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10 Facts about America's (Real) Financial Anxiety

Words cannot begin to describe the events of these last few days here in Washington DC and nationally. It is evident that people are hurting. Instead of my usual post, I’d like to resurface a few data points as a reminder of the economic insecurity many Americans face. These anxieties are the undercurrents of our times. As financial practitioners, we play a daily role in shaping the future of the financial sector and making it more inclusive and valuable to all Americans.

10 Facts on America's very real Financial Anxiety

1. 39% of households earning <$40k have experienced joblessness since February on account of covid, this is 3-times the joblessness of higher-income households making $100k+ (13%) (Federal Reserve).

2. 4-in-10 Americans could not pay an unexpected $400 expense without borrowing (Federal Reserve).

3. 53% of American households do not have an emergency savings account (AARP).

4. 45M people - 19% of the adult population - are considered ‘credit invisible’ and are likely to be denied access to credit because they have no credit score (CFPB).

5. 3-in-10 American workers do not have access to a workplace savings retirement account (BLS).

6. 92% of Americans would prefer great financial stability over financial mobility, a reflection of the generational increase in income volatility many have experienced (Pew Research Institute).

7. The median household wealth of black households is one-tenth ($17,150) the value of white households ($171,000). Hispanic households have a similar ratio. (Pew Charitable Trust).

8. 6.5% of households are ‘unbanked’ and a further 18.7% are ‘underbanked’ - meaning they have a bank account but seek alternative financial services - representing 63M adults (FDIC). 

9. 52% of households of color experience liquid asset poverty, double the rate of white households. ‘Liquid asset poverty’ is a measure of when a family does not have enough in savings to live at or above the poverty level for three months in the event of a disruption to income (Prosperity Now).

10. Financially underserved consumers spent a record $189B in fees and interest in 2018, continuing an upward trend (Financial Health Network).


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