New York, NY (PRWEB) March 29, 2014
Strategic Consulting Services (http://www.strategiccs.org), a New York firm providing client-focused financial consulting for consumers, sees American attitudes towards savings and debt changing for the worse. Even as Americans began to save more and pay down debt after the financial crisis of 2008, savings trends have historically plunged while debt loads have soared over the past 20 years. With nearly one in three Americans falling below the poverty line between 2009 and 2011, serious steps are needed to change financial behaviors individually and collectively.
With American consumers struggling between paying down credit cards and building up personal savings, trends show the “average American” isn’t financially fit. A survey from Bankrate.com shows that 28% of Americans owe more in credit card debt than they have available in savings or emergency funds. Furthermore, 16 percent report not having any emergency savings. This report, however, is just one drop in a flood of data that shows American’s behavior is changing and could have dangerous consequences.
Figures reported by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), a national nonprofit financial counseling organization, show that only 54 percent of Americans say they have a saving plan with specific goals. More than a third surveyed don’t have enough emergency funds for unexpected expenses like a doctor visit or car repairs. These concerning statistics show a trend of declining savings historically in America. Today's savings rate is down to as low as three percent compared to a high of 14 percent in the 1970s.
American culture has long encouraged spending over saving. Influenced by large companies and even the U.S. government, American capitalism encourages consumers to take on debt for a home, car, education, and a myriad of goods available on every street corner. After World War II, the U.S. government actively promoted savings through savings bonds and institutions like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to protect the money that people did save. These institutions and programs are still in place; however they have been eclipsed by the marketing power of manufacturers and lenders. As the popularity and availability of debt financing grew, bankruptcy filings have been consistent with consumer debt trends and bankruptcy filings have been steadily on the rise over the last 100 years.
“Recent efforts to increase minimum wage, improve overtime pay, and streamline healthcare are needed but may be pointless if Americans can’t manage a personal budget and financially plan for the future. With a national trend towards financial apathy, savings levels have plunged as Americans rely more on credit cards. The focus for individuals has become ‘surviving’ personal financial crises, rather than planning for the future to avoid any crisis in the first place. So to pay for a car mechanic or medical specialist, an individual takes on more debt that prevents any saving for future needs,” says Ben Kittle, Senior Financial Consultant at Strategic Consulting Services. “Unfortunately, the debt cycle has become a permanent fixture in American life, with fewer paying their entire credit card balance monthly or working to pay off their home early. A change is needed to keep American personal finances reliable and strong, either an organic change within American beliefs or a change enforced by U.S. government policies that reinforce saving as a virtue.”
About Strategic Consulting Services
Strategic Consulting Services is a financial services firm with teams specialized in Debt Management, Mortgages and Business Services. With a comprehensive client-focused approach, the Company provides assessments looking beyond immediate financial issues to help clients build greater financial strength with smart habits and choices. Since 2007, Strategic Consulting Services has helped individuals and small businesses create savings plans, reduce debt, and make wiser spending choices. For more information, visit http://www.strategiccs.org.