Americans Budgeting Less, Spending More: Financial Literacy Survey
Americans lack critical knowledge about their personal finances, according to survey results released Tuesday as National Financial Literacy Month gets underway.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling said its eighth-annual Financial Literacy Survey found that 61% of U.S. adults – the most in six years – say they do not have a personal budget.
It also found that 34% carry monthly credit card debt and that 15% of U.S. adults, more than 35 million people, said they roll over more than $2,500 in such balances monthly.
The survey was conducted in March by Harris Poll among 2,016 Americans 18 and older.
“This year’s survey once again confirms what we already know: the need for financial education is great,” said Susan C. Keating, NFCC president/CEO. “Without a solid foundation on which to base everyday financial decisions, Americans are on a slippery slope as they begin to rebuild their financial lives following the Great Recession.”
The survey also found that consumers’ top concerns were evenly divided between insufficient rainy day savings for an emergency (16%) and retiring without having enough money set aside (16%).
Most adults have not reviewed their credit score (60%) or their credit report (65%) within the past 12 months, said the NFCC report, which was sponsored by Experian.
Meanwhile, 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%.
“This suggests that, although consumers are uncomfortable with their lack of savings, they may have nonetheless continually increased their year-over-year spending,” the NFCC said.
The survey also found that 41% gave themselves a grade of C, D or F on their knowledge of personal finance. However, it did find that 73% of U.S. adults said they could benefit from advice and answers to everyday financial questions from a professional.
Also, the NFCC said, “When asked what their money would say to them if money could talk, about one in five (21%) thought it would say ‘I’m smaller than most of my friends.’ Curiously, about one in five (21%) also thought their money would say ‘I feel loved and nurtured.’”