Here’s the scariest credit card statistic I’ve seen this month:
Nearly three in 10 American workers say they have more credit card debt than retirement savings.
That’s from a new report titled “The Anxious American Worker,” published this month by Rutgers University’s John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. The survey questions were asked in May 2008 of a statistically representative sample of 1,000 Americans, 587 of whom were in the work force at the time of the survey. The margin of error for the full survey group is plus or minus 3.1 percent.
Not surprisingly, workers in better-paying jobs reported they were more likely to have more socked away for retirement than credit card debt. Just 17 percent of those earning more than $75,000 reported having more credit card debt than retirement savings. For those earning less than $35,000, that number is a shocking 51 percent.
Other striking findings from the survey include:
- More than one person in three — 37 percent — say they don’t have enough money to make ends meet, with that percentage rising to 69 percent of those earning less than $35,000 a year.
- Only a bare majority — 51 percent — say they are confident they will have saved enough to retire when the time comes.
- Thirteen percent of the workforce say they have been laid off from a job in the past three years; twice this number (28%) say that others in their firm or workplace have been laid off over this same period.
- Fifteen percent say they anticipate layoffs in their company in the next 12 months.
- One worker in three acknowledges concern over personal job security, with 13 percent saying they’re very concerned and 22 percent somewhat concerned.
- Only half are working the number of hours they want to work; one-third are working either more or fewer hours than they were just three months ago.
The surveyors combined the responses into an “Anxiety Index,” a numerical scale of work-related anxiety, with 0 representing no stress and 5 severe stress.
The Anxiety Index “reveals an alarming percentage of Americans experiencing serious anxiety and distress,” the report concludes, with the national average Anxiety Index number coming in at 1.8 percent. “Overall, the survey results paint a troubling picture of economic and job insecurity, framed by worry and uncertainty over what the future holds,” survey authors said in a news release.
If I were one of the people with more credit card debt than savings, I’d be anxious, too.
Hat tip: Walletpop
See related: Poll says people scale back card use in a changed economy