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Survey: Many Americans Struggling to Balance Finances

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A considerable amount of consumers throughout the U.S. are finding it difficult to manage their personal finances, according to a new survey, which reveals planning is essential for Americans who want to budget better.

The Certified Financial Planner Board/Consumer Federation of America Household Financial Planning survey indicates less than one-third of decision-makers in U.S. households – 31 percent – stated they plan for major financial decisions.

Additionally, just 35 percent of households nationwide stated they have a financial plan in place should emergencies arise – a 4 percent drop from the survey results seen in 1997.

According to Princeton Survey Research Associates International, which conducted the survey for the CFPB and CFA, Americans who take the time to monitor their spending and saving habits – as well as credit reports – and implement financial plans for their households are better off than those who don’t.

“The new survey finds people who plan feel more confident about their financial decision‐making, manage to save more money, and feel better about their progress to date in saving for financial goals,” the survey found. “Planners score higher in financial preparedness than non‐planners across income groups. The benefits are not limited to those who are better off.”

Specifically, PSRAI discovered that many Americans are focusing on reducing debt as a means to plan their finances better. Nearly half – 47 percent – of households surveyed indicating they have credit card debt, while one in ten stated they only make minimum payments on their balance each month.

In addition, 62 percent of respondents said they think their credit card debt is too high and unsustainable. These consumers may want to consolidate their loans, PSRAI indicated, as doing so can help them keep better track of, and ultimately reduce, their debt levels.

Whether or not a consumer runs a household’s finances or not, if they have a credit card or other loans, such as a mortgage loan, it may suit them to check on their credit scores and reports from time to time to ensure they are in good standing.

Image: Betsssssy, via Flickr

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