Do you feel like you are in a good place financially? Are you reaching your financial goals? According to a survey by Citi Economic Pulse, more consumers feel positive about the economy — and their own improving financial situations.
Here are some of the results from the survey. How do you stack up?
Learned From Financial Mistakes: 74%
According to the survey, many people feel like they are learning from their financial mistakes. Many of us have made financial mistakes in the past, and learning from them is essential if we expect to make progress in the future. Have you thought about your financial mistakes and then learned lessons as a result?
Set a Budget: 69%
While I'm not a big fan of the budget (I prefer a spending plan), I do think it's a positive development that more people are planning their finances. Whether you have a budget and stick to it, or whether you have some sort of spending plan that reflects your financial priorities, it's a good idea to know where your money is coming from, and understand where it's going.
Build an Emergency Fund: 60%
According to the Citi survey, quite a few people have some emergency savings. The real question, though, is whether the emergency fund is adequate. I doubt that 60% of people have three to six months' worth of expenses saved up — much less enough saved up to get them through nine to 12 months of unemployment or some other disaster.
But something is better than nothing, and even if all you have is $1,000 saved up as part of your Dave Ramsey-related efforts, that's not a bad thing.
Long Term Financial Plan: 60%
Do you have a long term financial plan? This is essential if you want to make sure that some of the “big” goals are covered. Your long term financial plan should include such items as saving for your child's college and planning for retirement. It's important to think about how your priorities now will interact with your long term goals later.
Pay Off Credit Card Balance: 59%
The Citi survey indicates that 59% of respondents claim to pay off their credit card balances every month. This is a great thing for finances. Rather than paying interest right into someone else's pocket, these consumers are making sure that they only spend what they can afford. Plus, with this type of planning, it's possible for consumers to make the most of their credit cards, racking up the rewards and cash back, but avoiding the interest.
Put Enough Money Into Savings: 56%
This is one of the areas where I wonder if delusion is playing a part in the response rate. Yes, many consumers might be saving their money in retirement accounts and in other accounts. But is it really enough? You might be saving $150 a month, and feel good about it. But once you run a calculation related retirement, you quickly discover that, unless you are still a teenager, $150 a month isn't likely going to cut it later on. You may think you're putting enough into savings, but you probably aren't.
What do you think of these findings? Do they seem reasonable to you? Or do you think they are off base?