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Poll Reveals Most Consumers Face Self-Inflicted Financial Problems

JAN 2, 2013 5:05pm ET
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It is bittersweet to find that, as revealed by a recent poll, personal financial problems including mortgage delinquencies are self-inflicted more than they are the result of events beyond a borrower’s control, such as unemployment.

According to a National Foundation for Credit Counseling December poll, 63% of the respondents “admitted responsibility for their financial woes,” due to self-inflicted reasons that include overspending and being financially unorganized.

A total of 2,093 individuals participated in the NFCC’s December Financial Literacy Opinion Index through the NFCC website (www.DebtAdvice.org).

Only 37% said most of their financial problems were caused by events beyond their control such as job loss and medical emergencies.

NFCC spokesperson Gail Cunningham finds encouraging participants recognizing and taking ownership of their financial problems. It is “the first step to correcting a problem,” she said.

Cunningham recommends lender-servicers collaborate with counseling organizations like NFCC in educating borrowers following 12 action steps that can be implemented one per month, or at a faster pace.

The poll results support earlier findings that “an educated consumer is less likely to stumble financially,” Cunningham said.

For example, borrowers who monitor their credit report reviews, reach out for help from legitimate credit counseling agencies, or investigate mortgage refinancing opportunities as a way to save money over the life of the loan tend to also perform better on their loan.

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