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Survey Shows Economy Impacting Americans’ Daily Financial Decisions

April 21, 2009

MCLEAN, Va. — While Americans say they understand financial basics and monitoring budgets, they may not be doing enough to save or protect their financial future, according to a survey of America’s “financial IQ” by Capital One Financial Corporation.


According to the survey, nearly 73 percent of those surveyed said that current economic conditions have caused them to change their daily spending habits.

Among some cost-saving strategies, 68 percent of those consumers reported that they are eating out less often, 62 percent are cutting back on entertainment expenses (spending on movies, concerts and books), and more than 54 percent said they are cancelling or postponing vacation plans and clipping coupons. Sixty-four percent are using budgets to manage expenses and only 26 percent modify their budget when an unexpected expense comes along. Americans are also regularly checking account balances for errors and recent activity with 32 percent of those surveyed checking weekly.

The economy is also impacting personal savings. Forty-seven percent of those surveyed said they are putting less money into savings and the same percent report that current economic conditions have caused them to dip into their savings to cover day-to-day expenses. While 33 percent of those surveyed said they save regularly every month, only 12 percent report that they are saving the recommended 10 to 15 percent of their income for the future, and another 12 percent said they are not saving anything at all. Traditional savings accounts top the most popular financial saving instrument with half of Americans using one. Unfortunately, 32 percent reported that they do not know the interest rate on their savings account.

According to the survey, the 59 percent Americans consider themselves to be highly knowledgeable or very knowledgeable when it comes to personal finance, a slight decrease from 64 percent in 2007. Nearly 63 percent of those surveyed say they are extremely comfortable or very comfortable managing short-term finances but only 54 percent feel comfortable managing long-term finances.





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