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Despite challenges, Black consumers remain optimistic, resilient about their financial health, Achieve survey finds

Black Americans report high instances of financial stress, but their outlook for the future often far exceeds that of other demographics


By Black Headline News


SAN MATEO, Calif.--While Black consumers frequently report facing numerous signs of financial stress, expectations that their financial health will improve far exceed that of consumers from other demographics, according to the results of a new survey by Achieve, a digital personal finance service.


Achieve surveyed Black Americans to understand the key financial pain points and goals facing this community and found that inflation and debt make it difficult for many to meet their financial goals. Black consumers reported having limited funds in their checking and savings accounts and many had expectations that the cost of staples will keep rising.


However, many Black Americans are optimistic that their household incomes will increase and they will be able to increase their savings and pay down debt in 2024. Black respondents were often twice as likely than white respondents to predict various aspects of their financial health will improve in 2024, and frequently had higher instances of optimism than other demographics as well.


3-in-4 Black Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck

Achieve's survey found 76% of Black consumers are living paycheck-to-paycheck, including 43% who said they struggle to make ends meet and 33% who report being financially comfortable.


Respondents were split almost evenly when asked about recent changes to their household income, with approximately one-third each saying their incomes had either increased, decreased or stayed the same over the past year. Meanwhile, 56% expect their household income will increase over the coming year, reflecting growing optimism.


The vast majority (75%) have no plans to leave their current jobs in the next year, which suggests that many Black workers are expecting to see their household incomes grow from either wage increases at their current jobs or new sources of income, such as taking on additional jobs or more members of their household entering the job market.

"We know that the current financial climate has been difficult for many Americans. Our research shows that while many Black Americans are optimistic about their income and earning potential in the year ahead, paying off debt and managing the impacts of inflation on household finances continue to be major financial concerns," said Achieve Co-Founder and Co-CEO Brad Stroh. "In addition, those surveyed expect to see more increases in the costs of groceries in the coming year, adding to budgeting challenges."


Rising cost of groceries and utility costs force cuts elsewhere

Nearly half of respondents (47%) believe their household will have to spend more to buy groceries this year, while 40% expect their utility costs will increase and 33% expect to spend more on clothes and shoes. Black Americans said they expect to spend less this year on eating out at restaurants (24%), entertainment outside the home (15%) and clothes and shoes (15%).


Growing income, savings top 2024 financial goals

More than half of Black respondents said making more money and increasing savings were among their financial goals this year, while nearly half have a goal to paying down debt. Meanwhile, other goals that were less popular include selling a home, establishing a non-retirement investment account and acquiring cryptocurrency.



Checking, savings account balances remain low

Access to traditional checking and savings accounts is high among the Black Americans in Achieve's survey, but many struggle with having an adequate base to meet their financial goals. For example, 79% of respondents report having a checking account, but 58% said they have less than $500 in those accounts, including 13% who said they don't have any money in their checking account. A similar dynamic exists with savings accounts, where 63% of respondents report having a bank savings account. But among this group, 50% have less than $500 in savings, including 15% who said their savings accounts are empty.


Methodology

The data and findings presented are based on an Achieve survey conducted in January 2024, consisting of 556 U.S. consumers ages 18 and older who identified their race as Black/African American. Additionally, the same survey was fielded to 830 consumers ages 18 and older, and is representative of Census Bureau benchmarks of the U.S. population for age, gender, race and ethnicity.


About the Achieve Center for Consumer Insights

The Achieve Center for Consumer Insights is a think tank that leverages Achieve's team of digital personal finance experts to provide a view into the state of consumer finances. In addition to sharing insights gleaned from Achieve's proprietary data and analytics, the Achieve Center for Consumer Insights publishes in-depth research, bespoke data and thoughtful commentary in support of Achieve's mission of helping everyday people get on the path to a better financial future.


About Achieve

Achieve, THE digital personal finance company, helps everyday people get on, and stay on, the path to a better financial future. Achieve pairs proprietary data and analytics with personalized support to offer personal loans, home equity loans and debt resolution, along with financial tips and education and a free mobile app, Achieve MoLO (Money Left Over). Achieve has over 2,500 dedicated teammates across the country with hubs in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. Achieve is frequently recognized as a Best Place to Work.

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