American Consumer Credit Counseling Survey finds Most Americans Lacking Education on Retirement and Investing

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While over three quarters of consumers know how to budget, few understand how to effectively optimize retirement funds, recover from identity theft and purchase/monitor stock investments according to ACCC poll.

Our economy is still recovering and many consumers are not thinking of their financial profile in ten or twenty years. But the truth is, knowing how to effectively invest and save for retirement now are critical components of a financially healthy future

Many American consumers are struggling to understand some of the more complex financial education topics including identity theft and retirement according to a recent poll conducted by national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling. The ACCC survey conducted during National Financial Literacy Month, found that nearly 8 in 10 consumers surveyed reported that they do not know how to recover from identity theft, while 80 percent are unclear about how to effectively optimize their retirement funds.

However, of the 236 consumers surveyed in the recent ACCC web poll at ConsumerCredit.com, 76 percent know how to create a budget, one of the most essential financial tools for those looking to develop better spending habits and get financially fit.

“While the high number of consumers that are able to create a budget is encouraging, this survey highlights an ongoing need to educate consumers on more complex financial decisions,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, which is based in Newton, Mass. “Our economy is still recovering and many consumers are not thinking of their financial profile in ten or twenty years. But the truth is, knowing how to effectively invest and save for retirement now are critical components of ensuring a financially healthy future.”

Surprisingly, 63 percent of all those polled by ACCC said they know how to dispute a credit report error, a mistake that, according to a recent Federal Trade Commission study, might affect the credit score of one in four Americans.

“In an era when nearly 40 million consumers have a mistake on their credit report, more and more individuals are arming themselves with the necessary financial education to combat these errors,” Trumble said. “There is no reason a consumer should be negatively impacted by false information on their report. These errors can affect one’s ability to purchase a car, obtain a loan or even attend school.”

And it is not just credit reporting errors that can impact one’s credit score. When asked about identity theft, 78 percent of respondents indicated that they do not know how to recover from this crime, which has affected 27.3 million Americans in the last five years.

“Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America,” said Trumble. “The best piece of advice for any consumer to ensure that they do not fall victim is to review your credit score. This will help identify any misuse of credit cards and can also lead to identifying lines of credit that were opened under your name.”

All consumers are entitled to a free annual copy of their credit report from the three major credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. To request this report and get more information, visit AnnualCreditReport.com.

The financially fit poll was the latest in a series of ACCC web surveys for 2013 that focus on a variety of financial education, budgeting and planning topics. American Consumer Credit Counseling’s certified and experienced counselors offer a variety of financial education, counseling and debt management services to help consumers achieve long-term financial health and stability.

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
     • For more information on financial education workshops in New England, call 800-769-3571 x1980
     • Or visit us online at ConsumerCredit.com

About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial health through education, counseling, and debt management. ACCC provides individuals with practical solutions for solving financial problems and recognizes that consumers’ financial difficulties are often not the result of poor spending habits, but more frequently from extenuating circumstances beyond their control. As one of the nation’s leading providers of financial education and credit counseling services, ACCC works with consumers to help them with the best plan of action to reduce their debt and regain financial stability. ACCC is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and holds an A+ rating. It is also a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. For more information or to access free financial education resources log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit TalkingCentsBlog.com.

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