Americans Picked Up Good Financial Habits During the Recession
By Ric Edelman
But they forgot an important one
The Great Recession is officially over — and has been since June 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Research. And although economic recovery has been slow, nearly 70% of Americans have an optimistic outlook about their household finances for the next two years, according to a September survey from KRC Research.
The big reason for their optimism: Americans have improved their financial habits.
Compared to two years ago, when the economic downturn began, 81% of Americans report they are now more responsible with their household’s money, learning to buy things on sale, budget and save more money. Almost 60% say they are likely to continue with their current savings and spending patterns even when the economy recovers.
This is great news, but the survey displayed one worrisome finding: Despite the renewed dedication to managing their personal finances, only 19% say they turned to a financial advisor for help. While it’s great that these families are being more careful with their money on a day-to-day basis, I wonder if they are saving for retirement and college as effectively as they could be. And are they reducing the risk of financial loss due to unexpected events? Is their estate plan in place?
The truth is that personal finance is much more than just managing your household finances. It’s also about setting goals and creating a plan to achieve them. Although many people have taken the first step toward stabilizing their finances and living within their means, I hope they also get the help they need to achieve true financial success.