What Happened to Your Paycheck? Personal Finance Statistics for 2024

Written By
I. Mitic
November 02,2023

One of the first indicators of adulthood is the harsh reality that from now on, nobody else is going to pay the bills.

This is your sink-or-swim introduction to personal finance, a new world of worrying and strategic calculations. Making it through the month is an art that requires skill, knowledge, and discipline.

We’ve gathered here some of the most revealing personal finance statistics on the web. Strap yourself in and hold tight to your wallet, ’cause you’re in for a ride.

Key Personal Finance Stats for 2024 - Editor's Choice

  • In 2023, Americans save 3.9% of their income. 
  • Only 35% of U.S. households have a long-term financial plan in 2023.
  • In 2022, the average before-tax household income was $74,580.
  • In 2023, the average net worth of Americans who feel wealthy was $560k.
  • Only 24% of millennials show signs of basic financial literacy.
  • 37% of Americans would have a hard time covering an unexpected cash expense of just $400 in 2023.

Only 35% of Americans have a documented, long-term financial plan in 2023.


The latest survey by Schwab revealed that 26% of US citizens don't have a financial plan of any kind, while 40% have thought about making one but still need to actually document it.

Households in America with a savings account have a median balance of $8,000.

(Federal Reserve)

Average savings seem high because a small number of very wealthy Americans save a great deal, but the reality is quite different. The median is more representative of the amount most people save, and has risen by 30% in 2022 when compared to the last report by the Federal Reserve in 2019.

This number is based only on the amounts reported by people who have savings accounts. The number would be much lower if people without savings accounts were assigned a value of $0.

43% of Americans whose childhood homes are in the bottom economic quintile remain there as adults.

(Pew Charitable Trusts)

The data shows us that people who are born poor are more likely to remain poor throughout their lives. Only 4% of children born at the bottom rise to the top.

By the same token, 40% of people who are born in the top quintile remain there for the rest of their lives.

This rule is referred to as “stickiness at the ends,” as the people born on both ends are more likely to stay there.

People born in the middle part of the spectrum have a 50/50 chance of ending up in a higher or lower quintile.

51% of Americans feel wealthier than their parents were at their age.


The latest survey from 2023 found that Gen Zers are the most likely to say they are doing better than their parents at the same age, with 57% of respondents claiming so, while Gen Xers were the least likely to think so, with only 43% feeling more wealthy than their parents were at their age. 

In households with income of $100,000 or more, 79% of Americans now feel wealthier than their parents were.

Americans with low levels of financial literacy are late on their mortgage payments 25% of the time.

(Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta)

On the other hand, people who had a high score when it comes to financial literacy in the U.S. are late only 10% of the time. In addition, 20% of low-scoring individuals have experienced foreclosure compared to only 5% of high-achievers. There is obviously a connection between having knowledge about finances and the ability for debt settlement.

In 2022, the average American household’s before-tax income was $74,580.

(U.S. Census Bureau)

The figure from this official report published in October 2023 represents a 2.3% decrease from 2021, when it reached $76,330. Family household income dropped by 2.9% in the last year, while the real median income of married families declined by 3.9%.

The average net worth of Americans who feel wealthy in 2023 was $560k.


The responses from the survey by Schwab show a paradox between what people think would be enough money to feel wealthy and the actual net worth of those that feel wealthy already. In fact, Americans say that they would need $2.2 million in net worth to feel wealthy in 2023, but those that do feel wealthy this year have four times less money than that.

22% of Americans don’t have any emergency savings in 2023.


The same survey found that 57% of U.S. adults feel uncomfortable with the amount of emergency savings they have, and that only 30% have enough in savings to cover 6 months of expenses.

42.3% of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.


At the other end of the scale are 16.5% of survey respondents who said that they managed to save more than $300,000 in hopes of a financially stable retirement.

The average American retirement age is 63 and the average life expectancy of retirees is 79. Experts say a comfortable retirement therefore requires living expenses for at least 16 years. Cost of living depends upon many factors, including location. Using average retiree cost-of-living figures, $1 million in retirement savings will last 16 years or more in 48 U.S. states - assuming a 0% rise in the cost of living.

In 2023, Americans save 3.9% of their income.

(Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

That’s not nearly enough. Experts suggest saving at least 10% to 15% in order to fund retirement - plus more to cover unexpected expenses during working years. During the period from 1950 to 2000, Americans saved an average of 9.8% per year, while the absolute peak of savings was at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, when Americans saved 32% of their income in April 2020.

During 2022, the total amount saved by Americans amounted to $7.2 trillion.

(The Federal Reserve)

Back in 2008, personal savings accounts amounted to $4.1 trillion. That figure grew 29% over the next five years. After another ten years, the number had reached $7.2 trillion - an increase of more than 75.61%.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that people are investing more for retirement. It’s more likely that the top earners are earning more and more every year, and their huge savings accounts are pushing the average upward.

Women are less likely than men to have a substantial retirement fund.


Personal finance data indicates that women generally don’t save as much as men. Although about the same number save nothing, differences emerge when we compare the amounts saved. The survey from 2023 showed that 40% of women have saved less than $10,000 for retirement, compared to 31% of men.

Women’s median savings in 2023 are $3,146, compared to $7,007 for men.

(New York Life Insurance Company)

The survey also showed that women are more stressed and anxious about their finances in 2023, with only 28% of them feeling hopeful about the year, compared to 37% of men. 

57% of Americans are uncomfortable with their level of savings in 2023.


The high level of anxiety when it comes to personal savings in the U.S. is reflected in the fact that 33% of respondents in the Bankrate's survey stated that they are "very uncomfortable" with their current level of savings, while only 15% stated that they are "very comfortable".

68% of Americans save less due to inflation in 2023.


The rising prices and the cost of living has clearly impacted savings in the U.S., with 19% more people saving less now when compared to the previous survey in 2022. Additionally, 48% of respondents said they are saving less due to rising interest rates.

54% of Americans with only a high-school education aren’t able to come up with $1,000 for sudden expenses.

(Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research)

These somewhat bleak results came from an AP-NORC poll of 1,062 American adults.

On the plus side, 58% of college graduates feel confident about coming up with $1,000 in case of an emergency. That is quite a bold statement, considering that two-thirds of Americans who make more than $50,000 say they wouldn’t be able to afford that emergency expense.

37% of Americans would have a hard time covering an unexpected cash expense of just $400 in 2023.

(The Federal Reserve)

Some of the most popular methods for coming up with cash include credit card loans and borrowing from friends or family. About 13% of respondents said they wouldn’t be able to cover a $400 expense in any way.

In 2023, 21% of Americans skip dental care due to costs.

(The Federal Reserve)

The latest numbers reveal that 16% of Americans have skipped seeing a specialist or a doctor due to personal financial problems, while 10% didn't fill perscription medication and mental health care. 

On average, Americans spent 11.3% of their income on food last year.

(U.S. Department of Agriculture)

The share of income spent on food in 2022 was 5.62% for food at home, and 5.64% for food away from home.

54.24% of millennials aged 25-34 have less than $10,000 in savings in 2023.


The numbers for older millennials, aged 35-44 are even worse, with 58.26% having less than $10k in savings, while only 7.80% had $50-$100k in savings, compared to 11.44% of younger millennials.

Only 24% of millennials show signs of at least basic financial literacy.

(National Endowment for Financial Education)

The biggest money problem facing the millennial generation may be its lack of financial literacy. Researchers say there is a clear gap between what they know and what they think they know about finances. A generous 69% believe they are sufficiently financially literate even though experts conclude that only 24% barely deliver on that promise.

Out of that number, only 8% have the high level of financial literacy that is necessary to come out on top in today’s world. Millennials have to deal with a lot of financial obligations, and it doesn’t stop with student loan debt. More than half of millennials (53%) feel they have too much debt.


About author

For years, the clients I worked for were banks. That gave me an insider’s view of how banks and other institutions create financial products and services. Then I entered the world of journalism. Fortunly is the result of our fantastic team’s hard work. I use the knowledge I acquired as a bank copywriter to create valuable content that will help you make the best possible financial decisions.

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