WASHINGTON, D.C. (10/24/11)--Nearly one in four U.S. adults (22%) rate their personal financial situation as "poor," a slight increase from the 16% to 19% range during and after the recent recession, and the highest percentage since Gallup began asking thequestion in its annual poll in 2001.
Twice as many Americans say their financial situation is either excellent (7%) or good (37%), but that is on the low end of what Gallup has measured in the past. The question is asked each April as part of Gallup's Economy and Personal Finance survey, and has been asked periodically at other times since August 2001. The current results are based on an Oct. 6-9 Gallup poll.
Credit unions will be interested to know Americans also are less optimistic about their future personal financial situations. Nearly half (48%) say their personal financial situation is "getting worse," up from 41% in April and nearly tying the record-high 49% who said so in April 2008. A new low-- 29%--say their personal financial situation is getting better.
About 78% of those earning $75,000 or more per year rate their situation as excellent or good, compared with 14% of those making less than $30,000 per year. This is a wider gap than was seen in April, when those percentages were 67% and 20%, respectively. At the same time, all income groups have become less likely to say their financial situation is getting better, and now 60% of the lowest income group says their personal financial situation is getting worse.
When asked about the most important financial problem facing their family, lack of money/low wages (14%), too much debt (13%), high cost of living/inflation (13%), healthcare costs (12%), and unemployment/loss of job (10%) are most often cited. Lack of money/low wages was the clear leader in July, and it has been either first or tied for first in every measurement since February 2009.
Credit unions noting these trends can step up their efforts to assist members through rough times and ensuring members are educated about their financial options.