CHICAGO (11/10/14)--A new study from the Center for Financial Services Information (CFSI) indicates that credit unions have an opportunity to help their members achieve financial stability. Although only 30% of Americans say they are highly satisfied with their present financial condition, and fewer than half (45%) say they are confident they can meet their long-term goals for becoming financially secure, almost half (46%) expect their financial situation to be better in five years.
CFSI commissioned GfK, an online consumer research company, to deploy a national survey to collect data for its Consumer Financial Health Study. The survey was fielded from June through August. More than 7,000 individuals over age 18 responded to the survey
When asked about saving money for the future, more than one quarter of Americans (27%) said the most important time frame for them is the next few weeks or months, and another 27% say the next year or few years. Only 19% indicate that their most important time frame for saving for the future is longer than 10 years.
"Consumers need their financial providers to partner with them, providing new tools and resources to make their optimism a reality," CFSI said in its report. "Innovative transactional and credit products could come equipped with features that enable consumers to make real-time decisions about what spending they can afford or that facilitate making trade-offs among bills more seamlessly."
A significant percentage of consumers are still ill-prepared to weather financial setbacks, according to the survey. While more than a third of Americans (35%) said their household could make ends meet for more than six months, another 30% said they would only be able to make ends meet for three months or less. More than 1 in 5 (22%) said they do not know how long they could make ends meet if faced with an emergency.
CFSI suggested that financial institutions develop new products that spread the payment of some bills out over time or that better distribute the risk of ups and downs in income and spending.