February 9, 2016

What Does Financial Wellness Mean in the U.S.?

By Prosper

What does the term “financial wellness” mean to you? For some it means consistently making progress in your checking/savings accounts; for others it involves saving for big, and often unplanned, expenses or emergencies; and for many, it’s about paying off debt.

At Prosper Marketplace, we believe that financial wellness starts with the feeling that you’re in control of your finances. In an effort to better understand the current state of financial wellness and Americans’ sentiments toward their financial standing, we surveyed 1,000 adults about their money habits and resolutions.

Today, we’re excited to release the findings in the form of our Prosper Marketplace Financial Wellness Study.

Overall, the study showed that amidst ongoing economic volatility, Americans are struggling to make ends meet, and few (only 29 percent) feel strongly that they are in control of their finances. Many do not have the financial freedom to enjoy life but improving financial wellness is a top priority for 2016 and beyond.

Here are some of the most interesting findings:

  • Nearly 50 percent of people surveyed are living paycheck to paycheck and few (less than 50 percent) have the means to absorb unexpected expenses;
  • Many are struggling with their debt; over 60 percent of Americans have credit card debt and two-thirds are going deeper into debt by not paying them off in full each month;
  • Debt relief is ranked a top priority for improving standing; closely followed by consistent progress in paying off debt (44 and 34 percent, respectively);
  • When asked about current and upcoming steps towards financial wellness, over 60 percent of those surveyed said they currently have, or plan to have, a financial plan in place.

Additionally, the survey asked people about the impact of technology on one’s financial wellness. Here’s some of the findings:

  • The majority of Americans (65 percent) are currently using technology to improve their financial well-being, and those people say it’s making them feel more in control of their finances (84 percent);
  • The majority of respondents use between one and three applications to manage their finances, and most use those apps at least a few times a week;
  • A growing number of survey participants are also using personal financial management tools such as BillGuard (29 percent) and marketplace lending services like Prosper (16 percent).

What do you think? Do you feel like you have control of your finances? Do you have plans in place to get on top of your finances? What tops your list of financial goals this year? Tell us in the comments! You can also share your thoughts with us via Twitter or Facebook.

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