SILVER SPRING, Md. (6/10/08)--Credit unions have an opportunity to help those struggling to pay their bills and mortgages on time, with a recent survey indicating that the majority of Americans don’t know how to handle their finances. The 2008 Financial Literacy survey, by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and MSN Money, indicates that one in 10 Americans with a mortgage, or 10 million adults, reported being late or missing a mortgage payment in the last year. One quarter of Americans also say they do not know enough about owning a home to consider buying one, the survey said. Other highlights of the survey:
* Roughly 15 million adults receive calls from collectors or are considering filing for bankruptcy. Only two in 10 keep track of their spending--regardless of gender, age, or income; * Higher income households and older Americans are more likely to stay on top of their bills. Whites and Latinos are more likely to pay their bills on time and stay clear of collections than blacks, and 59% of young adults in Generation Y pay their bills on time each month; * The majority of the public does not have sufficient emergency funds, defined as three to six months’ income saved. More than 76 million adults say they do not have retirement savings; and * One-quarter of Americans expect their income to outpace inflation. More than half of Americans believe their income will shrink or not keep pace with inflation. The worry is the greatest among Americans in the Midwest at 70%.