After a brief reprieve last month, the reported financial health of U.S. consumers reached the lowest point of the year. The CivicScience Consumer Financial Health Index (CFHI), which measures how consumers respond to economic conditions and events in real-time, declined to a score of 60.8 during the last week in October.

On a positive note, Americans are still reporting better financial health than this time last year (59.9). However, financial health looks to be trending downward this year instead of upward.

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Financial health increased during the first weeks of October. Overall economic outlook also increased close to this time, before falling again. Collective emotional well-being continued to drop month-over-month.

What’s driving the continued decline in financial health? 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 October, consumers reported falling monthly averages (or declining outlook) in credit score, savings, and investing. At the same time, consumers reported better debt and income outlook. Investment outlook declined the most, similar to last month’s reading.

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

  • Less in investments, including retirement savings (falling 1.0 point to 58.2%)
  • Less in savings (falling 0.6 points to 58.6%)
  • Lower credit score (falling 0.5 points to 67.1%)
  • Lower debt (rising 0.8 points to 61.7%)
  • Increased income (rising 0.3 points 61.1%)

Optimism for personal finances continues to decline. 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.

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