NFCC Poll Suggests Consumers May Have Seven-Year Post-Recession Spending Itch

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Close to half of all poll respondents (49%) predict that their financial situation will be better at this time next year.

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Having been cost-conscious since the beginning of the recession, consumers may now be experiencing the seven-year itch with a desire to begin spending again.

The November online poll hosted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®) revealed that close to half of all respondents (49%) predict that their financial situation will be better at this time next year.

“Consumers exhibiting financial confidence is certainly a positive sign for the American economy. Having been cost-conscious since the beginning of the recession, consumers may now be experiencing the seven-year itch with a desire to begin spending again,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC. “However, if not handled responsibly, attempting to satisfy that itch could invite a personal financial disaster.”

Debt issues can confront anyone at any time. For example, consider the following profile of the average person who came to an NFCC member agency for financial counseling during the first half of 2014:

Reason for seeking counseling: The majority of consumers who sought financial assistance attributed the cause of their distress to a lack of financial management understanding and skills.

Age: One-quarter of the consumers were in the 25-34 age range, with those 35-44 representing the next highest segment.

Gender: Females were the most likely to seek counseling (59%).

Marital Status: Single people narrowly edged out married couples, 37.7% to 35.5% respectively.

Race: The majority of clients were white (47%), followed by African-American (47%) and Hispanic (8%).

Income and debt: The average household income was above $55,500, with unsecured debt of close to $17,000 spread across more than five credit cards.

If this profile looks familiar, it’s because the face of financial distress cuts a wide mark through America, not sparing any age, gender or race.

Fortunately, the NFCC member agencies can provide solid assistance to those struggling with financial concerns by offering trustworthy advice and solutions. Approximately one-third of the clients who sought counseling selected a Debt Management Program (DMP) as the solution to their financial concern. The DMP is a plan that allows consumers to responsibly manage their living expenses while still addressing debt reduction. Proving the value of the counseling, close to forty percent of consumers were able to manage their finances without the help of a DMP after receiving counseling from an NFCC Certified Consumer Credit Counselor.

“As the holidays approach, the NFCC encourages consumers to not let their newly found financial confidence result in being generous to a fault. Financially confident is where you want to remain. Don’t let it slip away through irresponsibly spending,” continued Cunningham.

If you seek financial solid ground or want to ensure that you remain there, reach out today to the NFCC member agency closest to you for counseling in-person, by phone or online. To be automatically connected to an agency near you, dial (800) 388-2227, or locate an agency online at http://www.NFCC.org.

The actual poll question and results are as follows:

At this time next year, I predict that my financial situation will be

A.    Better = 49%
B.    Worse = 17%
C.    About the same = 23%
D.    No idea, as the economy is too unstable for me to make a guess = 11%

Note: The NFCC’s November Financial Literacy Opinion Index was conducted via the homepage of the NFCC website (http://www.NFCC.org) from November 1–30, 2014, and was answered by 865 individuals.

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The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest serving national nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services. NFCC members annually help millions of consumers through more than 600 community-based offices nationwide. For free and affordable confidential advice through a reputable NFCC member, call (800) 388-2227, (en Español (800) 682-9832) or visit http://www.nfcc.org. Visit us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NFCCDebtAdvice, on Twitter: twitter.com/NFCCDebtAdvice, on YouTube: http://www.YouTube.com/NFCC09 , on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/nfccdebtadvice/
and our blog: http://financialeducation.nfcc.org/.

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Gail Cunningham