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NFCC Poll on Financial Stability Reveals Fears

[Sunday, February 22nd, 2015]

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) found that more than half of respondents surveyed late last year were concerned about their financial stability.

Sixty-six percent of people are unsure whether they are on a path to financial stability. These 66% said that while they would like to have financial stability, they “don’t know how to get there.” Only 3% of respondents said they were already financially stable, while 8% put themselves in the category of “confidently on my way toward financial stability.”  And 23% had given up hope, saying they did not think financial stability was attainable at all.

Bruce McClary, spokesperson for the NFCC, said that the nonprofit found the survey results “deeply concerning.” McClary said that while the fact that so many people have the goal of financial stability was encouraging, “with a few initial steps, most people could be on their way toward achieving what they had initially thought to be impossible.”

The NFCC encourages consumers to review their income, debt, and spending habits to create a baseline from which to make a plan for financial stability. McClary stresses the importance of having control over one’s finances, being organized, and focusing on goals. Tracking all expenses and spending for a period of 30 days is one way the NFCC recommends getting a clearer picture of a person’s financial standing.

Savings and debt are obstacles

The two biggest stumbling blocks on the road to financial stability are insufficient savings and out-of-control debt, according to the NFCC. Savings should be a priority, no matter how much debt a person has, said McClary. The NFCC recommends that people put away 10% of every paycheck into savings. Credit card debt should not account for more than 30% of total available credit, and debt payments should be less than 20% of monthly income.

“The key is to shrink your debt and grow your savings,” said McClary. The NFCC is a nonprofit agency founded in 1951 and offers free credit counseling from certified and trained personnel. They have assistance available for both English and Spanish speakers. Appointments can be made online at www.nfcc.org.

The NFCC Financial Literacy Opinion Index was answered by 1,218 people in December 2014.

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