New survey reveals consumers’ financial attitudes and habits from A to Z

Experian partnered with top personal financial bloggers exploring a variety of topics in national survey leading up to FinCon 2016

San Diego, Calif., September 21, 2016 — Kicking off the world’s largest financial content expo, FinCon 2016, Experian® — together with eight bloggers — announced the findings from a nationwide consumer survey that covers the gamut of personal finance topics. What did we learn?

  • Respondents feel optimistic about their finances, but stress surrounding income expectations, debt reduction and retirement investments diminish their confidence in a strong financial future
  • Lack of income and funds are considered the main reasons for financial woes, not respondents’ fiscal behavior
  • Financial education is key to debt reduction and increased savings, according to respondents

Many of the survey questions were submitted by the following bloggers: Amanda Abella of, Elle Martinez of Couple Money, Toni Husbands of Debt Free Divas, Katie O’Conner of Get Rich Slowly, Andrew Schrage of Money Crashers, Tonya Rapley of My Fab Finance, Whitney Hansen of and David Carlson of Young Adult Money. Their contributions reflected the pressing issues and concerns voiced by readers.

We hear from our readers every day about their financial hopes and realities, so it was fascinating to see many of those same themes reflected in a large, national survey, said Katie Ryan O’Connor, who helps edit the popular personal finance blog Get Rich Slowly. While many Americans responding to the survey said they felt more secure in their finances than last year (43 percent), a majority (58 percent) said they felt the same or even less secure than before. In a time of economic recovery and expansion, this is something we all need to pay attention to – whether as bloggers, financial educators, neighbors or policy makers. We are all in this together.

Positive findings included that 64 percent of survey respondents feel very or somewhat confident in their ability to reach their financial goals, and 53 percent are confident they will pay off their student loans on time. Seventy-six percent reported they have not paid any credit card late fees in the past year.

The survey points to a few very encouraging trends in personal finance. For instance more than half of the respondents create a monthly budget and 69% say they use the budget to control spending. Managing your personal finances by regularly creating a budget is essential for anyone interested in paying off debt, said Toni Husbands of Debt Free Divas.

However, some unsettling findings from the survey include that nearly half of respondents (49 percent) have credit card debt and 46 percent have less savings today than they expected they would five years ago. Furthermore, 39 percent say they have a hard time finding financial education resources, 71 percent report being behind on their retirement savings and more than half (54 percent) believe they will never pay off their debt fully.

While some consumers are on a good path with their finances, others are struggling. The best way to improve your situation is to become more educated about managing money and debt, adds Rod Griffin, director of public education at Experian. That is why resources like personal finance blogs are so beneficial. You can read timely information and real life stories from experts and peers on everything from understanding credit to learning how to invest.

Additional survey highlights

Personal finance:

  • Most respondents (74 percent) report feeling stressed due to finances at least sometimes
  • Forty-one percent are earning less than they thought they would be five years ago

Budgeting and spending:

  • Half of respondents report making an impulse purchase at least monthly, with 70 percent of those impulse buyers saying it’s when they find a good deal

Savings and investing:

  • Seventy-one percent of respondents report being behind on their retirement savings
  • Seventy percent do not invest in stocks and bonds, and 41 percent of those said they do not plan on investing in the future


  • Of respondents with credit card debt, lack of cash flow (36 percent) and overspending (27 percent) are the primary causes
  • Seventy percent at least somewhat agree that debt prevents them from living their life to the fullest

College costs:

  • Sixty-six percent of those respondents with student loans regret taking them out
  • A majority (70 percent) agree that student loans negatively impact their ability to save for large purchases

Money management among spouses:

  • Forty-eight percent of respondents in a relationship discuss financial matters only once a month or less with their partner
  • Thirty percent say they disagree about finances with their spouse all the time