Budgeting & Debt:
Financial experts generally agree that a budget is a basic tool of financial management, and without it, a person can more easily lose track of spending. Nonetheless, consumers appear reluctant to utilize this tool, which could explain why about one in three adults (34%) indicated their household carries credit card debt from month-to-month, with 15 percent, or more than 35 million people , admitting to rolling over $2,500 or more monthly. Click here to view the full survey with more details.
Savings vs. Spending:
Though more than half of adults (55%) say they are now saving the same as last year, the proportion who have non-retirement savings has decreased slightly from 69% in 2013 to 66% in 2014. However, the proportion of adults who are spending less when compared to the previous year continues to decline, from a high in 2009 of 57 percent, to a low in 2014 of 29 percent. This suggests that, although consumers are uncomfortable with their lack of savings, they have nonetheless continually increased their year-over-year spending. Click here to view the full survey with more details.
Credit Reports & Scores:
Most adults have not reviewed their credit score (60%) or their credit report (65%) within the past 12 months. Close to one in four adults who did not order their credit report in the past 12 months (23%) indicated that they already knew their credit score(s) so they didn't need their credit report(s). Although related, credit reports and credit scores are two very different expressions of a person's credit. Since each plays a critical role in a person's financial future, they each merit at least an annual review. A further reflection of the confusion around credit reports and scores is that more than half of all U.S. adults (54%) mistakenly believe that a standard credit report typically contains a person's credit score(s). Click here to view the full survey with more details.
The need for financial education is great!
The absence of a budget, insufficient savings, spending beyond what can be responsibly repaid, confusion around credit reports and scores, and an admitted lack of knowledge pertaining to personal finance are reds flags that demand attention and the need for financial education. When asked why they would not reach out to a professional non-profit credit counseling agency for help if they were having financial problems related to debt, about one in four adults (24%) say they can resolve their own problems without outside help, while more than one in four (27%) – indicated that they would reach out to a professional non-profit credit counseling agency for help. Click here to view the full survey with more details.