Financially Speaking: How Do You Measure Up to the Average American?

July 18, 2011

This stunning infographic paints a startling picture of the net worth of your AVERAGE American Family, and once you’ve seen it, you’ll either shrug or get totally scared!


average american family The American Familys Financial Turmoil


25% don’t have any savings whatsoever?  WHAT?!  Many can afford to pay off debt, but don’t? WHY NOT?!

The statistics concern me-  even those of us who are financially responsible- who pay off debt and save for retirement have something to worry about:  what about those we love?

This is why I started FrugalBeautiful- because the statistics are scary…because there shouldn’t be this much debt…because we need to talk about this as a national problem and raise awareness since it impacts all of us.


So how do you stack up?  While it’s easy to feel smug if you have more than $3800 saved in the bank or you actually have some form of retirement account, is it enough?   Share your thoughts below.


14 comments so far.

14 responses to “Financially Speaking: How Do You Measure Up to the Average American?”

  1. I am a bit surprised about the amount of people without a bank account. Show that there are so many people in need of financial help.

    • ShannynofFB says:

      I work at a marketing company where people are paid for their opinions and participating in research or focus groups. What amazes me is how many people have to ask where a "check cashing place" is since they don't have a bank account. It' not appropriate to ask them, but I always wonder why they don't have one… I mean, even just a basic account to have the ability to cash checks or make simple deposits aren't hard to find and can be fee-free. I have no idea what to think about that!

      • This stumps me too, but I was aware it was a problem because I hear references to the underbanked or unbanked. It's probably why Wal-Mart started offering banking services a while back.

        • ShannynofFB says:

          I mean, I've heard of "food deserts" where low income neighborhoods don't have access to healthy foods like fresh fruit and veggies (and thus eat more processed foods, etc), but I never really knew that there was such a big hole in bank enrollment. Yikes.

  2. Andrea says:

    Scary statistics. I worked for a nonprofit that served low-income individuals and part of my job was reviewing their financial history. Many of them live in areas where traditional banks or credit unions aren't convenient, but those check cashing or pay day loans are on every corner. Unfortunately, a lot of people simply lack the financial literacy to know any better.

    • I agree, so many people lack basic financial literacy. It is very sad and unfortunate.

      • ShannynofFB says:

        Thanks Kristia for the comment! I know you write about financial literacy too and know the value of awareness and financial education! It is totally unfortunate that we have this problem with financial ignorance essentially, but that's the great thing about blogs- it's a mouthpiece for people like us to sound the alarms and get people motivated in new ways! Most times, people won't pick up a book or magazine about money because it's full of jargon or seems too complicated, but a blog makes it accessible. I am gaga about blogs for this reason- it brings people together and helps us spread our message!

        Thanks for stopping by!

    • ShannynofFB says:

      Andrea! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I think it was on Freakonomics or some other film I was watching where they made the point that in many low income areas there aren't real "stores," but check cashing places that take a cut of your money and "rental" places that charge such high interest rates that it doubles the cost of your tv or couch by the time you finish paying it off.

      I know that I had friends when I was in my late teens that would go to check cashing places and payday advances and that was a recipe for trouble. Living near a military base, I saw my share of those establishments that would cater to young Marines that were new to the corps and living on their own- many got scammed. 🙁

  3. Aleta says:

    I'm grateful that my husband doesn't have a credit card. I have one and I aim to pay it off monthly, but honestly, I know I spend more than I should each month on things that I really didn't need to buy and that's where my money goes, rather than in a savings account. That said… I DO have savings and more than the 3800 and I do have 401k, but our company is about to shut that down, so I'll roll it into an IRA. It's not a lot but it's something. The house is worth about 120k and I owe about 62k (I booked it on 15 yrs at 4.32 % when the getting was good and only have 7 more years left on it). I'd feel a lot better if my husbands home was paid for (he has it on a 30 yr contract with 20 left). We have a goal to have both homes paid in the 7years, but…. it is being hampered by not having a renter in his house right now. So, once we get that taken care of, we can start making progress.

    I've worked in the finance industry since I was 16. I see credit of all kinds. I rarely write about work, because it's WORK. But I will admit… I learned a lot, personally, in the lines of credit by working in the industry. Best thing I can recommend to someone who wants to cut the bills back is to focus on the smallest bills first and get them paid off. Then use that money to pay off the next smallest bill, etc. It gives a sense of accomplishment and goals being met.

  4. ShannynofFB says:

    Aleta- first let me say that your blog layout is so pretty! It's amazing you have a book- that's great and a little dream of mine to see my name in print too! You inspire me!

    I agree that tackling bills like goals or milestones will be a great motivational tool. I always recommend that people tackle whatever bill has the highest interest rate, the worst repercussions or just stresses them out the most. Being able to unload debt that is making them depressed or stressed first is key to being happy about facing your debt and getting at it with renewed gusto!

    Thanks again for posting!

  5. All me to be the first male commentator in the thread. It's scary no doubt. But remember still Americans are richer than most part of the world. if you consume more than $10,000 worth of things in a year, you are consuming more than your share of world resources, a food for thought…

    • ShannynofFB says:

      Well I hope it wasn't too scary being the first guy to comment on my post and welcome to FruBu! Of course, American are very lucky and "well off," but what scares me is the lack of knowledge around the riches. I would agree we are consuming more than the rest of the world, but what are we doing with it beyond consumption? So many are consumers but not savers, and if they didn't have a credit card to rely on or if the bill came due they'd be in serious trouble.

      In my book, riches are not wealth. Riches come and go- wealth is about intelligence, sustainability and responsibility. Thank you for posting and I loved reading your story on the about page of your blog!

  6. Sharon says:

    Banks and CUs won't accept everyone. I didn't know there was a 4th credit reporting agency that Banks and CUs use to exclude folks who have had trouble with banks in the past until a friend explained why she didn't have a bank account.

    Also, it's hard to get your last dollar out of the bank if you need money for bread.

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