BOSTON (TheStreet) — The past two years has turned the fortunes of many Americans upside down, forcing spenders to save and debtors to face their creditors.
While the S&P 500 is on track to deliver its best performance since 2003 this year, that gain will offer little comfort to people who lost more than a third of their retirement savings last year or their jobs.
How did you fare in this tumultuous year? Many Americans live up to (or beyond) their means, making it difficult to measure their spending and saving habits against those of others. But here are some statistics that offer a financial snapshot of the typical U.S. household.
In 2008 (the most recent annual figures), the median household income in the U.S. was $63,563 before taxes, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The average American family's annual living expenses are $50,486, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Among these expenses were: housing ($17,109), apparel ($1,801), transportation ($8,604), health care ($2,976), entertainment ($2,835), insurance ($5,605) and food ($6,443).Savings
Nationally, the personal savings rate among U.S. households have hovered around 6%, up from less than 1% during the midst of last year's financial meltdown, according to the Federal Reserve.
A survey by CareerBuilder.com found that 61% of 4,400 respondents reported that they "always or usually live paycheck-to-paycheck." Thirty percent of workers with salaries of $100,000 gave the same response.
More than one-in-five workers say they have reduced their 401(k) contributions or personal savings in the last six months to get by. Among workers earning six figures or more, 23% report that they have also reduced their 401(k) or savings. One-third of all workers said they don't put any money aside into their savings each month, while 30% set aside $100 or less per month for savings and 16% save less than $50.