Are we creeping back into our bad, old financial habits? A
survey released March 31 suggests so: The number of Americans who
say they don't prepare a budget is rising, while the number cutting
their spending is falling.
According to its
2014 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey
, three-fifths of adults in the U.S. say they do not have a budget.
The survey was commissioned by the National Foundation for Credit
Meanwhile, the percentage of adults spending less compared to
the year before has steadily dropped since 2009, when, in the
immediate aftermath of the recession, 57 percent of respondents
said they were pulling back. The number of financial downshifters
has fallen every year since, to 29 percent in 2014.
The survey's data prompted NFCC President and CEO Susan Keating
to call for increased financial literacy. "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," she said in a press
The biggest financial worries for those polled in 2014 were not
enough savings set aside for an emergency, at 16 percent, and
retiring without enough saved, also at 16 percent. Some 34 percent
said in 2014 that they did not have any savings, excluding
retirement savings, up from 31 percent in 2013.
In better news, the percentage of U.S. adults carrying credit
card debt from month to month has steadily dropped, from 44 percent
in 2009 to 34 percent this year. Six percent of those polled
reported credit card debt of $10,000 or more, the same figure
reported in 2009.
Lack of knowledge about credit scores and reports was high, with
40 percent saying in 2014 that they didn't know why, how to or even
that they could access their scores. Twelve percent said they
received their credit reports and didn't feel they needed their
scores as well. Sixty percent of those polled said they hadn't
ordered or received their credit scores in the last year.
When asked the same questions about credit reports, 33 percent
said in 2014 that they didn't know why, how to or that they could
access their reports. A full 65 percent of those polled said they
hadn't received their credit report in the past year.
Harris Poll conducted this poll online from March 4-6, surveying
2,016 people who were 18 and older. Figures are weighted where
necessary to align them with the full U.S. population. A unit of
the credit reporting bureau Experian sponsored this year's
Healing your inner financial child
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alt="CreditCards.com infographic: Bad financial habits creeping