CHICAGO (Sept. 5, 2012) – The continuing economic slump is having a toll on Americans’ psyche with many feeling flat broke, according to a new survey by online lender CashNetUSA.com. One in four considers themselves poor, the survey found.
Sixty-nine percent believe they are not poor and six percent are still trying to decide or not willing to admit it. The findings demonstrate the continued pressure for Americans to live paycheck to paycheck and how they are managing what little financial resources they have.
Individuals living in the north central region of the United States feel more impacted by the recession, with 32 percent of residents there saying they are poor, followed by the south (25 percent), west (23 percent) and 20 percent of those in the northeast part of the country.
Recession depression is most evident among younger Americans, CashNetUSA said. Almost one-third (32 percent) of survey participants under age 30 consider themselves poor, compared to 14 percent of those ages 50 to 59.
Despite being down in the dumps over their financial slump, most Americans seem to have good knowledge of their available funds and monthly expenses. Almost half (47 percent) know the exact amount in their checking or savings account right now, 48 percent have a rough idea and only 5 percent have no idea. The percentages were almost identical among men and women.
When asked if they know the total amount of money they spend on bills each month, 36 percent of Americans say they know the “exact amount” and 58 percent have a “rough idea.” And only 6 percent of individuals have “no idea.” Men and women were almost identical in their answers.
A higher percentage of Americans (48 percent) say they loosely follow a monthly budget, while 25 percent of the individuals surveyed strictly adhere to it. One quarter (27 percent) have no budget at all. The presence of children in the home, the geographic area of the country they live in and even age have little impact on individuals following a budget. Only income level, where 36 percent of those individuals making under $30,000 annually strictly follow a budget versus just 18 percent of those making $75,000 plus annually.
The CashNetUSA.com survey was conducted online in February 2012 by TNS among a national random sample of 1,000 Americans. The margin of error for the national sample is approximately 3 percent.