Majority of Americans at risk, financially

Three quarters of Americans at financial risk

Posted on 1/24/13 1:10:00 PM

A recently released study shows that more Americans should look into financial counseling to help them with debt reduction.

The non-profit Personal Finance Employee Education Foundation recently reported that as many as 32 percent of Americans are considered to be seriously in debt, which could change soon, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported the unemployment rate has decreased to 7.8 percent.

Despite the lower unemployment rates, the report showed that Americans who are seriously in debt are impacted through their productivity at work and health concerns could also arise from them being heavily weighed down by debt.

Housing market sees improvements
One industry that is seeing improvements as a result of the unemployment number decreasing is the housing market. Foreclosures have decreased recently and housing prices are increasing gradually to the levels experienced before the housing crisis.

"We can finally say that the worst of the housing crisis is now behind us, as 2012 saw dramatic increases in both sales and prices, with home buyers and sellers coming back to the market in numbers we've been anticipating for years," said Margaret Kelly, CEO of RE/MAX.  "The market started 2012 with a great surge, and we're hoping that 2013 will be even stronger. We're not completely out of the woods, but we're well on the way to a solid and sustainable recovery."

The new research from Personal Finance Employee Education Foundation further proves the findings of the Personal Financial Wellness Scale, which is used to measure financial well-being. The scale determines well-being by the number of those who are most at risk, which is slightly up from the 30 percent that was recorded the last time the study was conducted.

The survey also showed that the number of those who were just getting by increased by 16 percentage points from the 28 percent that was reported 2004. Americans who reported they had little financial stress decreased by 18 percent from the 42 percent that was reported in the previously conducted survey.

The non-profit foundation provides customized research that shows how financial concerns can impact an organization and is also examining factors that could have an impact, such as contributions to a 401(k) plan.

"Our goal is to demonstrate the value of educating employees and clients about how to handle their finances," said Judith Cohart, president of the organization. "When people are financially competent, everyone benefits."