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The U.S. Financial Health Pulse 2019 Trends Report1 asked Americans about four buckets of financial health — saving, spending, borrowing and planning — and compared responses from the same individuals to what they reported in 2018.
People reported their current financial health this year as follows:
29% report that they are “financially strong,” or that they are spending, saving, borrowing and planning in a way that will ensure long-term success
54% say they are “financially coping,” or struggling with some aspects of their financial lives
17% consider themselves “financially vulnerable,” or struggling with all, or nearly all, parts of their ﬁnancial lives
In total, about seven in ten are financially struggling. Moreover, 12% of respondents say they do not have one week of living expenses stashed away, and almost 20% of people earning between $30,000 and $100,000 per year reported spending more than they earned in the 12 months prior to taking the survey.
However, it is the changes in financial health that were most striking. Almost a third experienced big changes in their financial health compared to last year. The two biggest drivers of the shifts were changes in employment status and health events. “It was enough to either go from being healthy to coping or coping to healthy,” said Jennifer Tescher, founder and CEO of the Financial Health Network. “Financial health is not a point in time but a journey across your whole life. The most important thing is to make sure you’re prepared to manage the downside, and you’re in a really good position to take advantage of the upside.”
The findings suggest building emergency savings and reducing debt are two important ways that people can strengthen their ability to be resilient and thrive during life’s changes.
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Building sufficient emergency funds and other protections
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1. Financial Health Network, U.S. Financial Health Pulse Report, 2019
This publication is designed to provide general information and is for discussion purposes only. The effectiveness of any strategy is dependent upon each individual’s facts and circumstances. This article does not provide legal, tax or account advice. Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error, the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information is not guaranteed.