Digging Out of Debt
NEW SURVEY FINDS DIGGING OUT OF DEBT IS TOP FINANCIAL PRIORITY FOR MIDWEST RESIDENTS FOLLOWING THE RECESSION
Women Feeling the Financial Burn More than Men
BELLEVUE, Neb., June 30, 2012 – A new survey co-sponsored by SAC Federal Credit Union and the Institute for Career Advancement Needs (ICAN) has found that regaining financial stability following the recession remains a primary area of focus for many who reside in the Midwest.
Among the more than 5,500 respondents who participated in the online survey titled Leading the Way- The 2012 Leadership and Finances Survey, “decreasing debt” was cited as the area they are most looking to improve upon in the year ahead as it relates to finances, taking priority over “growing personal savings” which was the second most popular response and “saving for retirement” which ranked third.
Respondents also expressed doubts regarding their financial outlook, as nearly 70 percent (68%) reported they were only “somewhat confident” in the overall state of their finances, saying they are managing their finances as best they can, but feel there is room for improvement when preparing for the future. And for women, the numbers proved even more concerning. Of those who said they were “not confident” in the overall state of their finances, 65 percent were women − reporting that they are not managing their finances well and are not prepared for the future − compared to just 35 percent of men.
So what is fueling this sentiment? The recession appears to be playing a role, with the majority (44%) of respondents reporting the recent recession and market volatility has made them rethink how they view their personal finances. Of those who reported the recession caused them to rethink their finances, the majority said it made them realize that they should be more conservative with their money, as well as become more educated overall regarding proper money management. More specifically, respondents said the recession opened their eyes in the following ways:
- 40 percent of respondents reported the recession made them realize they need to spend less and save more
- 28 percent of respondents said it made them realize they need to learn more about overall money management, such as budgeting, saving, debt consolidation and refinancing
- 24 percent reported it made them realize they need to learn more about their own financial situation and take more of an active role
Women more than men also report having felt the lasting effects of the recession. Of those who reported the recession made them realize they need to spend less and save more, 57 percent were women compared to 43 percent of men. The same was true of financial education. Of those respondents who reported the recession made them realize they need to learn more about money management, such as budgeting, saving, debt consolidation and refinancing, 61 percent were women compared to just 39 percent of men.
Despite the numbers, it seems respondents’ optimism may help them achieve a more stable financial position. Of those who said they are looking to improve upon the areas of “decreasing debts”, “growing their personal savings” and “saving for retirement” over the course of the next year, 93 percent are either confident or somewhat confident they will make these improvements and meet their goals.
So what does this mean for residents in our area? Gail L. DeBoer, President and CEO of SAC Federal Credit Union, believes the information to be quite telling- highlighting that, while there is significant work to be done before we will be at pre-recession levels of financial stability, it’s probable that we will overcome these challenges if we take the right steps to get there.
“Residents in our area and throughout the Midwest have some catching up to do as it relates to their finances,” said DeBoer. “The good news is that even though many are still working toward achieving a better financial position, the vast majority are optimistic about making progress. It’s time to move beyond the past and focus on future planning that will enable families to achieve their short-term as well as their long-term financial goals.”
SAC Federal Credit Union offers the following tips for those looking to get their finances in order:
- Examine your current financial position – Perform an audit on your personal finances, noting all major debts, interest percentages, amounts allocated to savings as well as impending expenses that will require additional planning, such as retirement and higher education.
- Identify areas of opportunity – Given your financial situation, are there opportunities to consider for improving your outlook, such as the refinancing of major assets such as a car or home, consolidating debts or establishing a long-term savings plan?
- Make it happen – Once you have identified key opportunities for optimizing your finances, be sure to follow through. Find a financial partner to help you prioritize and implement your plans based on your goals.
SAC Federal Credit Union offers Omaha area residents a wide variety of financial solutions and services to help navigate life’s events.
This online survey was facilitated by Ervin & Smith on behalf of SAC Federal Credit Union (SACFCU) and the Institute for Career Advancement Needs (ICAN) from March 28-April 20, 2012. The survey was distributed via email by SACFCU and ICAN to their pre-existing email lists composed of 24,900 respondents combined, the majority (93%) of whom reside in the Midwest region of the U.S. It was also accessible via modules on the SACFCU and ICAN websites. 5,563 people participated in this survey, which had a margin of error of +/- 1 percent. This means that survey results will differ by no more than 1.0 percentage point in either direction if distributed again among a similar population sample. The survey findings are representative of a convenience, not a random sample. SAC Federal Credit Union, the Institute for Career Advancement Needs and Ervin & Smith are separate, unaffiliated companies and are not responsible for each other's products and services.
About SAC Federal Credit Union
SAC Federal Credit Union is Nebraska’s largest credit union and is locally owned by its members and recognized for its community involvement. It is community chartered and membership is opened to everyone in Douglas, Sarpy, Cass, Saunders, & Washington Counties in Nebraska and Pottawattamie, Harrison & Mills Counties in Iowa. Motivated by member service rather than profit, the credit union’s focus is on providing safety, soundness and convenience to its membership. SACFCU offers a full line of personal and business financial products including checking, loans, mortgages, online and mobile banking. The credit union has current assets of over $570 million and a long history of building strong member relationships.
ICAN is a non-profit organization providing a life-long continuum of innovative professional and personal leadership development experiences. ICAN programs develop vital, resilient and balanced leaders dedicated to building and sustaining strong, healthy organizational cultures and communities. More than 3,000 women and men have graduated from ICAN programs. For more information, visit www.icanglobal.net or call 402-392-0746.