Credit & Personal Finances

By: Dewey Kearney

A national research company recently completed a survey with 1,005 men and women nationwide to gauge their knowledge of the basics of personal finance, budgeting and principles of credit, and test their knowledge of identity theft and finance responsibilities. Their findings may surprise you.
How Knowledgeable Do Americans Consider Themselves On Personal Finance?
?65% of Americans think they are very or highly knowledgeable about personal finances.
?Do Americans understand credit scores and the impact they have on their lives?
1.66.7% didn't know
2.31.7% responded incorrectly
3.35% when asked to define a good credit score replied 700 (it's actually 740 and above)
4.54% responded incorrectly that age is a factor in determining credit scores (it's not - I sold a $40,000 vehicle to a 23 year old kid with a 740 FICO once)
Are Most Americans Doing Everything Possible To Protect Themselves From Credit Fraud? And Do They Know Enough To Protect Themselves?
?Not surprisingly 52% do not check their credit report regularly
?23% (almost 1/4) say they have never checked their credit report
?35% say they check their credit report once a year
?76% (the majority) are misinformed about liability for purchases if their credit card is lost or stolen
?And finally - look at this - 47% of those polled say they didn't believe they were responsible for any of the charges (oh, yes they are!)
Is There Any Difference Between The Older Generation And The Younger In Managing Personal Finances?
?Older Americans (70+ years) are not checking their credit reports, which makes them extremely vulnerable to credit fraud and identity theft
?46% of Americans age 70+ have never received their credit report
?50% of Americans in their 30's check their credit report every year
?Young Americans are budgeting more - 80% of the 18-19 year olds use a budget while only 46% of those polled 70+ do
What Percentage Of Americans Report That They Use Budgets To Manage Their Finances?
?64% of those polled regularly use a budget
?29% report that they change or modify their budgets sometimes weekly
?Compared to 32% who maintain the same budget to keep track of spending
?More than 36% of Americans polled say they do not use a budget to manage their family expenses
Bottom line - people are all over the map when it comes to understanding the importance of credit scores and credit protection!
For more information on how credit works MyFico.com has a great informational site.

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