January 24, 2007

We Try Hard. We Fall Short. Americans Assess Their Saving Habits

III. Financial Problems and Worries

Figure

More than one-in-three (36%) Americans say they often or sometimes spend more than they can afford. Among the groups most inclined to say this are lower-income adults, younger adults, blacks, people who carry credit card debt, and self-described savers. As with the findings on savings cited above, saying you are someone who tries to watch what you spend is not the same as actually spending within your means.

More than one-in-three (36%) Americans also say that they have at some point in their lives felt their financial situation was out of control. There is very little variance in this question by income level (38% of those with incomes below $30,000 say so, but so do 33% of those with incomes at $100,000 and above). There’s bit more variance by age, race and parenting status. People ages 30 to 49 are more prone than others to have felt this way (45%); so are parents of children under age 18 (41%); and blacks (46%).

Figure

More than seven-in-ten Americans say they worry about money, either often (35%) or sometimes (37%). Among the groups most inclined to worry a lot are those with lower incomes and those with credit card debt. Women worry more than men; younger adults worry more than older adults, and people who think of themselves as saver worry more than people who don’t.
Figure