Discover Card Consumer Survey Shows we're Upbeat about our Personal Finances, but…
|Curtis Arnold is the founder of
offers a consumer report of US credit cards and instant online approvals. Named
among the 'Web's Best Sites' by SmartComputing magazine! The site is courtesy of
Citizens for Fair Credit Card Terms, Inc.
In May, Discover launched a new research program,
the “Spending Confidence Monitor,” with Rasmussen Reports, a well-known,
independent survey research firm. Together, they’re planning to survey lots of
us every month – they interviewed 500 consumers daily (15,000 total) in August
alone – to find out what we think we’ll spend in the future, what shape our
finances are in now, and what our opinions are on the economy.
Granted, our expectations certainly can change
unexpectedly for various reasons. However, as time goes on, I think Discover’s
monthly surveys will become very insightful for what they tell us about people’s
current situation – and what the trends may be. Right now, here’s how I read
Discover’s key findings from the May, June and July surveys:
|No money. The
number of families that had no money left over after paying
their monthly bills rose from 38% in May … to 50% in July.
(There’s only a 1% margin of error.) About 45% of younger adults
(18-29) in July reported having money left over after paying
their monthly bills.
Two-thirds in June said they could support their current
lifestyle for a month if they were faced with an unexpected loss
of income. But 29% in July said they wouldn’t be able to do even
that, which is up from a quarter in May.
|No hope. With
credit tight, the housing market soft, gas prices high, and a
war going on, it’s no surprise that about 63% in July told
Discover that they rated the economy as fair or poor.
If “no money, no cushion, and no hope” is how
you’d describe your current situation, as Discover shows, you’re not alone!
About half of us – or more – seem to be in the same boat. So don’t beat yourself
up about it. Instead, tell us what’s up and we’ll try to steer you to people who
Please note that the August survey was just
released (click for details) a few days ago, and I haven’t had time to completely
digest the numbers yet. However, after a cursory glance, I did find it very
interesting that the August survey reveals that consumer confidence in the U.S.
economy rose and fell week-to-week. This rise and fall seems to reflect
fluctuating concerns about the economy, housing market, and sub-prime mortgage
More importantly, though, despite such
fluctuations, consumers were relatively upbeat about their personal finances in
August, rating them much higher than they rated the economy. With that, I will
end this article on a positive note!