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Americans Tap Savings to Cope with Economy

November 18, 2008

As the economic slide continues into the holiday season, more Americans are making ends meet by turning to one of their last resorts — their savings. A new COUNTRY Financial survey shows people are tapping their savings more now (44 percent) than in July (43 percent), even after slashing their spending.

“This is a tough time for a lot of Americans, but before using your savings to make ends meet, try to find some other way to cut spending,” says Keith Brannan, vice president of Financial Security Planning at COUNTRY. “Being financially secure means safeguarding what you’ve achieved and saving for your family’s future, even in tough times. Depleting your savings, whether it’s a passbook account or a retirement fund, should be one of the last methods you use to stay afloat.”

A vast majority of Americans are concerned about their personal finances when looking toward the holiday season. Seventy-seven percent say they are very or somewhat concerned about their personal finances as they look to the holidays, with the majority saying they will rely less (31 percent) or about the same (51 percent) on credit this holiday season than last year.


Americans Cut Spending

November 18, 2008
  • Sixty-seven percent say they have cut spending to cope with the uncertain economy, up from 65 percent who took this action earlier in the year.
  • Sixty-two percent say cutting spending has either significantly (18 percent) or moderately (43 percent) helped cope with the economy.


Reliance on Credit Dwindles

November 18, 2008
  • Fewer Americans (21 percent) are relying on credit to get by than did in July (26 percent).

“Whether it is consumers making smart choices or credit card companies tightening their lending standards, less reliance on credit is a positive thing for Americans,” adds Brannan. “If you want to cut spending and credit card use, it’s important to have a tangible plan you can follow. If you don’t have time or are uncomfortable making these decisions on your own, get help from a knowledgeable financial professional.”


Tips to keep in mind for preserving long term savings:

November 18, 2008
  • Withdrawing money from your 401(k) account can cost you more than you might think. In addition to the income tax you could owe, you will have to pay a penalty. Plus, many employers will withhold a percentage of your withdrawal amount for income tax purposes.
  • If you find yourself tapping into your savings regularly, consider contributing less to your savings accounts temporarily, but don’t stop contributing altogether.

The November COUNTRY Consumer Choices survey is based on a national telephone survey of 3,000 Americans and is compiled by Rasmussen Reports, LLC, an independent research firm. The margin of sampling error for this survey is approximately +/- 2 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

About COUNTRY Financial

COUNTRY Financial serves about one million households and businesses throughout the United States. It offers a full range of financial products and services from auto, home and life insurance to retirement planning services, investment management and annuities.