DULUTH, Ga. (12/6/12)--When it comes to money matters, Georgia residents say they are wiser than they were a year ago, according to a recent survey by the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA).
Roughly 71.5% of members and nonmembers surveyed reported they have learned at least one money lesson in the past 12 months (Consider This
They learned lessons about:
- Credit cards--56.1%; and
Savings lessons learned included:
- Integrating savings as a normal part of the family's monthly budget;
- Relying on payroll deduction as an automatic way to save; and
- Understanding the importance of increasing the amount put in savings each month.
Many consumers said they learned to use credit cards for emergencies only, or chose to forgo additional charges until they paid the balance in full. They also learned the importance of planning now for their retirement years by investing in an employer-supported retirement plan or opening an individual retirement account, said GCUA.
Other areas in which people report learning money lessons include:
- Taxes and tax refunds--31.1%;
- Major purchases--28.6%;
- Investment portfolios--21.3%;
- Student loan debt--12.7%; and
- Small-business investments and/or debt--7.6%.
"Many of our members have been learning money lessons because it was necessary to adapt to make ends meet," said Jeff Holcombe, president of Marshland Community FCU in Brunswick. "In an area hit hard by the troubled economy, Marshland has responded to its members' need for financial information by providing online resources as well as financial education on a one-on-one basis.
"Many of our members seek to improve their credit rating," he added. "In an effort to accomplish this, they are learning a great deal about budgeting, living without relying on a credit card to pay monthly expenses, paying off debt and determining appropriate loan amounts for their situation."
While the lessons were learned during difficult times, Holcombe said he hopes members will reap benefits well into the future. "I believe our members are applying the lessons they are learning," he said. "They will continue to do so even as their circumstances improve."