Wrangling with the budget
A telephone survey of more than 800 people, polled nationwide in late September 1995 for Microsoft Money personal finance software, revealed our handwring state of affairs:
– The money monster Americans rate finance as the number one most difficult task to manage in the household.
– Where’s the shoebox of “payments due”? One in five people surveyed (20 percent) admit they need some degree of help in organizing their expenses and finances.
– Killer bills On the average, the people surveyed pay about 12 bills per month.
It breaks down by different categories: Adults between ages 46 and 55 pay the most (16 percent per month). Younger adults between 23 and 35 and older adults over 65 average much lower, at about 10 or 9 per month respectively. Married people pay more bills than single people (13 compared to 9 bills, on average).
The time was just as varied. Some respondents report spending up to 100 hours per month on their finances. However, most people (64 percent) report spending an average of three hours per month on their finances. They also spend an additional average of 3.5 hours per month discussing finances with their spouses or “significant other.”
– Stress confession The situation is grimmest for younger people, aged 23 to 35, with 35 percent of them reporting “out-of-control” finances. The elderly are not exempt, however: 22 percent of senior citizens report feeling their finances are “very much out of control,” and 24 percent say they very often let bills pile up.