Hawaii residents spend more, save less

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A national study finds 20% of Americans spend more than they make - and in Hawaii, 24%.

The research, done in late 2009 by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, shows that the recession created widespread economic hardship, not confined to those who actually lost their jobs.

And it shows that in Hawaii, where the cost of living is higher and employment options are fewer, the problem is greater.

FINRA surveyed consumers around the nation and found 18% said it was "very difficult" to cover expenses and pay bills, but in Hawaii it was 25%. Nationwide, 26% said they overdraw their checking accounts occasionally; in Hawaii, 33% said so.

The study found 10% of Americans have been in such financial trouble in the past year that they took out a loan from their retirement account. In Hawaii it was 15%.

Nationwide, 40% said they had a large unexpected drop in income over the past year; in Hawaii, where hotels employ a large number of part-timers whose hours vary according to occupancy, it was 44%.

Hawaii residents were more likely than other U.S. consumers to use payday loans - 12% here, 9% on the mainland - but less likely to seek an advance on a tax refund or patronize a pawn shop. More Hawaii residents, 45% compared to 41%, said they always pay their credit card balances in full.

The survey asked consumers if they had emergency funds. The answer was no from 60% of both mainland and Hawaii respondents.

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