Even though roughly one-fourth of Americans claim to be satisfied with their financial health, a new study shows that only 41 percent are living within their means.

The study, which was sponsored by Financial Industry Regulatory Agency Foundation, surveyed more than 25,000 Americans about their “financial health.” While much of the data exposed serious shortcomings in financial responsibility, the report also showed positive signs of improvement.

Forty-nine percent of those surveyed said they paid off the balance on the credit card each month, an 8 percent increase from 2009.

Also found in the study were indications that those who earn higher wages and are well educated are more likely to be deemed “financially healthy.”

Location also seems to play a big part in financial security. States such as California, Massachusetts and New Jersey were notably more healthy than Mississippi, Arkansas or West Virginia.

Those surveyed in Utah showed signs of growing financial awareness. Only 18 percent of Utahns said they spent more than their income in 2012, a 6 percent improvement from 2009.

The study also provided participants with a series of basic financial questions. Forty-nine percent of Utahns answered four or more of the five questions right, 10 percent more than the national average.

JJ Feinauer is a graduate of Southern Virginia University and an intern for the Moneywise page on Email:, Twitter: @johnorjj.