CFPB Report Finds Seniors More Fiscally Fit Than Younger Americans

Americans aged 65 and older feel the most financially comfortable of any age group, according to a new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The CFPB asked a representative sampling of more than 6,300 people — including the young, old, and people from a variety of ethnic and racial groups — about their overall financial wellbeing, with questions regarding respondents’ comfort with their financial futures, their ability to handle unexpected expenses, and whether or not they can afford luxuries big and small.

Those results then went into the development of a financial wellbeing score, with an overall national average of 54. For instance, among those who received a 54 on the CFPB’s scale, 35.6% said they have difficulty making ends meet, and 21.1% said they experienced “material hardship.”

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People between the ages of 65 and 74 blew past that national average with a score of 61, and their counterparts at age 75 and above logged a 60. For comparison, young adults aged 18 to 34 reported a score of 51, while 45-to-54-year-olds hit the average exactly.

“Financial well-being seems to be most strongly associated with education, followed by age and physical health,” the CFPB concluded in its report.

While the bureau noted that wide disparities in economic comfort exist among older Americans, several factors conspired to produce the positive financial feelings among those 65 and older.

“The positive association between financial wellbeing and age, for instance, could be due to changes in financial factors that correspond to the life course — such as higher incomes that come with longer tenure in the job market for those who are still working — increased asset accumulation over time, or the security conferred by access to social benefits such as Social Security … and Medicare,” the CFPB wrote.

The bureau also noted that it could be a matter of perspective: An older person’s picture of financial comfort may simply be different from that of a much younger person thinking about saving for children’s college education or a family homestead.

Read the full analysis on the CFPB’s website.

Written by Alex Spanko