Strong financial strategies are typically dependent on individuals managing their money correctly, and helping themselves to stay within their means. For some, this may be easier now than it was in the recent past.
Approximately 35 percent of employed individuals are still living paycheck-to-paycheck, according to a report from CareerBuilder. However, this figure was 10 percentage points lower than in 2008, as well as down from the 40 percent recorded last year.
Close to one-quarter of respondents explained that they never had to deal with missing payments or feeling that their budget was too tight, the report noted. However, two-fifths of those polled said they did miss payments on occasion. A total of 20 percent of employees said they did have a payment that they missed during the past 12 months, with the majority of those payments being for lesser expenses.
During the past year, more than 80 percent of those surveyed noted that they were able to avoid missing any payments throughout each month, the report explained. This was slightly higher than when the same question was asked one year earlier.
Vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder Rosemary Haefner explained that many people may have difficulty with their finances, but there have been some notable improvements in some individuals’ situations in the past few years.
“More workers are saving their earnings on a monthly basis than last year, and 70 percent feel they are more fiscally responsible post-recession,” said Haefner. “As more workers join the ranks of the gainfully employed, we expect these positive trends to continue.”
Retirement savings remains an issue
While many are getting comfortable with their budgeting situation, there may be more financial discipline needed for some, especially when it comes to saving for retirement.
Approximately one-third of employees are saving more than $250 for retirement every month, according to the report. However, only 10 percent are putting away $1,000 or more each month.
A total of 25 percent of those polled noted that they avoid saving any retirement money during the year, the report added. While still an issue, it was slightly lower than the previous year’s tally.
Savings levels change little
Another examination of workers’ ability to save their money showed a similar gap in the level of savings for different employees. This could be due to a lack of available funds, or potentially other financial issues.
Only 18 percent of workers polled noted that they were putting more money away for retirement this year than they were doing in 2012, a report from Bankrate.com, explained. Nearly the same percentage of people explained they were saving less than they did a year earlier, and close to 55 percent have not altered their financial strategy to fit in more retirement savings.
However, young people may be more prone to save for retirement than their elders. The report explained that those between the ages of 50 and 64 years old were the most common group to lower retirement savings levels.
“This is troubling considering the availability of catch-up contributions for those 50 and up, as well as the higher 2013 contribution limits for all eligible IRA and 401(k) contributors,” said Greg McBride, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com.
Despite the lack of movement between 2012 and 2013, some individuals have improved their situation from earlier than that point. The report added that in 2011, nearly 30 percent of Americans were saving less for their retirement than one year earlier. This showed that more consumers may be making saving money for retirement a priority during the past several months.