Financial Security Hits All-Time High, While Many Still Struggle With Debt

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There is some mixed news today on the state of the average American’s financial situation. Some might say this is a glass half-full versus half-empty argument. Most Americans have solid emergency savings at this point, but more than one-third of America seems to be teetering on the financial edge.

Bankrate.com has released its latest Financial Security Index. While about three in eight are on the edge, there are currently more Americans than ever who have more emergency savings than credit card debt.

For the bad news, some 24% of Americans have more credit card debt than emergency savings. Another 13% do not have credit card debt or emergency savings. This alone would make up roughly three out of every eight Americans.

The age bracket that suffered the most from credit card debt, 32%, was people between the ages of 30 and 49. For those with the lowest incomes, below $30,000 annually, only 20% had neither credit card debt nor savings — which compares to 5% of those with the highest incomes.

The good news from the Financial Security Index is that 58% of Americans have more emergency savings than credit card debt. This 58% reading has gone up from 51% in 2014 and 55% in 2013. This positive was also reflected in Bankrate’s Financial Security Index, which hit a new high for the second month in a row, 104.8. All five categories (savings, debt, net worth, job security and overall financial situation) on this index improved over the past month.

More good news according to Bankrate — only 16% of Americans say that their current overall financial situation is worse than last year. This represents a new low.

Both sets of numbers together give us very mixed news on U.S. consumers. On one hand, more Americans are financially stable and they have more savings than debt. At the same time there is a large presence of Americans who are still very much in debt, or who have no savings and no debt.

24/7 Wall St. wanted to look elsewhere for some factoids on consumer credit metrics for 2015 or the end of 2015. Nerdwallet.com had some interesting statistics regarding U.S. consumer debt which fill out the rest of this picture. The statistics are current as of December 2014.

U.S. household consumer debt profile:

  • Average credit card debt: $15,611
  • Average mortgage debt: $155,192
  • Average student loan debt: $32,2640

In total, American consumers owe:

  • $11.74 trillion in debt, up 3.3% from the prior year
  • $882.6 billion in credit card debt
  • $8.14 trillion in mortgages
  • $1.13 trillion in student loans, up 8% from the prior year