Freedom Debt Relief Survey: 41% of Americans do not Save Money for their Household Retirement Plan

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San Mateo, Calif., June 11, 2019 – Freedom Debt Relief has released the results of their latest survey detailing how Americans feel about retirement, college tuition costs, the dream of home ownership, and their financial habits.

Methodology: Freedom Debt Relief commissioned Atomik Research to run a general population online survey of 2,008 adults in the United States. The margin of error fell within +/- 2 percentage points with a confidence interval of 95 percent. The fieldwork took place between April 25 and 27, 2019. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency.

Financial Habits

28% of Americans said when growing up, both parents had an equal influence on their financial habits. 24% said their mom had the most influence and 17% said their dad had the most influence.

If they needed financial advice, 27% of Americans would do self-research, while another 27% would ask a financial advisor.

87% of Americans said they know how to check their credit score.

Of those that know how, 41% of Americans said they check their credit score monthly. 30% said they check their credit score annually.

32% of Americans said the biggest barrier for increasing their savings is everyday expenses. 17% said it was their debt burden and 15% said it was their wages.

29% of Americans said if they needed $2,000 for an emergency, they would use a credit card.

35% of Americans said if they had an unexpected windfall of $5,000, they would pay off debt. 29% said they would save it and 26% said they would save part and spend part of it.

Of those that said they would pay off debt, 62% said they would pay off credit card debt.

55% of employed (full-time & part-time) Americans said the last time they looked at their paystub to review deductions and/or withholdings was their last paycheck.

Of those that looked at their paystub, 62% checked Federal Income tax, 46% checked State Income tax and 43% checked 401k contributions. 22% checked medical insurance pre tax deductions.

Housing

28% of Americans consider the cost of the down payment to be the biggest barrier to buying a home in 2019. 27% said a lack of overall savings was the biggest barrier and 26% said it was the cost of the monthly payment.

36% of Americans said they typically spend less than $1,000 on rent or mortgage every month. 27% said they spend between $1,000 and $2,000 on rent or mortgage every month.

14% of parents surveyed said monthly childcare costs are more expensive than their monthly rent/mortgage.

Taxes

60% of respondents said they received a tax refund from the Federal government. 21% of respondents said they owed the Federal government money.

Of those receiving a Federal tax refund, 44% of respondents put it into savings. 36% of respondents paid off debt.

Regarding the outcome of doing their Federal taxes for 2018, 32% of respondents said the amount they owed or were refunded was more than they expected. 25% said the amount was less than they expected.

Perspectives on Debt

46% of Americans said they have credit card debt. 31% have a mortgage and 28% have an auto loan.

Of those with credit card debt, 50% said their total amount of credit card debt is less than $5,000. 25% said the total is between $5,000 and $10,000.

Of those with credit card debt, 32% are not at all confident that they will pay off all of their credit card debt this year. Conversely, 27% are very confident that they will.

Of those with credit card debt, 56% are very confident that they will ever pay off all of their credit card debt. 20% are moderately confident that they will.

Of those with credit card debt, 30% said they think they will pay off their credit card debt in less than 1 year. 17% said it would take them 1 year, 21% said 2 years and 11% said 3 years.

In the past year, 25% of Americans have charged their credit card with groceries/food and not been able to pay it off right away (had to carry a balance because of the expense). 15% charged an unexpected car expense and 14% charged a medical expense.

Overall, 79% of Americans surveyed said they have debt.

17% said the total amount of all the debt they have is less than $5,000

13% said the total amount of all the debt they have is between $5,000 and $10,000.

21% said the total amount of all the debt they have is between $10,000 and $50,000.

10% said the total amount of all the debt they have is between $50,000 and $100,000.

13% said the total amount of all the debt they have is between $100,000 and $250,000.

5% said the total amount of all the debt they have is more than $250,000

Of those with debt, 18% of respondents said the amount of their debt impacts their productivity at work.

Of those with debt, 26% of respondents would rather go to the dentist than talk about their debt and finances. 21% would rather go to the DMV…without an appointment.

55% of Americans strongly agree and 40% agree that people should always pay off their debts.

44% of Americans said they find it difficult to talk about debt with friends and family

25% of college graduates surveyed disagree and 14% strongly disagree that the cost of their college education was worth what it cost. (Respondents with an Associate or Bachelor’s degree)

19% of Americans said they set aside between $1 and $1,000 for their household retirement yearly. 18% set aside between $1,000 and $5,000 and 12% set aside between $5,000 and $10,000.

41% of Americans said they do not set aside any money for their household retirement plan.

Generational Comparisons (Millennials vs. Gen X)

  • If they needed financial advice, 37% of Millennials would go to their mom or dad, compared to 19% of Gen Xers. 26% of Gen Xers would ask a financial advisor, compared to 19% of Millennials. Both generations value self-research with 31% of Gen Xers and 26% of Millennials choosing that option.
  • If they had an unexpected windfall of $5,000, both Millennials (36%) and Gen Xers (41%) said they would pay off debt.
    • Of those that said they would pay off debt, 65% of Gen Xers said they would pay off credit card debt, compared to 58% of Millennials. 36% of Millennials said they would pay off student loan debt, compared to 15% of Gen Xers.
  • Millennials (31%) and Gen Xers (33%) are most likely to use a credit card if they needed $2,000 for an emergency, however 27% of Millennials would turn to their parents compared to 15% of Gen Xers.
  • 54% of Gen Xers said they have credit card debt, compared to 47% of Millennials. 40% of Gen Xers have a mortgage, compared to 26% of Millennials. 35% of Millennials have a student loan, compared to 18% of Gen Xers.
    • Of those with credit card debt, 58% of Millennials said their total amount of credit card debt is less than $5,000, compared to 37% of Gen Xers. 22% of Millennials said the total is between $5,000 and $10,000, compared to 28% of Gen Xers.
    • Of those with credit card debt, 37% of Gen Xers are not at all confident that they will pay off all of their credit card debt this year, compared to 29% of Millennials.
    • Of those with credit card debt, 52% of Gen Xers are very confident that they will ever pay off all of their credit card debt, compared to 59% of Millennials.
    • Of those with credit card debt, 23% of Gen Xers said they think they will pay off their credit card debt in less than 1 year, compared to 27% of Millennials. 15% of Gen Xers said it would take them 1 year, compared to 21% of Millennials. 23% of Gen Xers said it would take them 2 years, compared to 26% of Millennials.

Overall, 87% of Gen Xers and 84% of Millennials surveyed said they have debt


Freedom Debt Relief

Co-founded by Andrew Housser and Brad Stroh, Freedom Debt Relief part of Freedom Financial Network, LLC, a family of companies providing innovative solutions that empower people to live healthier financial lives. For people struggling with debt, the custom Freedom Debt Relief program offers the chance to significantly reduce and resolve what they owe more quickly than they could on their own. For more information about the company and its services, see www.freedomdebtrelief.com/faq.

Headquartered in San Mateo, California, Freedom Debt Relief also operates an office in Tempe, Arizona, and employs more than 2,300. The company has been voted one of the best places to work in both the San Francisco Bay area and the Phoenix area for several years.