A new study from The Pew Charitable Trusts paints a pretty bleak picture of the state financial security for most Americans. A survey of more than 7,000 households found that nearly half say they are “financially insecure,” and 56 percent said they had worried over finances over the past year, CBS News reported.
Almost half (45 percent) of households reported having a steady source of income, and 55 percent reported to just breaking even or to spending more than they earn each month.
Nearly 80 percent of respondents said they had “experienced a financial shock” over the previous year, including a hospital visit, loss of a spouse or partner, major home or auto repair, or just an overall drop in income. And 55 percent of those who reported experiencing the “shock” said it made it harder to make ends meet. Given that a third of the households surveyed said they had no savings, it’s not surprising that a major unexpected expense would cause real financial hardship.
The study also found that more than 20 percent of Americans said they are not planning to retire:
“Just 26 percent have a traditional notion of retirement, in which they stop working altogether. More than half [53 percent] anticipate doing something else, including working at a different job.”
And while the survey found that, overall, Americans are more optimistic about their personal finances than they were in 2009 during the recession, just 27 percent rated the economy positively.
“Our findings show that despite a steady economic recovery, many Americans continue to feel vulnerable,” said director of Pew’s financial security and mobility project Erin Currier. “Many worry about their finances, and record numbers – more than 9 in 10 – say it is more important to them to achieve financial stability than it is to move up the income ladder.”
In other words, people have basically given up on the American dream. They realize that they’re unlikely to make any actual financial progress given the state of the economy; they just want to be able to make ends meet, which is now much harder than it should be.