The Great Recession Inspires Better Financial Behavior

Since the crisis gripped the economy, more Americans are keeping better track of their spending and are saving more money outside of their retirement accounts.As we all know, the Great Recession has created some of the worst economic conditions in recent American history, with painfully high unemployment and rising mortgage defaults just two of many problems. But now there is some positive news, however slight: The financial mess appears to have inspired Americans to adopt better financial behavior, according to results of the latest Consumer Financial Literacy Survey from the National Foundation of Credit Counseling.

Since the financial crisis gripped the economy, more people are keeping better track of their spending and saving more money outside of their retirement accounts, according to the NFCC survey released on Tuesday.

The survey says the percentage of people who claim to keep close track of their spending has risen to 43% from 39% in 2007. It also shows the percentage of adults with savings outside of their retirement plans has increased to 67% in 2010 from 63% in 2007.

Troubling Patterns Remain

"Sometimes it takes hitting bottom to facilitate change," says Susan C. Keating, president and CEO of the NFCC. "We are encouraged by the positive developments, but nonetheless remain concerned about the many areas where the survey exposed continued financial deficiencies."

Even though the survey showed progress in two major areas, troubling patterns remained. More than half of the respondents (56%) say they still don't have a budget. And 30% reported that they have no savings at all. In fact, the economic conditions have been so devastating that only 24% say they are now saving more money than they did a year ago.

"We still have a long way to go before Americans consider themselves financially literate," Keating says.
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