Americans spend a lot of money on takeout and lattes but just how much are they spending and what does that mean for their savings and retirement readiness?
Americans spend an average of $2,944 each year on financial vices like takeout, drinks and lottery tickets, according to new research from Bankrate. For most individuals, dining out is their biggest financial vice and they spend an average of $2,443 each year on restaurant meals and takeout food. The typical American buys restaurant or takeout food at least two times a week and close to 40 percent dine out at least three times a week.
It’s alarming that so much income is being spent on vices when less than 30 percent of Americans have enough emergency savings to cover 6-months of expenses and roughly 25 percent of Millennials and Gen Xers have nothing saved for retirement.
Households in the lowest-income bracket (earning under $30,000 a year) spend 13 percent of their income on financial vices whereas the highest-earning households (earning $75,000 or more a year) spend just under three percent of their income on prepared drinks, restaurant food and lottery tickets.
Nearly 30 percent of households in the lowest-income bracket play the lottery once per week compared to less than 20 percent of households in the highest-earning households. The chances of winning the lottery are so slim but households that are already struggling buy tickets with the hope that a big win will wipe all of their financial woes away.
While hope and aspiration are powerful motivators, draining away your excess cash each week just gets you farther from your financial goals. And while solving financial stress is more complicated than just skipping lattes and lotto tickets, smarter spending overall is a good place to start.
Awareness is key to helping people understand how far they are from reaching personal finance goals. Nonetheless, more than 60 percent of Americans aren’t sure how much they should be saving for retirement. I’d urge those who aren’t sure what they should have saved to use tools (like these) to get an idea of what they should have saved to cover emergency expenses and prepare for retirement.
When Americans fully understand the root cause of their financial stress and the reality of their specific financial situations I’m confident that they’ll be more motivated to engage with information, videos, tools, and calculators that can help them not only create a budget they can live with but also keep their financial vices in check so they actually achieve their financial goals.