Seventy-six percent of more than 6,100 consumers polled by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) picked "decrease debt" as a top financial resolution for 2010. But while the collection industry looks favorably at that goal, NFCC officials are concerned about where other consumer priorities ranked.
Only 6% picked "increase savings" as an objective for 2010. "Decreasing debt is certainly a worthwhile goal," says Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for NFCC. "However that only 6% of respondents [cited] saving as a top financial priority is worrisome. The problem is compounded when contrasted against the advice given by NFCC member agency CEOs who listed savings as their number one tip for financial stability. This disparity suggests a real need for financial education.”
The NFCC recommends that consumers allocate 10% of each paycheck toward building a "rainy day fund." At the end of a year, the groups states, consumers will have a little more than one month’s income set aside, "which should be sufficient for most emergencies."
Without it, when the inevitable emergency occurs, options are often limited to borrowing from friends or family, taking money from a higher payment priority such as housing, or charging the expense and adding to an already burdensome debt load, NFCC continues.
Other financial resolutions and the percentage of respondents who picked it include: "improve my credit score" at 11% and "decrease my dependence on credit cards" at 7%.