Paying down debt as the number one financial goal in 2015
A recent survey from national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling finds that consumers plan to tackle credit card, student loan and personal loan debt in the coming year.
(Boston, MA) – February 5, 2015 – Paying down debt ranks as the number one financial goal for consumers in 2015, according to a recent survey conducted by national financial education nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling. The number one goal of debt repayment is no surprise given that respondents identified relying too much on credit cards as their biggest financial regret over the past year. The complete results of the survey can be found here.
“The financial regrets of 2014 and the goals for 2015 go hand-in-hand,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “The reality is, many consumers are faced with a vicious cycle that causes them to use credit cards for everyday purchases forcing them to dedicate most of their income to pay down these debts each billing cycle.”
The results of this survey come as, according to a recent survey by Fidelity, fewer consumers are setting financial goals for the New Year. The study found that just 31 percent of respondents said they were making a financial resolution, compared to 43 percent in 2014. However, the same study also found that money resolutions work since about half of those who made a money resolution last year said they are now “better off financially," compared to just 38 percent of those who didn’t set one.
In comparison, Charles Schwab’s Fall Financial Pulse survey of 1,466 adults ages 25 to 65 found that more than half said they “don’t feel they are on top of their finances,” while 27 percent said they “don’t know where to start and need more education or information.” A total of 15 percent of respondents stated they didn’t want to deal with their finances because they consider them to be “too overwhelming.”
The latest ACCC online survey of over 150 participants found that, when compared to other financial goals, consumers are overwhelmingly focused on paying down debt, while only a small percentage are turning their attention to other goals such as building a personal savings or creating and sticking to a budget. Similarly, only 2 percent of respondents set a goal to either contribute or contribute more to their emergency fund or to save for a large purchase.
“With so many consumers focused on tackling debt, building a savings account often falls to the wayside,” said Trumble. “Though decreasing debt is important, just as important is having an emergency fund so that you do not have to tap into credit to get through a financially challenging situation.”
When it comes to consumers’ biggest financial regrets over the past year, 19 percent of respondents admitted that not sticking to a budget was their biggest regret, followed by not contributing to savings, retirement or emergency funds, with 16 percent. Surprisingly, only 13 percent of respondents cited frivolous spending as their biggest regret in 2014.
When asked about their opinion on the state of the economy, 40 percent indicated they thought the economy remained the same since this time last year, while 27 percent cited an improved economic state.
“Clearly Americans are buckling down when it comes to finances, but many are still not reaping the rewards,” continued Trumble. “Despite lowered unemployment rates and what many consider to be an improved economy, the majority of Americans are still struggling.”
ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:
• For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
• For bankruptcy counseling. call 866-826-6924
• For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
• Or visit us online at ConsumerCredit.com
About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management and debt relief through education, credit counseling, and debt management solutions. Each month, ACCC invites consumers to participate in a poll focused on personal finance issues. The results are conveyed in the form of infographics that act as tools to educate the community on everyday personal finance issues and problems. By learning more about financial management topics such as credit and debt management, consumers are empowered to make the best possible financial decisions to reach debt relief. As one of the nation’s leading providers of personal finance education and credit counseling services, ACCC’s certified credit advisors work with consumers to help determine the best possible debt solutions for them. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. To participate in this month’s poll, visit ConsumerCredit.com and for more financial management resources visit TalkingCentsBlog.com.