Where does the state of consumer financial health stand today? Recent results from the CivicScience Consumer Financial Health Index (CFHI), which measures how consumers respond to economic conditions and events in real-time, show that financial health is on the decline.

Far from the high points in June and July when the index reached a score of 63.6%, overall financial health fell to 61.0% as of the last week of September, representing the lowest point in nearly a year.

Given the recent downward movement seen in other CivicScience indices – including the Economic Sentiment Index and the Well-Being Index – it’s not surprising that consumers also report declining financial health.

So what’s driving this downturn as we head into Q4? As a living index, the CFHI tracks changing consumer outlook for the next six months by measuring a range of ‘always-on’ questions that span across five key financial areas: debt, income, savings, investing, and credit score. As of September, consumers reported falling monthly averages (or declining outlook) across nearly all categories, with income outlook remaining steady from August. Investment outlook declined the most, followed by savings and debt outlook.

Compared to today, a growing number of consumers expect in six months time to have:

  • Increased debt (falling 1.0 point to 60.9%)
  • Less in savings (falling 1.1 points to 59.4%)
  • Less in investments, including retirement savings (falling 2.1 points to 58.9%)
  • Slightly lower credit score (falling 0.3 points to 67.6%)
  • Comparable income (remaining steady at 60.8%)

Optimism for personal financial health is on average declining. However, financial outlook varies significantly across demographics and brand customers. Get started with the Consumer Financial Health Index to help your brand gain a deep understanding of the financial state of your target consumers and reliably anticipate spending patterns and purchase intent.