The Pulse

Debt Weighs Heavy On The Minds of Americans

A growing anxiety as number tops $14 trillion

New Nationwide Survey taps into a national malaise;
Nationwide Introduces “Nimbl” App to Help Users Create a Plan to Get Out Debt And Stick to it as Life Changes

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Dealing with debt is foremost on the minds of many Americans and understandably so. In December, the New York Federal Reserve announced that Americans have a record $14 trillion in debt, including mortgages, credit cards, and student loans. The situation can cause a great deal of anxiety.

According to a recent survey conducted by Nationwide and ENGINE1, 44% of Americans feel stressed and 36% feel overwhelmed when thinking about their debt. Many are left wondering, “Is there a way we can get rid of our debt without completely changing the way we live today?”

Nationwide is helping consumers answer that question through a new app that can help users get out and stay out of debt. “Nimbl by Nationwide” analyzes a user’s financial situation, develops a plan to get them out of debt on a timeline that fits their lifestyle, and puts information at their fingertips to help users real-time spending decisions. Their plan can be adjusted to account for changes in their debt and life situation. In short, it can be “Nimbl” to their ever-changing needs.

It’s Hard To Care About The Future When You’re In Debt

“Nationwide engaged consumers from across the U.S. to identify and understand their needs,” said Kirt Walker, Nationwide’s chief executive officer. “What they told us is that it’s hard to care about the future when you’re in debt. And that debt is always on their mind and overwhelms them, such that they don’t know what to do or who to go to. They want direction but don’t want to lose control. Nimbl helps them do just that.”

How ‘Nimbl’  works

  • Users download the Nimbl app from the Apple AppStore or Google Play.
  • From there, Nimbl helps the user connect to some of their financial institutions to bring in spending and debt information. Nimbl uses that information to build a basic budget and understand spending patterns – all in a matter of moments.
  • Based on that information, and how the user feels about their debt, Nimbl puts together a simple recommendation for how they could reduce their spending to get out of debt on a timeline that fits their lifestyle.
  • As users follow that plan, Nimbl stays connected to their financial situation and helps them do even better or recover from a bad day or week to get back on track.
  • Nimbl will provide guidance to help the user decide what tradeoffs to make, what steps to take, and coach you along the way.

What Will You Give Up?

The survey also discovered that Americans would be willing to give up some of their favorite things if someone would develop a plan for them to get out of and stay out of debt. 63% would be willing to give up their favorite food for a month while 49% would forgo their coffee and other forms of caffeine for 30 days.

Americans would be willing to give up some of their favorite things if someone would develop a plan for them to get out of and stay out of debt...

Those sacrifices to eliminate debt would certainly boost consumers’ mindset, according to the survey. More than half of those Nationwide surveyed said they feel a sense of relief (55%) and accomplishment (52%) when they pay off their debt.

“Nimbl stands out from other solutions because of the unique way it helps consumers get an actionable, achievable plan to get out of debt while still maintaining control of their everyday spending decisions. Nimbl puts information at the user’s fingertips so they can be informed when making daily decisions,” said Scott Sanchez, Nationwide’s chief innovation officer. “There are apps that analyze your financial situation and there are apps that give you tips on how to manage your debt. Nimbl does both. It gives users a personalized plan that they can follow and easily adjust as their situation changes.”

Nimbl can also provide users with easy access to information about financial products such as personal loans.

More information about Nimbl can be found at




1 This report presents the findings of a CARAVAN survey conducted by ENGINE among a sample of 1,004 adults comprising 502 men and 502 women 18 years of age and older. The online omnibus study is conducted twice a week among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,000 adults 18 years of age and older. This survey was live on November 21-24, 2019.
Nationwide’s innovation journey
Nimbl is just one example of the actions happening across Nationwide to reimagine how we provide protection, peace of mind and delight to our customers.
Nationwide has implemented several other new solutions, including:
In December 2019, Nationwide opened The CoOperative, a new innovation center in the Arena District near its Columbus, Ohio-based headquarters.
In September 2019, Nationwide announced the launch of Spire – a simple, easy-to-understand digital auto insurance platform, built on fair and straightforward principles and designed to be convenient and accessible from your phone.
Nationwide’s venture capital team has made several recent investments, including Upstream Security, Socotra, Betterview, Nexar, BlueVine, blooom, Insurify, Next Insurance, Matic and Sure.
About Nationwide
Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation, Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Nationwide, Nationwide is on your side, the Nationwide N and Eagle, and Spire are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2019