Georgians say they are wiser than they were a year ago when it comes to money matters. According to a recent poll by Duluth-based Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, 71.5 percent of respondents report that they have learned at least one money lesson in the past 12 months. www.gcua.org
Respondents say they learned lessons about:
- Savings (56.9 percent)
- Credit cards (56.1 percent)
- Retirement (41.8 percent)
Among the popular savings lessons learned are:
- Integrating savings as a normal part of the family's monthly budget
- Relying on payroll deduction as an automatic way to save
- Understanding the importance of increasing the amount put in savings each month
With credit cards, many consumers have learned to use cards for emergencies only or have chosen to forgo additional charges until the balance is paid in full. Finally, many Georgians have learned the importance of planning now for their retirement years by investing in an employer-supported retirement plan or opening an IRA.
Other areas in which people report learning money lessons include:
- Taxes and tax refunds (31.1 percent)
- Major purchases (28.6 percent)
- Investment portfolios (21.3 percent)
- Student loan debt (12.7 percent)
- Small-business investments and/or debt (7.6 percent)
Does knowledge translate into good habits? Not always. According to Forecast-chart.com, the U.S. personal savings rate for October 2013 is a projected 3.74 percent, down from 4.4 percent in 2011.
Still, Georgians appear to be taking steps in the right direction. More than 45 percent say they intend to apply what they have learned, and an additional 30.1 percent say they probably will.
Most Georgians feel that they have made progress in financial knowledge, with an overwhelming 78.7 percent saying they have become more informed consumers overall in the past year.
~ Information for this article provided by Georgia Credit Union Affiliates.