Poll shows worst decisions are financial

In a recent National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) poll, when choosing between marriage, health, job and personal finance categories, an overwhelming 80 percent of respondents indicated they typically make the worst decisions when it involves their personal finances.

“It is good sign that consumers recognize and admit their problem,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC. “Financial awareness often provides the motivation to jolt a person into taking action that can change the course of their financial life,” continued Cunningham.

Now is the time to do away with the habits that have contributed to poor financial choices. To get started, the NFCC suggests that consumers take the following steps toward increasing financial awareness:

  • Face the financial facts. It’s impossible to know where money is going without tracking it. People avoid doing this, as they fear the reality of their spending will force them to make unpleasant changes. However, knowing where money is spent puts a person in control, allowing them to spend mindfully instead of mindlessly.
  • Know how much is owed. This eye-opening exercise is a must. Once all debt is totaled, review the interest rates for each obligation. Next, total the dollar amount of interest paid each month, and consider how that money could be used if it weren’t going to service debt.
  • Break the pattern of seemingly harmless financial habits. Little money adds up to be big money, so be conscious of incidental spending. Track the amount of money spent each day on items such as lottery tickets, vending machine snacks, cigarettes, and impulse purchases, as these are all budget busters.
  • Determine if conveniences are worth the price. Eating out or purchasing prepared food at the grocery store, paying someone else to mow the lawn, wash the car, clean the house or do the taxes are all examples of tasks that merit a second look.
  • Review bill statements to determine if the debt is worth it. Looking back at a month’s spending through the lens of hindsight can add a new perspective to future spending.

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, focused on creating and delivering valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.