Following a year of rising costs coupled with rising interest rates, many consumers are feeling the economic strain on their finances.
A recent WSFS study found that 61% of regional respondents are cutting back on non-essential spending, while 38% are focusing more on paying down debt because of rising costs, and 33% are tapping into their savings to help pay for everyday items.
It is important to remain adaptable with your finances to help weather the storm, but equally as important in achieving your goals is the need for financial literacy and access.
Banks and financial service providers (43%) topped the list of where regional respondents received their financial education, according to the WSFS study, but 44% of respondents feel they did not receive enough financial education and guidance about managing their money.
The current economic environment also played a role in the top financial goals, with regional respondents top goals being to build an emergency fund (52%), increase savings in retirement accounts (49%) and pay off debts (47%).
Financial education plays a key role in building the confidence needed to achieve many of these major goals in life and can also help consumers more easily adapt to financial challenges.
Sixty-two percent in the region said they found it easy to access financial products to meet their individual needs. High interest rates (39%) and fees/costs (39%) are the leading barrier to entry for regional residents when it comes to using financial products.
Financial education and literacy are crucial to achieving your goals, but financial access plays just as important of a role. By providing all consumers equal access to the financial products and services they need, we can ensure consumers have an equitable opportunity for success.
How To Build Your Financial Acumen
With school curriculums already packed, many consumers did not receive a formal financial education during adolescence. Seventy-one percent of regional respondents said they wished they had received more financial education.
It is important to remember that learning is lifelong, however, and it is never too late to build your financial skills. Consider making an appointment with your local banker for a financial checkup. This can be particularly beneficial after a year in a tough economic environment.
There are also a host of online resources available to help with everything from building a budget to the latest homebuying trends or saving for retirement. The important thing is to find a resource that works for your learning style, and to do your homework to ensure the source is reputable.
Financial literacy and access go hand-in-hand in achieving your goals, and while each consumers’ financial journey is unique, it is important that a level playing field be provided. If you need help building your financial knowledge or finding the products that work best for your situation, make an appointment to speak with your local banker.
Helping you boost your financial intelligence.
Read our financial resources from your friends at WSFS.