Despite a strong job market and growing economy, the post-recession years haven't been kind to many Americans.
More than 40 percent of Americans describe themselves as struggling to keep ahead of their bills, according to a new survey from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which based its analysis on a panel of 55,000 U.S. consumers. The survey scored financial well-being on a scale from zero to 100, with the typical adult scoring 54 points.
About one-third of Americans said they're suffering through material hardships, which could range from running out of food to lacking the money to pay for medical treatment. Household income is rebounding, but it remains below pre-recession levels, while housing and health care costs have surged. That's crimping many middle- and low-wage American families.
Not surprisingly, people who report the highest levels of financial well-being are those with the highest incomes. They also tend to be older, better educated and own their own homes, the survey found.
Savings and financial cushions are among the biggest differentiators of Americans who are struggling and those who aren't, the CFPB said. Americans with liquid savings of $75,000 or more received a financial well-being score of 68, compared with a score of 41 for those with $250 or less in the bank.
"These findings highlight the importance of savings and other safety nets in helping people to feel financially secure, one of the basic elements of financial well-being," the CFPB said.
No wonder, really, given that Americans with less money in the bank are going to feel pinched. The CFPB found additional traits -- ranging from personal habits to employment -- that can signal whether an American may face financial hardship.
Read on to learn about seven traits that are linked to lower financial well-being.