A new report by the Consumer Federation of America and Primerica (PRI) found that two out of three middle-class Americans say they've made at least one "really bad financial decision." And more than half of those acknowledge making more than one.
While the median cost of those mistakes was $5,000, thanks to a few outliers -- 2% of those surveyed lost $200,000 or more -- the average was much higher, at $23,000.
The report also shed light on the investing habits of middle-class Americans, described as those with household incomes between $30,000 and $100,000. If given $1 million to invest for retirement, the survey asked, what would you do? Only 21% of middle-class Americans would invest that money in stocks, bonds, and/or mutual funds, compared with 48% of those earning $100,000 or more. And 19% of middle-class responders said they would "invest" the money in a savings account. Considering that the average money market account pays just 0.49% in interest, there are much better investing options out there.
Given the ubiquity of these financial mistakes and questionable investing habits, this next result comes as a bit of a surprise: A whopping 80% of the survey's respondents rated themselves as "good" or "excellent" at family budgeting and handling credit card debt. Around two-thirds of Americans rated themselves just as highly on retirement saving and managing mortgages as well.
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Have You Made a Big Money Blunder? You're Not Alone