Personal Finance

Americans Commit 91 Financial Fails a Year

Americans Commit 91 Financial Fails a Year

From not saving enough money (38%) to getting takeout instead of cooking (32%) or spending more than they should (29%), the average American commits 91 "financial fails" per year.
Americans Make 91 Financial Mistakes Per Year
Americans Make 91 Financial Mistakes Per Year Source: Getty Images

A new survey found that the average person has about eight occasions a month where they don't make the best financial decisions — with overspending being one of the most common.

The survey of 2,000 Americans found that regular areas of overspending include money spent eating out (54%), online shopping (36%), as well as buying clothes and shoes (28%).

Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by ValuePenguin, a LendingTree company, the survey revealed that the average respondent overspends eight times per month — adding up to an impressive $315.16 of unnecessary spending.

A fifth of respondents (20%) spend more than they earn, but these "financial fails" are more than just spending too much money each month.

Results revealed that just 42% check their credit score at least once a month, and just 3 in 10 (31%) put money into retirement on a consistent, monthly basis.

Seventy-six percent feel well-informed in their financial decisions, but the majority don't know what financial terms like capital gains, Roth IRA or mutual fund mean.

Three in 10 aren't investing because they don't understand how to — and another 3 in 10 (31%) are choosing not to invest for other reasons.

Additionally, many respondents don't talk about their financial decisions. Less than a third report having a financial planner, and only 26% say they often talk about their finances with their significant other.

More than that, 36% report keeping their financial situation from a partner, not telling them about debt or other setbacks.

"It's important to have resources that you can rely on when making any financial decision. Whether that means talking to your partner, consulting with a financial advisor or conducting online research, you should educate yourself before taking any action," said Joe Resendiz, an analyst at ValuePenguin.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents report being in debt. Of those, 44% had student loans and 74% had credit card debt.

Even more shocking, 49% of respondents reported being unable to pay off their credit card debt today if needed.

The majority — 78% — report worrying about their finances, with the average respondent worrying about money for 41 minutes per day.

"If you're worried about your financial situation, take a step back to take stock of where you currently stand," Resendiz said. "Once you've identified the major problems, whether that be debt or a cash flow issue, you can make a corrective plan. By setting short-term goals, you'll put yourself on a path to financial security."

The results did reveal some positives — 85% are working to decrease the amount of debt they currently have.

Eighty-two percent are trying to make better financial decisions, and over half (52%) are working to improve their financial knowledge.