Americans feel more optimism about their finances in 2024 after weathering inflation and rising prices, and it has pushed an increasing number to make financial goals for this year, according to a recent Edward Jones survey.
Roughly 80% of Americans made at least one financial New Year’s resolution heading into 2024, while only 22% made financial resolutions and maintained them throughout 2023, according to the Edward Jones survey results. The top financial objective cited by 17% of respondents for this year is increasing income. In second place (16%) is building savings and 15% said they planned to pay off credit card debt this year.
The biggest challenge that 61% of Americans said could get in the way of achieving their financial goals is lingering high inflation. The latest figures on inflation show that it is moderating, but the concern is that it could be some time before it hits the 2% target rate set by the Federal Reserve. November’s CPI showed prices rose 3.1% annually, down from 3.2% growth. Beyond rising prices, 35% of respondents said that an unexpected financial strain, and 35% said that economic market changes might derail their financial resolutions for 2024.
If you’re worried about the state of the economy, you could consider paying down high-interest debt with a personal loan at a lower interest rate. Visit Credible to speak with a personal loan expert and get your questions answered.
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Moderating inflation helps Americans
A significant dip in gasoline prices and a slight decrease in food prices, paired with continued strength in household incomes, helped increase the spending power of middle-income households, according to Primerica’s Household Budget Index (HBI).
The index said that the purchasing power of middle-income households with incomes between $30,000 and $130,000 was 100.5% in November 2023, up from 99.1% in October. A year ago, the index stood at 93.7%.
However, increased costs of necessity items since 2021 mean these households have operated under an average cumulative budget deficit of nearly $2,500. Americans are also dealing with a record amount of credit debt and now owe $1.08 trillion after racking up a collective $48 billion in new spending during the third quarter of 2023, according to a recent report on household debt from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
“So much has happened since January 2019, and for the index to finally come back to the baseline value is a welcome outcome,” Amy Crews Cutts, an economic adviser at Primerica said. “But it doesn’t mean that all is grand. Had the pandemic never happened, the HBI would likely be approximately 10% higher than it is now, there would be more savings accumulation for middle-income households, and middle-income families would not be carrying all the new credit card debt they incurred when inflation was roaring well ahead of earned income.”
If you’re interested in paying off high-interest debt with a personal loan, you could visit the Credible marketplace to learn more about your options and speak with an expert to get your questions answered.
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How to stay on the right financial foot in 2024
There are a few steps consumers can take to improve their confidence and stay on the right financial foot in 2024, according to WalletHub.
Outline your income, expenses and debts to understand your financial situation better. Then, determine what luxuries you can reduce or cut out to put more money toward paying down debts or building your savings.
Set up an emergency fund
Wallet Hub said consumers should build an emergency fund by saving a small amount of money each month until they have three to 6 months’ worth of expenses.
“This fund acts as a financial safety net, providing a sense of security in the face of unexpected expenses,” WalletHub said.
Pursue a side gig for extra income
One way to build additional income is by broadening your income streams through side gigs, part-time work or freelancing opportunities. Consumers could also ask for a raise with their current employer.
If you want to reduce your expenses amid the current economy, you could consider using a personal loan to pay down debt at a lower interest rate, saving you money on monthly payments. Visit Credible to find your personalized rate without affecting your credit score.
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