Cash Now is being Focused on Paying Down Debt

Consumers are delaying saving cash now and that’s creating potential problems for the future. New studies are showing that for the third year in a row, people are forgoing retirement saving. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s annual Retirement Confidence Survey, the percentage of workers who have less than $10,000 in savings has grown to 43%. That number is up from 39% one year ago. In addition, workers who have less than $1,000 in savings have grown to 27% from 20% last year.

Saving habits have changed

Studies are showing that the economic downturn changed consumers’ savings habits. The hefty unemployment rate and the lack of credit options worked together to create a difficult situation for consumers. Adding to that problem were the mortgage issues and the suspension of corporate 401k matches. Combined, all these things caused Americans to have to tap into savings and that move left them with diminished nest eggs for the future.

The result of a decline in savings

The decline in savings is set to make some serious changes in the future of Americans. First of all, without a nest egg squared away, many people are already accepting the need to postpone retirement. No longer are workers looking to exit the workforce in their mid-60s. In today’s world, they are looking for a much longer work-life that extends well into their 70s. A growing number of Americans say they will continue in the workforce for as long as they are able.

What seems to be changing as the years go by is less Americans are focusing on saving and more are focusing on getting by. Experts attribute the change in focus to the credit lending crash of the recession. Prior to the recession, many people relied on credit for emergency bills and monthly expenses. Lenders extended unwarranted credit to sub-prime borrowers and handed out millions in funds to consumers who had little ability to realistically repay the money. When the recession began, lenders quickly shifted their priorities to mitigate loss, rather than extend more credit. That mitigation meant increasing interest rates to unmanageable levels, cutting limits and tacking on fees. Lenders were focused on maximizing their income due to the huge number of defaulted loans. Increasing the cost of credit only caused more consumers to fall into trouble.

Consumers focus on debt

Saving cash now is a priority, but many Americans are just getting back on their feet financially after suffering huge losses as a result of the recession. Surveys are showing that most money is still going to paying down debt. Consumers see the problems debt can create and are suffering through heightened interest rates. They understand the cost of credit and are trying to get rid of it as quickly as possible.

Retirement in the future

Experts say that retirement savings, including Social Security benefits and pensions, should add up to 80% of pre-retirement income. They tell customers that making that 80% goal is not difficult. In general, most consumers can meet the goal with a strict rule to save 7-10% of their monthly payday cash now. Though budgets are stretched, most Americans can reasonably find the money to save. Most savings goals for retirement can be reached if people understand how to manage time and budgeting.

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