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Statistics and Tidbits

This is a collection of finance-related statistics and tidbits of information that have accumulated in my brain over my years of involvement in finances.  I cannot guarantee their accuracy nor begin to tell you where they came from or how up-to-date they are; but regardless, they do seem to give a fairly accurate financial picture of what is going on in America today and I use them in counseling on a regular basis.  I will try to update and add to the information as the opportunity and need arises.

General Statistics:

The average annual income in the United States at the time of this writing is about $50,000.

70% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck regardless of their income level.

70% of Americans have inadequate savings and use a credit card for financial emergencies. (I don't think it's a coincidence that the previous statistic is also 70%.)

The average American is only three paychecks away from losing their home.

6% of Americans spend money as a means of dealing with stress or depression.

Only 8% of Americans have a specific financial plan to budget, save and get ahead.

Only 3% of Americans have a specific financial plan and have actually put it in writing.

In the 1980's Americans were saving an average of 8% of their income.  By the year 2000, the average savings rate dropped to around 2%.  By 2008, the average savings rate in America was negative which means, on average, Americans were annually spending more than they earned.

The average car payment in the United States is over $400 per month for 6 years and many people roll their old car loans into new ones extending the cost of the loan.

The odds of winning most huge-jackpot, state lotteries is worse than 150 million to one.

You are twelve times more likely to die in a car accident driving to buy lottery tickets than you are to actually win a huge jackpot.

75% of Americans die without a Will or other significant estate planning in place.

Only about 10% of people who learn good financial principles and techniques for becoming debt free will actually follow through on what they've learned.
(This includes the things taught here on Eclecticsite.com's Financial Page.)

80% of new businesses fail within five years.

Children who learn and practice good financial principles from a young age have a high probability of growing up to be wealthy.

Over the long term, good stock market mutual funds have returned an average of 10 - 12% per year on the investment.

Historically, 97% of five year periods in the U.S. stock market have generated a positive return.

Historically, nearly 100% of ten year periods in the U.S. stock market have generated a positive return.

Personal financial issues are the number one cause of severe stress in the workplace.

Having money problems is the number one cause of suicide in men.

Only about 12% of the available wealth is being held in banks.  Most of the rest is in Mutual Funds and brokerage accounts.

Only 45% of people who purchase an extended warranty ever even use it; and only 5% of people gain more than what they spent on the warranty.

According to a Forbes Magazine study: Of people who get involved in a Multi Level Marketing, money-making scheme; only 1% ever make enough money to even pay back what they've put into it.  That means that there is a 99% chance of losing money in Multi Level Marketing. 

Studies suggest that only about 4% of dissatisfied customers will take the time to let the business know that they were dissatisfied.

A happy customer tends to tell three or four other people about their good experience; a dissatisfied customers tells nine or ten people about their bad experience.

If you use a credit card instead of cash for store purchases, you tend to spend 12% to 18% more.

If you use a credit card instead of cash at a fast food restaurant, you tend to spend about 47% more.

If you use a credit card in a vending machine instead of cash, you tend to spend 178% more (yes, sadly there are now vending machines which accept credit cards.)

Debt Statistics:

85% of college students are in debt before they even graduate and have a career.

The average American household pays out around $2,000 in debt payments each month..

Only 3% of Americans today are completely debt free including their mortgage.

Only 30% of homeowners have a paid-for house.

At the time of this writing, the average household in the United States has around $15,000 in consumer debt not including mortgage debt.

Around 40% of families in the United States today admit that they are going deeper into debt each year by spending more than they earn.

For families who regularly use credit cards, the average combined balance carried on their cards is $15,000.

The average American family pays at least $100 per month in credit card interest and this doesn't even include paying down the principle.

Once they put their mind to it and make it a life's goal, it takes an average of 3 1/2 years or less for the average American to become completely debt free excluding the mortgage.

If you cosign for someone else's bank loan, there is a 50% chance that you will end up making payments on the debt.

If you cosign for someone else's finance company loan (car, furniture, appliances, electronics, etc.) there is a 75% chance you will be making payments on the debt.

25% of people who use their credit cards for Christmas spending, take almost a year to pay off the amount they spent for Christmas.

According to the New York Post, for low to middle income families, about 25% of their paycheck goes toward credit card debt.

Tidbits of information:

The divorce rate in the United States today is about 52% and money is the number one cause.

The divorce rate for people who win one of those huge lottery jackpots goes to around 87%!

More than half of all people who win a huge lottery jackpot are bankrupt within ten years.

Nearly 80% of financially stressed workers spend time worrying about, or dealing with, personal financial problems at work wasting an average of 20 hours per month of their employer's time.

40% of U.S. workers state that personal financial issues have significantly reduced their productivity at work.(and that's just the ones who were willing to admit it.)

70% of U.S. workers state that they do not like their jobs.

Personal financial stress is one of the major initial causes of drug and alcohol abuse.

Only 8% of the world's population owns their own car.

The average wedding in the U.S. ends up costing around $26,000.

America is about 6% of the world's population, but consumes about 40% of the world's resources.

The Holy Bible says more about wealth than it does heaven, hell, faith or prayer.

The Holy Bible contains at least 2,350 verses dealing with wealth.

About half of the world's population lives on less than $2.00 per day.

USA Today October 4, 2005  "Money Worries Hinder Job Performance"
"When someone experiences financial stress on an ongoing basis, it can often manifest in physical symptoms such as high blood pressure, depression and other illnesses.  So now, not only are these individuals distracted at work, they're also ill which usually means they're absent more often from work and they use their health insurance more frequently.  This can drive up health care costs which impact the worker's and the company's financial situation."

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