How do you spend your hard-earned money?
Whether you are extremely frugal, or you’re known to indulge in the finer things in life, how you allocate your spending is partially a function of how much cash you have coming in the door.
Simply put, the more income a household generates, the higher the portion that can be spent on items other than the usual necessities (housing, food, clothing, etc), and the more that can be saved or invested for the future.
Earning and Spending, by Income Group
Today’s visuals come to us from Engaging Data, and they use Sankey diagrams to display data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that helps to paint a picture of how different household income groups make and spend their money.
We’ll show you three charts below for the following income groups:
- The Average American
- The Lowest Income Quintile (Bottom 20%)
- The Highest Income Quintile (Highest 20%)
Let’s start by taking a look at the flows of the average American household:
The Average American Household – $53,708 in spending (73% of total income)
The average U.S. household has 2.5 people (1.3 income earners, 0.6 children, and 0.4 seniors)
As you can see above the average household generates $73,574 of total inflows, with 84.4% of that coming from salary, and smaller portions coming from social security (11.3%), dividends and property (2.6%), and other income (1.7%).
In terms of money going out, the highest allocation goes to housing (22.1% of spending), while gas and insurance (9.0%), household (7.7%), and vehicles (7.5%) make up the next largest categories.
Interestingly, the average U.S. household also says it is saving just short of $10,000 per year.
The Bottom 20% – $25,525 in spending (100% of total income)
These contain an average of 1.6 people (0.5 income earners, 0.3 children, and 0.4 seniors)
How do the inflows and outflows of the average American household compare to the lowest income quintile?
Here, the top-level statistic tells much of the story, as the poorest income group in America must spend 100% of money coming in to make ends meet. Further, cash comes in from many different sources, showing that there are fewer dependable sources of income for families to rely on.
For expenditures, this group spends the most on housing (24.8% of spending), while other top costs of living include food at home (10.1%), gas and insurance (7.9%), health insurance (6.9%), and household costs (6.9%).
The Highest 20% – $99,639 in spending (53% of total income)
These contain an average of 3.1 people (2.1 income earners, 0.8 children, and 0.2 seniors)
The wealthiest household segment brings in $188,102 in total income on average, with salaries (92.1%) being the top source of inflows.
This group spends just over half of its income, with top expenses being housing (21.6%), vehicles (8.3%), household costs (8.2%), gas and insurance (8.2%), and entertainment (6.9%).
The highest quintile pays just short of $40,000 in federal, state, and local taxes per year, and is also able to contribute roughly $50,000 to savings each year.
Spending Over Time
For a fascinating look at how household spending has changed over time, don’t forget to check out our previous post that charts 75 years of data on how Americans spend money.
How Americans Make and Spend Their Money, by Education Level
How do different types of education (high school, bachelor’s degree, etc.) correspond to level of income and household expenditures?
Months ago, we showed you a set of data visualizations that highlighted how people make and spend their money based on income groups.
Today’s post follows a similar theme, and it visualizes differences based on education levels.
Below, we’ll tackle the breakdowns of several educational groupings, ranging from high school dropouts to those in the highest education bracket, which is defined as having achieved a master’s, professional, or doctorate degree.
Income and Spending, by Education
The data visualizations in today’s post come to us from Engaging Data and they use Sankey diagrams to display data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that shows income and expenditure differences between varying levels of education in America.
The four charts below will show data from the following categories:
- Less than high school graduate
- High school graduate
- Bachelor’s degree
- Master’s, professional, or doctorate degree
It should be noted that the educational level listed pertains to the person the BLS defines as the primary household member. Further, people in households can be at different ages and at different stages in their career – for example, someone with a Master’s degree could be 72 years old and collecting pension payments, and this impacts the data.
Less than High School Graduate – $28,245 in spending (98.5% of total income)
These contain an average of 2.2 people (0.7 income earners, 0.6 children, and 0.5 seniors)
The average household in this category brings in $17,979 of salary income, as well as an additional $7,503 from social security programs.
Almost all money (98.5%) is spent, and on average these households are actually pulling money from savings (or taking out loans) to make ends meet. The biggest expenditure categories include: housing (23.5%), foot at home (12.3%), household expenses (8.4%), and gas/insurance (8.2%).
High School Graduate – $35,036 in spending (87.3% of total income)
These contain an average of 2.3 people (1.0 income earners, 0.6 children, and 0.4 seniors)
The average household here brings in $29,330 of salary, as well as $9,008 from social security.
These households spend 87.3% of their income, while putting $3,113 (7.8%) away in savings each year. The biggest expenditure categories include housing (21.7% of spending), food at home (10.1%), gas/insurance (10.0%), and vehicles (7.7%).
Bachelor’s Degree – $63,373 in spending (68.6% of total income)
These contain an average of 2.5 people (1.5 income earners, 0.6 children, and 0.4 seniors)
Households with at least one person with a Bachelor’s degree earn $81,629 per year in salary, as well as nearly $11,000 stemming from a combination of social security, dividends, property, and other income.
Roughly 68.6% of income is spent, with 16.6% going to savings. Top expenditures include housing (22.4%), gas/insurance (8.8%), household expenses (7.9%), and food at home (7.6%).
Graduate Degree – $83,593 in spending (62.9% of total income)
These contain an average of 2.6 people (1.5 income earners, 0.6 children, and 0.4 seniors)
Finally, in the most educated category available, the average amount of salary coming into households is $116,018, with roughly an additional $17,000 coming in from other sources such as social security, dividends, property, and other income.
Here, 62.9% of income gets spent, and 17.3% gets put towards savings. The most significant expenditure categories are housing (23.3%), household expenses (8.4%), gas and insurance (7.2%), and food at home (6.9%).
A Changing Role for Education?
For now, there is a clear link between certain types of college degrees and higher salaries.
However, as total student debt continues to hit record highs of $1.5 trillion and as more remote educational options proliferate online, it will be interesting to see how these charts are impacted in the coming years.
By the year 2030, do you think education will still have the same strength of correlation with income levels?
How the Modern Consumer is Different
We all have a stereotypical image of the average consumer – but is it an accurate one? Meet the modern consumer, and what it means for business.
How the Modern Consumer is Different
There is a prevailing wisdom that says the stereotypical American consumer can be defined by certain characteristics.
Based on what popular culture tells us, as well as years of experiences and data, we all have an idea of what the average consumer might look for in a house, car, restaurant, or shopping center.
But as circumstances change, so do consumer tastes – and according to a recent report by Deloitte, the modern consumer is becoming increasingly distinct from those of years past. For us to truly understand how these changes will affect the marketplace and our investments, we need to rethink and update our image of the modern consumer.
A Changing Consumer Base
In their analysis, Deloitte leans heavily on big picture demographic and economic factors to help in summarizing the three major ways in which consumers are changing.
Here are three ways the new consumer is different than in years past:
1. Increasingly Diverse
In terms of ethnicity, the Baby Boomers are 75% white, while the Millennial generation is 56% white. This diversity also transfers to other areas as well, such as sexual and gender identities.
Not surprisingly, future generations are expected to be even more heterogeneous – Gen Z, for example, identifies as being 49% non-white.
2. Under Greater Financial Pressure
Today’s consumers are more educated than ever before, but it’s come at a stiff price. In fact, the cost of education has increased by 65% between 2007 and 2017, and this has translated to a record-setting $1.5 trillion in student loans on the books.
Other costs have mounted as well, leaving the bottom 80% of consumers with effectively no increase in discretionary income over the last decade. To make matters worse, if you single out just the bottom 40% of earners, they actually have less discretionary income to spend than they did back in 2007.
3. Delaying Key Life Milestones
Getting married, having children, and buying a house all have one major thing in common: they can be expensive.
The average person under 35 years old has a 34% lower net worth than they would have had in the 1990s, making it harder to tackle typical adult milestones. In fact, the average couple today is marrying eight years later than they did in 1965, while the U.S. birthrate is at its lowest point in three decades. Meanwhile, homeownership for those aged 24-32 has dropped by 9% since 2005.
A New Landscape for Business?
The modern consumer base is more diverse, but also must deal with increased financial pressures and a delayed start in achieving traditional milestones of adulthood. These demographic and economic factors ultimately have a ripple effect down to businesses and investors.
How do these big picture changes impact your business or investments?
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