Financial Troubles at Lowest in Years

Laura Joszt

Americans are facing a major decline in financial difficulties and an increase in consumer sentiment, according to an index. Financial troubles are at the lowest they've been in years.

Americans are facing a major decline in financial difficulties and an increase in consumer sentiment, according to an index.

The Consumer Reports Trouble Tracker revealed that financial difficulties facing Americans were at their lowest level since first measured in April 2009. Furthermore the most recent number is a huge drop over the previous month, declining from 50.2 points to 38.7 points.

According to Consumer Reports, any number over 50 means that people are struggling with missed payments, shrinking health care coverage and paying for medical bills.

Region by region revealed the country isn’t all on the same page, though. In the South, residents didn’t feel as if financial problems had declined much at all (0.5 points). However, the West showed a huge drop in financial problems (34.5) followed by the Northeast (10.4) and then the Midwest (7.4).

Americans earnings $50,000 or more felt the largest improvement, according to the Trouble Tracker, with only modest improvement among lower-income Americans.

The Trouble Tracker is part of Consumer Reports’ overall index measuring Americans’ personal financial health. Another measure showed that the holiday season should be strong as planned retail purchases for the next 30 days are up over the previous month.

Over the last month, consumers have been keeping their wallets closed, according to Consumer Reports. Home purchases were unchanged, new car purchases were down while used car purchases were unchanged.

And yet, despite the positive outlook going forward, the level of stress reported by consumers is unchanged, according to the index.

Do you agree with the index? Are your financial difficulties lower now than they were three years ago? And do you believe they will lessen more in the coming months?

Read more:

Americans See Major Decline in Financial Difficulties — Consumer Reports