How is the Northeast Coping as Economic Slowdown Persists?

Contact: Ken McEldowney or Linda Sherry, Consumer Action (415) 777-9648; Diana Don, Capital One (703) 205-1165

Money Wi$e Financial Literacy Program Reveals Research & New Resources

February 21, 2002 -- A nationwide survey of U.S. residents conducted on behalf of Capital One and Consumer Action's Money Wi$e program uncovers key insights into the financial behaviors of adults across the nation during this time of economic uncertainty. The Money Wi$e campaign is designed to provide consumers with the information they need to start developing a plan for spending and saving money.

The following statistics were compiled via interviews with respondents in the Northeastern region of the country, including New York. In the Northeast, for example, 76 percent of consumers would take a second job in the face of financial uncertainty, compared to only 59 percent in the Central and Southern regions.

Spenders Tighten Purse Strings and Secure Savings

Sixty percent of respondents from the Northeast, including New York, report they are spending money more conservatively in 2002 than in 2001, compared to 57 percent nationwide.

Twenty-three percent of respondents who are spending more conservatively nationwide are cutting back on depositing into savings or retirement accounts. Similarly, 22 percent of Northeasterners are cutting back in this area.

Consumers Cut Back on Leisure Activities

The top areas where Americans are cutting back on spending include purchasing clothes or appliances (78 percent), dining out (75 percent), going on vacations or traveling (73 percent) and spending on entertainment like movies or amusement (65 percent).

In the Northeast, including New York, respondents report cutting back on purchasing clothes or appliances (83 percent), dining out (79 percent), going on vacations or traveling (71 percent) and spending on entertainment like movies or amusement (60 percent).

Moonlighting Makes More "Cents" than Tapping into other Resources

Seventy-six percent of Northeasterners say they would take a second job in order to make ends meet in the face of financial challenge compared to 66 percent of respondents nationwide and only 59 percent in the South and Central regions of the country.

Sixty-seven percent of Northeasterners say they would not tap into retirement accounts in order to make ends meet in the face of financial challenge, compared to 74 percent nationwide and 83 percent from the West Coast.

Concern for Job Security Prompts Some to Set Aside Savings

Sixty-two percent of Northeasterners have emergency funds set aside in case they get laid off, compared to 59 percent nationwide.

One in five Americans, nearly 22 percent, feel that they could get by for over a year without a job considering the emergency funds they have set aside, compared to 14 percent of Northeasterners.

About Money Wi$e

The Money Wi$e program offers a series of simple straightforward brochures to address financial responsibility. They are produced in five languages (English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese) and are available to more than 7,000 community organizations nationwide. The materials will be available directly to consumers online at www.consumer-action.org or by sending a self-addressed, legal sized stamped envelope to: Consumer Action Money Wi$e, "Money Management," 717 Market Street, Suite 310, San Francisco, CA 94103.

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*Survey of U.S. residents 18 and over conducted by International Communications Research

 

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