According to a recent poll on Saving Without A Budget, nearly 60% of people believe that they are doing a good job with their personal finances and would deem themselves “fiscally responsible.”
When asked, “do you consider yourself to be fiscally responsible,” 59% of respondents stated that they are fiscally responsible, 38% stated that they try but sometimes fall short and only 4% stated that they were not fiscally responsible.
While these numbers sound good, I’m afraid they may be a bit misleading. For one, Saving Without A Budget is a site dedicated to publishing money saving and frugality tips, so I would imagine that most people visiting the site are already pretty fiscally responsible, or on the pace to get there.
Additionally (and unfortunately), I think that there are a lot of people out there that really are clueless as to their personal finances and truly believe that their finances are in order when in actuality they’re in shambles.
While I don’t want to question the integrity or validity of answers that were given, the fact that nearly 60% of people believe that they are fiscally responsible seems to me to be a bit high.
An example as to why I think things are not as rosy as they may appear is just a few months back the government released data showing that the personal savings rate fell to negative 1% in 2006- its lowest levels since The Great Depression. Essentially what that means is for every $1 we earned in 2006, we spent $1.01.
Whether that extra spending money came from credit card debt, home equity debt or dipping into personal savings accounts, the end result means most of us didn’t save enough, if anything at all. And that can’t be a good thing.
Couple this with rising home mortgage default rates and it leads me to believe that not all is well on the personal finance front.
Or, I could be overly pessimistic and completely wrong – which I sincerely hope is the case!