NEW YORK — More than 1 in 5 U.S. adults say their financial situation is “poor” or “very poor” and one in three say they are “not confident” they’ll be able to afford their next financial move, according to a new survey by The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.
About 20 percent of those surveyed say they’re “very confident” about their ability to pay off their bills, with more than half of the participants saying they “very strongly” agree.
The Journal and the USA Today survey of 2,000 adults nationwide found that the number of Americans struggling with debt and the impact of it on their lives has increased by nearly 10 percentage points since the financial crisis began in 2007.
The increase has been driven in large part by rising incomes and stagnant wages.
It’s also been driven by the loss of wealth in the form of savings, retirement savings and credit cards, the survey found.
“We’ve seen an incredible surge in personal debt, especially for young people, and we have seen that the burden of that debt has grown,” said Gary Burtless, a partner at Deloitte Consulting in New York.
“It has become a big, big problem.”
Burtless added that the financial burdens of student loan debt, which has increased in recent years, have also increased as well.
“You have people who have really low-income people, or students who are struggling with that debt, who are going to go into debt, and you’re not going to have the opportunity to help them out,” Burtings said.
The rise in the cost of living also has been fueled by a combination of economic factors.
The Journal found that for the first time since 2007, the number that say they would be “very” or very “satisfied” with their life without a mortgage, credit card or other debt is lower than when they began in 2013.
But the numbers are also rising, with the percentage of respondents saying they would “not be satisfied” with a mortgage or credit card rose from 24 percent in 2013 to 34 percent in 2019.
The USA Today poll also found that in 2019, 61 percent of respondents said they would pay more to make their next purchase, a 1 percentage point increase from last year.
And while the median cost of a new home has risen by about 10 percent in the past two years, the median price of a single-family home has increased only by 2 percent, according the survey.
As a result, more Americans are moving out of their current homes than relocating into them.
About 3 in 4 of the respondents who are moving from their current home to a smaller home say they plan to do so in the next 12 months, the report found.
But while the number who are relocating has increased, the rate of people moving out has declined.
In 2019, the percentage who said they plan on leaving their current place of residence for a bigger home fell from 27 percent to 21 percent.
About half of Americans say they will take a step back in order to save up for a down payment, according a separate survey by Wells Fargo and the Wall Street Review.
About 7 in 10 Americans, or 53 percent, say they won’t have to make a downpayment to buy a home this year, the Wells Fargo survey found, and that’s up from 53 percent in 2018.
But most Americans aren’t thinking about buying a home in the future, according for the Wells-Fargo survey.
About two-thirds of Americans said they expect to “take steps back” this year.
About a third of Americans plan to spend less than $100,000 on a home, down from more than 40 percent in 2020.
About 11 percent of Americans expect to spend more than $250,000, down slightly from 17 percent in last year’s survey.
About 25 percent of consumers said they expected to spend $100 million, down 2 percent from last week.
More than one in five Americans, including more than one-third of those who plan to take a financial hit, say their monthly mortgage payment will go up this year and another 22 percent expect it to go up by more than a quarter, according, the WSJ survey.