Tags: Americans | debt | pay | bills

Wall St. Cheat Sheet: Americans' Biggest Money Problems

By    |   Monday, 22 September 2014 02:33 PM

The United States may be pulling through a so-called financial recovery, but many Americans are currently facing common money problems, according to Wall St. Cheat Sheet.

A lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck and many are concerned about their ability to keep up with the bills.

More than one-third (35 percent) of the 2,000 respondents in a recent Money-Rates survey said that paying regular financial obligations — bills, a mortgage or rent payment, credit card payments, etc. — was their biggest financial worry.

Editor's Note:
Seniors Scoop Up Unclaimed $20,500 Checks? (See if You qualify)

That's likely due, at least in part, to the fact that Americans have a tendency to accumulate too much debt.

Federal Reserve data show household debt grew 3.6 percent in the second quarter, driven by an 8.1 percent gain in consumer credit like car and student loans.

That's the largest rise since the fourth quarter of 2001, according to MarketWatch.

Last year's Money-Rates survey found that taking on too much debt was respondents' top financial regret. This year 41 percent of participants said if they were to happen upon $10,000 they would use the money to reduce their outstanding debt load.

One reason Americans find themselves worrying so much about their debts and ability to repay them is a common habit of living for the moment, says Wall Street Cheat Sheet.

People tend to act on their impulses and allow their desires to influence their financial decisions. As a result, Americans spend a lot and put aside little or nothing for the days ahead.

The Fed notes that one in five people near retirement age have zero dollars set aside for retirement savings. And it seems many recognize that's a serious problem, as 40 percent of the Money-Rates respondents cited a lack of savings as their biggest financial regret in this year's survey.

And it's not just long-term savings that Americans are lacking. An American Express survey found about half of U.S. households experienced unforeseen expenses in the past year — many of which they easily could have planned for, MarketWatch noted.

For example, car owners know they need money for gas and oil changes, yet 46 percent of the American Express respondents claim they were caught off guard by auto repair expenses.

Respondents also claimed they unexpectedly got hit with common expenses such as home repairs, healthcare and education costs.

Financial experts have long advised Americans to have emergency funds and stash away enough money to cover between three and nine months of living expenses. But getting people to follow this type of financial advice is another common problem.

Research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that 36 percent of American workers have less than $1,000 in total savings and investments excluding their home and pension. And six in 10 people have less than $25,000, MarketWatch reported.

Editor's Note: Seniors Scoop Up Unclaimed $20,500 Checks? (See if You qualify)

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The United States may be pulling through a so-called financial recovery, but many Americans are currently facing common money problems, according to Wall St. Cheat Sheet.
Americans, debt, pay, bills
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2014-33-22
Monday, 22 September 2014 02:33 PM
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