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3 The State of American Finances

Overview

Before the global financial crisis of 2008, economists were shocked by the lack of savings set aside by American families. The typical consumer was spending more money than they actually earned. Not only were they not setting aside anything for a rainy day, but they were going into debt month after month. It was clearly a departure from how earlier generations managed money.

The proliferation of credit card use, rising education costs, and the housing bubble, have caused the average American’s debt to rise by an astounding amount compared to older generations.

Most people who endured that difficult time learned some hard financial lessons, forcing Americans to search for alternative career paths and sparking an increase in the number of start-ups and small businesses.

Consumer behavior indicates that saving and spending money remains a chief concern among most American families. In April of 2015, CompareCards and evolve24 partnered to analyze more than 3.6 million conversations about personal finance in the United States from various online mediums.

The data revealed that of the 3.6 million conversations analyzed, more than 1.9 million (53%) centered around concerns with saving money.

So what does that mean for today’s average American family? What is the financial outlook for a teenager or a college student? What challenges are American small businesses currently facing?

The State of American Finances is a compilation of demographics and financial data about the average American family, young Americans, and American small businesses. This data highlights the challenges that each group is facing, in addition to the financial areas where things are improving.

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