Study Finds Consumers Plan to Get More Financially Fit in 2011
Sixty-Four Percent Plan to Fight Financial Stress by Saving Money, Spending Less and Budgeting More
A recent TransUnion survey on consumers' 2011 financial goals found that nearly two out of three consumers said they plan to improve their financial position this year. Effective budgeting, saving more and paying down credit card debt were the top three methods selected to achieve this goal.
These results validate what consumers have done in managing credit card debt over the last 12 months. Tracked by TransUnion's Market Trends, the average credit card borrower debt dropped 1.7 percent from the 3Q09 to 3Q10 ($3,772 to $3,709).
The survey, conducted by Zogby International, also found that nearly a third (31 percent) of the respondents had no financial goals set for 2011, while five percent said they plan to improve their credit standing. While various economic indicators show the recession ended in June of 2009(1), 37 percent of consumers felt 2010 was more financially stressful than 2009, possibly indicating a lag-effect when in comes to personal finances.
"The new year is the perfect time for consumers to appraise their current financial situation and make goals for where they want to be at the end of 2011," said Tom Reid, director of consumer solutions for TransUnion.ca. "TransUnion.ca offers consumers tools to help them understand their credit information, manage their debt accounts, and protect their identity -- and most of all, help them achieve their financial goals for this year."
TransUnion.ca provides the following five tips to help consumers start 2011 off on the right financial foot:
- Check your credit reports regularly: The first step to robust credit health is to recognize which bad financial habits, such as late payments, you have and how they are represented on your credit report. Monthly check-ups will also help you guard against identity theft.
- Know your score: The higher your score, the better rate you are likely to receive.
- Create a monthly spending plan and stick to it: This simple commitment can help you start a savings plan and will help keep you from building up unmanageable debt. Also, setting aside a fixed amount each month or week will guarantee funds in the case of emergency, while helping you develop financial discipline.
- File a dispute: It is your right to question information on your credit report that you don't recognize or that might not be accurate. Information to file a dispute by phone or mail can be found on TransUnion.com.
- Guard against identity theft: To help guard against this increasingly prevalent crime, sign up for a credit monitoring service that will quickly alert you to any changes in your report.
Zogby International was commissioned by Transunion.ca to conduct an online survey of 501 Canadian adults. The surveys were completed between December 20 and December 22, 2010.
Zogby International's partners supply email addresses for adults in Canada. These panelists were invited to participate. Slight weights were added to region, age, education, and gender to more accurately reflect the population. The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.
(1) U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research