More than four in 10 Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and nearly one in 10 doesn’t earn enough to pay for essentials, according to a study released Tuesday.
The survey, conducted for the Allstate insurance company by FTI Consulting Inc., underscored the conflicted emotions and attitudes about personal finances among ordinary people.
It showed the challenges that people are facing in a soft economy and troubled labor market, but it also demonstrated that many people make unwise financial decisions even when they know better.
The survey found that 59% of Americans say they generally know how to handle money and make the right financial decisions. But 47% of respondents said they’re saving less money than they should be.
Underscoring the financial dichotomy in the U.S., half of the survey respondents described their financial situation as “excellent” or “good,” while half said it was “fair” or “poor.”
Though 41% live from one paycheck to the next, 8% can’t even make it that far, saying they don’t have enough to afford everyday essentials.
On the bright side, 82% of people think they’re financially better off than their friends and 52% say they’re better off than when they were growing up.
The survey of 1,000 Americans age 18 and older was conducted in mid-December. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1% in 95 out of 100 cases.
Follow Walter Hamilton on Twitter @LATwalter