Americans feel optimistic about their finances and the future, according to the third “How America Buys and Borrows” survey by Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) and Ipsos. The findings show millennials, ages 18-35, are the most optimistic about their finances and report being most likely to buy a home in the next three years. This optimism is a shift from last year when generations were more united than divided in their outlook. Wells Fargo releases this survey data as part of its annual support of the American Bankers Association’s Get Smart About Credit campaign.
“Wells Fargo has supported Get Smart About Credit for a decade because our vision of helping customers succeed financially means making sure they know where to go for the information and resources they need to take charge of their credit,” said Shelley Freeman, head of Wells Fargo’s Consumer Credit Solutions group. “This latest survey reflects strong optimism on the part of America’s youngest adult consumers and also tells us consumers in general want to learn more about how credit works.”
Survey Results – Millennials Most Optimistic
In June 2015, the “How America Buys and Borrows” survey asked nearly 2,000 American adults ages 18 to 65 about their attitudes and perceptions of the current economy, financial situations and understanding of credit. Weighting on age, gender, education, diverse segments and income were applied to the results to achieve a nationally representative population.
Data from the 2015 survey shows millennial optimism is strong in several key areas:
- Twenty-eight percent of millennials rate their current financial situation favorably, compared to 24 percent of the general population.
- Looking ahead, 66 percent of millennials feel their personal financial situation will improve, compared to 48 percent of the general population – an 18 percent divide.
- Millennials are most likely to be in the process of refinancing their mortgage or buying an investment property, vacation home or new home for themselves.
- Nearly a third of millennials say they plan to buy a new home in the next three years, compared to 19 percent of their general population counterparts.
Survey Results – Consumers Optimistic Yet Want More Knowledge
When asked how they feel about their current financial situations and expectations for the future, respondents are optimistic. Eighty-two percent of respondents report their financial situation today is stable to strong and 90 percent say that they expect their personal financial situation will stay the same or get better a year from now.
Additional findings reveal a thirst for more knowledge:
- More than half (52 percent) of respondents say borrowing money makes them uncomfortable.
- Half report some level of discomfort with the payments they currently make to repay debt.
- A third (34 percent) grade their overall understanding of personal finances a C, D or F.
- Forty-one percent grade their overall understanding of how credit scores work a C, D or F.
- Forty-five percent grade their overall understanding of credit and loan products a C, D or F.
- Forty-five percent grade their overall understanding of what banks consider when approving a credit product or loan a C, D or F.
10 Tips to Get Smarter About Credit
Good credit helps with more than borrowing. It can factor into everything from renting an apartment and getting a cell phone, to landing a job. Lenders, landlords, utility providers, and employers can all review credit reports when making decisions. Here are 10 tips to help manage credit:
1. Monitor your credit regularly
2. Know your credit limits
3. Know that good scores = good rates
4. Don’t make late payments
5. Know your debt-to-income ratio
6. Start with a college or secured credit card
7. Pay down highest interest rates first
8. Live within your means
9. Pay more than the minimum amount
10. Set up account and autopay alerts
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