Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX), a global data, analytics and technology company, today released the results of its annual Financial Literacy Survey, in which nearly half of surveyed adults indicated they do not have enough savings to cover at least three months of living expenses. This percentage has increased 35 percent from 2018 among respondents ages 45 to 59 – with six in 10 consumers in this age group responding they lack an emergency fund.
In addition to lacking an emergency fund and enough savings to cover at least three months of living expenses, more than half of surveyed consumers (56 percent) said they don’t have any money left over at the end of the month. And while slightly more than 62 percent of surveyed consumers have created a budget over the past year, 35 percent of surveyed consumers admitted they are not saving for retirement – up from 29 percent last year.
“During Financial Literacy month, we are looking to gauge how much consumers understand their finances and the important role that credit plays in their financial situations,” said Dann Adams, president of Global Consumer Solutions at Equifax. “The number of consumers who do not have the ability to save at the end of the month may mean a growing number of consumers who need access to credit. That’s where companies like Equifax come in – not just with the services we offer, but also through the information we provide and helping consumers better understand their financial lifecycle.”
And the survey indicated consumers are willing to turn to credit bureaus for information. More than half of surveyed consumers viewed credit bureaus as a good source of financial information due to the content on their websites.
The survey also revealed that consumers are taking on other positive behaviors:
- Approximately 31 percent of respondents planned to put this year’s tax refunds into savings.
- Half of respondents had checked their credit scores in the last month and continue to practice responsible credit behavior such as paying bills on time, routinely paying off debt, and keeping credit card balances low.
- Twenty-five percent of surveyed consumers only use credit cards for minor purchases, with only 9 percent of consumers using credit cards for all purchases.
- Finally, more than 67 percent of surveyed respondents said they would participate in a financial education program if it were free and accessible.
The fourth annual Equifax Financial Literacy Survey is a blind survey of more than 1,000 American consumers. The survey was conducted in March 2019 and the margin of error for this survey is plus or minus five percent.