As Americans begin to assemble their New Year’s resolutions, it’s safe to assume that money will find its way to the top of many lists, whether it comes in the form of spending less, saving better or making more. With this in mind, CashNetUSA and Harris Interactive surveyed 2,014 Americans aged 18 and older, shedding light on the attitude of the average American in regard to predicting income. The findings say a great deal about the general state of mind in America when it comes to finances, particularly how different our expectations can be from our reality.
The key result of the survey finds that 49 percent of Americans who are currently receiving a paycheck say they previously expected to make more than they currently do. This is a dramatic finding, and speaks volumes of the typical gap between true income and expected income. The survey also revealed that just over one-third of Americans (34 percent) feel their current paycheck is equivalent to what they expected to be making at their current age, while just 16 percent say their income is higher than they expected. While “expectations” may not be a true indication of anything other than the mindset of the average American, it seems to reveal unequivocally that many Americans perceive a very real gap between what they do make and what they should make.
“It’s hard enough that so many Americans are struggling to get by in this slow economic recover,” says Megan Staton, director of marketing for CashNetUSA. “Now add to that the disappointment that you aren’t making as much as you anticipated at your current age. Many Americans are likely to be putting ‘make more money in 2014’ at the top of their New Year’s resolutions.”
The survey also delved into the gap between the sexes, revealing the differences in expectations for men and women. True disparities in pay between men and women seem reflected by these results, with a higher rate of women claiming a difference in expectation and reality. At 55 percent, more women are making less than they expected, opposed to 45 percent of men. Though it’s unclear exactly why, this sense of unevenness in pay seems to be altered by age. While only 28 percent of women aged 35 to 54 say they are making what they expected, 41 percent of women 55 and older say they are earning what they expected.