Scary Numbers

  • Between the years 1976 and 2002 the prevalence of overweight among children doubled from 7% to 16%.
  • 38% of high school students watch an average of three hours of TV each day.
  • The average American watches about 4 hours of TV each day.
  • There is only a 1 in 12 chance that an American parent requires a child to do homework before watching TV.
  • Only 2% of children eat a diet that is consistent with federal nutrition recommendations.

Those are some scary statistics.  Some may or may not apply to you, but none the less, the University of California Extension, Glenn County specifically reports these as “startling Statistics”.  They certainly aren’t good and you don’t have to look far to find someone speaking out and rallying people to fight the statistics.

This week, FINRA released their own statistics.  Based on a survey of about 30,000 Americans, they looked at the financial capability of the average American.  Here are some more scary statistics for you:

  •  Only 40% of Americans spend less than their income.  That means 60% of us are breaking even or losing money on a daily basis with no money going into savings.
  • 16% of all Americans have been late with a mortgage payment.  Looking at the 18-34 age group, that number jumps to 34% – over 1/3 have been late on their mortgage.
  • 21% of Americans have past-due medical bills.  Related, 28% of Americans have skipped medical treatment or medication because of financial hardship.  1 in 4 is avoiding health care because of their overall financial situation.
  • 46% of Americans have 3 months worth of expenses in emergency savings.  That’s the minimum amount most credit counselors recommend.
  • Only 56% of Americans have a household budget.  That means just over half of Americans have any plan as to where they spend their money each month.
  • 26% reported that they have made late payments on credit cards.  1 in 4 Americans is paying extra because they don’t pay on time.


sad manWorking for a credit counseling agency, these statistics scare me.  Not even so much the statistics themselves, but what consequences come along with them.  Stress, frustration, marital issues, lost housing or vehicle, fear of what will happen next.  Because of the impact finances have on the rest of our lives, these are scary numbers.

If you find yourself falling into one of these categories, the situation is not hopeless.  The Center for Financial Resources’ counselors help people deal with these very same issues on a daily basis.  Your situation isn’t unique.  You aren’t alone.  But if you find yourself in one of these categories, you are probably aware of the impending consequences.

Don’t worry about embarrassment, intimidation, or guilt.  Just call CFR at 605-330-2700 to schedule an appointment.  I used to have that stigma about financial help myself.  But when I realized how common financial issues are, I also realized those who got help often ended up the financially healthier people.


written by Breck Miller
image courtesy

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