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FINRA

For Release:
Contact:
Monday, March 28, 2011
George Smaragdis 
(202) 728-8988

 

 

FINRA Foundation Issues Take Control of Your Financial Future: Tips to Think About at Tax Time and Beyond

WASHINGTON — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation today released Take Control of Your Financial Future: Tips to Think About at Tax Time and Beyond, which provides consumers with helpful advice on avoiding financial pitfalls and getting their finances on the right track. The financial tips in Take Control of Your Financial Future are based on the findings of the FINRA Foundation's State-by-State Financial Capability Survey, which revealed that only 16 percent of respondents nationwide reported being satisfied with their current financial condition.

 

"Many families use tax time to take stock of their finances. Using findings from the State-by-State Financial Capability Survey, we have identified concrete steps that people can take to gain control of their financial future," said FINRA Foundation President John Gannon.

 

Although the traditional tax season is soon drawing to a close, it's never too late for Americans to improve financial capabilities by using these tips:

 

  • Get a Grip on Saving Versus Spending. Sixty-one percent of survey respondents reported facing difficulties covering monthly expenses and paying bills.
  • Dial Back Your Debt. Fifty-six percent of credit card holders carried a balance and paid interest each month—and 40 percent reported paying only the minimum due.
  • Plan for Known—and Unknown—Expenses. Only 35 percent of American adults have set aside sufficient emergency savings to cover expenses for three months in the case of sickness, job loss, economic downturn or other emergency.
  • Look Around—and Look Out—Before Making Financial Decisions. Most Americans either do not comparison-shop or conduct only limited searches for the best prices or terms when choosing financial products. For example, 62 percent of survey respondents said they did not compare credit card offers.
  • Know Yourself and Resolve to Keep Learning. On average, individuals answered only 3 out of 5 financial literacy questions correctly. Among those aged 18 to 34, the results were grim: This group answered only 2.6 questions correctly on average.

 

The State-by-State Financial Capability Survey compiled responses from 28,146 respondents from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

 

The FINRA Investor Education Foundation supports innovative research and educational projects that give underserved Americans the knowledge, skills and tools necessary for financial success throughout life. For details about grant programs and other FINRA Foundation initiatives, visit www.finrafoundation.org.