June 22, 2016 by Mark Hammerstrom
“Regrets, I’ve had a few / But then again, too few to mention…”
-Frank Sinatra, “My Way”
A couple weeks back I wrote a blog about the most recent New York Federal Reserve’s report on consumer credit. Yes, I know, you read it thoroughly (along with the actual New York Fed report) with keen interest and attention.
Admittedly it was a bit wonky. So if you missed it by chance, the takeaway was that while consumer debt is at or near all-time highs, for the moment at least the level of debt seems sustainable given low unemployment and the fact that consumers have been able to keep paying on their outstanding debts. Delinquencies have decreased to 5%, which on the surface also seems good news for businesses.
Good news for the economy too, or at least it would seem. And yet there are apparently…regrets. In the context of Mr. Sinatra’s famous line, however, these do seem worth mentioning.
Recently Bankrate published a new nationwide survey they did regarding the financial regrets of our fellow Americans. Claes Bell, wrote an article about the survey posted on Bankrate.com entitled “Most Americans have financial regrets, particularly about saving.”
So while we seem to be going along happily accumulating a significant amount of new debt, it does come with a price.
“It’s hard to get through life without at least one major financial regret.” writes Bell. There are a fortunate few: 17% of the survey respondents report having no financial regrets at all.
The rest* (60% of respondents) listed the following as their top six financial regrets:
- Not saving for retirement early enough (18%)
- Not saving enough for emergencies (13%)
- Taking on too much student loan debt (9%)
- Taking on too much credit card debt (9%)
- Not saving enough for your children’s education (8%)
- Buying more house than you could afford. (3%)
*The remaining 23% had other concerns or would not answer.
Some surprising insights Bell points out include:
- “Those in or near retirement are much more likely to bemoan a late start on retirement-saving than younger Americans. More than a quarter of those 65 and older say it’s their biggest regret, versus roughly 16% of younger respondents.”
- “A lack of savings for emergencies is a source of anxiety for many people, making it another top financial regret. Millions of Americans — 13% in our poll — consider not having an emergency fund their biggest money misgiving. That’s the 2nd most popular response overall and a particularly keen concern among young adults and those making less than $30,000 a year.”
- “While student loans finish 3rd overall among Americans’ biggest regrets, it’s at the top for younger Americans, with just under a quarter of Americans aged 18 to 29 citing it as their No. 1 financial source of remorse. And, women list student loan debt as a regret at twice the rate men do.”
Lots of regrets. Are we doing anything about them? It does not seem so. Another survey done by GOBankingRates late last year asked the question “How much money do you have saved in your savings account?” In a measure of some good news, the survey reported that at least half of us have “something” in a savings account.
The most troubling part of the survey, though, was the large percentage of us that have less than a $1,000 in savings. According to the survey, 71% of the respondents reported this level of savings or less, with 49% reporting they have no savings account or if they do they have nothing in it at all.
Like the blog from a few weeks back, the takeaway for our clients is to be ever vigilant on the state of their delinquencies. Good times or bad. Doing so will not catch you unawares when inevitably things go south.
Founded in 1950, United Credit Service, Inc. is a full service, licensed revenue cycle management and debt collection agency in Wisconsin providing effective, customized one on one management and recovery solutions for our business partners. Visit our website at http://www.unitedcreditservice.com, call 877-723-2902 or check out our YouTube video.