Financial Marketers Should Hit Consumers’ Money Pain Points

A survey on financial literacy reveals consumers’ top concerns.

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling released results of their 2013 Financial Literacy Survey. In its seventh year, the survey annually provides data and trending around Americans’ attitudes and behaviors related to personal finance. Respondents are asked which areas of personal finance currently worry them the most.

Help me figure this out. 40% of U.S. adults gave themselves a grade of C, D, or F on their knowledge of personal finance, thus it is not surprising that nearly four in five (78%) agree that they could benefit from additional advice and answers to everyday financial questions from a professional.

Who do you trust? There is ample opportunity for consumers to improve their level of financial literacy and take steps to resolve their financial problems. Although the plurality of U.S. adults indicated that, if they were having financial problems related to debt, they would first turn to their friends and family for assistance (28%), a similar number (27%) also said they would reach out to a professional nonprofit credit counseling agency.

Not enough savings. 77% of consumers said worries over insufficient savings are their top financial concern, even though more than one in four admit they are spending more than last year. 43% are concerned about not having enough “rainy day” savings for an emergency, and 38% fret over retiring without having enough money set aside.

Not being able to pay financial obligations. A total of 26% of U.S. adults (roughly 61 million people) worry about servicing their debt commitments, including concerns around paying credit card debt (13%), repaying student loan debt (8%), auto loans (7%), and medical debt (6%).

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Health insurance. One in four U.S. adults (25%) are worried about health insurance — either not being able to afford it (19%) and/or not having any (17%).

Credit. While 19% are worried about their credit score and/or lack of access of credit. However, 65% of U.S. adults have neglected to review their credit report in the past year.

Job loss. 18% of Americans say fear of job loss is a major concern.

Foreclosure. Only 4% of Americans worry about losing their home to foreclosure.

Prepaid perceptions. 6% of Americans use prepaid debit cards to pay for everyday transactions. 81% said prepaid cards were a better value and cost less than using a credit card or debit card attached to a checking account. Four in five prepaid cardholders (81%) feel more in control of their money with a prepaid debit card than a debit card connected to a checking account at a bank or credit union. Those who regularly use prepaid debit cards do so primarily because they are convenient (59%). Nearly half (46%) say prepaid debit cards are safer than carrying cash, and two in five (40%) cite the inability to overspend. One in four (24%) say they use prepaid debit cards because they have no other payment or banking options.

Everything is okay. The good news is that 20% of U.S. adults indicated they do not have any financial worries, a strong sign of consumer confidence.

The 2013 Financial Literacy survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of the National Foundation for Credit Counselin between March 4 and March 6, 2013 among 2,037 adults ages 18+.

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