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Consumers Confident About Finances in New Year
3 Jan
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) said that consumers seem optimistic about their financial pictures heading into 2015.

Their November online poll, conducted each month via their website homepage, asked folks to predict what their financial situation would be this time next year, and almost half (49%) said they thought they’d be in a better place financially. Twenty-three percent answered that they’d be in about the same situation, 17% predicted things would get worse for them money-wise, and 11% declined to make a prediction, saying the economy was too unstable to say what the next year would bring.

While financial optimism is a good sign, NFCC spokesperson Gail Cunningham warned that people may not be prepared for the spending urges that may overtake them now that they economy is on the upswing.

“Consumers exhibiting financial confidence is certainly a positive sign for the American economy,” said Cunningham. However, “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.” She continued on to say that “attempting to satisfy that itch could invite a personal financial disaster.”

Financial trouble spares no household

She said the average person who sought credit counseling from the NFCC in 2014 was a woman (59%), age 25-34 (25%), with almost $17,000 of unsecured debt distributed across more than five credit cards. The average household income of a person seeking help with their debt load was over $55,500 per year.

People were equally likely to be white (47%) or black (also 47%), single (38%) or married (36%). The NFCC said that spending troubles plague all types of households across the board because “debt issues can confront anyone at any time.” Most of the people who reached out for help said they were there because they didn’t have a good understanding of financial management and lacked solid financial skills.

The NFCC and their member agencies give people advice and offer solutions to out-of-control debt issues. One-third of the people who went to an NFCC agency last year were looking to enroll in a debt-management program, and almost 40% did enroll in such a program after getting counseling from a certified consumer credit counselor.

Cunningham stressed that financial confidence is a good thing, but can easily lead to overspending. “Financially confident is where you want to remain. Don’t let it slip away through irresponsibly spending,” she said.

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