,247.63 (as of Q3 2021)

USA Today reported:

  • The average monthly car payment in the fourth quarter of 2020 hit $581, up 1.9% from the previous year.

Many Americans also opt for longer terms now. Edmunds reports:

  • Nearly 70% of auto loans in the first quarter of 2020 had terms longer than 60 months (increase of 29 percentage points points over a decade)
  • Most common loan type in the first quarter of 2020 was 72 months, with 84-month loans not too far behind. 

Credit card debt

Experian credit data reported on Bankrate shows credit limits vary based on generation and FICO score:

  • Generation Z (ages 18-22) [FICO: 667] = $8,062 
  • Millennials (ages 23-38) [FICO: 668] = $20,647 
  • Generation X (ages 39-54) [FICO: 688] = $33,357 
  • Baby Boomers (ages 55-73) [FICO: 731] = $39,919 
  • Silent Generation (ages 74 plus) [FICO: 756] = $32,338 

Following 2 interest rate hikes this year, CreditCards.com reports average credit card interest rates broke records in 2021:

  • National average APR = 16.13%
  • Low interest credit cards = 12.94%
  • Cash-back credit cards = 16.14%
  • Balance transfer credit cards = 13.99%
  • Airline credit cards = 15.46%
  • Credit cards for bad credit scores = 25.80%

Student loan debt

More than 43 million Americans have federal student loan debt, Education Data reports.

Nearly 19 million borrowers owe between $10,000 and $40,000 in federal student loans according to Nerdwallet.   

Experian reports $1.57 trillion in student debt. Student loans are the second-largest household debt in the U.S., following housing.

Education Data reported 1 out of 10 Americans has defaulted on a student loan, and 7.8% of all student loan debt is in default ($124.4 billion); An average of 15% of student loans are in default at any given time.

  • 42.8% of borrowers with loans in default owe a debt of $20,000-$40,000.
  • 77.6% of borrowers owe $40,000 or less in defaulted student loans.

StudentAid.gov provides current interest rate information for federal student loans as of July 1, 2021 to July 1, 2022:

  • Direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans (undergraduates): 3.73% 
  • Direct unsubsidized loans (graduates or professionals): 5.28% 
  • Direct PLUS loans (parents, graduates, or professional students): 6.28% 

Mortgage debt

According to a 2021 article published by The Motley Fool: 

  • The average loan amount on a new mortgage is $411,400
  • The average interest rate on a 30-year traditional fixed-rate mortgage is 4.114% (as of March 9th 2022).
  • As a result, the average homeowners pay a monthly payment of $1,991
  • The average interest rate on a FHA 30-year traditional fixed-rate mortgage is 4.115% and 0.558 average points/credits.

If you’re facing challenges with debt, visit Debt.com’s Solutions Center today so you can get out of debt fast, minimize interest charges and save your credit!

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Average American Credit Scores

[On-screen text] Average American Credit Scores

Narrator: Good credit is a big part of your ability to be financially successful. So, how do average Americans score today?

[On-screen text] 695 was the average 2016 FICO score

Narrator: Americans actually have improved their credit in recent years. In fact, FICO scores hit a record average high last year

[On-screen text] 41% of people 30-39 years old have deep subprime credit scores between 300-499; likewise, only 38% of people under 30 have scores that low

Narrator: Although credit scores usually improve with age, people 30 to 39 years old have the highest number of subprime credit scores

[On-screen text] Average family scores: Low income = 644, High income = 775

Narrator: And there’s more than 100-point difference in scores from low-income earners to high-income earners

[On-screen text] For FHA home loans 689 is the average FICO score vs. a 755 score for a traditional mortgage

Narrator: Homebuyer credit scores vary from 689 for FHA loans to 755 for traditional loans

[On-screen text] People who buy used cars have an average score of 643 vs. new car buyers at 714

Narrator: Scores are also higher for new car buyers versus used car buyers

[On-screen text] 591 is the average score of bankruptcy filers

Narrator: If you declare bankruptcy, you may fall into a subprime credit score category

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Narrator: For more tips and tools on how to build your credit, visit Debt.com or call 884-402-3574

The average U.S. FICO credit score broke records in 2021, at an average score of 711.

According to a report on ValuePenguin:

  • Average credit score (FICO) tends to improve with age, except if you’re age 24-39
    • Generation z (ages 18-23), has an average score of 674, while baby boomers (ages 56-74) have an average credit score of 736. 
    • The age group that has the least amount of increase between other groups are Millennials (ages 24-39) with an average credit score of 680. 
  • Credit score also increases in regards to income: 
    • The average score is 658 for low-income earners (50% of Median Family Income)
    • But the average score for high-income earners is 774 (120% of Median Family Income)

Nerdwallet reported:

  • The average FICO score for mortgage applicants (six-month period ending in September 2021):
    • 757 for a traditional mortgage 
    • 677 for FHA loans
  • Average credit score for new car loan or lease: 732
    • Average score for used car loan or lease: 665
  • Among Nerdwallet users, the average credit score for someone who filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy was 538.2 in 2010. 

WalletHub also released a map that shows the 2022’s highest and lowest median credit scores by city:

  • Residents in The Villages, Florida have the highest median credit scores at 806
  • Meanwhile, residents in Glendale, Arizona have the lowest median credit scores at 517

Want to improve your credit score? Debt.com’s Solutions Center has a variety of tools to help you achieve and maintain good credit.

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Savings and Retirement Statistics

[On-screen text] How well are Americans saving?

Narrator: Financial stability is gained by having savings, but most Americans are falling behind

[On-screen text] Only 37% of Americans can cover a $500-$1,000 emergency

Narrator: Only 37 Percent have enough savings to cover a $500 to $1,000 emergency

[On-screen text] Average household savings = $33,766, Median household savings = $5,200

Narrator: According to the federal reserve the average household savings is about $33,000, but the median saving for all working-age families is just $5,200

[On-screen text] Income $25,000 or less, Savings $500 or less; Income $50K or less, Savings $1,500; Income $115K or more, Savings $10,000; Income $160K or more, Savings $50,000

Narrator: Average savings increases exponentially as incomes grow

[On-screen text] 23% of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement

Narrator: Retirement savings are on shaky ground; almost 1 in 4 Americans having less than $10,000 saved

[On-screen text] 33% of Americans have $0 saved for their golden years

Narrator: In fact, 33% of Americans have $0 saved for retirement

[On-screen text] 8% of Americans have $100K – $199K, 5% have $200K – $299K, 13% have $300K or more saved

Narrator: And only 26% of have more than $100,000 saved

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Narrator: For more information on how to eliminate debt and save effectively, visit Debt.com or call 844-402-3574

As of January 2022, the Federal Reserve listed the average personal savings rate in the U.S. at 6.4%. This means the average American household saves just over half of what they should save. Experts recommend that your personal savings rate should be 10% of your income.

  • The most recent Americans hit this recommended target was July 2021, at 10.5%
  • The personal savings rate peaked in the U.S. in April 2020 when the average personal savings rate hit a record 33.8%
  • Savings hit its lowest point in July 2005 when we bottomed out at just 2.1%

Saving statistics

  • A 2021 survey from Bankrate revealed that 
    • Only 39% of Americans had enough savings to cover a $1,000 emergency – a figure that has remained relatively consistent since 2014 (hovering between 37-41%)
    • More than 1 in 4 Americans (27%) reported having more credit card debt than money saved in their emergency fund.
  • According to Bankrate’s July 2021 Emergency Savings Survey, more than half of Americans (or 51%) have less than three months’ worth of expenses covered in an emergency fund. That total includes 1 in 4 Americans (or 25%) who indicate having no emergency fund at all — up from 21% in 2020.

From ValuePenguin:

  • While the average household savings balance is $41,600, the median is just $5,300
  • Savings by Income (as of 2019):
    • If you make less than $25,197.05 annually, you probably have $800 or less saved (below income percentile 20%)
    • If you make at least $50,843.56, you average $4,400 in savings (income percentile 40%)
    • You have to make at least $80,867.70 annually before you hit an average of $10,000 in savings
    • And those who make more than $187,307.67 have $69,000 on average (income percentile 90%)
  • Savings by Age (Mean):
    • Under 35: $11,200
    • 35-44: $27,900
    • 45-64: $48,200
    • 55-64: $57,800
    • 65-74: $60,400
    • 75+: $55,600
  • Those who have a college degree have a mean savings balance of $79,100, while those without have a mean savings of just $20,100.
  • Savings by Race & Ethnicity (Mean):
    • White (Caucasian): $51,600
    • African American (non-Hispanic): $13,300
    • Hispanic or Latino(a): $11,800
    • Other (or mix): $43,900

Retirement statistics

A 2019 GOBankingRates report finds 45.5 percent of Americans have $0 saved for retirement.

  • 19% of Americans are expected to retire with less than $10,000
  • Around 20% retire with anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000
  • Gen Zers and Millennials are least likely to choose more efficient retirement investing tools, such as 401(K) accounts and IRAs, and more likely to use savings accounts
  • But Millennials are 20.6% more likely to have $0 retirement savings than Baby Boomers
  • 6% of Baby Boomers had $500,000 to $1 million in their retirement nest egg

A separate report by Smart Asset finds:

  • 30% of Americans 45 and over have no retirement savings or pension
  • The median household net worth for Americans age 35-44 is $91,300
  • The median for ages 55-64 is $212,500
  • The average Social Security benefit paid out $1,543 per month as of January 2021

Article last modified on May 20, 2022. Published by Debt.com, LLC