WASHINGTON (1/9/15)--Consumers may want to climb to stable financial ground, but it's likely they don't know the way.
A new poll from the National Federation of Credit Counseling (NFCC) found that, of those surveyed, 66% were unsure about their path toward financial stability, despite a desire to achieve it.
"While it is encouraging to know that financial stability remains an important goal for consumers, it is deeply concerning that so many are unclear about how to reach that objective," said Bruce McClary, NFCC spokesperson. "With a few initial steps, most people could be on their way toward achieving what they had initially thought to be impossible."
The key to gaining control over one's financial situation, the NFCC said, is to be organized and to identify clear goals.
The NFCC recommends thoroughly reviewing current income and spending habits in order to establish a starting point from which to ascend. After tracking expenses for 30 days, a clear picture of a consumer's current financial situation will emerge.
Further, more than any other two obstacles, consumers most often trip up on their lack of savings and their unmanageable debt, according to the NFCC.
Consumers should place at least 10% of each paycheck aside on a regular basis, credit card debt should be kept below 30% of the available credit limit, and consumer debt payments should be less than 20% of monthly income, the NFCC advises.
"The key is to shrink your debt and grow your savings," McClary said. "The less debt you have in your way, the more control you have over reaching your financial goals."
Responses to the survey included: