personal finance

Many Americans afraid to Check Bank Statements

COUNTRY Survey: Many Americans afraid to Check Bank Statements, but Plan to Reduce Debt in 2011

January 18, 2011

BLOOMINGTON- Despite signs of economic recovery, many Americans are still struggling with the fallout of volatile financial times. According to a new COUNTRY Financial survey, one in three adults (33 percent) acknowledge being scared to check the balance on their bank statement in the past year, even as more than half (51 percent) say they have decreased spending on leisure activities.

This uneasiness may be contributing to changes in how they will manage their money in 2011. Americans say their financial priorities are reducing debt (28 percent) and boosting savings (21 percent). One area left unchanged is Americans’ budgeting practices. Nearly half (49 percent) currently do not utilize a household budget, a number virtually unchanged from July 2008 (51 percent).

“It is difficult to see the impact of making positive changes like reducing debt and boosting savings without tracking your finances against a budget,” says Keith Brannan, vice president of Financial Security Planning for COUNTRY Financial. “Following a budget, even if you’re still uncomfortable with your bank balance, makes it easier to revisit your financial plan and adjust as necessary. If you don’t have a budget, a good new year’s resolution may be to develop one.”

 

Few Americans relying on credit

January 18, 2011

Budgeting aside, when it comes to relying on credit, most Americans say they are on top of it. Only one in eight (13 percent) say they rely on credit to pay their monthly bills. Younger age groups and lower incomes are more likely to use credit to meet their monthly obligations.

Do you rely on credit to meet monthly bills even if you don’t have money to pay off charges? Yes

All Americans

13%

Age: 18-29 year olds

16%

Age: 30-39 year olds

15%

Income: Under $20K

20%

Income: $20K-$40K

17%

January 18, 2011

“It’s encouraging to see Americans not tapping out credit cards to keep up with their monthly financial commitments. Reliance on credit can have a huge impact on your financial situation in the future, especially if you don’t have a plan to pay off your debts,” notes Brannan. “It’s important to remember that financial security is not only about focusing on your short-term obligations, but also about planning for long-term goals.”

The COUNTRY survey on managing finances is based on a national telephone survey of 3,000 Americans and is compiled by Rasmussen Reports, LLC (www.rasmussenreports.com), an independent research firm. The margin of sampling error for this survey is approximately +/- 2 percentage points with a 98 percent level of confidence.

About COUNTRY Financial

COUNTRY Financial (http://www.countryfinancial.com) 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.