If the idea of a press release is to generate publicity, well done, Ladder Life.
The online life insurer got plenty of attention for findings in a recent poll it conducted about how wasteful spending could instead be directed toward life insurance.
The poll went (semi) viral after USA Today tweeted about it on May 7, saying the average American adult spends $1,497 a month on “nonessential items,” which equates to almost $18,000 per year.
That was a republished account of the survey from the Motley Fool website, which posted an article, “6 Reasons Americans Don’t Have Life Insurance, and Why They’re All Bogus,” on May 5, including findings from the Ladder survey.
So while many consumers have responded to the USA Today tweet to the effect that they’ll keep dropping that $20 a month (on average) at Starbucks thank you very much, kudos to Ladder Life for at least bringing the issue to light – something life insurers traditionally struggle to do even during Life Insurance Awareness Month each September (maybe Brooke Shields will make a difference this year?).
Americans spend at least $18,000 a year on these non-essential costs
Between eating out, paying for cable and streaming services, receiving subscription boxes and other superfluous spending, the average American spends $1,497 per month on non-essential items, according to new research.
That can add up to almost $18,000 a year – or more than a million dollars over the course of an adult lifetime.
It can be good to treat yourself to something that brings you happiness, but a survey of 2,000 Americans found the average respondent does a bit more than that.
Per month, results revealed that the average American spends $20 on coffee drinks, as well as $209 on dinners at restaurants and $189 going out drinking with friends.
Many haven’t cut the cord, and are paying an average of $91 per month for cable, in addition to $23 for streaming movies and TV shows. Spending on music streaming services averaged $22 a month, while other apps added $23.
While going to the gym is good for your health, the average American spends $73 on a membership and exercise classes.
The survey revealed that Americans make an average of five impulse purchases a month – for a total of $109 – but the majority (58%) also feel there are other important things they can’t afford.
Commissioned by Ladder and conducted by OnePoll in advance of National Life Insurance Day (May 2), the survey looked at Americans’ spending on “essential” versus “non-essential” items, and found that Americans may be able to afford essentials more easily than they think, just by tweaking their spending habits.
In addition to looking at their spends, the survey also examined how respondents feel about their financial decisions.
Seventy percent believe they could make smarter decisions with their money on a monthly basis, and 24% admit they don’t have a budget.
Fifty-eight percent believe there are important things they are unable to afford – putting money into a retirement account (38%) and life insurance (35%) were at the top of the list. For those who don’t have life insurance, the top reason for not having it was they thought it was too expensive (52%).
“People tend to overestimate the cost of life insurance,” said Ladder Co-founder Laura Hale. “Trading off a couple of smaller short-term purchases per month can support a monthly policy payment. It can give you the longer term satisfaction that comes from making sure your family is protected.”
The survey found that only 10% of respondents know that they could get life insurance in place in less than 15 minutes online.
And of those who have life insurance, 29% feel they don’t have enough coverage.
“Term life insurance is easy to apply for now, thanks to technology,” said Hale. “You can get instant decisions on fully-underwritten policies at competitive rates. People want to do the right thing for their families. Now, it can happen in minutes.”
The vast majority of respondents – 79% – like to feel secure in their financial decisions, showing the importance of balancing spends between long-term financial security and immediate wants.
Check out the infographic below, and for lists of things Americans feel they can’t afford, why people with life insurance say they don’t have it, and an itemized breakdown of Americans’ non-essential monthly spends can be found along with the press release here.
- SEE ALSO: Los Angeles Times: A life insurer says you should stop eating out (and buy life insurance instead)