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The American economy is said to be improving. But many Americans are still struggling, according to a new study from the Center for Financial Services Innovation.

Fast Company writer Adele Peters explains:

The organization, which works with startups that are building financial health tools, surveyed more than 5,000 Americans this year.

  • Nearly half said that their spending had equaled or exceeded their income in the last 12 months.
  • 44% of those relied on credit cards to make ends meet.
  • Only 45% have enough to cover three months of living expenses (even though the majority of Americans say that they save whenever possible).
  • 42% have no retirement savings.
  • 30% have more debt than is manageable.

The report aims to give a fuller picture of financial health than typical studies. “We tested dozens and dozens of indicators,” says Jennifer Tescher, CEO of the Center for Financial Services Innovation. Looking at something like annual income, for example, doesn’t necessarily indicate whether someone can cover their expenses. “If you’re not really understanding how people are managing their money in a day-to-day kind of way, you’re missing the whole picture,” she says.

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