Each year, the NFCC’s Consumer Financial Literacy Survey provides a fresh look at the American consumer’s level of knowledge as it relates to financial literacy, as well as trends associated with personal finance behavior pertaining to retirement, savings, credit card debt, student loan debt and more.
The 2018 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll in March 2018 among 2,017 U.S. adults ages 18+ on behalf of the NFCC and is sponsored by BECU.
The survey reveals that one in four Americans admit they do not pay all their bills on time and nearly one in ten (8%) now have debts in collection, both showing a slight increase from last year.
Most notable are the financial struggles of women, namely those within the Millennial generation:
Nearly three in 10 adults (29%) are now saving more compared to one year ago, particularly Millennials (18-34) and young Gen Xers (35-44).
There was a significant increase in the proportion of adults using a 401k plan to save or invest their money (37% vs. 32% in 2017). Gen Xers, adults ages 35-44 (54%) and 45-54 (49%), are particularly likely to have a 401k, while adults age 55+ are more likely to have investments/mutual funds and invest in IRAs than their younger counterparts.
Top 5 Barriers to Homeownership
Rising home prices (18%)
Spending Same or More (17%)
Existing Debt (14%)
Limited housing options within budget (14%)
Poor credit history (13%)
About half of U.S. adults (51%) are now spending the same as last year, while about 1 in 4 each report they are now spending more (24%) or less (25%) than before.Nearly 3 in 10 say they are saving more this year, a slight increase from last year (29% vs. 26% in 2017).