4 Signs You Are Above Average: Even If It Doesn’t Feel Like It (Scary Money Stats)

4 Signs You Are Above Average: Even If It Doesn’t Feel Like It (Scary Money Stats)

In today’s world, financial stability can often feel like an elusive goal. With countless headlines highlighting economic challenges and personal finance struggles, it’s easy to feel you’re falling behind. However, looking closely at your financial situation, you might be surprised that you’re doing better than you think.

In this article, we’ll explore four signs that you are above average versus the scary money stats in 2024, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.

How to Know if You’re Doing Well Financially

Based on current financial statistics, here are four signs that your financial health is above average.

  1. You Don’t Live Paycheck to Paycheck:
    • Many Americans, including those earning over $100,000 annually, live paycheck to paycheck. You are financially above average if you can save money and manage your expenses without relying on your next paycheck.
  2. You Have More Than $1,000 in Savings:
    • Many Americans struggle to save for emergencies. Statistics show that many people cannot cover a $1,000 emergency expense. If you have an emergency fund that can cover such costs, you are in a better financial position than most.
  3. You Are Saving for Retirement:
    • A considerable number of Americans have no retirement savings. If you are actively contributing to a retirement fund, even if it’s a small amount, you are ahead of many who have not started saving for their future.
  4. You Can Afford Large Expenses Without Using Debt:
    • Significant expenses are a common issue. You are in strong financial health if you manage significant financial needs through planned savings without using credit cards or loans. This includes having a budget and savings to cover home repairs, car repairs, and large purchases.

These signs indicate that you are managing your finances well, even if it sometimes feels like you are not making significant progress. [1] [2] [3] 

Keep reading for a deeper look into each of these above-average money statistics.

You Don’t Live Paycheck to Paycheck Like Most Americans

Living paycheck to paycheck is a reality for many Americans, even those with high incomes. A 2023 survey by Payroll.org found that nearly 78% of American workers live paycheck to paycheck, including 10% of those earning over $100,000 annually. Most people rely on their next paycheck to cover their expenses, leaving little room for savings or financial growth.

If you’ve managed to break free from the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, you’re already ahead of the curve. Being able to save money and manage your expenses without relying on your next paycheck is a significant achievement. It means you have a better handle on your finances and are more prepared to weather unexpected challenges than most people.

To break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, create a budget for all your income and expenses. Look for areas where you can reduce unnecessary spending and redirect that money toward savings or debt repayment. By taking control of your finances and building a buffer between your income and expenses, you’ll be well on your way to greater financial stability.

Your Emergency Fund Exceeds the $1,000 Many Struggle to Save

An emergency fund is crucial for managing unexpected expenses without derailing financial progress. However, many Americans struggle to save even a modest amount for emergencies. According to the Fed’s 2022 Economic Well-Being of US Households, nearly 37% of Americans would have difficulty covering a $400 emergency expense. The Bankrate survey from December 2023 found that 56% of Americans could not pay for a $1,000 emergency expense from their savings.

If you’ve managed to build an emergency fund that exceeds $1,000, you’re in a much stronger financial position than most. This means you have a safety net to fall back on when unexpected costs arise, such as car repairs, medical bills, or job loss. Without an emergency fund, you may be forced to rely on credit cards or loans, which can quickly lead to a cycle of debt.

Set a realistic goal based on your income and expenses to build your emergency fund. Aim to save at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses, but even a smaller amount can make a big difference. Consider setting up automatic monthly transfers from your checking account to your savings account to make saving a habit.

You’re Ahead of the Pack by Actively Saving for Retirement

Saving for retirement is one of the most important financial goals you can set, yet many Americans are falling short. A Northwestern Mutual study found that 22% of Americans have less than $5,000 saved for retirement, while 15% have no retirement savings. This means that a significant portion of the population is at risk of facing financial strain in their later years.

You’re already ahead of the pack if you’re actively contributing to a retirement account, such as a 401(k) or IRA. Even if you can only save a small amount each month, starting early and being consistent can make a big difference. Thanks to the power of compound interest, the money you save today can grow exponentially over your working years.

To maximize your retirement savings, try contributing as much as possible, especially if your employer offers a matching contribution; this can be the 100% return employees are missing. Consider increasing your contributions each year, even if it’s just by a small percentage. By prioritizing retirement savings, you will set yourself up for a more secure financial future.

Affording Large Expenses Without Debt Sets You Apart

Significant expenses like home repairs, car purchases, or major appliances can significantly strain your finances. For many Americans, these costs are often covered by credit cards or loans, leading to a cycle of debt that can be difficult to escape. According to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the US Census Bureau, the average American household owes $7,951 in credit card debt as of 2022. Many are struggling to make more than the minimum monthly payments in 2024.

If you can afford significant expenses without relying on debt, you’re in a much stronger financial position than most. This means you’ve likely built up a substantial savings cushion or have planned for these costs. By avoiding debt, you can keep more of your hard-earned money and avoid the stress and financial strain of high-interest payments.

To prepare for significant expenses, consider setting up a dedicated savings account and contributing to it regularly. When a considerable cost arises, you’ll have the funds to cover it without relying on credit. Additionally, plan for big-ticket items, such as a new car or home renovation, by researching costs and saving up over time.


While it’s easy to feel like you’re falling behind when it comes to personal finance, it’s essential to recognize the signs that you’re doing better than average. By avoiding the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, building a solid emergency fund, actively saving for retirement, and being able to afford significant expenses without debt, you’re setting yourself up for long-term financial success.

Even small progress in these areas can significantly improve your overall financial health. By prioritizing your financial well-being and making smart money decisions, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goals and building a more secure future.