New Survey: 55 Percent of Consumers Admit Expenses Exceed Income

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More than 70 percent of consumers have a budget and 86 percent check their credit reports at least once a year

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Being aware of how much money is coming in and out of your account can reduce the probability of overspending and allow you to plan effectively for the future.

When living a financially healthy life, it is important that consumers take steps to avoid situations where their expenses routinely exceed their income. According to a recent survey from American Consumer Credit Counseling, 55 percent of consumers admit that their expenses exceed their income. Forty-six percent say that this is sometimes the case, while 9 percent admit it is always the case.

“Creating a budget is one of the most important steps consumers can take to ensure they are effectively managing their personal finances,” said Steve Trumble President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, which is based in Newton, MA. “Being aware of how much money is coming in and out of your account can reduce the probability of overspending and allow you to plan effectively for the future.”

According to the survey, 70 percent of the respondents say they have a budget that includes their income and at least some of their expenses and half of these respondents (35 percent) say they have a complete budget that includes income as well as fixed, variable, periodic and discretionary expenses. However, a considerable 26 percent say they do not have a budget.

Another piece of good news: 86 percent of consumers check their credit report at least once a year. Sixty-seventy percent say they periodically check their credit reports using the three credit bureaus or use a service that lets them see their report anytime. Only 10 percent of consumers polled say they never check their credit report.

When it comes to paying off credit cards only 14 percent of respondents say they pay their balance completely each month. A majority of the respondents (52 percent) say they try to pay more than the minimum as much as possible, followed by 19 percent who pay only the minimum, and 6 percent who pay as much as they can afford even if it is less than the minimum.

A study by Boston Fed found that only 35 percent of credit card users don’t carry a balance, meaning they pay off their debt in full each month. According to a survey by Credit.com, when it comes to those who do not check credit reports, almost 40 percent of millennials don’t know where to obtain them, 34 percent never think about it and 26 percent do not believe they are important.

The online poll of 167 consumers was conducted by American Consumer Credit Counseling on the organization’s website, http://www.consumercredit.com. You can view an infographic illustrating the poll results here: http://www.consumercredit.com/financial-education/infographics/infographic-what-is-your-financial-iq

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 http://www.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 through credit counseling, debt counseling, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education. 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 consumer debt 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 National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). To participate in this month’s poll, visit ConsumerCredit.com and for more financial management resources visit http://debthelp.consumercredit.com/.

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Marissa Sullivan
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