The Financial Health Network, the US’ authority on financial health, in partnership with Prudential, has released The FinHealth Spend Report 2021, the evolution of NA’s annual market sizing report. The report shows Financially Coping and Vulnerable households account for 84% of spending on fees and interest for financial services (for a total of $255billion), despite representing less than two-thirds of the population.
Financially Vulnerable households spent, on average, 13% of their annual income on the products studied, compared with 5% for Financially Coping households and just 1% for Financially Healthy households. Financially Coping and Vulnerable households are those who struggle to spend, save, borrow, and plan.
The refreshed report, formerly called the Financially Underserved Market Size Study, combines primary and secondary research to provide unprecedented insight into the fees and interest paid by consumers on dozens of everyday financial services in 2020. The report’s innovative methodology enables new insights into market spending by several key lenses, including financial health, income, race, and ethnicity.
Overall, this landmark new data found that consumers struggling with financial health, Black and Latinx households, and low- to moderate-income (LMI) households spent a greater share of their income on interest and fees for financial services, contributing to a widening gap in consumer financial health as the nation recovers from the pandemic.
“Ideally, financial services can help individuals and families manage their financial lives and build better financial health, but the data shows those least able to afford them are disproportionately shouldering the costs,” said Financial Health Network president and CEO Jennifer Tescher. “This exacerbates the financial distress felt by many families and contributes to a well documented and growing financial gap in this country.”
Key insights into household spending by income, race, and ethnicity include:
- LMI households – households with income below 80% of area median income – spent $127billion in interest and fees on everyday financial services;
- The report estimates that LMI households spent, on average, 7% of their income on the financial services studied, compared to 3% for higher-income households;
- Black and Latinx households spent a collective $101B on the financial services studied;
- It is estimated that Black households spent, on average, 6% of their income on the financial services studied, and Latinx households spent 5%, while White households spent 3%.
Additional key findings of the 2021 report by population segments include:
- Just under two-thirds of households drove 84% of spending on everyday financial services;
- Financially Vulnerable households – who comprise 14% of those surveyed – pay 24% of all fees and interest;
- Financially Coping and Vulnerable households spent $123billion on interest and fees on short-term credit, $91billion on long-term credit, $24billion on single-payment credit, and $17billion on payments and accounts.
“We have a long history of addressing the unique financial challenges of our customers while providing steps towards improving their financial health and lives,” said Sarah Keh, vice president, Inclusive Solutions. “This partnership with the Financial Health Network helps us further our mission by collaborating with innovators and policymakers committed to designing solutions that contribute to improved resilience and financial wellness for all.”