Last month, the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) released results from its annual survey on consumer expectations, finding that almost eight out of 10 (79 percent) of U.S. adults will set a financial goal for 2019. The findings show steady growth in Americans who are looking to bolster their financial health.
According to the survey, about two thirds of U.S. adults (68 percent) admit to experiencing an unexpected financial setback in 2018, an increase from last year’s survey (63 percent). Transportation issues (23 percent), housing repairs/maintenance (21 percent), medical care for an injury or illness, and inability to keep up with debt/falling behind on bill payments (both 17 percent) topped the list.
In a trend that has continued year over year, Americans also indicate both an understanding of the importance of savings, and significant stress over their own ability to save money. In fact, over half (51 percent) indicated that saving money was their biggest cause of financial stress, beating debt (46 percent) as the top financial stressor this year.
For traditional installment lenders, these findings underscore the need for access to safe and affordable installment credit for those who have difficulty saving and building the financial resilience needed to cope with unexpected setbacks. We are reminded of Federal Reserve findings that 4 in 10 adults, if faced with an unexpected expense of $400, would not be able to cover it out of savings.
The NEFE survey was conducted online in December 2018 by The Harris Poll among more than 2,000 U.S. adults.