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I love numbers and statistics. So, when the Federal Reserve released its “Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2018”* it was party time! This report tries to paint a picture of how individuals and households in the U.S. are doing financially. It’s a good read.

Now, please remember that this report is an analysis of a survey done by the Fed (the Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking). And surveys are not facts. There are biases that can create subjective results, such as, how participants are chosen and even how the questions are worded. That being said, surveys can give us a good indication of what is going on in the wider population. And while the percentages may vary, most of these financial surveys point to some significant issues in our economic lives.

Generally speaking, the report found that we are doing okay financially. And overall, our economic situation has improved over the last five years (2013 was the first time this survey was taken). 75% of adults said they are doing okay or living comfortably*. That was about the same as in 2017, but 12 percentage points higher than 2013. 56% of respondents said they are better off than their parents, with only 20% reported being worse off. A scary response showed that if faced with an unexpected expense of $400, only 61% could cover it with cash or savings, while 27% would need to borrow or sell something, and 12% would not be able to cover…

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