There's an expression that has gained steam in the past couple of years on Twitter: "Personal finance is personal." It has become something of a cliché at this point, but that doesn't make it any less true. The fact is that personal finance is very different for everyone, and that can make it tough to make sense of it all.
As a result, we decided to put together a master list of personal finance statistics. This will cover a wide variety of different areas, from budgeting to student loans to financial literacy.
While it will be tough to capture all of that in a single article, we're going to give it a shot. Hopefully, this will help you gain some perspective on personal finance in the US.
Now, let's get to the personal financial statistics.
Investing is one of the best ways to grow your net worth and secure your retirement. However, many people find the market scary or intimidating, as you'll see in the investing statistics below.
In addition, socially responsible investing is becoming a large theme. This has even led some to investors to turn to Betterment investing, which offers social impact portfolios. Some investors also prefer Motley Fool stock picks for the best returns.
Here are some of the numbers:
Net worth can be a bit of a sore subject for many people. Financial literacy and investing play a big role, and those who are born into wealthy families often have an advantage. Despite these issues, though, younger generations have seen their net worth increase more rapidly in recent years.
Credit Card Debt
Credit card debt is significant in the US. Although credit cards can be a very useful tool, their utility is greatly reduced if you are constantly paying interest.
A sure way to keep paying interest is to carry a balance on your credit cards. It seems many of us do, as Americans had hundreds of billions of credit card debt in 2018.
Here are more credit card debt statistics:
Budgeting is an important part of maintaining your finances. Unfortunately, it turns out that more people don't keep a budget than those who do. And the average American spends the most on housing and transportation.
Budgeting is helpful practice because you don't always know where your money is going until you track it. It could be the case that there are a few areas where cutting back just a bit would go a long way, but until you see it spelled out, that can be difficult to determine.
Below, you'll find some key budgeting statistics for Americans:
Student Loan Debt
Student loans are a pain point for a growing number of Americans. Although there are talks of possible $50,000 in relief per borrower, it isn't clear that that will come to pass. For now, millions of Americans are dealing with increasing amounts of debt.
Here are some student loan statistics:
For most Americans, buying a home is the largest purchase they'll ever make. That means a lot of financing and, unsurprisingly, the mortgage industry follows suit. Plus, mortgages take a long time to pay off, leading to a lot of outstanding debt.
Here are some key mortgage statistics:
Personal loans are a large source of debt in the United States. While they don't come close to the level of credit card or student loans, they are significant.
Personal loans tend to have high interest rates and can be used for many purposes. That includes not only financing large purchases but also consolidating other loans.
Here is a list of personal loan statistics:
In recent years, Americans have been buying bigger and bigger cars. This means bigger and bigger auto loans. As such, auto loans are a major source of debt.
Here are some of the auto loans statistics:
Financial literacy is an underappreciated skill. The reality is that "you don't know what you don't know" when it comes to money management. As a result, many of us end up having to learn by doing, which means costly mistakes. And yet, many Americans are not what would be considered financially literate.
Here are some key financial literacy statistics:
If you want to retire securely, retirement savings are an absolute must. While most Americans are in support of Social Security, there are looming questions over the program's sustainability. Thus, saving money on your own is important, too.
Here are some of the retirement statistics for Americans:
Tip: Try managing your 401k with Blooom, a robo-advisor that specializes in retirement accounts.
Keeping emergency savings on hand is essential for all American households, yet few have sufficient emergency savings. And with one in three Americans living paycheck to paycheck, having an emergency fund is even more important.
Here are the key statistics about emergency funds:
Why Do Personal Finance Statistics Matter?
Personal finance statistics are important because they help you understand the big picture. They help you gauge where you are in comparison to the larger population.
For example, do you have what feels like an impossibly large mountain of student debt? This article may have revealed that the average borrower owes more than you. And depending on your personality, that could be humbling.
That said, these statistics alone won't solve your financial woes. Of course, attacking any debt you may have is also helpful, as is opening an IRA.
Whatever you do, take this as a way to see how you stand. Having that perspective will give you some clarity and make it easier to take the appropriate action.