Study Finds That Americans Make Careless Financial Decisions Before Age 22

A survey done by OnePoll on behalf of Grain found that Americans hit peak recklessness when spending at the age of 22. About 2 in 3 admitted they didn’t pay much attention to their spending when they were younger.

Most of the respondents didn’t change their spending habits until they turned 25. About 50% said they felt guilty about their past spending though they couldn’t bring to themselves to exercise restraint.

Of the respondents, 44% had, at some point in their lives, had terrible credit. Among the participants who had had bad credit, the average person had their lowest credit score at 27 years old. About 43% blame their credit on not budgeting, while 37% blame it on reckless spending.

Americans give factors that made them change their spending habits 

 About 61% of the participants had at some point unexpectedly experienced a purchase rejection because of their low score. The average respondent had about two purchase rejections in their lives. This rejection often served as a turning point. Another factor contributing to change for about 26% of people was having a child and moving out of their childhood homes for 20%.

Other incidents that caused change among the participants were having a health emergency that forced them to go on disability and applying for a home loan. If not for these crises or others, 58% believe they would still have been financially reckless.

Financial awakening had been more common during the pandemic 

According to a spokesperson for Grain,  while people have these wake-up calls often, they have become much more frequent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The spokesperson adds that although most people now pay attention to their spending, less understand their credit. 

Among the study participants, 45% admitted to having a financial awakening in 2020, with 55% saying they became even more aware of their spending. Another 52% said they realised just how easy it was to have a financial decline.

About 27% of the respondents say they are working to pay off debts this year. Another 22% said they had seen an improvement in their finances after a new job, while 21% planned on finding a job to help with their financial situations. 

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