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CFPB Survey on Financial Well-Being Shows 43 Percent of Adults Struggle to Make Ends Meet
Wednesday, September 27, 2017 6:45 AM

Bureau Releases Interactive Online Tool to Help Consumers Measure Their Financial Well-Being

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Tuesday released the results of a first-of-its-kind national survey on the financial well-being of U.S. consumers that showed that more than 40 percent of U.S. adults struggle to make ends meet. The survey provides measurements and insights on the financial well-being of specific groups of consumers as well as the population as a whole. In addition to the survey, the Bureau also released an interactive online tool allowing consumers to measure their level of financial well-being.

National Financial Well-Being Survey
The National Financial Well-Being Survey was conducted by the CFPB in 2016. Using its 10-question scale, the survey provides the first-ever national data directly measuring the financial well-being of U.S. consumers. Upon answering the 10 questions provided, consumers were given a score from 0-100. In the survey, the average consumer score was 54. The consumer sample used to conduct the survey was designed to be representative of U.S. households.

In addition to responding to the questions included in the financial well-being scale, people participating in the survey answered questions about a host of other measures, including individual, household, and family characteristics; income and employment; savings and safety nets; financial experiences; and money behaviors, skills, and attitudes. Major findings from the report include:

  • More than 40 percent of adults report struggling to make ends meet. Of the nationally representative sample of consumers surveyed, 43 percent of consumers report struggling to pay bills. Additionally, over one third (34 percent) of all consumers surveyed reported experiencing material hardships in the past year. For the survey, examples of material hardships include running out of food, not being able to afford a place to live, or lacking the money to seek medical treatment.  
  • Certain financial and demographic characteristics are associated with financial well-being. Educational attainment, income, and employment status all appear to have a strong relationship with financial well-being. Additionally, the survey showed that financial well-being is higher for older adults, especially those aged 65 and older, whose average score was 61. On the other end of the spectrum, younger adults, those 34 and younger, tended to have the lowest financial well-being score with an average of 51. 

View the Financial Well-Being in America Report.

Financial Well-Being Tool
The CFPB is also releasing an interactive online tool to enable people to evaluate their own financial well-being and explore ways to take control of their finances. The tool allows consumers to use the financial well-being scale themselves and see their resulting financial well-being score online. Consumers can track their financial well-being score over time or see how they compare to other consumers nationally, including by income, age, and employment status. Additionally, consumers can access CFPB resources to help take control of their finances and make progress towards financial goals, and find free or low-cost help from financial professionals. 

View the Financial Well-Being Tool.