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Published: Oct 13, 2023 3 min read
Photo-illustration of a pile of money, with people reaching to add more money.
Olive Burd / Money; Getty Images

Financial security is subjective and often depends on factors like income and personal goals — but in terms of hard numbers, $75,000 may be a solid starting place.

Recent research from the law firm Atticus revealed that, on average, Americans say they they need $74,688 a year in order to feel financially secure. That's based on survey results from 1,000 U.S. adults throughout the U.S. quizzed on how various financial and personal challenges impact their financial stability.

What the data says

That $74,688 figure matches up with data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which found in 2022 that the median household income in the U.S. was $74,580. But different people have different ideas about financial security.

Despite having greater need on paper, for instance, Americans with lower incomes reported needing a significantly lower amount needed to feel financially secure: just $51,728 on average. People with medical conditions said they needed $68,498 on average, and workers with high-risk jobs reported needing $73,409, to feel good about their money.

When asked to rate their level of financial security, most low-income people (85%) and respondents with medical conditions (63%) rated their level of security as “low," while 44% of workers with dangerous jobs said the same. Thirty percent of people with medical conditions rated their financial security as “moderate," while only 7% of respondents from that demographic rated it as “high.”

Why it’s important

From the rising cost of housing to growing credit card and auto loan debt, everyday Americans are facing mounting obstacles to financial security. Difficult economic circumstances can make individuals with additional personal or monetary challenges more vulnerable to feeling less financially secure.

According to the Atticus survey, these financial struggles can have consequences for people’s mental health. More than half of people (58%) with medical conditions said they face severe mental health effects because of their financial issues. A similar share of low-income respondents and workers with dangerous jobs also reported having mental health struggles due to finances.

Americans with medical conditions tend to face significant challenges when it comes to money: A whopping 92% said they face problems because their health gets in the way of their ability to work. This makes it difficult for about 56% of them to save up for things like a home or higher education, and almost half said they struggle to save for emergencies or retirement.

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